Ed Boon and NetherRealm Studios are at it again.
As we’ve previously stated, 2013 is looking to be a great year for us gamers. With God of War: Ascension, Tomb Raider, Bio Shock Infinite, and Defiance already out, is there room for Injustice: Gods Among Us right now? With games punching our wallets leaving a $60 wound each time, most of us have to be selective with what we buy. With Injustice being a fighting game, it has to try a little harder to grab our attention (and money) at this point. We’re about to find out if it’s up to the task.
Now, we’re all familiar with the Mortal Kombat series that took the gaming world by storm in the early 90s. It’s been over 20 years since the release of Mortal Kombat, does Boon still have what it takes to create a fun and exciting fight game? Will this DC game suffer from some of the same issues Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe suffered from a few years back? Will Injustice give DC fans a true fighting game they can be proud of? Let’s find out…
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Systems: IOS, Xbox 360, Wii U, Playstation 3 [Reviewed]
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Entertainment
Release: April 16th, 2013
The first thing I noticed about Injustice: Gods Among Us is that it has a lot of game modes, which is always good for this game genre. Within the single player game, you have: Story mode, Battles, S.T.A.R. Lab Missions, Single Fight, and Training. The cast of characters is decent starting at 24 with 4 more characters promised as DLC due by August 2013 (Lobo already announced). There are 4 types of character categories: 8 characters are Power (ground), 6 characters are Power (flying), 3 characters are acrobatic, and 7 characters are gadget players. The way you play and your style will determine which type of character you choose in this game, as style does make a difference.
I went ahead and played through the Story Mode on day 1, getting 100% completion. I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with the story at all. I felt Mortal Kombat 9 did a much better job of actually telling a fluent story that made sense, while Injustice seemed pretty unimaginative. I liked the fact they threw in some QTE here and there, and tried to have nice cut scenes between game play, but it seemed very simple-minded if you will. I must be careful not to spoil anything, so I won’t tell you anything that you couldn’t find in a Injustice summary, but using an alternative universe to fight the same characters just in different clothes is just plain lazy. DC has a pretty good cast of Villains: Darkseid, Brainiac, The League of Doom, etc… but instead of using anything of that, some genius said “Hey, let’s do the whole portal transport thingy to an alternate Universe and just fight the same people in different costumes. It’ll save us time creating characters, we can just skin the main cast, sound good? OK, great.”. Lame. Get out, you’re fired.
The battles and S.T.A.R Lab Missions are plentiful. The Battles consist of 20 different game modes (most of which must be unlocked) that can be rather challenging. You’ll see Battles such as: Classic Climb the Ladder, Poisoned mode, Survivor, all Villains, all Heroes, etc… So they did a nice job of giving us variety in game modes. The S.T.A.R Lab Missions are interesting too. There are 10 missions for each character, so 240 in total (not including DLC). Each one tells a story in a unique way. Some may be classic 1V1 fights while others are QTE, and some are extremely unique such as playing as Catwoman’s cat Isis to break into a building. While none of them are too difficult, each does have three goals (stars) you must achieve to get a full completion of the level. Of course, there’s a Trophy/Achievement for getting all 3 stars on all 240 Missions, so plan on alienating your friends for a bit, it might take you awhile.
The game play/controls for Injustice are spot on. There is a bit of input lag online, as with most online fighters, but it’s not enough to actually ruin anything. Of course this will depend on your location and internet speed too as with anything, but I personally didn’t experience much lag at all and I’ve fought over 200 times online already. I run at 15 MBPS from Ohio, and the connection is very nice. As for the actual controls, you can expect the standard Mortal Kombat style controlling with the exception of the removal of the block button. Personally I don’t like holding back or down to block, but I’m getting used to it. I’ll admit, I like the Marvel VS Capcom games, but I suck bad. I’ve always been a Mortal Kombat kinda guy, so hearing of this removal of the block button worried me, but I quickly found myself using the back block properly and off to a 145-68 online record in the top 100 with the first 3 days, not bad. Injustice also introduced a new “clash” system. I won’t get into explaining it here, but it allows you to start a “meter burn” wager right in the middle of a combo, whether you are on offense or defense. You can rebuild health or do extra damage depending on the result of the clash. Nice to see new fighting features at this point, so it’s welcomed even if it’s under used.
Obviously, Injustice lives with the online experience. While some may buy it just to play and have fun, the majority of us are interested in this game to play online with friends, and test our skills against the best in the world VIA ranked fights. Injustice does not let us down here. The multiplayer is vast, having plenty of options to choose from. It has all the standards: Jump directly into a ranked fight against an unknown player for a one-time fight, join a lobby room and pick your fight, create a private match for friends, create a private online practice training mode for you and a friend to trade techniques and learn from one another (very helpful), create a public room, etc.. it’s all there. Injustice also has modes such as Survivor and my personal favorite, King of the Hill (Dang it Bobby). King of the Hill works great in a public lobby or even with friends as you can watch the match at hand as you wait your turn to play the winner, all the while chatting with everyone in the room and making fun of the loser. It’s tons of fun with friends, bringing back the nostalgic Arcade feel to a fighting game, an absolutely excellent online game mode. Love it.
One of the things that makes Injustice unique is the over-the-top fights in this game. Almost every arena has multiple levels to it. Every character has a standard back + hard attack that will knock a player to a new level of the arena if successfully connected at the right place of the arena. It takes a significant amount of damage from the unfortunate player being catapulted through the level transition, and looks awesome too. In the Arkham Asylum arena, you can knock your opponent into a cell block and Killer Croc, The Penguin, Two-Face, and Riddler all take turns beating the crap out of you before Killer Croc punches you through the wall sending you into a totally new level, awesome. Awesome (I said it twice cause it’s awesome). Every arena has tons of environment interactions too, and I mean tons. Depending on the arena, you can almost win a fight solely on using the environment, seriously. While some may not like the “cheese” of spamming the environment, I will say it adds a very fun element to the game. Knowing the terrain in this game actually matters, and can be the difference between winning or losing a fight, which I think adds an element of strategy into the game, a strategy I welcome and hope to see more of in future fighting games.
If you’re a fan of the Mortal Kombat style fighter, or if you’re a die hard DC fan, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a mandatory pickup. The cast of playable characters, awesome environments and level transitions, excellent online play, etc… has made this a great fighter. Other than a very poor story mode, I can’t really fault Injustice on anything specific. It’s well built, responsive, fast paced, modern, and very fun/addicting. The over-the-top fights, super moves, and in-depth leader boards should keep hardcore fight fans playing this game for quite sometime.
OK, onto the women of this game. NSFW Gamer already reported on the women, but I can add to the alternative costumes featured in the game. As seen above, each of these are the female counter part costumes according to the Injustice story, with Wonder Woman Red Sun being added at the end. Every character has at least 2 costumes, some 3, some 4, just depends. There is already some DLC skins out there including the Red Sun pack, Flash Point, Arkham Asylum pack, etc… I pre-ordered from Game Stop so I got the Red Sun pack which adds extra S.T.A.R. Lab Missions for Superman, Wonder Woman, and Grundy along with a Russian costume for those three. I would have liked to see more costumes for the females in the game, but standard out of the box, they’re not really there. The 6 females are lacking, all of which only having just two costumes, not including DLC. There are lots of DLC skin pack talk out there, so it looks like you’ll have to drop a few extra bucks to get Harley and Raven to show some more skin. You think they did that on purpose? Hmmmmmm.
PS – Wonder Woman did look nice in a black dress in a story mode cut scene, but I can’t give this anything higher than a 1, the hotness just isn’t there.