Injustice 2 Debuts – My Thoughts

So yeah, this happened.

Netherrealm gave us our first look at their next DC Comics fighter, Injustice 2, following up with a gameplay trailer during the ESL MKX Season 3 finals earlier today. Shown off in a glorious new engine are the game’s first seven characters, returning mainstays Superman, Batman, Aquaman and The Flash alongside new blood in Supergirl, Atrocitus and Gorilla Grodd. Here’s what we know so far:

The Colours, Man!

The new engine has done wonders for the tone of the game. Gone are the dingy, almost monochromatic environments of the first game, replaced with a sort of vibrance and life Injustice 1 sorely lacked.

The colours, man, the colours!

The colours, man, the colours!

This might come down to the new engine, but it also might be a directive from on high; DC Comics has made a recent showing of reforming their comics lines with its new Rebirth initiative, making bringing back hope and optimism back to its products. Perhaps the wider palette has something to do with that?

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

While the new look is very much a departure from the original, the gameplay basics remain the same. While certain Mortal Kombat-reminiscent specials such as Supergirl’s side swapping punch suggest the introduction of an MK-style block button, other elements like the 2D plane, use of special moves and such remain similar to Injustice, if not building directly on Mortal Kombat X.

Also present are Injustice 1’s stage transitions, allowing fighters to knock opponents through a piece of the scenery into a completely different environment, usually by way of a painful looking cinematic tumble. The gameplay trailer shows Supergirl thrown through a wall, getting clobbered by a delivery van and then taking a trip through an oncoming train, and Aquaman getting a visit from potential-new-character-but-for-now-stage-transition-cameo Black Manta.

man of steel

The game still features its signature cinematic super moves, this time drawing more heavily from recent films where available; Superman’s is reminiscent of his final confrontation with Zod in Man Of Steel, while Batman’s borrows from a scene in The Dark Knight… and a little from recent Metal Gear Solid games, if you ask me. Speaking of…

Metal Gear!? It Can’t Be!

A new feature Netherrealm has been quick to show off is the new Gear system, where each battle will win a player a piece of loot specific to their character. This loot changes the appearance and allegedly also the abilities of the fighter, with the team claiming you’ll be constantly evolving and creating your own version of, say, The Flash.

gear mods

This has fans suspecting that it’ll build on the last game’s premium costumes, which saw existing characters take on not just a new skin, but a new identity; Alan Tudyk’s voice work as the game’s main Green Arrow took a backseat as Stephen Amell took over for Injustice‘s CW Arrow skin, for instance. We suspect other CW talent is lending its likeness to the game, making this more than just a once off; fans are anticipating a flood of cameos, guest appearances and alternate universe versions based on just the names already confirmed.

Who Else Has An Invite?

While seven faces is enough to debut a game, there’s already talk about who’s next to be added. Netherrealm themselves has added fuel to this particular fire, with Injustice 2 branded merch given away at the ESL finals teasing at returning characters Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn, as well as new face Doctor Fate. The trailers above also give brief looks at a wireframe Cold Gun, hinting at the debut of low-level villain Captain Cold.

Injustice 2 merch shirt

Injustice 2 t-shirt featuring (clockwise from top left) Aquaman’s trident, Batman’s cowl, Wonder Woman’s shield, Harley Quinn’s hammer, Atrocitus’ red power battery, Captain Cold’s cold gun, Doctor Fate’s helmet, Superman’s shield, and The Flash’s boot (center). Image courtesy of Test Your Might

On top of all that, actress from CW’s Arrow series Katie Cassidy recently instagrammed a picture of herself at an undisclosed games house getting body scanned, fuelling suggestions her character Black Canary may also be in the game. And finally, the debut trailer shown above features a monologue with some very specific cues:

Each time I enter the pit, I emerge reborn. Put the devil on the other side and I will show up evolved, adapted, and prepared.

Pundits are citing this line as a reference to the Lazarus Pit, and claiming the speaker (suspected to be Bryan Cranston) is Batman nemesis Ra’s Al Ghul.

Story? In My Fighting Games?

According to the game’s press release, Injustice 2 takes place soon after the events of Injustice 1, with Batman’s resistance rooting out remnants of Superman’s old regime when a new power arrives, posing a threat to the world itself.

At first glance we could expect anyone; DC has a lot of big bads to pick from. The most likely would be an invasion from Apokolips, headed up by perennial villain Darkseid. But with developments stemming from DC Comics’ Rebirth angle, we could be looking at someone a little more from left-field; it’s being suggested that Alan Moore’s infamous story The Watchmen is being integrated into DC lore, with blue donged god-man Doctor Manhattan in place as an antagonist. Netherrealm has a history of taking certain cues from DC canon with Injustice; perhaps it’s him waiting at the end of Injustice 2?

Boy, Netherrealm Must Really Hate Power Girl

One name that seems decidedly off the list is Power Girl, whose appearance is put in jeopardy by Supergirl’s presence.

For those new to the Injustice brand, after the first game launched, Netherrealm head honcho Ed Boon put up a series of teases and polls, gauging fan interest in certain characters as DLC. The first such poll was put out after work on the first wave of DLC fighters had commenced, with Lobo, Batgirl, Scorpion and Zod already going ahead. While the team expected Batgirl to get the public’s vote ahead of her reveal, she did not, coming dead last to Supergirl and overwhelming fan favourite Power Girl.

02_injusticegirlpoll

The first Injustice’s first DLC character Twitter poll, won convincingly by Power Girl. Batgirl would be the only one to appear in the game, with Supergirl slated to appear in Injustice 2. Image courtesy of Ed Boon, Twitter.

It was a source of no small embarrassment for Injustice, which stood accused of overloading the roster with Batman characters at the expense of everything else, but in truth it’s more likely that DC Comics themselves played a role in forcing Batgirl in particular; she was enjoying a new line of comics at the time, as well as a limited re-release of popular Batman story The Killing Joke, featuring Batgirl’s alter ego Barbara Gordon.

But with the new Gear system in the game, there’s somewhat renewed hope that PG might finally make it, at least as an alternate appearance for Supergirl.

When Will We See More

Luckily it won’t be too long a wait to see more; Ed Boon has already said he’ll be setting time aside with Geoff Keighley to talk us through the new game at E3 this coming Monday. Guess we’ll all have to tune in then.

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Posted on June 13, 2016, in FGC, Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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