Port Patrol: Injustice 2 makes a smooth transition to PC
For all the praise we gave Injustice 2 when it first released on consoles there was something that was missing: a PC port.
NetherRealm games have had a horrible history with the PC. Mortal Kombat X, their previous release, had a disastrous PC launch, refusing to run on many machines, crashing in the middle of games, and sporting some of the worst netcode the fighting game community has ever seen. The port was so bad they eventually abandoned it.
It made a certain amount of sense for NetherRealm to focus on consoles for the launch of Injustice 2. But now, half a year later, they have finally decided to make the platform leap to the PC. Is it finally the PC fighting game experience we have all been hoping for, or is it another disaster waiting to happen?
You’ll be happy to know that Injustice 2’s PC release isn’t missing a single thing from the console version. You’ll get everything you’d normally get, including the wonderful story mode, full main roster, multiverse mode, online modes, and more. You will get it all, however, at a ten dollar discount, retailing for fifty dollars and purchasable for as low as thirty-five dollars if you manage to find a sale. If you want to stay current, however, you can purchase the Ultimate Edition, which comes in at eighty dollars retail but gives you all the DLC that has come out so far. It’s an incredible value for anyone who missed out on the console release.
There is a small problem though. The PC version of the game is still behind the console version in terms of DLC content. Hellboy, for example, is already playable on the console version but is not yet playable on the PC version. I think PC owners are just going to have to accept that they will always be a bit behind the console release.
The PC version of Injustice 2 does look better than the console version, provided that you have a rig that can handle it. On a modest rig with budget graphics cards from a generation or two ago, the game runs comparable to the console version. On high-end rigs the game really shines, with UHD graphics and an ultra-wide aspect ratio. Plug this into an HD projector and you’ll have a cinematic fighting experience like no other.
The PC version comes with a handy benchmark tool which will tell you exactly the settings you need to run at in order to get smooth 60FPS gameplay, so it’s easy to set up even for PC gaming newbies.
Injustice 2 sets the bar for peripheral compatibility. It worked with every controller I threw at it. Generation old PS3 controllers, wired Xbox One controllers, USB keyboards, self-made hit-boxes, even bargain basement PCB controllers made on a 20 dollar budget. It handled them all with a minimum amount of setup. Just plug and play, the way PC games should be.
The game allows multiple controllers to be plugged in at once and allows you to plug and unplug controllers during gameplay. Once again this is something that all PC games should do, but most don’t. All you have to do is press a button to confirm your controller and you are ready to go.
If I can find any flaw with its compatibility, it’s that you cannot easily change controllers from the character select screen, making huge local VS. hangouts a little finicky, but not any more so than the console version.
While Injustice 2 runs smoothly at all times, its load times are a drag, even with modern hardware. The first time I opened the game it took five minutes to load from an SSD! Just going into the tutorial mode for the first time took almost a minute of loading.
The game's load times are considerably worse than the console version and no matter how hard I tried to run this on a bigger, better rig, the load times wouldn’t get better.
The load times aren’t a deal-breaker. In fact, they are comparable to other PC ports of modern fighting games. You just get used to them after a while. It’s just a shame that this black mark stands out so much in an otherwise fantastic port.
Mortal Kombat X’s PC port had one of the worst netcodes of any modern day fighting title. It appears as if NetherRealm has learned their lesson with Injustice 2 because the game ran smooth as butter online. In fact, I’d say the online experience here is much better than the console experience. I haven’t experienced slowdowns or hiccups once, and there is virtually no wait time when searching for a match.
Granted, the game is still fresh and performance might take a hit as the community thins out, but compared to games like MVCI where I end up waiting minutes between matches only to fight the same person over and over again, this online suite is a dream.
Should You Buy It?
People who own the console version
This is a maybe, leaning towards no. Injustice 2 felt smoother and looked better on PC. The controls even felt more responsive. The long load times are a pretty big downside, but if you have money burning a hole in your pocket, picking up the PC version for its online suite isn’t the worst idea.
People who missed the console release but own a console
Maybe. I think that Injustice 2 is one of the better fighting games this year and you probably should experience it on one platform or another. Asking any fighting gamer to purposefully choose the port that gets all of its content late is a lot. You might be better off with the console version if only because you can play with new characters earlier.
If you plan on waiting until all the DLC is released before you buy the game, then I’d go with the PC version. It’s cheaper, looks nicer, and has a better online experience.
People who haven’t bought a current generation PC controller
Yes. The PC port of Injustice 2 will handle any controller you plug into it. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could play this with a flight stick or DDR dance pad. This is the most compatible version of the game on the market and is the version of choice if you don’t want to drop 200 dollars on a next generation fight stick.
People who don’t own a console
Yes. Injustice 2 was one of the best fighting games of the year and if you can only experience it on PC then by all means get it, play it, and love its endless content.