INJUSTICE: Gods Among Us Game Review
Injustice: Gods Among Us is the ultimate clash of the titans that every DC comics fan has dreamed about. From NetherRealm Studios (the guys now in charge of Mortal Kombat) introduced the game to the world at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. It drew my interest with its highly detailed character models (most of which DC should really consider using in future movies) and highly interactive levels.
With the game building hype over the past year, it is finally out and after playing it, I am very pleased. It’s a very fun fighting game and is what fans have probably been hoping for. Is it perfect? No. But let’stake a closer look.
Fighting games are not exactly well known from having good stories. They’re mainly just an excuse to give reason to why everyone is beating each other up. If you’re playing a fighting game JUST for the story, then, well, you’re doing it wrong. That said,I was quite impressed with Injustice’s story mode. If you don’t want any spoilers then I suggest you skip down to the next paragraph.
Heavily influenced by the Crisis on Two Earths story arch, several members of the Justice League find themselves somehow transported to an alternate Earth.
On this Earth’s timeline, Metropolis was destroyed by the Joker, killing millions including Lois Lane and Superman’s unborn child. In his blind rage, Superman killed The Joker and unleashed his power on the world forming a brutal global dictatorship under his rule. Anyone who did not join him, he destroyed. The Justice League from Earth One find themselves having to stop their alternate universe selves and team up some unlikely allies to bring down the rule of this evil Superman.
Like I said, for a fighting game, I usually don’t expect a good or long story. But Injustice goes the extra mile and delivers a compelling story worthy of any of their comics. The cut scenes were entertaining and the story moves at really good pace so it never gets too slow or too fast and the fights never feel just thrown in there or pointless.
The short mode is short at around 3 to 4 hours but I can’t see it going on longer than that and there is plenty of other content on this game.
The game’s fighting roster is quite impressive with 25 well known and more obscure super heroes from the DC universe. You have the big six: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and The Flash and their arch enemies like Lex Luthor, The Joker, Sinestro, Doomsday, ect. But you also have some lesser known characters like Shazam and Ares. All of these characters are portrayed really well and all have their own unique game canon endings when you complete the classic arcade mode with them.
Now I may be a big Batman fan but I will admit that the roster is pretty heavy on Batman characters. Oh, and no Martian Manhunter. You see him in the background of a level but you never get to play as him. I am a bit disappointed by that. The only real negative thing I can say about the game’s story is that it really won’t appeal to those who are not fans of DC comics. There are so many references to the DC universe through the story and game, it might require a little research to figure out who some of these people are and such.If you don’t like the comics or the cartoon shows, then you probably won’t be able to get into the story. For those who are DC fans, you’ll hopefully love the story.
The fighting system for Injustice can be described as easy to learn, difficult to master. Most of the characters share the same button combinations for moves but they are all different for each. If you can memorize most of those moves then you’re good to go. One thing new that Injustice brings to the table is the ability to tag moves on the move list screen and display them for you below your life bar in game. This is something that I hope all fighting games do from now on. This almost eliminates having to keep pausing and unpausing to try and pull off a move.
Each character has a unique ultimate super move which will trigger a mini-cut scene if it connects.
For example, Superman’s super move will punch your opponent into space; Superman will fly up and slam them back down to Earth. Obviously, this does a lot of damage. While pulling off these moves are simple (hit L and R trigger together when your power meter is filled) and they are satisfying, they only have one cut scene for the move so seeing these moves over and over will get old pretty quick, especially if you’re playing the same character repeatedly. Another gimmick the game has is the Clash wager mode. When initiated, a mini-cut scene will start and you must pick how much of your power meter you want to wager by pressing the buttons that correspond on screen and then the characters will attack each other in an epic clash. If you win the wager, then you hurt your opponent and you regain some health and vice versa.This also depletes however much of your power bar you wagered. The idea is cool but it has some major issues. First of all, I have no idea how to initiate these things. They seem to happen at random during the match and often cause me to place my wager before I know what is going on. Secondly, if you’re playing against the computer, it is always going to wager everything it has so if you don’t have a full meter, you’re screwed. This was a neat idea but it could have been handled differently.
