GAME NAME: Injustice: Gods Among Us
PUBLISHER(S): Warner Bros. Interactive
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): 19 April 2013
Superman has lost it, but it isn’t his fault. The Joker altered his mind and caused him to believe that Lois was in fact Doomsday. Superman killed her and his son and if anything was cause for a superhero to go off the rails that was probably it. It resulted in Superman taking control of the planet, making sure that nobody ever steps out of line again. Superheroes who defy him are dealt with, while some villains aid him. Batman, as expected, has his own plans. The culmination of the above is some of DC’s finest characters battling it out in a 2D fighter from NetherRealm Studios.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a 2D fighter, very similar to NetherRealm’s recent Mortal Kombat hit which returned the franchise to its position at the top of the fighters. But while NetherRealm knows Mortal Kombat this outing is a bit of an unknown quantity. When creating a fighting game there are a few things that are required in order to be successful, together of course with smaller aspects that make it a great game. Does Injustice possess these things? Or is it just a sick Joke(r)?
Combat is obviously an important aspect, and when it comes to Injustice you will not be disappointed in the least. The combat is fluid, fast and furious. No matter which character you use you will have a plethora of moves at your disposal. This includes basic moves, combos, special moves, counter moves and also a character-specific move. The basic moves together with combos work incredibly well. Special moves are also great, with many iconic attacks coming from the various characters with the option to enhance the moves at the expense of using some of your super meter.
The two stand-out aspects of the combat are the super moves and the character moves. Once characters build up enough on their super meter,they can perform that character’s super move. These moves are shown in quick little animation clips which are great to watch, provided they connect, although they do tend to get a bit old after the hundredth time seeing the same animation. Character-specific moves are a much smarter touch to the game. Each character has a move that is unique to them. Superman can activate super strength, Batman can call in some projectiles, while Wonder Woman can change between attacks with her sword or lasso. Each character has something which they can use to their advantage, creating a bit of depth to mastering each character.
The combat is well balanced, tight and intuitive. None of the moves are overly complex, yet at the same time you can build the combos by practicing, eventually getting the most out of each attack. Each character also feels very different to use meaning that there is plenty to learn no matter who you are fighting with, each with advantages and disadvantages.
“Wagers” have been introduced into combat and this occurs when a fighter who is nearly out of health activates it. What happens is a short animation where fighters can ‘bet’, based on their super meter, against the other. The person that bets higher will be successful in the outcome which will either remove health or restore health, depending on who activated and who is successful. The wagers are theoretically a nice way of getting that last save before losing the battle but are actually more annoying than anything else.
The other main feature of the game is the environments. While Injustice doesn’t really have that many arenas to chose from, all the locales that are included are almost as much as a highlight as the combat. Scattered around the different arenas you will find objects which can be used in the fight. It is this interaction with the environment which really stands out compared to other fighting games. Characters can use cars to throw at opponents in the middle of the fight, you can escape tight corners by using a suit of armour to give you a hand or how about snatching up some bombs lying around in the Batcave to take care of that annoying Harley? It goes a bit further than that with the arena transitions. If you aim an attack at the right time at the right place, you can kick your opponent through the arena, activating a small animation which takes them through to another part of the arena. These transitions are great and because they happen relatively infrequently the animations are great to watch.
Modes are always going to be important in any fighting game. Much like Mortal Kombat, Injustice comes with the story mode as described in the intro of this review. The story is actually a bit lame if we have to be completely honest, but it is still entertaining and enjoyable to play through. It also provides an excellent platform to use most of the characters as you change between them throughout the different chapters of the story (more shades of MK there). The storyline is enough to keep you interested, but it is the circumstantial fighting which makes it so great. It’s a pity about the pointless QTE’s between some of the fights. It isn’t the longest mode by any means but it is the perfect way to get into the game when you’re starting out.
Battles replace the common ‘arcade’ mode, and Injustice changes this up ever so slightly. Battles require players to fight through a number of opponents until the boss stage. The difference is that they are all themed battles. You can take on only heroes or villains if you want, or you can take on enemies while being poisoned, which brings a time factor into it. The Battles mode is really quite brilliantly done and will keep you coming back for more, especially for the character-specific endings you will unlock for completing a battle.
S.T.A.R. Labs is the other main mode in the game and this provides players with over 200 challenges to play through. Each character in the game has a set of challenges and these vary from using specific moves in a fight, to defeating an opponent with hardly any health. They vary extensively and the result is plenty of depth to the mode which will keep you busy for ages. There is also the standard single fight mode, practice mode and of course the online fight modes, all of which add to the value of the game without doing anything all that different.
Injustice’s biggest disappointment is probably the roster. It isn’t that there aren’t great characters included. Superman, Batman, Deathstroke, Doomsday, Wonder Woman, Shazam and more are all included. Your favourite hero or villain is probably there. The problem firstly is that certain characters like the Joker and Harley don’t quite fit into a fighting game, for obvious reasons. One can look past that but an even bigger problem is that there are only 24 fighters in the game. Considering the amount of DC characters available and considering how many fighters other games have, this feels a little low. They could have put so many more characters into the game and made it really worthwhile.
The small-ish roster doesn’t take away from what is really a super (couldn’t help myself) game. Everything needed to make it a worthy fighting game is included. Great, albeit too few, characters, brilliantly designed arenas, iconic moves, plenty of modes and unlockables to explore, and the most important thing… You get to use some of your favourite comic book characters and kick some serious behind. You can also take it easy and fight Aquaman if you want. Sushi anyone?
While Injustice is not a perfect game, it is a great addition into the fighting genre. It takes some of the best things from Mortal Kombat and while it may not have the blood and gore it certainly takes the cool factor to a new level. If you are a superhero fan, a fighting game fan or just really enjoy having fun, do not miss out on Injustice: Gods Among Us.