Injustice 2’s controls are built for an 8-button gamepad like that of the Playstation 4 or Xbox One, though the buttons are fully customizable and friendly to whatever controller you’d like to use. (We used a PS4 with an arcade stick.)
We don't recommend using the analog sticks for movement. The precise controls of this game call for the digital pad. On the analog sticks, you’re going to be imprecise, wobbly and slower to react than your opponent.
We're going to talk about back and forward in this guide. These are always relative to your opponent. If you're facing right, forward is right. If you're facing left, forward is left. Special move commands also reverse depending on which side of the screen you're facing, so start thinking about forward and back rather than left and right.
The game has a few control options meant to help you with pulling off the moves. To see these, go to "Wireless Controller Preset" in the pause menu.
You may want to turn off "Release Check" (Negative Edge). This option effectively presses each button twice — once when you press the button and again when you release it— and if you don’t specifically know that’s happening, it can accidentally cause moves that you never intended to use.
"Alternate Control" will change special moves to require Street Fighter style "Hadoken" motions including the diagonal points on the controller. Unless you really want to be playing Street Fighter, we recommend leaving this off.
A note on arcade sticks
You have probably seen the expensive arcade sticks that many top fighting game players use. Does the gear improve their ability? No. The gear looks nice and feels good to use, but it doesn't actually confer any gameplay advantages.
May fighting games — coming as they do from their birthplace in the Japanese arcade — are built assuming the player is using an arcade stick. As the motions and commands are meant for an arcade stick, they’re easier to execute that way.
However, Injustice and Mortal Kombat are built for console game pads first and foremost. If you’re a player who’s already used to an arcade stick, Injustice 2 won’t present any problems, aside from having to fill out a full slate of eight buttons. Otherwise, your usual controller is fine.
Before we start punching, we need to walk back and forth a little bit. This doesn’t sound thrilling, but if you don’t understand how basic movement works you’re going to walk, run and jump into all the wrong places and get beat up.
Holding either back or forward will walk away from or toward your opponent. The advantage that walking has on dashing or jumping is that it does not create an opening: You can stop and block oncoming attacks if you need to. This is the safe way to move around the stage and should be your primary method.
Also keep in mind that holding the back or down-back direction blocks if your opponent is attacking.
If you need to get in or out a little faster, double tapping back or forward dashes away or toward your opponent. While this is faster, a dashing opponent is completely open and can easily be swatted out of their run.
In a game like Injustice 2 where any one hit can lead to big damage, you need to be especially conscious that you don’t open yourself up. You should only really be dashing in when your opponent absolutely cannot reach you — particularly when they are down.
Tapping up, up-forward, or up-back will jump in one of those three directions. Generally, you’ll be using jumps to avoid attacks and to attack an opponent who’s just getting up.
Keep in mind that you cannot block during a jump, and that furthermore opponents who hit you out of the air can potentially keep hitting you with a damaging combo. Therefore, jumping is particularly dangerous in Injustice 2.
Some characters can air dash during a jump by double-tapping back or forward in the air.
Hold down to crouch. Generally, you will want to hold down-back because that will block at the same time. Injustice 2 characters get really low to the ground and all high attacks (like most projectiles and many jabs) will go flying over their heads. Often this leads to a chance for a counterattack.
If your opponent starts throwing a lot of projectiles, crouching is your best defense.