Injustice: Gods Among Us Review
Review by Shawn Denney
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fighting game developed by NetherRealm Studios, most famous for creating the Mortal Kombat games. It is a one-on-one fighter that uses highly detailed 3D character models and environments but on a 2D plane. It has a diverse cast of iconic and some less known DC Comics heroes and villains to round out its roster. Injustice: Gods Among Us is available on Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. An iOS version of the game is also available but this review is specifically for the console versions.
I will be the first to admit that I’m pretty bad at this game. As someone who has mostly stuck to the realm of Capcom fighters, the control scheme here took some getting used to. Hadouken’s, Shoryuken’s, Sonic Boom’s and the like aren’t the opt in controls here. Each person has a light attack, a medium attack, and a heavy attack as well as a special move. I will explain the special moves shortly but for now lets focus on the other aspects of the combat. each character has a grab button and a super-meter as well as a button dedicated to environment interaction. The environment interaction was one of the best parts of the battle system as each stage then becomes an active part of the battle. On the Batcave stage, if you are at the computer you can order the Batmobile to shoot missiles. Time it properly to either extend, initiate, or conclude a combo. On the Fortress of Solitude stage you can smack you opponent into the background where Doomsday is waiting to give them a good smack right back into the battlefield. The super meter is broken up into 4 segments that when full can be used to do a devastating super move or each segment can be used as an advanced version of a previous move.
Their are a lot of characters in this game. Including the available and announced DLC characters their are 29. The special moves are character specific and are supposed to relate to the characters powers though I found while some make sense others are less so. For example, Green Arrow’s special is actually fire a green arrow. Superman’s is have a red haze cover his body for a short period of time where he does more damage. Others like Wonder Woman have you switch between her Lasso of Truth and her Sword and Shield. The diversity is great but it isn’t always clear what the super move does. An example here is Aquaman. His special makes water cover his body but it isn’t apparent what the water does. Its a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things.
This game looks great. The environments ooze personality and the developers have done a great job of delivering on the DC Universe. Most of the character models look incredible with a lot of detail put into each one and different skins to appeal to a broad range of tastes. Their are two exceptions I have to this though. First is Lex Luthor who didn’t look bad but didn’t look great either. The other is Wonder Woman. I believe it was on IGN where they said “Wonder Woman looks like a man”. That statement is pretty accurate in the facial region. Her bosom and voice debunk that theory but that is one model that could have used more work. The rest of the cast is gorgeously designed and all the animations are excellent. The lighting and effects are eye candy as well.
Having a several veterans from the DC Animated Universe (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League) reprise their roles was a brilliant touch. Kevin Conroy will forever be the voice of Batman regardless of whoever else tries to take on that mantle. He owns that role. Susan Eisenberg is back as the empowered yet caring voice of Wonder Woman. Adam Baldwin does the voice of Hal Jordan and does a nice job with the role. The sound design all around is excellently done with explosions, punches, kicks, laser beams, and all manner of fighting sound effects portrayed.
The game offers a wide variety of different game modes such as Story mode, S.T.A.R. Labs, Battle, and multiplayer. Battle is the traditional arcade mode commonly found in fighters where you pick a character and go through a gauntlet of heroes and villains that get progressively harder the further you advance. S.T.A.R. Labs is much like a trials mode with each character having 10 missions with 3 stars or challenges available per mission. These could range from get a 5 hit combo to execute a series of moves in a certain order to a wide variety of other objectives. For those looking to enhance your skills in the game this is a good place to do it.
Story mode is broken up into several chapters and in each chapter you take control of a different hero. For those of you looking to rock the villains side of the tale, sadly you will have to look to the other game modes to get your fix. The story involves and alternate dimension where the Joker tricked Superman into killing Lois Lane and their child. In response, Superman went a bit off the handle and has made himself ruler of the world which he rules through fear. This is just the set up of the story which is told in the very first cutscene. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story but it was far better portrayed than I expected. The events played out like a good event comic. Their were a few instances where the dialogue felt stilted but for the most part the wonderful voice acting and interesting tale with its occasional genuine surprise were a true treat.
Multiplayer is exactly what it sounds like. You and a friend cna pummel each other until you are completely satisfied or blisters set in or you can take the fight online. Online has a few distinct modes such as King of the Hill where 8 people can spectate fights waiting to get their turn to have a go. Its very reminiscent of the arcade experience where people would huddle around a cabinet watching the players announcing “I’ve got next match”. The other unique game mode for online is Survivor where health is carried over from the previous match. Of course their is the traditional find a match and just 2 random people beat each other until one comes out victorious.
One part of my experience that really stood out to me was the tutorial. When you first turn on the game you are prompted on whether you would like to take a tutorial. I said yes hoping to get a feeling for the game. The tutorial basically gives you a wham-bam your done approach where you are shown a prompt and once you press the button it asks you to do the next one. At the end of the tutorial, I didn’t have a grasp on any of the combo’s or how the battle system truly worked. As far as tutorials go, pressing pause and seeing a move list was just as effective. Truly a letdown when compared to the rest of the package.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a good game. It has minor missteps that start to add up but the overall experience is wonderful. This is a one-on-one 2D fighter for fighting game fans, comic fans, and maybe even just video game fans in general. It is a solid attempt by NetherRealm Studious that shows they can learn from there past and continue to evolve in truly meaningful ways. Injustice: Gods Among Us gets an