Game Developers Conference in San Francisco saw a new chance to go hands-on with Injustice 2, the brutal DC brawler from Mortal Kombat X developer NetherRealm.
But the biggest takeaways came out of a short demonstration of Injustice 2’s robust RPG-style gear system, which revealed some of the most in-depth character customization I’ve seen in a one-on-one fighting game.
There are two main ways to earn gear: conquering opponents in online and offline modes, or by purchasing Mother Boxes using gold earned from matches.
Gear revolves around four main body parts — head, chest, arms, and legs — plus an “accessory” (think Harley Quinn’s pistols). Most gear you collect will buff at least one of your four base stats: Strength and Ability determine the offensive power of basic attacks and special moves, while Defense and Health dictate how much damage your superhero can absorb.
More exotic effects — resistance to environmental damage, earning XP more quickly — come via “augmentations” found on some higher-tier items. Full gear sets, such as Batman’s kryptonite-infused outfit, are likely to be especially prized because they can grant dramatic bonuses when fully assembled.
After playing dress-up, you can apply shaders to alter your hero’s color schemes in some striking ways. A purple-clad Superman? Why not! I’m expecting to see some seriously creative designs here come May.
Beyond gear, players can further customize their character’s fighting style using a new loadout feature. Want to play a Batarang-heavy Batman build, or emphasize parries? The choice will soon be yours.
Purists can stick with a Tournament mode that reverts all superheroes to their base stats and abilities, while retaining the visual customizations.
Otherwise, the game’s brutal, bone-breaking combat will feel pretty familiar to Mortal Kombat X and Injustice fans. Newcomer Doctor Fate brings sneaky magic spells and high maneuverability, but Black Canary might be my favorite so far — she’s a lightning-fast martial artist who hits like a dump truck. I didn’t have a lot of luck in my limited time with Swamp Thing, thanks to his lumbering wind-up attacks and floaty, gravity-defying jumps.
I definitely enjoyed my time with the new Story mode, which seems to serve up a more cinematic, polished presentation. The plot still focuses on a rogue Superman who, still grieving after the death of Lois Lane in the first game, now plans to wipe out all crime no matter the cost.
So far, so good. I’m ready for May 16! Leave any questions you may have in the comments below.