Injustice 2 adds some systems that are reminiscent of online shooters, MMORPGs and especially mobile games (note that Injustice is a hit on mobile). These add a lot of hours of play value to the single-player side of the game.
Like in a role-playing game, your characters actually gain experience points and level up, permanently increasing stats like strength, defense, HP, and "ability," which affects the power of special moves. (Check your character’s move list to see exactly which stat applies to each move.) A single fight will get you a few hundred experience points.
There is no easy way to get experience: You simply have to keep on fighting and try for the tiny bonuses the game offers. It takes a lot of experience and many, many fights to level a character to the cap of 20. However, after you’ve maxed your first character, you can use Source Crystals, a real-money currency, to max the rest of them if you want to avoid spending 10 hours grinding for every new character you want to try out.
Gear is the big new gameplay addition in Injustice 2, as evidenced by that scene in story mode where Batman dramatically unveils the cool glowing outfit he’s been saving for the final battle.
In the game, you’ll get gear in between fights and when opening loot boxes earned from clearing single-player stages. Equipping gear confers stat bonuses and sometimes alternate abilities to your character.
The distribution of gear appears random. There seems to be a bias for whatever character you’re using at the moment, but quite a lot of gear rolls in for everybody you aren’t using.
Additionally, gear has a level requirement, leading to one of the game’s most frustrating situations: getting high-end equipment for characters you don’t use and who you’re not going to spend the time leveling up.
You can sell gear you don’t need — and there will be a lot of it — for credits. You can use credits to buy the lousier loot boxes, which mostly contain junk. (Only buy Gold boxes.) You probably don’t want to sell your gear unless it’s completely useless to you: The few hundred credits you get are really not worth it.
Gear and multiplayer
When gear was announced for Injustice 2, there was a lot of concern that it would break the balance of the game. The fear in the competitive scene was that ultimately there would be "best gear," as often happens in these games. This in turn would give the most dedicated grinders superior stats over players who didn’t want to spend hundreds of hours battling the computer. (As we will explain, that’s exactly what it’s going to take to gear up your character.)
As it turns out, the stat effects of gear are neutralized in ranked online play and characters are instantly raised to level 20. Competitive players — some of whom were dreading this system — don’t really have to worry about it unless they want their character to look fancy.
However, you can battle with gear effects turned on in unranked player matches.
How to get gear fast
Everything you do in Injustice 2 — except for practice mode, because folks would just leave that on all day — gets you either loot boxes or cash to buy loot boxes with. Just playing normal matches will get you quite a bit of gear, usually for the character you’re using. However, there is low-hanging fruit that you can go for.
Linking the mobile game gets you a super-rare diamond box off the bat and a new character skin (Grid) for Cyborg. Furthermore, you’ll start to get a daily login bonus when you start the game.
We can’t tell you how the phone game is, because when we first refused the game’s plea to link, someone else linked their phone game to my copy of the game because apparently this is something that can happen. After we checked with players at a local tournament, we found that this was no isolated issue. So be careful with that feature. No unlink exists that we are aware of.
The story mode unlocks the main villain Brainiac, so you’ll probably want to do it either way. Along the way, you’ll earn a pile of high-end gear for the story’s heroes, as well as loot boxes including the diamond box once the whole mode is clear. You won’t be able to use most of the story mode gear until your characters hit level 20, an ongoing frustration of ours with this system.
Once you’re done with that, it’s best to go the multiverse mode and see what’s up for offer. The real grind comes in here, as the typical multiverse stage has you fighting three or four sets of 5-10 battles. Beating missions quickly will get you better rewards, at least.
If you wind up really getting into grinding out multiverse mode, consider a guild where players get together to take it on. You’ll definitely get gear faster this way, in addition to unlocking guild-only events in multiverse.
Finally, hit up the tutorials. Once you’ve finished the main tutorial, character-specific tutorials open up. Not only do these pack a lot of solid advice, but they’ll give you a silver box per character. Silver boxes don’t usually have great stuff in them, but you can get one with only a few minutes’ work in this mode.
As gear and leveling up are primarily for beating up the computer faster (and thus doing better in multiverse), we recommend putting everything into the attack stat. Damage is king in a fighting game, especially against computer opponents who are a lot less likely to block that big, obvious combo starter.