Injustice: Gods Among Us is the newest fighting game released by Netherealm Studios, the last one being their most notable work, Mortal Kombat 9. This is also the group’s first work with the DC Universe roster in a Fighting Game since the ill-fated and failure that was Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. While some elements and animation remains from their former work, Injustice: GAU is a completely different beast, a big departure for NRS. Through this guide I’ll run you through the general gameplay and mechanics, hopefully clearing up any misconceptions and granting a fresh slate for the game to be given, rather than just the usual taunts of being MK with DC Skins.
Welcome…to the world of Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Alright, the first thing most people will take notice to in ANY fighting game will be the health system. Injustice runs a bit differently than most standard games of this generation. In Injustice, characters are granted two health bars that you see on the top of the screen. A white one up top, then a red one for when the white one has depleted. When the white one is depleted, action stops, if the aggressor is within a certain distance he’ll back off, the downed character will get up and the fight begins again. Whomever depletes their opponent’s red bar will be declared the winner. If time runs out, the one with the most health wins. Now to get into specifics. When a character is downed (this is how I’ll refer to when a character loses their white bar of health), take note that the aggressor DOES NOT REGAIN ANY HEALTH. There is no round system. This is most similar to Vampire Savior and Killer Instinct. Thus care must be taken at all times within a match.
Last thing to note. If both players lose their remaining health at the same exact moment, there is no Double KO like in other games (and there’s no side favoritism from MK9). Instead, both players are given some health back (same amount to both) and the match continues. This is the Match Extended system, to avoid draw games. If it happens again, players are given smaller health amounts until they have a sliver left. Now what happens when both characters have the same health and time runs out? Apparently the winner is decided by “Score”. More information will be given at a later date when possible.
At its core, Injustce can be a four button game, however a total of 6 can be used and have a use throughout a match. I will name each button, and then the macros.
1: Light Attack
2: Medium Attack
3: Hard Attack
4: Character Trait Button
MB: Meter Burn Button
SS: Stance Switch Button: This requires a slight bit of explanation. In GAU (and in MK9), the characters can face towards or away from the camera, and this button will turn them around. Now the actual function of this button is relatively useless at the moment, but the existence is necessary for a macro and for Clashes (explained later).
1+2: Interactible Use
1+2+3: Meter Burn
2+3+MB or MB + SS: Super
It’s very recommended that you keep all 6 buttons in your button sets (if say you’re using a 6 button fightstick). Both Interactibles and Throws have their own buttons as well if you need them.
Movement should be a quick section as for the most part. Grounded movement is how you’d find it in most games. You are of course able, to walk forwards and backwards, and different characters have different walk speeds. Characters are also granted a forward and back dash, enabled by double tapping either forward or back. Some characters can air dash in the air. Batman can Double Jump. Hawkgirl can Fly. Harley Quinn has a Command Dash. But back to the dashes, the main thing to note about dashes is this… When a dash is initiated you cannot cancel it into any other action or perform any other action until the dash has ended and the recovery has ended. The only exception is Harley’s Command Dash, Silly Slide, which can be canceled into Tantrum Stance and her Super. But for everyone’s normal dashes and air dashes, you cannot perform any action until it ends. You cannot perform an attack, you cannot move elsewhere, you cannot block. This for the most part is actually pretty par for the course in a lot of 2D fighting games. Most notable is once again, Street Fighter 4 (outside of Oiled Hakan, but let’s not get into that). This might come to a shock for MK9 players though who enjoyed the ability to block cancel their dashes, so the best advice I can offer you is adapt. Last thing to note, backdashes are invincible for a solid amount of frames. Good to get out of harm’s way, but if your backdash sucks…you could just leave yourself open for more pain.
A note about air dashes which I meant to put in earlier but it slipped my mind. Air Dashes work exactly like ground dashes in this game for the most part which is a departure from most others. When you Air Dash, you cannot do any action until it ends. Also, you retain absolutely NO MOMENTUM afterwards. So essentially, you Air Dash, you stop, you drop like a rock (though you can still perform an air action if you haven’t already). If you play characters like Supes or Killer Frost, KEEP THIS IN MIND.
First off, let’s get into the two sets of inputs the game allows. Now in the controller mapping menu there will be an option that reads “Alternate Controls”. This is the effort of NRS to better acclimate more Fighting Game players into their system. The default has it off. Thus the default of the game is in Mortal Kombat style controls which removes diagonal inputs and such. I’ll list what the inputs turn into with SF style controls.
