For as long as I’ve known, people have always wanted a DC fighting game. Marvel has had Marvel vs Capcom since the 90’s but there has never been a good game with DC comics’ superheroes, until now. Mortal Kombat vs DC was an alright game but it was stuck between the two franchises and it wasn’t very competent at pleasing the fan base.
Injustice: Gods Among us (to be referred to as Injustice) is different enough from Mortal Kombat to be its own game, but still feels similar. The four face buttons are your main attacks. You have a weak, medium and strong attack. The last button is a special that varies depending on the character you’re using, when you use it, it will change their fighting style; while others have an ability unique to them like Batman’s flying Batarangs or Lex Luthor’s shield. So they are a little bit disappointing when compared to other special abilities like Wonder Woman‘s and Nightwing’s ability to change fighting styles.
Injustice is based on a 2D plane just like Mortal Kombat. Stage transitions where you or your opponent gets knocked to a different stage are nothing new to fighting games but Injustice does them in a way similar to how it worked from within a comic book. On certain stages, one end of it, you launch your opponent using back and the heavy attack. This starts the starts the stage transitions and they can last longer than most games but still look amazing. Their is a new Clash System that, when activating it, both opponents will charge at each other and the players have to decide how much of their Supermeter they want to wager. The winner will gain health based on differences between how much Supermeter the players wagered. The best part about it, for me, is that when certain characters clash they have their own unique quick chat which can be quite entertaining to listen to, to a nerd like me.
Injustice introduces a new mechanic where a button will appear to the side of your life bar, R1 in the case of the PS3, that points on the stage which items your character will interact with on the stage. The action taken varies depending on your type of character. Strong characters like Superman will throw items at another character, whereas human like characters will use items to jump dash across the stage. I found that the icon for R1 can be a little obscure at first when playing, as you’re not used to staring at top corner of the screen.
Injustice: Gods Among Us’ story takes place in an alternate reality to the DC Universe fans know so well. Superman is drugged by the Joker to believe he is being attacked by Doomsday, he realizes all too late that he was attacking his wife Lois who was also carrying his unborn child. If this wasn’t enough to set Superman off the edge, Lois’ dying sets off a nuke in Metropolis. Superman now enraged by what has happened amd kills the Joker for what he has done. To stop what has happened from ever happening again Superman enacts a new government to rule the world. I would read the comics that explain the story leading up to the game in much detail.
Some of the superheroes from the “normal” DC Universe end up in this alternate universe and now have to figure out what has happened. The story mode for Injustice was really fun to play through as was like an animated special come to life. It can be really hard to justify why so many characters have come altogether. The mode is broken up into 12 chapters that each focus on one of the main characters in the story. Some characters in the story are barely touched on, which is a bit of a shame, as some of the characters are a little more obscure for those who aren’t big DC comics’ fans. I found the story to be a bit short, but I thought it was one of the best stories in a fighting game. Randomly within the story are a few mini games that take place just before a fight. If you win these you gain an advantage for the next fight or if you fail them you’ll be at a disadvantage. The only part of the story I found a little bit hard to swallow (pun intended) was the magical pill that let some characters like Green Arrow, for example, go toe to toe with someone with super strength like Superman. I found it a little bit cheap but that was my only gripe with the story.
Aside from the story mode, Injustice offers a range of different battles to take part in. There is a classic arcade mode for fighting game fans who like to battle a series of opponents and get an ending movie. There are some you would expect from a fighting game, such as survival, but there are far more than any other game. They are all quite fun to play but I do prefer my classic arcade mode because of the reward of the ending which isn’t in any of the other modes.
If that wasn’t enough single player content for game there is the S.T.A.R Labs which is like the challenge tower from Mortal Kombat. A lot of them are quite unique, some will involve you from simply dodging a bunch of attacks to sneaking around as a cat to punching a truck, there is so much variety in the labs. Each character has 10 missions for you to complete. It starts off with an image and some text explaining what is happening and the characters have a few lines before the fight but it is only text and no voiceover, which is a bit of a shame. Each mission has 3 stars but it isn’t based on how well you did like Angry Birds. The first star is your main objective which must be completed and the other two could be, for example, don’t use a certain attack or something like that. You can also be forced to play the mission a couple of times as the objectives are the complete opposite of each other.
When fighting any type of battle you will gain experience points and you will be able to level up. These levels will gain you cards which you can use to unlock content like costumes, concept art and a lot of the different battle types. Just like many fighting games nowadays you have a profile that can be customized with icons, a background and a hero card. These are unlocked by all kinds of different actions. There is also a game for iOS devices with the same name as this game, which can unlock content as well. My huge problem with this is that it is just for iOS devices and there is no way of unlocking this content any other way.
Injustice isn’t as detailed of a game like Tekken, for example, but if it did that, it does so much more than just be a simple fight. The game runs very smoothly and I have not experienced any slowdown even during stage transitions. All of the characters look like they do in the comics except for Wonder Woman who looks a bit like a man. The cutscenes in the story are all pre-recorded to mostly likely mask loading and this is fine, as they wouldn’t be able to pull off some of the great actions scenes. Damage to character models is similar to it is in Mortal Kombat but makes a little less sense in a game like Injustice when characters have pieces of skin missing. Also the damage is turned off in the story mode; this is most likely so that the battles transition well into the pre-recorded cutscenes.
Quite a few of the voice actors have played the characters previously in cartoons like Justice League and Teen Titans. I wished they went with Jon Stewarts Green Lantern from the Justice League cartoon. The music for the game works perfectly in the story mode and during the fights, they suit each arena.
Offline multiplayer is very limited in Injustice, all that is offered is a one on one match and that is it. For online there are quite a few more options. As you’d expect there are ranked matches and just standard matches. Two other modes are offered which are quite similar: Survivor: where the winner stays on until they are beaten by someone and Hoth which is identical, except there is the option to select tasks to complete during the matches which will earn you XP, plus there is the added option of voting on who is going to win to earn XP. I never experienced any slowdown while playing the game or spectating.
A major problem I had with the online for Injustice is that it is region locked so American players cannot play against European players which makes no sense as the only games I know to do this is other NetherRealm Studios’ games. From what I have found this is a problem for only PS3 players but I could be wrong. The region lock is tied to the disk so logging in to a different account won’t get around this problem. The problem clearly isn’t lag, as games offer the option to play people in your own region and I’ve played games with people outside my own continent and had lag-free games. I personally don’t understand the reason behind this. I know it might not be a problem for most but I found it very annoying.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a game DC Comics fans have been waiting for a very long time. It plays slightly similar to Mortal Kombat but has its own unique style. If you love comics then this game is just a no brainier or if you want a single player fighter then look no further as Injustice has plenty to keep you busy for a long time, much more than any of the other fighting games have to offer.
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Release Date: US:16/4/13 EU: 19/4/13
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U Digital: Yes
Price: US: $60 EU: £40 Rating: ESRB: T PEGI: 16
Offline Players: Competitive: 2
Online Players: Competitive: 2