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September 2018

Injustice 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Release Date: May 16, 2017


PS4/XOne Preview - 'Injustice 2'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on July 28, 2016 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Injustice 2 allows gamers to choose from a massive roster of DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains and build the ultimate version of their favorite DC characters.

Pre-order Injustice 2

NetherRealm Studios has quickly become a force in the fighting game market. Injustice 2 is the follow-up to its surprisingly dark DC-themed fighting game, which revolved around the story of a murderous tyrant Superman in an alternate dimension. The new Injustice looks to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and introduces a new cast of characters, but the real star of the show is the new Gear system.

The core Injustice gameplay hasn't changed much, so most of the mechanics from the first game, from the intractable environments to the Clash system, have returned in very familiar forms. Characters have received tweaks and twists, but there are no huge changes to the basic mechanics. Some interesting additions, such as more mobility options, should please hardcore fans. Burning meter allows you to perform a special dash-roll that you can use to escape if you're trapped in a corner. You can also burn a bar of your super meter to break out of a combo mid-string. We're told the latter isn't a get-out-of-combo-free card, though. You'll be slower returning to the ground, so use it at the wrong moment, and a talented opponent can start a new combo before you hit the ground.

There's also a series of new playable characters. In our demo at E3 2016, we got some hands-on time with Supergirl and the Red Lantern Atrocitus. Supergirl isn't just a clone of Superman.  Her move set focuses on her super breath and super speed skills; she can stun enemies with a quick burst of freezing breath or use her super speed to teleport to the other side of the screen for a punch, not unlike Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. Her unique hero power is heat vision, which she can use either as a projectile or a sustained stream of fire. Atrocitus is a more brutal close-in fighter who manipulates his own red acidic blood. He can do everything from vomit it on his enemies to create tornadoes that stun foes. His special power is to summon the Red Lantern housecat, Dex-Starr, who can create shields, fire projectiles or be sent to maul enemies. Also new to the game is Gorilla Grodd. We didn't get a chance to see much of him, but his move set revolves around brutal grabs and throws.

Gear is the name of the game in Injustice 2. Every character can be customized with loot that is earned after a fight. According to the developers, players can expect to get loot after every fight, though not every piece of loot will be optimal. Depending on the character, you'll have different equipment slots. For example, Supergirl can customize her armor, boots, cape, face and so on. Each piece of equipment has distinctive stats and bonuses. One piece may grant increased experience gain from combat, another could make environmental interactions deal less damage, and a third can amplify the damage of your special moves. We didn't get to see it, but we're told that certain pieces of equipment will also change how special moves function, such as Supergirl's eye lasers becoming purple and gaining different attributes. Customizable equipment also changes your looks, which can be fairly dramatic. The base Supergirl looks quite different from one decked out in ominous armor. There are even different color combinations in case you'd rather fight as a white-and-red-armored Batman.

The idea is that players will be able to customize their character to best suit their play style. Are you a Batman player who prefers to play keepaway instead of getting up close? You can boost your Batarangs and improve your environmental weapon capabilities rather than boosting your melee skills. Every piece of equipment is different, and even items that share the same name may have different stats or abilities, so no two Batman players will be alike. Each character has a range of different skills and abilities. Fighting as a character also causes them to level up, which further improves their stats.

It's an interesting twist, and NetherRealm has said it intends for gear to be a central part of Injustice 2. Every player will want to find the best combination of character and equipment. The developer has said it's trying to be careful to avoid "best" equipment, and every player will likely find a distinctive combination of attributes and traits that are theirs alone. This will provide a challenge for competitive players, and NetherRealm has said it'll talk more about how to mesh gear and competitive gaming in the near future.

Injustice 2 has a lot of potential as a fighting game. The sheer level of customization is almost unprecedented, and while it sounds like it will provide a challenge to balance, it also offers a lot of potential for a variety of play styles. With only eight of the characters revealed so far, there's still plenty more to see from Injustice 2, but fans of the first title have a lot to look forward to. Injustice 2 will be coming out in 2017 for the PS4 and Xbox.

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