:d: :f: = :qcf:
:d: = :qcb:
:f: = :hcf:
:f: = :hcb:
:d: :f: = :qcb: :f:
:d: :f: = :qcf:
:d: = :db: :d:
And so on. Something also to note. Under MK style controls/Alternate controls off, when you do an input for a move, as long as the first input is correct, you’re allowed to end on a diagonal. So for a :d: :f: move, you may actually input it like so… :d: :df: and have it register still. If you’re using a character that has to get into their crouching normals often, take this into account.
Now, onto Negative Edge aka Release Check. I’ll give a quick summary for those who are unaware of what Negative Edge is. Now, in Fighting Games when you input a special move, we all do the motion input and press the buttons required. With Negative Edge in some games, instead of pressing the button, you may release the button, also granting an input and allowing you to do a special move. It tends to be there so combos that require quick usage of one certain button can be executed a bit easier since you only have to press and release rather than quickly double tap. For example, a key tactic of Fei-Long in Street Fighter 4 is to cancel crouching light punch into his Light Punch Rekkaken. With Negative Edge, this is much easier to perform.
However, in some instances the Negative Edge can be an annoyance. Bringing out specials when you did not intend to and such. And in this game the Negative Edge/Release Check is especially strong/lenient. So NRS gave players the option to keep it on or turn it off in the Controller Mapping Menu. Again, this is up to the player and it could honestly be up to the character used. The choice is there.
Alright, right around here I’m going to talk a little bit about how the High/Low/Mid/Overhead system works in this game. This deserves a note because for some reason, companies like doing their own variations and definitions of it, making life miserable for others. I’m just going to quickly refer to what they mean in this game.
High Attacks: Attacks that can be blocked standing, will whiff against ducking opponents.
Mid Attacks: Attacks that can be blocked both standing and ducking and will connect against both.
Low Attacks: Attacks that must be blocked by ducking.
Overhead Attacks: Attacks that MUST be blocked standing, will obviously connect and hit ducking opponents.
Now lastly, let’s talk about the Dial-a-Combo system. For those of you who do not know, the Dial-A-Combo system is something that NRS has implemented in their fighting games since Mortal Kombat 3. Now instead of something like a target combo or a chain system as you would see in other games, the DAC system essentially grants each character a certain amount of strings that can be inputted instantly to get combos. So instead of visual timing and such you must instantly input each command one after another in order for it to come out. Thankfully…NRS has toned down the system significantly since the days of MK3 going up all the way to games like Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. Currently (also present in MK9), most characters have 2-4 button DAC strings to use compared to the possibility of 10/20 button strings of before.
Another thing to note is that a good amount of DAC strings in the game are special and trait cancelable (and some even jump cancelable…very rare though). They also operate under the DAC system which means they must be input rather quickly in order for it to register, thus downplaying a key element in a lot of other games, which is hit-confirming. Hit confirmation still exists though, just not as big of a presence as you would find elsewhere. And lastly, depending on the strings you CAN actually cancel into some specials late. I’ll use an example I’m very familiar with as it’s with my main in the game, Nightwing. One of his most used and useful strings is f213. For the most part, it has standard DAC rules. But the 3 in the string is two hits. Now, you’ll cancel the first hit within the 3 99% of the time so you are granted proper combos. HOWEVER, you can also cancel the second hit of 3 into specials as well which changes things. When you want the cancel of the second hit, you MUST cancel the special late. Too early and you cancel the first hit. Too late and you’ll get nothing. Thus, you much research each string within the character(s) you use in order to find the best timing.
One final note about the Dial-a-Combo system and this refers to jump in attacks. This is a bit weird to place in this guide so I’ll try to make it stand out a bit.
Jump-ins in this game are weird. For the most part, linking after one (at least a j1/j2, j3’s involve juggles so it’s not relevant to this case) is nigh impossible. NRS has a weird aversion to links. In this game, you have to treat your jump in attacks as essentially a starter for a DAC string. So again, using Nightwing, say I want to j2 into f213. I can’t link it so it has to look like this, j2f213 as an input essentially. Hopefully this helps people who are struggling to connect with combos after jump ins (…myself included). There are though a few jumpins that don’t care about this and can still link normally (looking at you Joker j2).
METER AND ITS USES:
Typical of most entries into the 2D Fighting Game realm nowadays (and sometimes 3D Fighters now, looking at you SoulCalibur V), Injustice has been given a Super Meter. In this entry of game, Injustice has been given 4 sections of meter. You gain meter by attacking, defending, being attacked and the like. You also gain one meter automatically at the start of the round if you land the First Attack. Injustice also has MANY ways to spend the meter, the options which I will list and explain below.
