Injustice: Gods Among Us is the super hero game we deserve. If you've taken the time to enjoy the fantastic reboot Mortal Kombat by Ed Boon and Co. over at NetherRealm Studio then Injustice: Gods Among Us will bring that same formula, albeit with some tweaks, to the DC Universe. It has felt like ages since the superheros of the DCverse were rendered into a formidable fighting experience, the last time being Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. However this odd collaboration was a critical and commercial success and may very well be the reason we have seen this game come to light. Injustice
WARNING: Contains minor spoilers to story
There are both pros and cons to this game however and much like Mortal Kombat before it not all fighting game fans are going to find a suitable experience within. However what this game does show is that NetherRealms cares deeply about the games they develop and the sheer level of detail and back-story that go into crafting the characters as well as the universe that the game encompasses is simply something that is not seen in many fighting games.
Injustice operates on a simple fighting mechanic. In which essentially the longest base combo is three hits, four for certain characters. You won't see any super long combos from simply mashing X repeatedly. It creates a game that is simplistic to a degree when compared to other fighting games however what it opens up is the ability for creativity to come into play for players. Just like Mortal Kombat practice mode seems more like a necessity than other fighting games because it gives a chance to practice all sorts of different combos to utilize not only physical attacks but Power moves, Character Abilities, Super Moves, and the environment into an orchestra of pain. Timing and placement become the main components that determine if a three hit combo will become a fifteen hit combo.
Every character is equipped with special move sets just like other fighting games with things such as Batarangs, Heat Vision, and The Lasso of Truth. Enhanced versions of many power moves are also available, for instance tossing a batarang at an enemy normally will just cause a small amount of damage and leave them open to bash your brains in; use a meter burn (RB) after you have tossed a batarang and they detonate remotely causes additional damage and popping the enemy into the air, leaving them open to be juggled like a whack a mole in mid flight. Dishing out and receiving damage without using any meter burn and eventually you can unleash a Super-Move that gives a fair entertaining scene to watch while you take out a chunk anywhere from 30-40% of the enemies dwindling health.
The newest addition to this formula however comes into the guise of Character Abilities. Each Character has a different ability that they can use by tapping 'B'. In some cases, such as Superman's, this will give the character a boost in over all power while others like Nightwing or Wonder Woman allow for a different weapon to be used, completely changing the manner in which they do battle. Green Arrow can actually shoot out basic arrows with this infinitely, but discover a few simply button combos and you can find that ice, fire, and even electric arrows can be used against your foes.
Finishing out these mechanics are the stage transitions. Which allow a character to be crushed threw select stage walls and after colliding with a mass amount of things in between come crashing back down in a new arena in which to continue the battle. The only qualm I have with this is it would have been nice to see some sort of struggle mechanic in which each character could dish out some damage as opposed to the receiving combatant getting a massive chunk of life smacked away.
Just like Mortal Kombat before it Injustice offers up a narrative that is interesting and gives the player a feeling to continue on. A need to see the outcome of the 'what if' scenario that the entire story mode is based upon. Much fan service and care is put into the story and each character has a part to play. The alternative Universes used throughout the story also provide a clever way for NetherRealms to explore different attributes of the same Hero/Villain and each character feels like an organic piece of the world they call home. It was a fantastic departure to see some of the most beloved DC Heroes twisted due to circumstance. People have wanted to see Superman go dark side for years and you know what happens when he does? Melts a couple holes into Shazam's face to make sure everyone else gets the picture. We get to See a Harley Quinn without The Joker in which she goes back to using the name Harleen and becomes the unsung sidekick of batman.
The story mode is around the four hour mark to complete, possibly less depending on the difficulty selected. Given that this is a fighting game where story is generally an after thought, having a four hour campaign is a solid addition. Some Triple A Blockbusters have about that same campaign completion time.
Battle Mode and S.T.A.R. LAB
These give way a plethora of challenges and different fights that force you to complete certain prerequisites to pass them and take much patience and persistence to master them. Battle mode gives players the option to do battle against a ladder of enemies that range from a mode where your health is constantly draining during fights, all the way to one that forces you to do battle against all 24 combatants with a single health bar. They require the player to commit the mechanics of the game to memory in order to be successful. especially as the final battle modes are conquered.
S.T.A.R. Labs presented something rather unique and has shades of the dreaded Challenge Tower from MK9 laced throughout. Essentially you work on ten different challenges for all 24 different characters and you earn stars based on how many of the challenges you completed for it. Each different event has three requirements that are needed to attain a perfect score. It offers up some great scenarios, many frustrating moments, and an escape from the mundane that many fighting games can fall into.
While it does not play into the overall score of this game, because in no way should the achievements ever play a role in what is considered the quality of a game, they can be addressed as we are here of course. Across the board the game offers a wide variety of achievements that offer up some fun fan service while still smacking you back to reality with some serious grinds and overall difficult achievements. It won't be a fast completion due to the need to reach level 100 or complete both Battle Mode and S.T.A.R. Lab to 100% it does offer quite a few easy achievements, and the rest are a grind that feel well worth it.
King of the Hill and Survivor offer up something different from the normal 1v1 matchups. Allowing for you to taking on the King or Survivor in order to become them in a never ending cycle. One interesting note is the ability to bet on games for KoTH. You can bet on who will be the winner and who will complete challenges in the match. Allow for a little bit more competitiveness within the lobby. However just like Mortal Kombat before it Injustice suffers from serious server issues online making Ranked Matches nearly impossible to find for many players at this time. Add some lag issues and connectivity disruptions and you discover one of the only things that NetherRealms has done wrong with this title. However when it comes to a fighting game, one of the main desires is to get the feeling of kicking the ass of a stranger that no other genre can afford to you, so having such a broken multi-player does Injustice a serious disservice.
- Large Cast (24 Characters)
- Fantastic, if short, story mode
- Great level Design
- Solid Graphics
- Online nearly broken
- Fighting can feel stiff at times
Overall I'd give it 3.5/5 Stars on the scale we use here. If the online wasn't such a train wreck a 4 would be more accurate. However even with the few minor errors that can be pointed out about this title one thing is certain, this is a game almost anyone could enjoy.