The stages are designed to be multi-tiered and interactive. There are all kinds of things in the level you can grab, kick, and blow up to use in your fights.The stages also fall apart as the fight rages on. It is easy to know when you’re near something that you can interact with as the button you need to press will appear near your life bar. This adds another level of strategy to your fights and how to make the best use out of the stage.
You can also knock opponents into other parts of the stage if you hit them hard enough on the far right or left side of the screen and send them flying.
These are a lot of fun to pull off. Something else that Injustice does that I haven’t seen before in a fighter is the removal of rounds during a match. You have two life bars instead with a brief pause for the characters to get up or taunt the other before continuing the fight. This keeps the game flowing instead of the screen having to reset itself and announce what round it is. The character victory animations are amusing but they could have used more variation. The same pose or lines of dialogue after each match gets old. Also the game is all one on one. There are no team fights or tag matches. This is definitely a missed opportunity here because you could have made some really interesting teams with this game’s roster.
There are many game modes to unlock and play in this game. Aside from the story mode, you also have the classic arcade, heroes only,villains only, mirror matches, and at least 20 other modes to play. There are also the STAR lab missions which are around 300 mini-missions to play with each character. You earn stars for each objective you complete in the mission. These are neat but the only way to know what the objectives are is to view them on the mission select screen. You cannot view them while in the mission or if you can, they are not clearly visible.
This game has lots of content to unlock as well.
You gain XP in all the matches you take part in and level up which unlocks costumes, artwork, music, ect which can be viewed in the archives. You also unlock pictures for your fighter ID card which has become a big thing infighting games over the past few years. Personally, I could care less about it.There are no characters to unlock that I know of but there is a character DLC pack coming out very soon which will include Lobo. Oh, we’ll be fun to play as.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND:
Like I said before, DC should really use these designs for future movies. All the super heroes look awesome and have excellent designs. They are a mix of designs from movies and the New 52 comics. Hawkgirl’s design stands out with her beautifully rendered wings. The stages are also beautifully detailed and filled with all kinds of references to various DC comics. The Arkham Asylum level is filled with references to the Rocksteady Arkham games including some cameos from some of its inmates. The graphics for the cut scenes during the story mode are slightly less impressive. The environments look rather dull and dry compared to the actual fighting stages but this is pretty common in fighting games. Dead Or Alive 5 had the same issue. The artwork for this game is amazing. Just look up some of it. The same style of artwork is used for the individual endings for the arcade mode.
The voice acting in this game is great. It includes many voice actors from various animated versions of the Justice League reprising their roles, the most notable being Kevin Conroy reprising his role as Batman.Jennifer Hale did the voice of Hawkgirl. She doesn’t say all that much but when she did, I couldn’t help but think of Commander Shepard from Mass Effect.
Tara Strong reprises her roles as Harley Quinn (started with Arkham City) and as Raven though Teen Titan fans might be disappointed that she speaks in a deep demonic voice rather than how she talked in the show.
Sadly, Mark Hamill does not reprise his role as The Joker. The new guy is alright but Hamill’s voice is sorely missing. The music is fitting with an epic sound but nothing I would write home about. The voice acting is what will stand out in the audio department to the fans.
Overall, Injustice is one of the best super hero themed games I’ve ever played and one of the better fighting games I’ve ever played. Those two things might be the game’s greatest strengths and its greatest weaknesses. If you’re not a fan of fighting games, this will not win you over.
If you’re not a fan of DC comics, I have a feeling you’ll have a very hard time getting into this game.
If you are a fan of both fighting games and DC super heroes, go get this game now. It has its flaws but for the most part it’s a sold fighting game with a great story, lots of content and modes to play. I hope to see in the gaming rooms at conventions in the near future. Thanks for reading! My next review will definitely be the much praised and hyped Bioshock Infinite.
- Fun and easy to use fighting system with awesome unique moves
- Excellent story with lots of legendary characters to choose from
- Lots of content and DLC support on the way
- Clash wager system, while interesting on paper, is poorly executed
- Super moves and victory poses lack variation and can get old quick
- This game is not likely to appeal to those who are not DC comics fans