Every week on The Free Cheese Podcast, we begin with a segment called Now Playing where we talk about the games that we’ve been spending time with. In this article, we’re bringing a bit of that conversation to the written word because it isn’t dead yet.

We’ll share what we’ve been playing and we encourage you to ask questions or share your own thoughts on what you’ve been playing in the comments.

Injustice 2 is finally here. I’ve spent most of my week readjusting to normal life after vacation, but any opportunity I’ve had to play has been spent with Injustice 2.

As I mentioned on last week’s podcast, the first thing I did the morning after flying home was brew a pot of coffee and dive into the story mode. I spent the final few days of vacation glued to the couch playing through as much of the story as I could until I finally finished. Injustice is always weird to me, because it gets the characters right and it’s willing to take the story anywhere it wants to but it all feels like an Elseworld’s comic book where none of it is canonical and bears no weight. Normally, that’s a fun story to read through but here, where the character models have become so lifelike, it feels like this technology should be used to tell bigger stories. I kept imagining what DC’s animated films could be if they could afford to look this exceptional.

Overall, Injustice 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor, one where I spent the better part of 2013 and 2014 with the disc constantly in the PlayStation 3. Everything feels smoother- level transitions, clashes, super moves, and little things like pre-fight banter. There was a minor stutter in the original game that I never noticed until playing its sequel, but Injustice 2 feels much nicer in every way.

It also adds a new gear system, allowing you to customize your fighters to your liking. These customizations will not only change the appearance of a character but the character’s stats as well. I was a little prudent when this was first announced but seeing how it works in the game sold me immediately. Within the game’s modes, you will earn Motherboxes, an in-game chest, that contains pieces of gear for any character. Motherboxes have their own ranking, as does the gear within them. For some, this might be a way to tweak a character to their exact performance preference. For me, I’m unlocking new pieces that help me build the coolest looking versions of my favorite characters. Suddenly, this game’s Damian Wayne Robin can look more like Tim Drake. Batman can wear the Grant Morrison designed Zurr-En-Arrh colors. Supergirl can equip a chest emblem that resembles her look from the New 52 era of DC. Little by little, I can play as my favorite characters in the way that I like them best.

In terms of balance, ranked matches do not allow the use of gear and unranked matches have options to include it or not. I’ve found that in the early days of unlocked gear, I’m not feeling any strong advantage while playing. However, when I battled a character who was max level with assumed max level gear, I got hit pretty good. It took a lot more for me to wear down its health bar and mine seemed to vanish faster than I could keep up with.

For someone who has long loved the DC Universe, this game is a dream come true. From the days of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, we’ve come a long way. I was never good at fighting games and never took the time to understand them until Injustice gave me a reason to. Through the many hours that I put into it, I felt like I finally understood how fighting games work and I was able to take those skills into other games, albeit not as well. I’ve dipped my toes into the likes of Mortal Kombat X, Street Fighter V, and things like Skullgirls since the original Injustice release, but nothing compares to Injustice 2 for me. I feel really comfortable with the controls and I feel in control of the characters I’m using. I feel at home with the characters in the game because they’re the characters I spend most of my time with anyway.

I really look forward to playing this throughout the rest of the year and seeing which DLC characters are added along the way. Further, I’m excited to learn a few more characters and try to gain some confidence online a little bit more.

ALL ABOARD! This two car train is rolling out and I’m not looking back. I’m talking about DOTA 2 and Mass Effect: Andromeda. I’ve sank some serious time into both games this week and the hooks have officially got me. I also did something crazy but I’ll get there soon enough.

I love DOTA. I breathe DOTA. I call my MacBook Pro a DOTA Pro now. I will be the first to admit I’m still not good, but I’m having a lot of fun playing. Strategies and different character roles are starting to sink into my brain. I’m getting what and when to buy items from the shop. I’m still experimenting with different characters I like to play as but I had a hell of a game with Phantom Assassin. We lost the game but I felt there were moments during team fights that I was the critical part of the win. It was an epic 58 minute affair that despite losing has been my favorite match so far.

I even got to play with Joe this week. However, that could have easily been the worst game I had played yet. Joe and I tried to tackle the top lane on the Dire side but an opposing Weaver was there to dominate the lane and kill us time and time again. There were even points where my toxic side of me was coming out because we had an asshole teammate. I sincerely hope Joe gives this game another shot because despite getting our ass beat, it was nice to play with someone I actually knew.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is surprising me. I don’t know how because this game is not as good as Mass Effect 2 or 3. This game is enjoyable in it’s own way. I was introduced to a new alien race and has made for an interesting political turn. I’ve said it before but the politics in this game have easily been my favorite part of the game. It also helps that I’ve leveled up my biotic powers to make combat a lot more enjoyable. I’m beginning to think that the game wanted to make you feel weak because you are a brand new pathfinder and have you grow into a total badass. I’m happy to say though that I’m enjoying this game as a Mass Effect fan and look forward to continue through to the end.