Meter Burn Specials: In this game, somewhat in the vein of Street Fighters 3/4/X Tekken and of Mortal Kombat 9, players can spend one meter to enhance certain special moves each character has. How these play out are a bit different. In most cases, Meter Burning special moves (known as MB specials in the community, similar to EX moves elsewhere) actually adds onto the end of the move something different rather than changing the properties of the move from the start, which makes them more similar to Pro Moves of Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, or Brave Edges in Soulcalibur V. Other cases however, directly improve the move (though MBing the move is still tied to the startup of the original) like an EX move of the SF series. I’ll use a comparison of the two types, again, with my current main Nighwing. He has an air Projectile Special known as Wing Dings where he throws out 3 batarang-like objects. By MBing it, after the 3 projectiles he throws out a 4th. Now compare that to his ground projectile in Escrima Stance known as Ground Spark. Normal move he slams his sticks together and sends a spark across the ground. MBing the move makes the spark bigger and knockdown the opponent on hit, directly affecting the move rather than adding to the end of it. Check your character to see what he or she has at their disposal for MB Specials.
Meter Burn Back 3/Forward 3: Back 3s and Forward 3s will be explained in a later section but a brief explanation is that they’re universal ground bounces and wall bounce moves that every character has. You can spend one meter in order to add one hit of armor to the move. You can spend two meters in order to cancel into these moves from any string while also being granted that one hit of armor. These will be explained in more detail in their own section in Mechanics.
Meter Burn Interactibles: Some Interactive Objects can be meter burned for one meter to add armor. Explained more in detail later.
Push Block/Block Escape: When you are in blockstun of a move, you can spend one meter and press Meter Burn in order to push the opponent off of you and back to a neutral position. Be forewarned that if the opponent reads this and uses the Meter Burn B3/F3 Cancel mentioned above preemptively he will armor through your move and you will not like the ride you will be taken on.
Clash/Wager: 0-4 Meters can be spent on using the Clash system. More details will be given in its own section.
Super Move: Every character in the game has a Super Move that can be used by burning all 4 meters. The move is Unclashable on hit and has some armor during startup (not infinite, you can be hit enough to be knocked out of it).
UNIQUE MECHANICS OF INJUSTICE:
Alright time to get down to the mechanics within the game that are completely unique to Injustice.
Back 3/Forward 3: These two moves are command normals that every character in the game possesses. What makes them unique is that all Back 3’s Wall Bounce, and all Forward 3’s Ground Bounce (and are Overheads). These tend to be very crucial for a lot of combos and juggles within the game. Also, things like Speed and Range vary from character to character, it is a must to learn how each one operates. Another thing to take note of is that for the most part, all characters’ B3/F3 are advantaged on block. There may be one or two exceptions (test your character’s to be sure) but this is the usual fact. So while they’ll have big windups and such, if they connect, they’re safe and you can continue offensive pressure if you so choose. Also, you can hold in the button input to delay the move from coming out. Charging it like this does not change the properties of the move (other than making it slower obviously). And lastly, while charging the move, you can dash cancel out of it. This will be important for later.
Next thing about b3/f3 is that, as it was stated in the Meter section, you can meter burn them in neutral for 1 bar of meter to grant one hit of armor to the move’s startup. This is great for the neutral against opponents who either have strong, one hit pressure (Doomsday, Bane) or ones who like using interactives on you. Also note that, you can dash cancel out of this as well. So you can grant armor to yourself and dash out. Good for any quick escapes (provided your backdash is solid) or to punish moves with long recovery (those pesky interactives again). This is known as a Meter Burn Dash Cancel (MBDC).
Another thing to note is another thing mentioned in the meter thread. You can use two meters to cancel out of any of your strings into b3/f3, while also granting armor. You can ALSO MBDC out of this as well. Main uses are to either grant slightly better combo damage when you wouldn’t get it normally, to beat out punish attempts in between your blocked strings, or to beat out expected pushblocks. A hefty price, but when used correctly, a worthwhile price.
Last thing to note. These moves cannot be Clashed out of.
Stage Mechanics: Injustice is one of the few 2D fighters to make Stage Selection a very important process. In 3D Fighters like Tekken, Virtua Fighter and SoulCalibur, things like walls and ringouts can play a factor (not corresponding to each game, for example Tekken doesn’t have ringouts…not important though). But in Injustice, it’s taken to another level. The main thing of note, and a key selling point, is Interactible objects. The ability to use objects within the stage to add extra harm to your opponent, grant different abilities, or increase combo potential among other things. An entire thread can be made on the case of interactible objects, and what do you know, we have one. For the best, most specific information you can find on them, follow this link. Pigs, TVs, And Freeze Pipes, Who Needs Fireballs? - Injustice Interactive Object Thread Hopefully SRK doesn’t have another URL change to fuck the links over again.
