Injustice: Gods Among Us is a wonderful new addition to the fighting game genre. I’ve been playing this game nearly non-stop since its release, and I can say it’s easily one of my favorite fighting games out right now. What Injustice brings to the table is fresh new gameplay on NetherRealm’s amazingly crafted MK 9 engine within the world of the DC Comic Universe. Pretty much what Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe should have been, DC by itself.
The following is not a spoiler, as it is not described in game. It’s how the story is told in the comics that lead up to the game. Injustice takes place in one of the alternate worlds of the DC Universe. In this Universe, the Joker poisoned Superman with Scarecrow’s gas which altered his mind, tricking him into killing a pregnant Lois Lane and blowing up Metropolis. Superman goes crazy and calls for a worldwide pause in violence and wars, justifying it as world peace. What actually ends up happening is Superman becomes a power hungry dictator and essentially enslaves the world, and will kill anyone who gets in his way, including other heroes.
Injustice is built on the Mortal Kombat 9 engine, but it actually feels very different from Mortal Kombat. The gameplay is designed to welcome new players as well as captivate veteran fighters and inspire some of the most intense fights we’ll see from the genre this year. The customization is fun and both the single and multiplayer features several different ways to play and modifiers to keep the game crisp and leave you wanting more.
The new gameplay elements are something I like quite a bit. The stages all feature interactive environments. Your hero of choice will be able to rip out a fire hydrant and throw it at the enemy, or jump off a ventilation system to make a quick escape. The characters are places in two types “Gadget” and “Power” which determines how they interact. Gadget characters will jump around and avoid while Power characters will pick up a car and throw it at them. As well as these normal interactables, there are stage transitions that let you knock the other player into another section of the stage, dealing heavy damage and altering the other interactables. Basically, it’s superheroes and villains destroying the world around them as they fight, and that makes for one hell of a show. All interactables can be turned off if preferred.
Accessibility is definitely something NetherRealm does better than any other fighter studio does. The tutorial is easy, well explained and contains enough details without it being too overwhelming. In the pause menu, it has the selected character’s special moves all laid out so you don’t have to pause for long if you need to reference. In offline fights you can tag up to six different combos, special moves or powers to assist you in practicing and helping new players actually stand a chance against veterans.
For veteran players, there are a variety of details and specialties for their crowd. Fight Sticks are much more welcomed compared to MK9 with the layout designed much more in tune with that kind of player, as well as hold-back blocking. Frame details are laid out in the move menu, which will help regulars discover new technology to use against their foes and determine exactly how a character should be played. On top of that we have the ability to switch on “Alternate Controls” that changes the scheme to play like Super Street Fighter IV and “Release Check” that turns off buffering and negative edge, leading to a different style of combo strings and detailed controls.
Customization is much better than MK9. You now have a player card (like most fighters out there nowadays) which features pictures and designed that you unlock through play. There are at least two costumes per character, which many of the popular ones having up to five! NetherRealm has also said that they will be releasing many costumes for free to help spice up the game once in a while. Controls are 100% customizable as all fighters are nowadays.
Singleplayer features a five hour story that is quite good for a Fighting Game, as well as many different kinds of single player arcade ladders to play through and over 240 STAR LABS missions to experience (essentially the battle Tower from MK9). This will add a lot of gameplay hours, but to be honest, not everyone will really be interested in doing those STAR missions; I mean after all, they’re really just a way to increase the amount of content without adding much to the actual game. Multiplayer is fun offline as well as online. Online features things like King of the Hill, Survival, Practice and regular Battle Mode.
I actually delayed this review because I wanted to see how it stood on the tournament scene. The Maine Fighting Gamers’ Alliance recently hosted a great tournament that featured Injustice, so I’ve seen how it plays in a tournament. I really like the idea of having some characters having a slight advantage on certain arenas, such as Gadget characters having a pipe to slide on or a power character having an extra barrel to chuck. One thing I have noticed is that character matchups MATTER in this game. Certain characters will have a very, very hard time fighting their polar opposites. For example, Solomon Grundy will stomp Shazam into the ground, but Deathstroke makes Solomon look like a baby. Obviously a lot of it is player skill, but there really is a heavy trench in the match up department.
Overall I really like Injustice. I think the elements it added to the fighting game genre are excellent and I’d love to see them in more games. I honestly would LOVE to see this turn into a series. The design of the game is very welcoming and fun to play. It has elements that both kind of player will enjoy, be it the interactive environments that puts on an excellent show or the deeply detailed frame data for those who like to tear the game apart. There is a wide variety of characters from the DC Universe, and everyone should be able to find a character to play and enjoy. There are no real problematic balance issues and the game offers enough gameplay to last for a long while. I really can’t wait to get together with friends again and pull another all-nighter duking it out. Injustice is a must play for any fan of the DCU or of the fighting game genre.
*Hours of Content
*One Of A Kind
I give Injustice: Gods Among Us a 5/5