What happens when Superman decides that killing is morally right? When everything the Man of Steel loves is stolen from him, how does he react? Injustice answers that weighty question, and many more, in a game that is sure to please both diehard DC enthusiasts and the casual superhero fan.
Developed by NetherRealm Studios, the studio that brought us the Mortal Kombat series, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fighting game set in an alternate universe where Superman, after accidentally destroying everything he loves, decides that the villains of the world deserve no mercy, and with the help of whichever Justice League members that agree with him, he starts to take them out one by one. Until, eventually, he deems man is unfit to rule, and sets himself into a place of power in the world.
If that doesn’t have you salivating, then maybe the gameplay will. While Injustice is a brilliantly told ‘what-if’ story, that will excite fans of all kinds, it wouldn’t be a great game without some great gameplay. Which, thankfully, it most certainly does.
Maybe some of you remember back in November when I reviewed the fighting game PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. I really liked it, but for someone who is not normally into the fighting game genre, it left me wanting a little more. After investing a good chunk of time into Injustice, I think I found what was missing.
Not only is Injustice’s story great, which is incredibly hard to find in a fighting game, but the gameplay is also rather fantastic; perfectly capturing the essence of every DC character that is a part of the 20+ roster. Batman feels like Batman should feel, Green Lantern fights just the way you’d expect him to, and even obscure, lesser know characters such as Raven are crafted in such a way that they just feel ‘right’.
While the combat may not be as fast-paced or smooth as, say, the Batman: Arkham games, it is pretty close. While the controls do take a little time to get used to, once you figure out the basics, something the easy-to-grasp tutorials help with, Injustice opens itself up to you and lets you discover your own playing style in whichever way suits you.
Every character has their own robust list of combos and special moves, but they all share enough commonalities that someone who just wants to dabble in everything is totally capable of doing so. And thanks to the awesome story mode and its brilliant pacing, the player is able to fully experience at least half of the entire roster.
One of the best things Injustice does, in fact, is that it allows itself to be played and enjoyed by everyone and anyone. While some fighting games are designed only for the upper-echelon of fighter experts, Injustice allows the player to choose from four different difficult levels, ranging from ‘Very Easy’ to ‘Hard’.
As someone who has never been really into the fighting genre, this was a move I really appreciated. I could dive into the story mode on ‘Easy’, get my gripping with the controls, then dive into the numerous S.T.A.R lab missions (character specific challenge mods) to hone them, and then enter into an online match to show off my polished combat skills.
Since the multiplayer component is so great as well, it will convince even the shyest gamer to try their hand at a live match against either one of their friends or a complete stranger. I’ve never been the biggest multiplayer person, but even I will be spending a good amount of time experimenting with the many different online modes.
With a story mode that will take you anywhere from 8-12 hours to beat, depending on your difficult level, the numerous online and offline modes, and the smorgasbord of unlockable outfits (which will please any DC fan), there is a ton to do and experience in this game, and I can only hope it has a nice, long shelf-life.
NetherRealm Studios has to be applauded for creating a game that doesn’t only play great, but feels great as well. You can tell a lot of love went into crafting this world and its characters, and it really gives the impression that you’re playing an episode of the superb Justice League cartoon. Especially since many of the voice-actors of that show reprise their roles here, which is a nice bit of fanfare.
Whether I’m kicking Wonder Woman through a building as Green Lantern, or running around the world to deliver the world’s most brutal sucker-punch as the Flash, I felt apart of the DC universe, and as a huge fan of the DC Universe as a whole, I loved every second of it.
As much as I love this game, it’s not quite perfect. While I love the story mode, for the casual DC fan, the alternate timeline/dimension thing can be hard to grasp and follow, and some of altered costume for the characters may irritate a few people.
The biggest problem I had with this game, however, are the graphics. Sometimes, especially during the cinematics, the graphics are great. The character models are smooth and accurate, the lip-syncing spot-on, and the sense of precision in the environment is top-notch. However, during the in-game videos, the characters look considerably more blocky, and the textures become more muddled and foggy.
It’s not a big gripe, but one that did irritate me at times, especially since it brought me out of the experience. And while NetherRealm did a great job capturing the essence of the many characters, some of them just look whacky . Most notably would be Wonder Woman, whose figure is disproportionate and weird-looking, and just all around distracting. And while Richard Epcar does fine as the Joker, Mark Hamill is still missed.
Overall though, this is a fantastic game that will please both fighting game enthusiasts as well as the die-hard, or casual, DC Comics fan. I’ve already invested a lot of time into it, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Story: 9/10 – One of the best storyline to ever be in a fighting game, and it will surely delight and excite any and all DC fans.
Gameplay: 9/10 – The polished and smooth combat is a blast to play, and you really feel like the character you’re playing as. And outside of a few over-powered environmental hazards, the game’s surprisingly balanced.
Presentation: 9/10 – NetherRealm needs to be applauded for so wonderfully capturing the essence of both these characters and their world. And outside of a whacky looking Wonder Woman, everything looks great.
Graphics: 8.5/10 –The cutscenes are brilliant, and look and feel like they were taken straight out of the Justice League cartoon. However, there’s some blocky character animations from time-to-time, and the textures can get a little blurry.
Replay Value: 9/10 – There’s a ton of content here, both in terms of gameplay and unlockables, and it’s more than enough to satisfy any kind of gamer for a long time.