The battle between good and formerly-good comes to a head in Injustice 2, but there's much more to the game than the kicking and the punching. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Netherrealm Studios' DC Comics dress-up battle simulator.
If you haven't played the first Injustice, at least watch it.
Why is Superman in prison? What's this about a dead Lois? How are all of these weaker heroes and able to trade blows with Kyrptonians? All of these questions and more are answered in 2013's Injustice: Gods Among Us. If you haven't played the first game (or read the excellent comic book tie-in series), you should. If you can't wait that long, here's a compilation of all the story cutscenes, compiled by YouTube's ZeroX Gaming.
Download and link up with the Injustice 2 mobile game.
As they did with the first game, Netherrealm Studios put together a free-to-play mobile game for iOS and Android to accompany the console release of Injustice 2. It isn't too shabby. Even if you hate free-to-play mobile games it's worth a download, as linking it with the console version leads to spiffy cross-promotional rewards.
Right off the bat you get the Grid premier skin for Cyborg, and Netherrealm will doubtlessly continue to make owning both games worth players' whiles.
Play through story mode first.
If you're confident enough in your fighting game skills to take your super-powered fights online immediately, then by all means ignore this tip. If you're a little shaky, Injustice 2's story mode is an excellent way to hone up on some of the new and returning characters in the game. Each of the 12 chapters stars either one character or a matched pair (Green Arrow and Black Canary, Firestorm and Blue Beetle), and in order to progress you'll have to get to know each one intimately.
How can you say no to this face?
- If you run into trouble, don't be afraid to put story mode on hold and hop into the practice ring to hone your skills as a new character. I was having trouble completing the Firestom/Blue Beetle segment cold, but a few minutes with each character in practice mode and I breezed right through.
- Don't sweat the combatant decisions in dual-character chapters. In order to reach 100 per cent completion in story mode you're going to have to repeat those fights as the alternate character eventually anyway
- You don't have to play through the entire game twice to in order to get the whole story. Once you've completed the game once, use chapter select to replay two-character chapters as the heroes you didn't pick, then jump right to the point where... well, spoilers. You'll know.
Use the clash mechanic wisely.
The clash mechanic from Injustice: Gods Among Us returns in the sequel, once again allowing players to bet their super meter against their opponent in order to potentially regain health or do some damage.
The urge to go all-in is strong, but consider each specific situation carefully. If you're on your last health bar and winning the clash is certain, go for it. If you're both at max meter, letting your opponent win and betting nothing leaves you with a super move ready to be unleashed and them with a much lessened chance to avoid it.
Take the non-story characters for a spin.
One thing you might notice about the game's story mode — not every character gets a starring role. You won't get to play heroes like Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing and Doctor Fate or villains like Deadshot, Cheetah, Atrocitus or the Scarecrow.
Take these characters into practice mode, play some battles against AI, and really get to know them. In fact, they're prime candidates for...
Explore the Multiverse every day.
Like Mortal Kombat X's Living Towers, the Multiverse offers players a series of themed challenges that are perfect for raking up gear and character experience points. The battles often feature cool modifiers to spice up battle, like playfields that constantly tilt from left to right and back again.
Some Multiverse events last days. Others last hours. They're exciting, profitable, and great for quick play sessions. Use them.
Cultivate an AI battle team.
Looking for a really easy way to earn experience and loot boxes that requires barely any effort? Then you're looking for the AI Battle Simulator. All you need to do is assign three heroes as a team of computer-controlled defenders. Players actively seeking out random AI battles will be pitted against your team. You don't have to do anything. I logged into the game this morning, checked the AI Battle Log, and yup, someone battled my team and won. Still, I got a loot box for my non-trouble.
If you want better rewards, tend to your AI battlers like flowers in a DC Comics-licensed garden. Use characters you've levelled up and geared out in the best stuff possible — they will still be playable in other modes. And if you'd like to take on a more active role in the AI battles, you can always seek out opponents or spar with friends. It's quick, easy, and the only control you have to hit is the fast-forward button.
Join a Guild.
Want even more rewards randomly popping up on your screen? Join an active guild. Injustice 2 allows up to 50 players to form an alliance, like this one:
Joining a guild gives players the chance to acquire guild points, used to unlock special guild-only loot boxes. It also gives players access to special group challenges and a guild-specific Multiverse featuring collaborative missions to unlock and play.
Open your loot boxes right away.
This is one of the tips the game flashes during loading screens, but it bears repeating. Loot boxes, or Mother Boxes as they are called in Injustice 2, are locked to the level you earn them at. If you earn a loot box at level seven, it will include mainly level-appropriate gear. If you open that same box at level 20, it will still contain gear appropriate for level seven.
If you wind up with a bunch of gear you have no use for, don't worry. You can always...
Sell your unwanted gear.
I opened a loot box yesterday with four different leggings for Harley Quinn. I do not need four different leggings for Harley Quinn. What I could use is more in-game currency to attempt to roll for something better. A trip to the inventory interface is all it takes.
But before you convert your items into virtual cash you can...
Try all the gear on.
Injustice 2's gear system is a bit sloppy, but there are some real cool looks lurking in all of the samey-sound masks, suits and such. The problem is that no matter what the item looks like, it's represented by the same icon.
I had no idea I was holding such a majectic version of Dex-Starr
When you open up a loot box you can hit the X button to show detail on each unlocked item, ensuring you don't miss something amazing in all the grey crap.
Don't worry about gear regeneration until your character is maxxed.
Regeneration allows for a lower level item to be transformed to match your character's current level. It's handy if you have a beloved piece of kit you want to hold on to, though the stats are re-rolled as well, so maybe it isn't as handy as it could be.
Since regeneration requires a special regen token to activate, there's really no use in doing this until your character reached the max level, which is currently 20. Anything lower is a waste of a precious resource.
Keep the prettiest gear, even if it's low level.
If you have a special mask that's too low level to grant your character substantial benefit, you can always swap it's appearance onto a piece of higher level gear using the transform menu.
The only downside is that doing this costs source crystals, which are the currency you can purchase through the Xbox Live Marketplace or PlayStation Store, so you might want to be damn sure before doing this.
Mind your stats.
Gear isn't just about making your character look unique. It also modifies your character's stats, which can make a huge difference in Multiverse or multiplayer battles where gear statistics are in play.
Since each character eventually winds up with five different loadout slots, you have plenty of room to build a different Flash for every occasion. Keep an eye out for gear that affords special abilities and bonuses beyond simple stat boost as well. That's the good stuff.
Do good in multiplayer. Kick some people and stuff.
I am in no position to offer multiplayer strategies beyond "hit the other person until they stop moving" and maybe "don't be a jerk and spam Deadshot's guns all day". Feel free to add your own multiplayer tips in the comments!
Most importantly, have fun!
Injustice 2 is an outstanding game that's packed with plenty of ways to have a good time. Don't sweat the win/loss ratios, and don't feel bad if you have to slide down the difficulty a notch or two. There's good stuff in here. Get it any way you can.