The fighting game genre continues to grow bigger and bigger each year with events like Evo bringing millions of eyes to some of the highest levels of skill and gameplay. Yet, despite the booming popularity, many new players are put off by what seems like an impossible barrier to entry when playing for the first time.
But isn’t that the case with most games? Although many of them had similar gameplay, I mean, how different can shooting be when you’ve done it a hundred times, but nearly every game I’ve played required me to get adjusted and take some time getting used to the controls and character mechanics.
This is especially true with multiplayer games since you’re always bound to run into players that are simply better than you and have more experience requiring you yourself to get better and gain more experience in return. So is learning how to combo and do special moves really that more difficult than learning how to build and edit?
Well, I needed to answer that question for myself, ad so a week ago I began my journey to see for myself exactly what it takes to get good at fighting games and have fun competing online. There were a plethora of games to choose from but the one that appealed to me the most (and was free on Xbox Game Pass) was Injustice 2. So, without further ado, here’s my update after 1 week.
Right off the bat, I figured the best way to get introduced to the game and all of its basic mechanics after completing the basic tutorial was to dive right into the campaign. Being the challenge-seeker that I am, I set it to Hard mode but quickly realized that that was a bad idea.
Most shooters and action-adventure games have a very low skill gap making it a lot easier to play at the highest level from the beginning but when you’re still button-mashing and trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing, it’s pretty easy to get your a$ kicked by some random A.I. So Medium mode it was.
Before we get into the actual fighting, let me just talk about the actual story because if combo mechanics aren’t impressive to you, you’ll certainly be blown away by the incredible narrative that ties each battle together. It’s a dark and original story that has the same kind of brooding attitude as the Zack Snyder movies.
Plus, the campaign is structured to give you a variety of characters to both play with and play against as well as a minor choice of which hero you want to play in each situation. So beating the campaign was the first order of business and to was definitely the way to go.
Combos & Specials
While the urge to mash every button in the hopes of doing something amazing was tempting, I knew enough about fighting games to know that this wasn’t a viable option. The tutorial not only showed me what the different normals were, but I also learned how to put them all together in different combos that did a lot more damage.
On top of that, I was introduced to Special Moves as well, a stronger move that is more effective and completely unique to each character. In other words, many characters can throw a punch but only Batman can shoot a grappling hook. So the plan was pretty simple, use the combos and special moves as best I could.
While most special moves can be activated with the same button commands, each character will have different sequences and inputs for the combos. It was up to me to learn some new combos whenever I switched to a new character which was effective but then presents the first major problem.
Learning about new characters was fun but the pattern started to become annoying. I would spend time reading the Command list and practice the few moves I learned in the matches that followed but as soon as I gained any kind of skill with one character, I was asked to move on to the next and I didn’t want to store moves in my memory for characters I wasn’t going to use. Now we know why pros only stick to one character.
At this point, I was about three-quarters of the way through the campaign and the desire to finally see this story to its end so I can move on was starting to creep in. I’d had enough of an introduction to some characters and their different playstyles and I was getting a good idea of what I liked.
But there were still a lot of fundamentals that I needed to get a grasp on. Not once during the campaign was I able to land a Clash and I was relying too much on Super Moves that are traditionally harder to land when playing competitively. I had learned a tiny amount of offense but had almost zero defensive knowledge besides how to block.
That’s when I went back to the Tutorial section and found all the more advanced maneuvers waiting to be explained. So, like a straight-A student, I sat down got with an eager gleam in my eye got schooled on the more intricate systems of offense and defense game, and get more of an idea of how to master it.
There was an abundance of basic moves and techniques that I was barely making use of if I made use of them at all. I had a few moments where I would combo into a special move but that was only the tip of the iceberg and, most of the time, by complete accident. Yeah, I was still doing a lot of button-mashing.
One thing that’s become incredibly obvious is that this will probably take a lot longer than expected but that’s okay. I knew going into this that I was probably going to have to invest more time into learning than actual playing but I was surprised by how much learning there is to be done when you’re a complete beginner.
Jargon like ‘cross ups’, ‘cancels’, and ‘footsies’ are starting to become commonplace in my vocabulary although I still haven’t fully attempted to master those concepts in-game, and it’s amazing to me just how much depth there actually is to find when you try to take a deeper look.
All in all, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made this far and I’m excited to finally pick my main that I plan to hopefully take into online play. Here’s to more learning.
Have you played Injustice 2? What are your thoughts on fighting games? let me know in the comments section below.