Then on Monday night I decided to do something I never thought I would do on my DOTA Pro computer. I decided to install a Windows partition to play some things I can’t on the MacOS side. The one game I have played since doing this is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. I’m not very good at it yet and I’m still tweaking my settings for optimal performance but I’m enjoying the hell out of it. Somehow I managed to place in the top 10 in my second game. Let’s just say I’m pretty good at hiding. I look forward to getting into more games as time goes on.

Finally, it’s time for our weekly Weed Farm update. I’m now a level 25 Butter Baker. There was an update earlier in the week that added new types of weed to find so as I was inching closer got finding them all, I am now that much further away. I’m now at 19 of 36 found. Hopefully, I’m closer to that 36 number this time next week.

 I got two games for you this week.
INJUSTICE 2(PS4)
What’s this? Marc is playing something competitive? Stop the presses!

I know, crazy. Here’s the catch: I’m playing story mode. I’m on part nine (Supergirl) and I’m impressed. I’m impressed for a fighting game to take more care in it’s story by playing in between cinematics, seeing how each level has a reason for fighting in, and experiencing various characters throughtout the story as to the days of old where you’d have to replay the campaign over and over as multiple characters in order to get their own personal endings. Netherrealm pulled out all the stops for this game. Depsite the lack of fatalities and contasnt bloodshed from their Mortal Kombat, Injustice has a different meaning to the word “mature”. Everything about this feels like it’s grown up and well developed. If I had to point out anything I don’t sit too well with, it’d have to be it’s controls.

I’m not going to solely blame the game for this either. I think it’s a bit of both he game and how I percieve fighting games in general. I was never that great at Mortal Kombat games growing up. I was raised on Street Fighter II Turbo. Doing two simple directions followed by a button to make Scorpion shoot a wire out of his hand felt alien to me. I wasn’t great at Street Fighter either mind you, but something about felt more responive. Jump to today and I haven’t touched many fighting games in quite some time, but I’m definitely more experienced in Street Fighter and other games with similar controls as to Netherealm games. Injustice feels like it has a slight delay to everything. Everybody feels weighted and maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s just a bit taxing at times when comes to manuverability.

Thankfully, most fighting games like to have variety so everybody can find a character they like to play as. As somebody who’s a fan of Aquaman, Green Lantern, and the Flash, I did not expect to find comfort in playing as Catwoman. She’s feel really smooth to play as to me. Very agile and her moves seem to flow together more fluently compared to other characters. I’m sure my novice skill level plays a factor in this too, but it works for me. I think what I’m the least used to in the controls is how complex everything is. I do appreciate it’s complexity in control. Similar to Tekken/Soulcalibur, each direction with a face button is a different move so you have to be careful when moving forward or back while trying to pull of a combo. Even though I appreciate the growth in controls, this is where I personally prefer a little more simplicity. I’d say something more like Street Fighter, where I’m able to walk forward and still pull off a neat move with the correct punches/kicks if that makes sense.

Overall, I like this game alot. Being a comic book fan helps appreciate the finer details this game has to offer. Definitely looking forward to honing my Catwoman skills. Meow.

POKEMON: MAGIKARP JUMP(iOS)
So uh..yeah. This is a game. A game that I enjoy and that’s probably expected from my friends (I can hear Joe and Matt writing “TM” on the wall).

I haven’t played too much of it, but it doesn’t take much to figure this game out. Just read the title. There you go. That being said, the level of quality in this mobile game was unexpected.

This game is all about Magiakrp, obviously, but they make sure you never forget that. Basically, you tap your screen to feed your Magikarp for it to grow “stronger” so you can compete with AI trainers to see who’s Magikarp can jump the highest. That’s the gist of it. You can train your Magikarp and purchase various fruits and decorations for your Magikarps home to gain more Jump Points at a faster rate. Magikarps have limit to how high they can level up. Once that happens, they retire and you have to raise a newer generation Magikarp. You get to choose from 3 very unique rods to fish out your own Magikarp. You get to choose between the Old Rod, Old Rod, and Old Rod. There’s a good chance you’ll catch a unique Magikarp with a weird color and pattern on it. My first Magikarp was plain. My second gen Magikarp has a Calico pattern. I named him Magikarl. You’re Welcome.

The game starts you off with the original chiptune music from Red/Blue version when Professor Oak is talking to you. Except now, you’re talking to Mayor Karp, this games Pokemon Expert and former champion. That’s right, you’re competing in leagues. This game is hardcore. Not really, but the idea of all this has me laughing positively. I love that Pokemon decided to make a game about one of it’s most useless Pokemon and runs with it. I love that this is an official thing and not some fan made game. There’s even an official song dedicated to Magikarp on their YouTube channel simlar to their Slowpoke song. I’m happy Pokemon has given Magikarp a bigger spotlight. We need more dumb/cool stuff like this. As a fellow Gyarados fan, I’m digging this game. Or should I say I’m diving into this.

Funny. My week was about cats and fish.

Posted by Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day. He has a disorder that causes him to believe that he is Batman and his favorite video game is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

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