Gods Among Us
In an alternate reality, the Joker has destroyed Metropolis and has tricked
Superman into killing Lois Lane and his unborn son. In retaliation, Superman
murders the Joker in front of Batman in a fit of rage and establishes a new
world order. A battle ensues between the forces of Superman's Regime and those
allied with Batman's Insurgency. The Insurgency discovers the Justice League's
universe where the Joker's plan did not succeed and transports several of its
super heroes to theirs in order to
help them defeat the Regime.
Before Injustice, the
DC Comics universe crossed over to the fighting game universe only a couple
times. Way back in 1995 there was Acclaim's Justice League: Task Force,
and 13 years later came Midway's Mortal
Kombat VS DC Universe. Needless to say, neither of those games lived up to
the expectations of most fighting game fans or DC fans, nor did those games do
much "justice" to the iconic DC heroes and villains. With a lot of
pressure to finally do a DC fighting game right, NetherRealm Studios, backed by
Warner Bros. (the team behind the 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat) present
their latest offering,
Injustice: Gods Among Us.
When you're dealing with the likes of mega comic icons like Superman and Batman,
making a game that's accessible to "beginner" fighting game players is
obviously a smart idea. Injustice clearly caters to new players from the
beginning, offering an in-game Tutorial as soon as you start the game. I was
impressed with Injustice's streamlined, straight-to-the point Tutorial
Mode to get you acquainted with the gameplay mechanics. I like a no-nonsense
tutorial that doesn't try too hard to make you laugh, or take away hours of your
life! Thumbs up.
12 heroes... 12
villains... plus 6 DLC characters.
In terms of gameplay, Injustice
borrows a slew of proven-successful recipes from many past fighting games. Along
with most of the staple mechanics you'd expect from an "MK
game," Injustice's definitive gameplay draw is the environmental
interaction found in each and every stage. Depending on where the fighters are standing, they are able to
interact with various background objects, for instance:
kicking their opponent into a helicopter, hitting a button that shoots out a
missile, and/or sending their opponent flying into a new area of
the stage. I was surprised to see that some of these stage elements can also be
incorporated into combos, which looks pretty epic if you can pull it off.
The stage interactions also depend on the "type" of character. For
instance, a power character like Doomsday or Superman can pick up a car and slam
in on their opponent's head, while more agile fighters like Catwoman or
Nightwing can leap off of the car
in either direction. Furthermore, "gadget" characters like Batman or
Joker can place explosives on a background object and quickly detonate it. While
new and exciting at first... in the long run, background attacks can also become
cheap and gimmicky at times. I find it strange that there's no way to
"block" these environmental attacks, seeing as it shouldn't be a difficult
task for most superheroes.
Considering very few fighting games have ever
smoothly implemented background interaction, I still give the dev-team
Taking environmental interaction a step further, certain attacks can send
the opponent crashing into a new environment. When the single attack connects, a
7-10 second "transition" cut scene will occur, which basically
consists of the receiving character bouncing off of random background objects,
getting hit by trains or other vehicles, and/or getting the crap beat out of
them by random DC characters for a short while. In my opinion, most of these cut-scenes look forced, silly, and too cinematic
for a fighting game. Perhaps if the frame rate didn't drop so drastically, and
the silly events that occur were less exaggerated, the end result would be more
pleasing to the eye. The
good news is, environmental interaction can be "turned off" for players who want to
just duke it out traditionally.
Deathstroke brings the
firepower... so does Green Arrow, actually.
The stages of Injustice are set in a
variety of well known DC locations, such as Metropolis, Atlantis, Gotham City,
and The Batcave. While there seem to be an over-abundance of Batman
stages, the stage designs
are interesting and offer impressive visual depth. Stages will also
evolve... or rather, "devolve" throughout the fight, as buildings and
statues come crashing down, and roofs randomly get blown out. This effect is
definitely eye-catching in most cases, but sometimes it seems like the
game is really "trying" too hard to make it dramatic.
Things in the background often break for no apparent reason, causing the end
result to be kind of melodramatic.
