Injustice: Gods Among Us Review

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Developer(s): NetherRealm Studios

Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Console(s): Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U

Release Dates: (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U) April 16th (NA)/ April 17th (AU)/ April 19th (EU)/ June 9th (JP)

Engine: Unreal Engine 3

Genre: Fighting

Player(s): Single, Online 2-8

Rating: T (Blood, Violence, Suggestive Themes, Language)

-Marcus Lawrence

The Gods Clash In This DC Brawler

Xbox 360 version used to review Injustice

Ever wonder what would happen if Superman just snapped? Took it upon himself to become judge, jury and executioner? And what of the other superheroes and supervillains  would they take his side or fight against the Kryptonian? That is the premise behind NetherRealm's DC brawler Injustice: Gods Among Us. We rarely get to see what happens when Superman totally loses his cool and does what he sees fit. By all meanings of the word, Superman is a god among men and even lower metahumans as well. My question is: would you stand against him?

If your answer was no, congratulations because a good portion of heroes and villains sided with Superman to avoid his wrath. The game takes place in two different realities. After a very unfortunate accident, the Man of Steel stopped trying to protect humanity and instead rose up to rule over the masses. Anyone that got in his way was dealt with and soon; the world had no heroes to stop him except one. This "hero" needed backup but with most of his allies dead or joined up with Superman, he could do only one thing: call in reinforcements from another reality. Now, the heroes must stop a Superman who's lost all control.

Man of Steel vs. Bats

Man of Steel vs. Bats

There's a reason why Injustice looks extremely familiar to those who have played NetherRealm's Mortal Kombat. Besides a few minor differences, Injustice feels exactly like MK and that's not a bad thing at all. MK did exceptionally well both in sales and reception, so take what made MK so great and add DC characters and what do you get? A fighter that can stand among other fighting games such as Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Marvel vs. Capcom and many more. So what do you get from Injustice that separates itself from other fighters? The story mode for one because it really impressed as far as plots go. Most fighters have a story I could care less about or confuse me at some point but that isn't the case with Injustice. You don't have to be a DC Comic nut to understand what's happening, so don't let that factor deter you away.

Moving away from plot lines, playing Injustice felt great especially since I thoroughly enjoyed MK. The roster list also stands out because it has a good mixture of fan favorites and characters only hardcore readers would know. Each character has his/her own unique basic, special, super and signature move set. What may work for Batman may not be the same for Killer Frost. The good thing is characters feel comfortable enough to give each one a test run. In some fighting games, I stick with three or four; for Injustice, I have ten characters I'm working on. The wonder of testing out characters is seeing what they have to offer. By stringing together light, medium, heavy and signature moves, players can perform brutal combos upon their opponent. What's even better is the super moves which act like cinematic cutscenes as you watch your opponent (or you) get beaten in a truly stylish way. Injustice also introduces the Clash mechanic. By inputting the correct buttons, the screen will project two gauges; one for you and one for the opponent. The object here is to match or overcome the opponents gauge so that you don't take damage or to damage the opponent. The Clash mechanic is very useful for getting out of combos but be sure you have enough energy in your gauge to do so or you'll wind up losing the clash.

Poor, poor Flash

Poor, poor Flash

During the story mode, players fight through the campaign using various heroes and villains to progress the plot. There's nothing outstanding about how the story mode plays out but the cutscenes are fun to watch; even if some appear rough around the edges. In between some fights are minigames  which normally requires the player to input the correct button sequence to stop the opponent from reaching you. The minigames are suited to the character that is being used. During one of the games, I controlled The Joker and tossed playing cards at Nightwing to keep him from me via button inputs. I was impressed with how the Injustice plot actually kept me entertained from beginning to end, not many fighting games do that for me. If the story does begin to bore you or a break is required there are a multitude of  other options to choose from.

One of the many options is the mission heavy S.T.A.R. Labs mode. Just as it sounds, this mode features unique mission parameters set for each individual character. The mission goals ranging from not getting hit once, block a move 10 times, etc. Some of the requirements do frustrate at times because of how ridiculous the task can be. You really want me to dodge ten pies thrown at me while also keeping an eye out for clattering teeth on the floor? Some missions do require cheap tactics to surpass and may take multiple tries. Each character has a total of 10 missions to complete, so a total of 240 missions await. For those that pre-ordered Injustice from GameStop, you have access to the Red Son DLC and it adds an extra 20 missions to the S.T.A.R. Labs; equaling 260 missions total. That's a lot of missions.

Payback hurts huh Grundy?

Payback hurts huh Grundy?

Other modes such as Single Fight and Training help to hone your skills against the A.I. and practice working on new combos. Battles is basically the arcade mode of Injustice but offers different ways to play where you fight nothing but heroes or being poisoned and having to beat the final boss before your character dies. It adds a twist to the standard arcade option, if you ask me. Most of your time (or at least mine) will be spent engaging other players using the online services. You have the regular options presented to you: ranked, player and private matches. Each of them allow players to gain XP whether you win or lose. The winner obviously gets more and as you gain XP the higher your level will become. Levels are more than just a number they also allow you to unlock rewards in the Archives. Whether it be some kind of XP boost or a new skin, it's well worth the investment. In terms of what kind of matches one may have online, the selection is diverse enough to guarantee enjoyment.

If you decide to play ranked matches, it can only be done in the one-on-one scheme. one-on-one is what it sounds like; two fighters go in and only one is victorious. However, if you move over to the player matches, there are more options to choose from besides one-on-one. King of the Hill (KOTH) allows up to eight players to join a lobby and two of them duke it out while the remaining fighters watch. Whoever wins becomes king and must fight off the advances of those who wish to usurp the throne. To add even more excitement, players can bet XP on which fighter will come out on top. This mode is perfect for when you just want to fight amongst friends and mess around. Finally, Survivor is similar to KOTH but with a twist; whatever health you lose is gone. Granted, you can gain some back but this adds the "survivor" element to the mix. Players should definitely be able to find a ton of reasons to return again and again. Plus, if a friend ever comes over, there's always the local versus mode to enjoy.

Ouch! You okay Harley?

Ouch! You okay Harley?

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a truly outstanding fighter. Not many fighting games leave this kind of impression on me and I'm shocked it did so. The only major issues I've noticed are minor at best. The rough cutscenes, as I mentioned before, often took me out of the action and made me laugh but not in a good way. Some characters are unbalanced but that's not surprising. I've never come across a fighting game where each character wasn't broken in some kind of way. I'm sure a patch will release soon enough and nerf whatever characters need it. The load times are also an issue because I frequently came across a long load screen. However, I'm just nitpicking at the moment because I really don't have much to complain about. Injustice is a really well-crafted fighting game and gets a lot of things right.

Pros:

  • Plot worthy of any comic
  • Easy to pick up yet deep enough for fighting fans
  • Good selection of characters

Cons:

  • Long load screens
  • Rough Cutscenes
  • Some S.T.A.R. missions are extremely frustrating

NetherRealm Studios did an exceptional job with Injustice: Gods Among Us. Fans of Mortal Kombat and DC Comics will eat this up and the game is even fighter friendly. There have been many nights where I stayed up late just to battle my friends. And after every fight, I used the classic line of "just one more" which lasted for hours. I came away from Injustice truly impressed and if you are looking for a new game to sink your teeth into, I highly recommend you give this a go.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Value Verdict: Fans of fighting games in general will enjoy this unless they don't like 2D fighters. Mortal Kombat and DC fans will most certainly find entertainment here.