Injustice 2 will have players doling out pain in new and familiar ways, judging from the build that was available at GDC. From the suite of moves from Injustice: Gods Among Us that past players will know well, to the all-new ways players can use laser vision to blast an opponent to the earth from the sun or summon sinister-looking red cats to scratch eyes out, Injustice 2 should have new and old fans excited to beat each other up.
The demo build offered a taste of the game’s new storyline, casting players as Batman in a handful of fights against Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and a surprise opponent. Clashing within the walls at Arkham, players were able to re-familiarize themselves with Batman’s moveset, which would seem immediately familiar to those who played the original.
Those same moves look tighter and flashier, featuring a bulkier Batman striking with a sense of real weight and power. Not that previous games didn’t offer this, but each moves seems to strike just that much harder, hitting with screen-freezing power or making a satisfying thump with each blow. Batman’s new super move makes an appearance here as well, making use of the Batplane to spectacular effect.
The story, which features a rogue Superman being somewhat upset at the Joker’s actions from the previous game, has the hero striking down the monstrous villains at the asylum, finally tired of giving them second chances. Batman, not wanting the heroes to sink to their level, must battle against his former allies to stop them. It culminates with a cliffhanger ending, one that will draw players deeper into what looks like a satisfying story of betrayal.
After these matches, players were able to try out eight characters in free matches. Having already played with familiar characters, Atrocitus was rolled out to try out his moveset. Fiery breath could hit opponents at close range, a quick charging juggle could catch them with a combo from a few steps away, or he could call up a tornado of blood under his opponent to lift them up, putting them in range for nastier moves. He could also summon a feline companion to stun and stagger his enemy, leaving them open for a dimension-swapping super move.
Supergirl was brought out for the second and final match. Her laser vision offered a quick burst for enemies who stayed at range (or could be fired in a sustained blast), and her flying uppercut could surprise an opponent leaping into, or standing inside, close range. If enemies are blocking from the front, she can also teleport in behind them, clobbering them with a sucker punch. Icy breath rounded out her moves, creating slipping hazards for foes that would tie them up long enough for Supergirl’s super move, which involves comets, laser beams, and a trip around the sun.
Both of these matches dropped experience, currency, and gear for certain fighters. Each piece of gear is designed for a certain fighter, changing their look to certain iconic appearances from DC Comics history, as well as offering stat boosts to help create the fighter the player chooses. Fights will typically win gear for the character the player is using, although the game will sometimes give gear for other characters as well.
Gear could also be bought using the in-game currency the player gained, if the player wished to acquire more. The developers also wanted to note that this currency can only be unlocked in game, avoiding a ‘pay to win’ model.
While changing up gear to create a new character with a different look could be interesting, fights also had a chance of dropping new moves for each fighter. From regular attacks to whole new super moves, players could earn entirely different attacks to equip to their fighter, creating a sense of unpredictability for online matches. It would also give the player access to even more spectacular attacks.
While the demo did not offer much opportunity to play around with the new unlockable gear and moves, it did show a solid fighter that builds on the original. Injustice 2’s new fighters show fun, flexible movesets, as well as an array of brand new ways to really devastate opponents. Adding the already-strong gameplay onto a system of customizability, in looks and actions, makes Injustice 2 look like a solid, potentially surprising, fighter to watch out for.