Of course, gimmicks like stage interaction won't hold the interest of the
serious fighting game player for very long. Thankfully, NetherRealm put a lot of
emphasis on the traditional 2D fighting mechanics. Injustice's core
gameplay borrows a lot from Mortal Kombat (9), but also manages to feel
somewhat original. Like I mentioned earlier, the game caters to beginners,
offering super-easy Special Move commands, foolproof Super Moves enabled by
hitting a mere "2-buttons" at the same time, and "1-button" for
quick environmental interaction moves.
I know technical fighting game players may
scoff at such simple mechanics, but considering Injustice is a new
franchise, at least the control layout makes it intuitive for almost all levels
of players. Speaking of intuitive, NetherRealm Studios ditched the infamous Mortal Kombat
"block button" for Injustice. Blocking is now done by holding
back (and down back for crouch blocking)... Street Fighter style.
On average, most characters have about 10-13 standing priority moves, 10-15
"dial-a-combos," and 5-8 Special Moves, most of which can be turned
into EX or "Meter Burn" Special Moves. Everyone's Super Move is done
with the same 2 buttons (L2 + R2) rendering it completely impossible to mess one
Of course, combining all of these together in the correct order can result in
some very long, and very damaging combos. Also, due to the simplified move
commands, there are quite a few "cheap and easy" combos that will take off
huge chunks of damage, especially since Super Moves are so easy to connect. More
complicated combos do require precise timing, but there are some very
"simple" combos that really seem to do the job just fine. Personally,
I think Injustice makes things a little too easy sometimes.
Injustice's Practice Mode has the standard features you'd expect from a competitive
fighter, such as AI Options and Record/Playback. However, the recording feature
doesn't allow you to practice against moves you've recorded, you can only
watch your recordings... making it a useless feature. Another design flaw in
Practice Mode is that it resets all of your settings every time you return to character
For the die-hard players, frame
data is shown on-screen for each move (in all modes), which is definitely nice. Along
with frame data, all special moves (and some priority moves) actually have
descriptions that tell you about the move. Having this type of information in-game is
definitely a welcomed addition and something I'd like to see in other
fighting games in the future.
Superman showing off his
"New 52" alternate costume.
Every character's Super
Meter is visually unique, but functions the same way. The Super Meter has four
sections, which can be used to perform "enhanced" special moves (AKA
Capcom-style EX Specials) or initiate a super move when full. Another gameplay system called
the "Clash System" incorporates players bidding on portions of their
meter in secret, with the highest bidder winning the battle. The Clash is
commenced with a cut-scene cinematic and results in the losing player receiving
extra damage and the winning player recovering health. If you ask me, the Clash
system is an unnecessary gimmick and makes many of the characters look (and
sound) pretty goofy.
Next to each character's Super Meter, you'll also see a unique
"character trait" icon, which is activated with a single button press
(similar to Blazblue). Each character-specific trait activates extra
abilities, increased damage, etc. On that note, the fighters of Injustice
are indeed very different from one another, not only in terms of their
abilities... but visually. Each character has distinctively unique jumping,
dashing, and K.O. animations. I always appreciate when a fighting game goes
extra lengths to visually diversify the roster, and Injustice did a great
job at that. While the animation shines in areas such as this,
there are also some visual flaws worth mentioning.
Considering this is a NetherRealm fighting game, it would be weird if I didn't
bring up the animation quality, right?
While they did a great job with some attacks and special moves, in typical Mortal
Kombat fashion, there are still some laughably
"stiff," awkward animations that leaked in... but
only certain connoisseurs of fighting techniques will notice these. In fairness, NetherRealm
has actually shown some of
their most fluid animations to date. Damage animations look particularly good... characters do get knocked around pretty good when hit. However,
I'm not sure I'm a fan of how characters quickly "spring to their
feet" after the last hit. It really takes away from the satisfaction of a
NetherRealm flexed a lot of muscle with the graphics engine, but overall, the
visuals don't seem as polished as MK9. There
are some great-looking effects, like stage destruction and visible damage on
character costumes. However, one flaw that has plagued many past 3D MK
games rears its ugly head once again. Indeed, most female faces are rendered horribly.
and Raven, in particular, seriously look like men from
some angles. I don't know what the hell happened in the
translation from the concept art to the in-game 3D graphics, but all did not go
smoothly. In-game hair is also rendered generically and looks like plastic
(besides Superman's, for some reason),
but facial animations when characters speak in-game look believable. Besides
some cheap skin textures,
characters models do manage to look very good up close.
