Injustice 2 is looking to be the most accessible fighter on the market.
The original title, Injustice: Gods Among Us, featured the most recognizable cast of fighters in the genre by utilizing the popular properties available in DC Comics. Superman, Batman, the Joker, everyone was available right from the start. Had you played a fighter before? Whether it was Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, players could choose which style of input they preferred.
Quarter-circle and Z-shaped inputs always bugged me, so I went with Mortal Kombat’s d-pad method.
Injustice featured a compelling story mode, newly imagined for this game. The special thing about this story was that it didn’t rely on any outside superhero knowledge going in, it was simple and entertaining. The concept was so successful it spawned an Injustice comic series that is still running today.
The combat in the game employed unique fighting mechanics to make being super easier than ever before. Injustice figures that with great power, you shouldn’t need too much responsibility in figuring all the systems out. My favorite idea, one that is sticking around for Injustice 2, is that every fighter had a “character power.” What this single button did was different for every character. Superman would get a power boost, Batman would be surrounded by mechanical bats, the Flash would slow down time. The Green Arrow shouldn’t need some crazy fighting game input to shoot an arrow, so just tap that character power button and he’ll start impaling his enemies right away.
Injustice was so enjoyable because it focused on giving the player things to do, ways to succeed, without forcing them to become better than the intimidating legions of fighting game fans.
The sequel is adding features to capitalize on this philosophy.
At the end of every match, players are awarded gear that can provide new abilities, stat changes and cosmetic differences. Immediately, the public reaction to this announcement was negative. Fighting game fans are worried about having an even playing field, and already nervous that their opponents have better gear than them.
This is understandable…to an extent. It’s ridiculous to think that developer NetherRealm Studios won’t have a tournament-ready mode to combat this. This isn’t their first fighting-game-rodeo, you’ll be fine fighters!
You ask me, gear sounds fantastic. How many times has your favorite superhero had a costume change? Probably a ton, and now, players get to build their own versions of their favorite characters. Whether you win or lose, every match is a part of a larger progression system that rewards players in a meaningful way. After I finish the story mode, I can keep unlocking and keep progressing my Superman, to make him my Superman.
It’s this sense of player-focused individuality that I find very appealing. The focus isn’t on winning or being the best, instead, it’s important that I play the game and enjoy doing so. NetherRealm studios created a best-seller with their original Injustice title. It’s possible that they’re focusing more on the hundreds of thousands of casual players, than the minority amount of competitive ones.
For the sake of fighting game fans, I do hope the underlying game has depth. Not for me, but I do love watching competitive players do their thing. Just make sure Superman destroys Batman, that guy has had it too good for too long.