Injustice 2: Cosmics Above Us, known as Injustice 2: The Mighty Above Us in the Middle East region, is a fighting game based upon the fictional universe of DC Comics. The game was developed by NetherRealm Studios for the PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One, and released in April 2015 in North America, Europe, and Australia. It will be released in June 2015 in Japan. An iOS variation of the game was released on April 3, 2015.
The gameplay for Injustice 2: Cosmics Above Us involves one-on-one matches within a two-dimensional plane, although characters and backgrounds are rendered in a three-dimensional fashion. Each match consists of one round; however, each player has two health bars. The game uses a four-button control layout of light, medium, and heavy attacks, alongside a "character trait" button that activates a unique ability or attack designed to showcase each character. For instance, Superman's trait provides a temporary stat boost, while Batman's trait summons a swarm of robotic bats. Ed Boon, the creative director of NetherRealm Studios, stated that characters roughly fall into an expanded category system: power characters, who rely on brute strength and innate abilities, gadget characters, who use weapons, items, and other external mechanisms to win, and magic characters, who use their magical abilities to fight.
The stages, based on locations such as Gotham City, Apokolips, and the Phantom Zone, feature interactive environments and multiple tiers. Successfully connecting a heavy attack near the edges of the stage will launch the opponent into another part of the level. Each arena contains objects that the characters utilize differently depending on their class. For example, a gadget character like Batman can attach a bomb to a car to cause an explosion, while a power character like Superman can pick up the same car and smash his enemies with it, and a magic character could levitate it from a distance. Players have the option to turn off interactive elements.
During combat, players charge their character's super meter by performing combos or getting hit by the opponent. Portions of the super meter can be used for performing enhanced special moves or countering enemy moves. With a full meter, players can unleash their strongest special attack. The Clash System has been removed.
The story mode is split into several chapters. As the narrative plays out, the player swaps between different characters. Minigames are also incorporated into the story. The outcome of minigames can impact an upcoming battle, such as giving the player a health advantage over the CPU opponent. Additional features include Battle Mode, Versus Mode, Training Mode, and S.T.A.R. Labs, which includes 480 character-specific challenges of varying difficulty. Online multiplayer modes include King of the Hill, a setup that allows up to eight players to spectate a match while waiting for their turn to fight, Survivor, which carries over the current winner's health bar and character selection over each match, and Onslaught, which pits players against a non-stop barrage of fighters. Playing through any of the game's modes, including online matches with optional goal objectives, will net the player experience points that may be used to unlock alternate costumes, music, concept art, and other rewards.
The campaign of Injustice 2: Cosmics Above Us was written by NetherRealm Studios in collaboration with DC Comics' writers as a story that expands on the Injustice universe. Described by NetherRealm as "Story Mode 3.0", the campaign was approached similarly to the 2011 Mortal Kombat and the previous Injustice game through the use of a cinematic narrative versus the traditional ladder-based single-player experience. According to Lead Designer John Edwards, the plot is meant to rationalize the game's fighting mechanics between characters that would not normally fight one another and explain how Batman can "stand toe-to-toe" with Superman. Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti served as story consultants to ensure that the comic characters kept their proper voices in Injustice 2.
One year after the events of Injustice, the alternate reality that was once ruled by Superman lives in peace. Superman is trapped inside his cell, but he's had plenty of time to grow angrier and angrier. Batman revealed his secret identity to the world, becoming President Wayne of the United States, and installing his allies Harley Quinn, Deathstroke, and the Flash in leadership postitions to other parts of the world. Everything seems well, until Batman recieves a warning from another planet, Apokolips, from the ruler Darkseid, saying he is coming to destroy the planet Earth. Batman has no choice, but to get help from the heroes who helped him defeat Superman a year ago.
Back in the normal reality, the Justice League is fighting against Deadshot, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Mirror Master, and Scarecrow who tried to assassinate the mayor of Gotham City. Deadshot is able to shoot and injure Green Arrow, and just as Superman is about to deliver the final blow to Deadshot, they are transported to the alternate reality by President Wayne. The villains escape, but Wayne urges the Justice League that they have more important things to worry about. Wayne tells them about Darkseid, and asks for their help. The Justice League agree to help Wayne, and President Wayne dons his Batsuit for the first time in a year. After rounding up the escaped villains, Darkseid's invasion begins.
President Wayne hears that his allies Harley Quinn, Deathstroke, and Flash have all been defeated, and Darkseid's forces were headed for the United States. The Justice League square off against Darkseid's elite, managing to defeat them, but Darkseid has another trick up his sleeve. Darkseid commands his elite to free the villains of the world from Arkham Asylum, Blackgate Penitentiary, Pena Duro, Stryker's Island, and any other prison. However, Darkseid goes personally to the most important one of all: the cell of Superman. Superman agrees to work with Darkseid, but only if gets to personally kill Batman himself. Darkseid agrees, and with the combined forces of the world's villains, Darkseid's Elite, Superman's Regime allies, Darkseid, and Superman himself, they are able to enslave the world and drive President Wayne's forces into hiding. After several months of survival and hiding, Wayne and the Justice League think they have enough resources to strike back against Darkseid.
After a grueling gauntlet of villains to Darkseid's palace, many members of the Justice Leauge have been too wounded to continue the fight. As such, President Wayne, Superman, Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman are the only ones left to fight Darkseid and Superman. After a deadly fight involving the deaths of Flash, Green Lantern, and even Wonder Woman, the two Batmen and Superman are able gain the upper hand and deliver the final deathblow to both Darkseid and Superman, ending their threats once and for all.
After mourning the deaths of their fellow Justice League members, Superman, Batman, and the wounded Justice Leaguers return to the normal reality, along with the villains that came with them. As President Wayne thinks about what to do next, he recieves a cheerful call from Harley Quinn, telling him that she and the others were OK. President Wayne smiles, and thinks everything might be OK after all.
In an post-credits scene, Darkseid is seen returning to Apokolips with Superman. Darkseid reassures Superman that everything will be OK. He knows of beings even more powerful than himself they can call on.
The roster was designed by NetherRealm to be unique and unorthrodox. Ignoring such staples such as Joker and Deathstroke, NetherRealm takes a different approach and focuses on lesser known villains such as Onomatopoeia. This approach was well-recieved, and manys fans stated that Injustice 2 was a true comic-fan oriented game, rather than an appeal to mainstream audiences.