One prominent visual flaw is that the
frame rate drops terribly during a lot of Super Moves, causing the on-screen
action to appear "choppy". Also, many Super Moves seem to completely
you out of the game". While this works well in some cases (like when The Flash runs around the
Earth to punch his opponent), it ends up looking out of place in a lot of
other situations (in Raven's or Ares's bizarre super moves which take you to
other worlds, for example). It's the same case with many character win "sequences". Sometimes it works, other times... not so much (for
example, when Green Lantern floats around with a bunch of 2D character sprites).
. . Awkward.
Injustice's Story Mode
offers about 5-6 hours of cinematics and gameplay.
Injustice's hyped up Story Mode offers
than the typical fighting game, and is actually a fun playthrough. While the
overall production value is impressive, the storyline itself doesn't manage to spark my
interest as much. There's a lot of filler and predictable fluff. Without
spoiling anything, I find the writing to be a bit lazy. Having multi-universes, and "good" and "evil" version of each character
is a bit of a cop out (and gives them a free pass to kill characters off).
The fluid cut scenes and entertaining dialogue kept me playing, but certain
predictable scenes and random "Hey, you're here too? Let's fight!"
moments made me yawn. Also, nearly every chapter has an
"unintentionally" funny moment or two... especially since the story
takes itself so seriously. On a side note, I also found the first two chapters
to be slightly insulting to women. C'mon... Harley Quinn gets slapped around, and Wonder
Woman gets a forced "charity" line or two (so that she comes off as important
among the men talking).
Good one NetherRealm.
To end on a positive note, I was impressed with how fast and seamlessly the fights started within Story
Mode. There's also some unique character-to-character dialogue during
"Clashes," which adds to the effect that you're actually playing a
story. As I expected, the difficulty of Story Mode is pretty easy... allowing any
random noob to feel like they're actually good at the game.
I found the most challenging parts to actually be the mini games sprinkled
throughout Story Mode. These mini game events usually involve you shooting
things coming at you, or inputting specific button commands to keep the
cinematic action going. As silly as they may be, the story mode mini games are
fun and keep the mode entertaining.
A spiritual successor to MK9's Challenge Tower, the
1-player S.T.A.R. Labs Mission Mode is a series of missions (240 to be exact).
Most S.T.A.R. Labs Missions are easy to pass, but I can see how some of them
could frustrate some players. Oftentimes, one simple mistake means
repeating the challenge over again, so a lot of patience is required on
some missions. The missions offer a ton of variety, enough to keep me playing
for quite a while. There are some really interesting challenges that'll come
your way, such as: Reversed controls, fighting in the dark, fighting with low
health, etc. There are also
quite a few "2D side-scroller" games that'll have you beating up
random bad guys, or dodging lasers (some are fun, some are repetitive). Every 10
missions is based on a different character, which are loosely based on the
character's familiar storyline. The first mission for each character also acts as a
mini Tutorial in some ways, as it asks you to perform special moves and basic combos in succession.
Injustice's Online Mode experience is pretty solid overall. From the few
matches I played, there wasn't much lag at all. Following in line with other
recent fighting games, the online experience continues to evolve and get better.
Injustice's Online Mode features a few decent modes, including "King of the
Hill" which allows up to 8 players in a lobby, and a 2-player Online
Practice Mode. Like past MK games, the unlocking system
will keep you playing for a while. Anything you do in the game will earn you XP,
and you'll unlock stuff to customize your player card (AKA Hero Card - because
the game "assumes" you're a hero).
