Injustice 2 launched last week, and we’ve taken the time to dig into its unique systems and gameplay mechanics. Fighting games can, at times, be a brutal mistress, but this NetherRealm Studios release offers a ton of content for both casual and competitive players to enjoy. We’ve compiled a bunch of tips below that will hopefully make your time in this dark DC Comics universe and enjoyable one.
While it’s not the most exciting way to spend your time, you should definitely jump into Injustice 2’s tutorial before anything else. Sure, most of you probably don’t need to be told how to walk backwards and forwards, but this sequel adds enough new mechanics that even experienced players will learn a thing or two.
And don’t stop at the basics. Once you find your way to the main menu, head to the tutorials menu for basic character breakdowns. There, players can learn foundational skills for each cast member, from a general gameplan to simple combos. They’re not the most detailed fighting game tutorials around, but they’re vital to understanding Injustice 2 at a fundamental level.
Okay, so you went through the various tutorials and suddenly think you’re the best Injustice 2 player around. Pro tip: you’re not! Heading to netplay at this stage in your understanding will only result in frustration, and we certainly don’t want that.
Injustice 2 offers so much that going online is the best way to make you not want to touch the game ever again. Avoid competing against other players for now; there will be ton of time for that later.
Jumping into Injustice 2 can be pretty overwhelming, even for knowledgeable fighting game players. The amount of normal attacks, strings, and specials at your disposal can be mind-boggling at first, but never fear, as training mode gives you the perfect opportunity to learn and understand all the tools the developers have provided for each character.
First, you’re going to want to find a basic string to keep in your back pocket. Unlike other games, Injustice 2 features what are often referred to as “dial-a-combos,” or short combos that don’t really need perfect execution to be strung together. For instance, by simply inputting 112 (i.e. Square, Square, Triangle on PlayStation 4 and X, X, Y on Xbox One) with the Joker, you’ll get a basic string. As you can see in the image below, there’s no timing needed; just press one button after the other in rapid succession.
Like any other skill, being good at a fighting game takes practice. Again, it’s not the most glamorous thing in the world, but if you want to eventually take the Injustice 2 fight online or even visit offline events, you’re going to need to spend a good amount of time making sure you know techniques like the back of your hand.
A good way to learn these skills is intense repetition. Practice your bread-and-butter combo until you can perform it perfectly five or six times in a row. Then, switch sides and practice performing it from the opposite direction until you get it down pat. Utilize the record function to make the training dummy perform a common attack with a popular character, and figure out how to punish it, both when blocked and when it misses you completely.
These tiny details add up. Combos will become second nature, and you’ll find yourself recognizing patterns in your opponent’s play that you can easily exploit. Fortunately, competition isn’t the only thing Injustice 2 offers.
Just like the first game, Injustice 2 includes a sprawling story mode, detailing an invasion by Brainiac after Superman has been jailed for previous crimes. By introducing new characters and alliances, the folks at NetherRealm Studios have greatly expanded the Injustice universe while also making it easy for newcomers to jump right in.
I’ll level with you: I never played through Injustice’s story, nor have I read the comics, but I rarely felt lost during my run through the sequel’s narrative. Of course, it isn’t perfect (fighting games aren’t known for their compelling stories), but Injustice 2 continues NetherRealm’s tradition of providing the genre with competent storytelling between the usual one-on-one bouts.
Another single-player distraction comes in the form of the Multiverse. This mode offers unique fights spread across different dimensions, allowing you to get some much-needed practice in while earning credits and boxes loaded with beautiful, beautiful gear. Sometimes, the matches will come with stipulations, forcing you to contend with an upside-down screen, health pickups, and more as you combat various CPU opponents. Multiverse fights are placed on timers, meaning you can keep checking back for more opportunities to earn money and gear.
Challenges are like Multiverse matches in that they change at regular intervals, but must be completed online. These range from simple tasks like sweeping your opponent X amount of times or completing a set number of fights with a specific character, and can greatly increase your understanding of Injustice 2 in the process.
Plus, completing these challenges will net you even more loot boxes, so keep grinding for that perfect chest piece or ability.
Fighting games are hard, even if you’re just trying to enjoy them casually. Most competitors have spent years honing their skills, so you can’t expect to jump into a new release and immediately understand the subtle nuances. Injustice 2 is a fantastic fighting game with a ton of to offer both sides of the casual-competitive spectrum; be sure not to let yourself get too frustrated by a couple of online losses by checking out the next chapter of the story or spending some extra time in training mode getting that tricky combo down. You can do this!
Ian Walker is a freelance writer who is trying his best to cover the world of fighting games even if he’s not all that good at them. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.