Injustice: Gods Among Us Review
A surprisingly good story, good gameplay, and a vast number of modes and unlockables
Even though there are 24 characters (with 2 DLC options incoming), it still doesn't seem like we have enough.
THIS IS NO INJUSTICE
Itâ€™s been a while since weâ€™ve had a decent fighting game with our favorite DC superheroes. Marvel vs. Capcom Ultimate satiated our urge for Marvel-ous super-powered encounters for a while, but that was 2 years ago. Now, NetherRealm Studios comes out with a fighting game based on the DC Universe, and no, this isnâ€™t a Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe redux. NetherRealm has brought back the core of what being a superhero means, and more importantly, how it should feel like playing as one.
The story of Injustice is actually quite refreshing, playing out like a Saturday morning cartoon, albeit, in more of an Adult Swim manner. In an alternate universe (to an already alternate main DC universe), the Joker has tricked Superman into killing his beloved Lois Lane, along with their unborn child. As anyone who has read Frank Millerâ€™s The Dark Knight knows, Superman goes absolutely bazonkers, kills that worldâ€™s Joker, and with the allegiance of a number of big named heroes (really, who would want to get on Supermanâ€™s bad sideâ€¦), takes over the world in proper dictator fashion by enslaving the human race.
The Batman of the alternate Earth heads up an insurgency to fight against Supermanâ€™s regime, and in the process, discovers a way to call upon the heroes from the main DC universe. This gives rise to some very interesting loyalties along the way, and some broken allegiances as well. More than that, Injustice creates some very cool matchups in the story mode, starting with the obvious ones (Batman vs. The Joker, Superman vs. Doomsday, and so on). The story also switches perspectives often, and you find yourself playing as different characters quite a bit, both on the protagonistsâ€™ and antagonistsâ€™ sides.
The story itself is more than one could ask for in a fighting game, and it does engage you enough to want to sit through the downtime between battles and just watch it like you would a straight-to-DVD DC animated film. The plot is interesting, the CG/in-engine sequences are fun, and the characters themselves are well designed (NetherRealm was given quite a bit of freedom by DC, to design their take on the various superheroes), and the voice acting is pretty decent.
The gameplay in Injustice is over the top, as expected from the creators of Mortal Kombat. The battles are fast, environmentally interactive, and sometimes expand across different areas on the same stage. All the superheroes have their standard light, medium, and heavy attacks (with no block button; a deviation from the norm for NetherRealm). There is also a character specific attack button, and super attacks that you can initiate if your power meter is full. These super attacks are out of this world (sometimes literally) and are a pure joy to pull off.
The movesets of the superheroes match their actual skills and fighting styles from the comics (e.g. Batman with his gadgets, Green Arrow and his bow specific moves, Green Lantern and his crazy ring manifestations, etc.). The fighting is quite fluid and satisfying, with none of the robotic animations of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The fights flow naturally, and button presses instantly convey their directives onscreen, quite well.
The stages themselves have a lot of character and are very interactive. They range from Supermanâ€™s Fortress of Solitude, the Batcave, to Aquamanâ€™s underwater lair, and so forth. Items in the environment can be manipulated with ease, and each have their own properties of how they can be used per character (Superman might throw one of the cars in the environment, whereas Harley Quinn will launch herself off of it for a powered attack). You can even send the fighters into a separate area in the environment, if one of the heroes is dealt a powered attack at the end of any one of the 2-dimensional stages.
The graphics in Injustice are largely well-done and are comparable to 2011â€™s Mortal Kombat. Each of the characters are designed a little differently from their comic book counterparts, but are iconic enough to believe that we are actually on an alternate Earth (some Elseworldâ€™s type skins are also available as pre-order goodies).
The stages are fantastic, full of interactive elements, and with plenty of dynamic action happening just beyond the stagesâ€™ 2D planes. The power moves pulled off from a full power meter gauge take the player out of the real-time game engine and kicks off some stupendously satisfying animations. And as Iâ€™ve mentioned before in our now-playing segment, every time you engage one of these moves, just sit back, relax, grab some popcorn and indulge your eyes on some extraordinary power attacks.
Multiplayer is fun to check out, with some great modes available to play through with others online (although some slight lag issues were present while playing the PS3 version). King of the Hill and Survival modes are a blast to play through, but, like any other online component of a fighting game, most players you will go up against will be skilled. More often than not, youâ€™ll have your rear-end handed to you. Itâ€™s quite a sobering experience. Thankfully, the singleplayer with its extra modes will be more than enough to keep you busy, if you do end up getting a little tired of the constant beatdowns in multiplayer.
No major issues exist in Injustice. Itâ€™s a decent fighting game through and through, with some deep content included for completionists.
There are 24 characters in Injustice, but even then, it doesn’t feel like we have enough. You can tell at this point that I’m digging for issues, since I’m having a lot of fun playing through it with the different characters, and keep wishing for more.
There are a ton of extra modes and collectables in Injustice, outside of the standard fare story component and online battles. Versus mode is the basic player vs. player or player vs. AI gametype. Training mode is pretty decent, as it teaches you all of your characterâ€™s regular and special moves. S.T.A.R. Labs is a copy of Mortal Kombatâ€™s tower mode, as you progress through different battles, each time having to win the match under certain conditions (low health, beat opponent only using arrows, etc.). The last mode is Battle Mode, and is only suggested for the most hardcore players, as it has some stringent progression requirements that youâ€™ll have to best.
Youâ€™ll win access cards and points, which you can gain through playing through any of the modes in Injustice. With these points youâ€™ll be able to unlock different skins for your characters, artwork galleries, music, and a plethora of other items.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is an enjoyable romp into an alternate version of DCâ€™s universe. This game is the DC equivalent of 2011â€™s Mortal Kombat; a refreshingly told story, great gameplay elements, interactive stages, and includes a vast number of modes and unlockables that will keep you busy for weeks (with or without an internet connection, I might add). This is the Listerine analogue for the bad taste that was Mortal Kombat vs. D.C. Universe. Donâ€™t skip out on this super-powered treat.