From the creators of Mortal Kombat, Injustice: Gods Among Us is now here for everyone to enjoy. This game has a bad reputation to smash as the last fighting game to feature DC Heroes and Villains didn’t go down too well with gamers. Will Injustice sore to meet our expectations or will it simply fly straight into the wall? Let’s use our X-Ray vision and find out.
Let’s start with the story of the game. Superman and the other members of the Justice League are fighting off an array of villains from Black Adam to Doomsday as The Joker is about to set off a nuclear bomb in Metropolis. Batman and the others rush to the scene to stop Joker from pulling the trigger which causes them to transport themselves into another dimension. Before I continue talking about the story here I think it’s okay to say that this premise is really cliché. They just happen to go dimension jumping when Metropolis is about to go boom, doesn’t that sound a little corny to you? It seems as if they were going with the most common excuse of a story featuring heroes and villains when they could just have the story be the alternate universe in its entirety.
Anyway, as the heroes and Joker appear in the alternate universe of Metropolis, they discover that Superman has become the leader of the world. With the others heroes and even villains by his side, the man of steel is now a dictator as he enforces the rules onto the human race. Although the transportation part of the story does seem very poor, I have to admit it is pretty cool to see Superman as a ruthless dictator. Sadly the remainder of the characters in the alternate universe seem weak in their character development. They even throw in Bruce Wayne’s son which on one side does sound cool but on the other side just feels tacked on. With that said however, there are some characters done brilliantly such as Green Arrow and Harley Quinn. Their personalities are matched to a tee and their roles in the story, although not necessarily game-changing, are really well done too.
Now let us hit the biggest area of the game itself, the gameplay. In a fighting game it is important to make sure that every character generally feels different and have their own niche when it comes to their fighting style. Is this the case in Injustice? I can gladly say yes. Every character feels different in the right way. Batman utilises his gadgets, Flash uses his speed, Shazam casts lightning bolts and Bane just breaks backs. The characters fighting styles are brilliant, giving the player a new feel with every new fight.
Although this is great, there are some pretty big mistakes or bad features in the fighting. For one some of the characters have some really powerful moves. Now I don’t complain if someone is able to juggle their opponent to deal 91% of their health, that is skill. I will however complain when a character has a move that literally can’t be parried or even blocked. This is the case with Solomon Grundy, whose fighting style is all about grapple moves. He has a grapple move that cannot be stopped via combo and cannot be blocked. He has roughly a three second immunity frame where he cannot be stopped. This is my opinion is bad design in a fighting game. Now if you had to use some of your power meter to pull this off then that is fine as you are sacrificing something to pull of something powerful. However, with Grundy, this is not the case and can therefore cause some great frustration.
If you think I was done with just Grundy, well just wait until we dig into Doomsday. Two things make Doomsday a true force to be reckoned with in single player and Online. First off, in the single player classic mode that pits you up against ten randomised opponents, ending with Superman, If you bump into doomsday in one of the last three fights then good luck. On normal difficulty, this guy is crazy tough. I’m talking Shao Khan from the original Mortal Kombat tough. Not only is he a powerful brawler but he is also has cheap, spam able moves, one of the most notable being when he body slams you from above. Secondly there are the online problems this character can cause. In addition to just spamming this move, players they can also abuse Doomsday’s shield. In comparison to Lex Luthor’s shield that only lasts one hit, which is great for cancelling combos or stopping one punch supers, Doomsdays can last for either five seconds or for five consecutive hits. This means an entire combo does next to nothing to this juggernaught. Unless they patch this for Online balancing, I worry that fighters that have to go toe to toe with seasoned Doomsday players.
There is another problem with the gameplay of Injustice and it can be summed up in one word, variety. Characters have one Super Move, One wager animation and one ending pose/scene. This just seems lazy as even in Mortal Kombat there was variety with two different fatalities and a babeality. The supers and wagers however are not the biggest culprits of variety here. No, that honour goes to the ending scenes/animations. These are incredibly repetitive and some don’t even display the characters personality at all. While Batman hangs over Gotham on a gargoyle and Superman looks over the world from the Stratosphere, Doomsday just looks over a burning fire that he didn’t even cause in his fight. When I saw that ending pose I just laughed at how he is just staring into a fire when it would make more sense to see him continually wailing on his opponent as you see your winning stats. I don’t know whether this is laziness or not being able to bring out the characters in their entirety, but they get incredibly boring to watch and eventually become hilarious to just stare at, which they shouldn’t be.
Now let’s put the negatives to one side and talk about a positive, the amount of unlockables. There are so many awards to be had in this game it will take a long time to acquire them all, which is fantastic. Achievement hunters will adore this game for both the Achievements/Trophies as well as all the different skins, character models, concept art and more. How exactly do you unlock a majority of these? As well as playing the game as normal to level yourself up and unlock new things, there is also the S.T.A.R.S Lab missions. These mini missions are really fun and challenging experiences that aren’t just fights. Some are challenges, some are fighting conditions and some are even multiple fights in one. This will keep you involved for hours to complete everything; however there is one issue with this mode. You have to unlock the S.T.A.R.S Lab missions in order. Meaning you will have to play through a character you may not like to get to the character you do like. There is no reason for this to be put in place. If you could unlock the missions by running a character through classic mode first then that would be a good incentive and reward. Instead you have to pressure yourself through the missions you hate to get to the missions you love.
Another two great things about the game are the graphics and voice acting. The graphics and art style for the game are great. Everything feels great, from the stages to the characters look. It truly immerses you into the DC Universe. On top of the graphics is the fantastic voice acting in the game. Many famous voices return to recite their roles of the heroes or villains and they all sound perfect. I was at first sceptical as to whether George Newbern, the voice of Superman, could portray Superman as a dictator. Luckily he does a smashing job, alongside the other cast members such as Kevin Conroy (Batman), Tara Strong (Harley Quinn) and Richard Epcar (Joker). It was a shame not being able to hear the awesome voice of Mark Hamill as Joker, but at least they got the second best man for the job.
Overall, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a decent fighting game. Although there are some boring elements and the story isn’t the strongest in fighting game history there is still a lot of charm and playability in this game. It is a must-have for fans of the DC Universe or fighting game fanatics, but if you aren’t as big on your fighting games then you may want to try it out first before paying full price for it.
So there you go, that is Injustice reviewed for the super fans, but what are your thoughts on the game? Do you think it deserves to be the game of steel or do you think it deserves to be locked up in Arkham Asylum? Let us know what you think about the game in the comments below and be sure to enjoy your time fighting the regime in Injustice: Gods Among Us on PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U.