When NetherRealm Studios first premiered the new look for the DC characters in Injustice: Gods Among Us fighting game, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “What the hell did they do with their outfits?” After the initial shock, I was still able to enjoy the game.
After having finished Mortal Kombat 9, NetherRealm decided to step away from fatalities and do a fighting game featuring only DC characters like Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Doomday and many more. Even without fatalities, this game still contains blood and and gruesome-looking body damage. Old habits die hard.
The basic story is somewhat similar to the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated movie and Grant Morrison’s JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel. Injustice: Gods Among Us follows our heroes as they’re transported to an alternate world where Superman is the ruler of Earth. How did this happen? Blame it on the Joker and the Scarecrow’s fear toxin, which caused Superman to kill a pregnant Lois Lane. Let’s just say he gets really pissed off and takes the law into his own hand. Now it’s up to the heroes to band together to stop evil Superman and his followers from ruining both the alternate world and ours.
What I love about NetherRealm is their focus on creating an enriched single-player story mode. You get a complete cinematic story as you fight from one character to the next. It’s complete with mini-games, voice actors and in-game cutscenes. Hell, even Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman, has returned. Sadly, no Mark Hamill as the Joker.
For me, the biggest improvement in the game’s fighting mechanic is the removal of the block button. NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat games and Mortal Kombat vs. DC relied on the block button to block. Now you only have to press back to block high and mid attacks and down to block low and mid attacks.
The game has 4 types of buttons; light, medium and heavy attack, and one “character trait” button. The character trait button showcases a character’s ability or move; for example, Superman gets a stat boost, and Green Arrow can shoot different types of arrows. Each character has plenty of combos, special moves, and one super attack (you’ll need to fill up your super meter to perform this move).
The stages in the game are very interactive and can be destructible. Characters can also launch another character into another area. For example, you can be fighting on the city streets of Metropolis, and with a well timed hard move, you can launch a character crashing through buildings, leaving both characters on a building’s rooftop. One of my favorite interactive stages is the Arkham Asylum stage where you can knock a character into a room with the Scarecrow. In that room, he uses his fear toxins on the character and makes them think he’s a giant monster. My only disappointment with the stages is that there are too many god-damn Batman stages. I get it, people love Batman, but it gets dull. There are about 5 Batman-related stages (Batcave, Arkham Asylum, Wayne Manor, Wayne Manor night, Gotham City). I would at least like to have an Oa stage for Green Lantern.
You can play against your friends via versus mode, or you can test your skills online against the best players in ranked or non-ranked matches. I personally like King of the Hill, where everybody gets a chance to defeat the top player in the 8-player “room” and become king. There’s also Survivor mode, where the winning player’s health bar gets carried over from the previous match to the next. The game doesn’t require an online pass, so I applaud Warner Bros. for not trying to be greedy. So far during my playthrough, I haven’t experienced any lag. Another cool thing that NetherRealms did is penalize players who rage quits (sucks for those who loses internet connection).
Throughout your experiences from playing either single player or multiplayer, you’ll gain points to unlock outfits, artworks, music and more.
The graphics for the game is very serviceable, but it’s sometimes a hit and miss. It really shines when there are a lot of things happening in the background. An example of that is Metropolis, where we see giants in the background and robots flying around in the air. Then there are parts where the developers got really lazy, like Green Lantern’s victory screen. After a win, he flies up into space with the other Green Lanterns, and they look like cardboard cutouts floating slowly up and down.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is definitely an enjoyable fighting game, especially for one that’s based on comic books. There’s plenty to do in the game, whether it’s playing the single-player campaign, fighting your friends, or fighting strangers online. It has a big list of playable characters, dynamic stages, and plenty of cool special moves that are sure to please many gamers.