I am such a big fan of 2013's Injustice: Gods Among Us from the Mortal Kombat folks at NetherRealm Studios that I own the game four times over: the original Sony PlayStation 3 release (plus season pass) and the Ultimate Edition for the PlayStation 4 (bought on a disc as a launch bundle freebie and then later as a PS+ digital freebie) and PS Vita (bought during a PlayStation Store super sale). Knowing that, you can imagine how excited I am that publisher Warner Bros. has announced a sequel due in 2017 for the PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One. Batman and Superman are back for Injustice 2, but there are some new additions that sound like they will change the flow of the game. The PlayStation Blog has the details.
The Gear System uses RPG-like mechanics to reward you with loot drops every time you play the game. With each loot drop, you will earn character-specific gear to outfit and power up your roster – changing not only the look of each character, but your fight strategy and your personal approach to every match. As you gear up your characters, you’re building a roster of DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains that reflects your choices, and your preferences, which can be vastly different than your opponents. A few play sessions in, you can expect your Aquaman to look and play different than anyone else’s Aquaman you may come across.
I need to see how this upgradable character mechanic works before I judge it either way. I do enjoy leveling up characters in game that are not really RPGs. I feel like I'm making progress in games like Assassin's Creed when I see strength and speed meters increase as I clear objectives. Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS allow players to customize players with add-on gear and it works pretty well. On the other hand, Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken used a power-up gimmick with its upgradable gems that was baffling to comprehend and confusing to implement. I trust NetherRealm, although I also fear the power-ups will fall into microtransaction hell right away.
Moreover, while I know that WB prioritizes its new Justice League-bound cinematic universe, these days I'm more familiar with and more a fan of the studio's television world that extends through Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. Here's hoping that characters featured in the game who have TV counterparts have alternate costumes/voices available that showcase those versions. Kevin Conroy reprising Batman would also be greatly appreciated, as would any of the other actors from the previous game who are closely identified with their characters.
For as much as I enjoyed the original Injustice, I also learned a hard lesson about the nature of season passes and downloadable characters during my initial experience with it. I spent $75 on the PS3 version of the game (release day price plus the season pass for four extra characters) and still didn't end up with all of the available content. Two extra characters were released for the game after the season pass expired, and by that point I had such a bad taste left in my mouth about add-on fees and extra content that I decided I was done with Injustice expansions. The fact that the complete Ultimate Edition was so damn cheap a year later that I ended up with multiple copies has taught me that while I want to play Injustice 2, I may be better off renting it on release, playing through the Story Mode and whatever else holds my attention for a while, and then returning it only to buy the complete version of the game loaded with all of the DLC later for a lower price. The current generation has taught me that game prices drop like a rock after a few weeks and there are always deals and discounts available for the patient.