Another thing to take into account are Stage Transitions. In Injustice, most stages don’t just have one area. There are multiple parts of the stage you can send your opponent and yourself to. Most stages have 2 Areas. Metropolis has 3 Areas. Both Ferris Aircraft and Atlantis only have 1 Area. In order to access different areas, you must go to a specific corner of the current area and connect a b3 on the opponent. Once done, the opponent will be sent through, while receiving a chunk of damage by getting hit with various painful objects and possibly cameo characters. This adds another reason to gain proper stage awareness. Last thing to note, as it requires a b3 to go through, Stage Transitions are Unclashable.
The final thing to mention when it comes to stages is the Stage Select itself. In the Stage Select, you can actually choose the starting area of the level you want to fight in. Also, both you and your opponent can choose a map to fight in. In the extreme likelihood you pick different levels, the game will randomly select which of the two to fight in. This is something VERY important to take notice of. Just because you pick a stage that your character has an advantage in, does not guarantee you’ll actually fight in that stage. Again, makes it very important to have great stage knowledge.
Clash/Wager: Alright, most likely this is the subject the most people want touched upon. The dubious and divisive Clash system. I’ll start with the basics and move my way up. Okay, first thing to mention is that a player can only activate Clash only after they are downed (after you lose your white health bar and are into the red). You’ll know you have it available by a yellow line under your character’s (or Gamertag’s if online) name. Next, you can only Clash ONCE a match. No more. To activate Clash, you have to be in the middle of a combo (2 hits or more) and press Forward + Meter Burn. Once done, you’ll enter the Wager System. Before I elaborate further, I must mention the moves that CANNOT be Clashed out of.
True Projectiles not already within a combo (will elaborate when studied further…much further). Just note raw projectiles, even multiple hits, can’t be Clashed out of.
Now, onto the Wager System. When a Clash is initiated, both players’ meters will come up, and each will have a corresponding button. You can spend as much meter as you have, all the way down to spending no meter, and your opponent can do the same. From this point forward I will refer to the person who initiated the Clash as the Defender while referring to the person who was doing the combo as the Aggressor. The basic explanation of the Wager System is that you can bet a certain amount of your meter, and the person who spends the most will win the Clash. If the Defender Wins, they’ll gain back a specific amount of health (will be listed below). If the Aggressor wins, they’ll deal an extra amount of health to the opponent. If it’s a tie, no extra damage is dealt, no health is gained. Afterwards, the loser will be knocked away to the ground, or in case of a tie, both characters will be knocked back. Here are the numbers of health gained/dealt in relation to victory differential.
Win Clash by 1 Meter (examples, you spend 1 Meter, Opponent spends 0. you spend 4, opponent spends 3, etc): 15% Health Gained/Dealt
Win by 2: 25% Gained/Dealt
Win by 3: 30% Gained/Dealt
Win by 4: 33% Gained/Dealt
This is where the mind games come in. As you can see, the amount scales hard the more you actually win by. Winning by 2 or 3 is the best bang for your meter, however, unless your opponent has no meter, there’s no guarantee you’ll hit the amount you want. Then of course there’s the need of having meter later. While you may have used your Clash, the opponent can do so as well and vice versa. Saving meter for that could be necessary. Then of course there’s each character’s specific meter needs. For example, a Doomsday without meter is a Doomsday that doesn’t enjoy life (well…at least, less than usual). These are things that must be taken into account before and during each Clash. It’s not as cut and dry as “Spend all Meter in every situation to ensure victory and get max health”.
And lastly, there’s one more wrinkle to the Clash System. I’ve already said that you can spend no meter. Now usually, that just means letting the Wager timer run all the way down and not pressing a thing. However, allowing your opponent to key in on the fact you won’t spend meter might not be the best choice in tactics. But there’s a way to deal with that. By pressing the Right Trigger/R2 button twice it will key in like you spent a meter when in reality you’ve spent nothing. Why did I mention a specific controller button rather than a corresponding button to the game? Because it’s the only button that works. Even in changed presets, this is the only button that it can be achieved with. Most likely due to the fact that the Wager Buttons used to bet meter also do not change due to presets. Keep this in mind. But this is a very good mind game. By faking that you’re betting meter, you can force your opponent to spend more than he wanted. Now that’s not to say letting the timer run down is a bad thing either. Forcing a last minute decision or lulling your opponent into a false sense of security is also a very viable tactic. There are many ways to approach a Clash and each changes due to the context of each fight. There’s no tried-and-true strategy yet, so do what you feel is best for each situation.
Alright, this is all I have for the moment. Hopefully this has granted a bit of illumination onto dark spots within the game. I’ll reserve one more post for potential in-game glitches that will be updated at a later date. If you have any questions or feel something in this guide is wrong or needs to be updated, feel free to let me know immediately.