Injustice 2 Beta Impressions

NetherRealm Studios' latest title, Injustice 2, drops in May and I'm pretty excited. Thankfully a small group of players were fortunate enough to get into the limited capacity closed beta that started on 1/24, and I was one of the players in Wave 1! To be honest, NRS fighting games were never really my cup of tea, even before Midway Games' 2010 bankruptcy. However, I'm a huge fan of DC Comics, so when NRS released the original Injustice in 2013 I was immediately sold, and I ended up loving the game. 4 years later and 16 hours into the online beta, Injustice 2 is shaping up to be the sequel I was hoping for. 

The first thing I want to note while discussing Injustice 2 is how beautiful the game is. There are only 5 characters and 2 stages to pick from in the current form of the beta, but everything is pretty incredible looking. Both stages feel very alive, and memorable. Gotham is dark and gritty, as expected, and Metropolis is vibrant and colorful. Character animations are pretty solid and make for the best looking versions of our favorite super heroes to date. Besides some really weird and awkward Supergirl facial expressions, Injustice 2 may be the best looking fighting game I've ever played.
As I mentioned above, there are currently 5 characters in the Online Beta. We have the return of the iconic Superman and Batman, which are incredibly similar to their previous iterations. For better or for worse, I found myself doing the exact same Batman combos I was doing a few years ago (even though they look way better and even more realistic). The same is true for The Man of Steel. The newcomers, Blue Beetle, Atrocitus and Supergirl are welcome additions, boasting unique play-styles and awesome design, as well as scratching the itch for "more obscure characters". Atrocitus is best described as a slow and heavy fighter with a surprising amount of zoning capabilities. Blue Beetle has an awesome mix-up game, with some zoning potential of his own. Last but not least Supergirl has...well... Supergirl has everything and then some. More on that later.

Injustice is incredibly similar to the first title with one massive feature. "Gear". I've played a ton of fighting games over the years, (some I wish I could forget) but I'd have to give NRS the most praise for doing some of the most unique things and constantly innovating their titles. Introducing interactive environments, stage transitions and the variation system in MKX were all really cool and helped make their games stand out even more but I've never experienced something as unique as the gear system in Injustice 2. The gear system allows players to unlock various pieces of armor to customize their heroes with, including chest pieces, gauntlets, capes and even masks just by playing the game. The gear options not only effect the appearance of your favorite hero, but they effect stats and you can even unlock abilities (I unlocked the ability to meter burn Batman's parry) and passives via the gear system. You can customize Superman to do massive damage with his lasers, or customize Batman to be a super tank, etc, etc. I think the gear system is very interesting, but balance is a very sacred thing in fighting games, in fact it is the most important thing. In the beta's current system the "buffs" provided from gear can be disabled, keeping the appearances in tact, however both players must agree to the ruleset (titled Competitive mode). I can only hope NRS allows players to queue up for 2 different kinds of matches (Gear and No Gear) in the actual release of the game. It's not particularly fun for a Supergirl decked out in legendary gear declining your proposal of a "Competitve" match, then proceeding to destroy you with raw stats.  

Unfortunately the gear reset for Wave 3 before I could take a picture of some of the cool stuff I earned.

While there is not a lot of content in the closed online beta I'm pretty engrossed already. The beta has been a very positive experience so far, with my only complaints being players who leave lobbies when they see your W/L ratio (which isn't even NRS's fault). Also, to be expected in beta form, Supergirl is pretty ridiculous. Hopefully NRS is gathering a lot of balancing information for release in May! NRS is constantly revealing all sorts of information for the release, check back here for some future news and impressions! Thanks for reading!

That One Time I Got Dismantled By SonicFox and Scar

To anyone familiar with the FGC, I ran into SonicFox and Scar in matchmaking! It was a pleasure to get bodied by Echo Fox's latest roster, including an EVO champion. I feel like I'm pretty good at this game, but the skill gap when you face players like this is very clear. It's very motivating to keep grinding away to be able to play on a level closer to these guys. 
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