You'll also earn
"Armory Keys" and "Access Cards" which are used to unlock
concept art, music, backgrounds (where you can destroy everything at will), and
PS Vita, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
PS3, 360, Wii U)
June 6th, 2013
PS3, Wii U)
Nov. 12th, 2013
PS4/PS3/Vita/360/PC - As Ultimate Edition)
Flash, Wonder Woman, Catwoman,
Green Arrow, Green
Lantern, The Joker, Harley
Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Nightwing,
Cyborg, Deathstroke, Lex
Luthor, Aquaman, Hawkgirl, Sinestro,
Black Adam, Killer
Frost, Ares, Lobo,
Zod, Martian Manhunter,
2, Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe,
Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 9, Justice
League: Task Force, Ultimate
Marvel VS Capcom 3, Marvel Super Heroes, Tatsunoko
VS Capcom: Ultimate All Stars, Super
Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition, Jojo's
Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle, Blazblue:
7.5 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.5 / 10
7.0 / 10
/ Sound Effects
6.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
7.0 / 10
8.0 / 10
Options / Extras
8.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation
7.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun
6.5 / 10
7.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
Review based on PS3 version
After 2 lackluster DC fighting
games, DC fans finally have a fighting game worth playing. Injustice
delivers as a new, yet traditional 2D fighting game experience, and acts as a respectable
homage to old school DC superheroes and villains. For the casual fighting game player,
there's a whole lot of flashy, "surface" stuff that aims to draw you
in. You could say Injustice would be featured in this era's "welcome
to the fighting game genre" starter pack.
For more experienced fighting game players, you'll either end up hating or
game. While some players out
there are quick to jump into anything new and start studying frames... I'm not
completely "sold" on Injustice.
Not to criticize Injustice's traditional 2D fighting game
when I think of a super hero fighting game, I think of extravagant combos, super
jumps, and even some proper air combat... it only
makes sense, right? I understand Injustice isn't trying to be Marvel
VS Capcom, but it just seems odd that DC super heroes would ever fight so
much on the ground (and ironically in the story mode
cut-scenes, of course, they fight high up in the air). Sometimes if you squint,
the gameplay just looks like plain old Mortal Kombat...
While the gameplay & combo system offers some new, intuitive elements, there are definitely some
issues. Along with the ultra-simplified controls, one of my main gripes is that
there are so many "spam heavy" characters in the game. With no
high jumping or super jumping, and minimal dodging techniques, avoiding projectiles can
be flat out annoying. Also, it's simply NOT FUN fighting against characters who have instant "homing projectiles,"
and those that can teleport all over the place.
Lastly, stage interaction
objects can't be blocked.... Wow. The animations when characters grab an object and attack with it is also ridiculously fast, so good luck trying to
dodge. Basically, if Superman is close to a car... you're f*cked.
fun for a while, stage interaction isn't much more than a gimmick to entertain casual
Another thing that irks me about Injustice is that most characters appear
very small on screen, making it harder to read their animations. The dev-team
tried to put in some "readable" animations
so players could telegraph certain moves,
but when these moves are repeated (AKA spammed), some characters just end up looking silly... for
example, Superman just looks retarded when he's spamming his Heat Vision.
In the end, Injustice's "compact" character models really
make me appreciate the exaggerated proportions of Street Fighter IV's
characters, for example, which really "fill the screen" in comparison
As you may know, NetherRealm Studios redesigned all of the default costumes.
While I find some to be likeable, others are just plain hideous... and I know
I'm not the only one who thinks so. In fact, the very first thing my girlfriend said
about Injustice when she saw me playing (without even knowing my opinion)
was - "Why did they
make Batman so ugly? His costume looks like the shell of a cockroach." While the "mechanized" look worked on some costumes,
others just look overly complicated and/or just plain ugly.
The saving grace is that NetherRealm also created a slew of alternate
costumes based on several characters' past appearances in comics and TV shows...
which is a huge fan service. So at least there are some solid costumes in the
game, offering some nice customization options. NetherRealm also released
$2.99 DLC costume packs, which isn't a terrible price for 3 costumes.
However, I can't say I approve of how they're releasing their DLC characters.
Only 1 month after the game's release, and already there are 2 DLC characters available
at $5 a pop? I can tell NetherRealm strategically chose Lobo and Batgirl,
more "likeable" characters, to be paid DLC.
I call shenanigans. . .
I tried my best not to sound too
negative about the game, but I'd be doing my readers an injustice if I
Injustice is a fairly decent game, but it's missing a few "arcade fighting
game" fundamentals (visual and gameplay) that keep it from being great in
Still, compared to other superhero games (non fighting games), NetherRealm did
do a lot of justice to represent DC Comics in the gaming realm. Maybe you'll like Injustice more than me, and I
can understand why, if you do. (It really helps if you're a DC buff). To
all fighting game players, I'd say Injustice is definitely worth a try at
the least. ~TFG