‘Injustice’ justifies DC fan-love
Netherealm’s long-anticipated Injustice: Gods Among Us has landed, and DC fans can rejoice. After nearly a decade of mediocrity (not counting the truly excellent Arkham games), WB Games has given DC fans what they’ve all been waiting for with a licensed game that isn’t mediocre.
Before the review begins, here’s what you need to know:
Is it better than Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe?
Yes. With clunky, overly-complicated controls, combos, moves, and too-slow character movement, MK vs. DC was slow-paced and seemed more of a MK-vehicle than a comic book-related one. Some of the moves are a little complicated in Injustice, but Netherealm learned from the MK vs. DC experience.
Is it better than Marvel vs. Capcom 3?
Yes. While I can’t argue that MvC3 is much more fast-paced and has a better combo-system, Injustice has a fast pace of its own, with interactive environments and lacks most of the cheapness or limitations in movesets provided by MvC3. Both games are driven by plenty of special effects, but the overall presentation is much more immersive in Injustice.
Is it better than Mortal Kombat?
Mortal Kombat is what it is. There’s no other game like it, and Netherealm didn’t try to create a DC-based MK clone with Injustice. While there are some similarities in movesets (Captain Marvel throws lightning bolts, can teleport and does a very familiar “human torpedo”-ish move, for instance), the fighting system for both games is very distinct. Injustice is a fighting game made by the creators of MK, but it doesn’t play like a MK game.
I played as the Flash against Lex Luthor in one of my first matches, and the Fastest Man Alive is a force to be reckoned with. The battle went back and forth, with Lex Luthor throwing everything at me–even objects in the environment around us–that he could. I knocked him into one of the walls of the Hall of Justice, and he flew into a portal that sent him directly into the throne room of Darkseid.
The thoroughly annoyed Lord of Apokolips hit Luthor, then threw him back through the portal like so much rubbish and hit him with an Omega beam on his way back. Then the fight resumed, and finished when I activated my Super-Move: Running at the speed of light around the circumfrence of the earth to build momentum, then hitting Luthor with a solid punch for the win.
That was when I decided that I liked this game.
Injustice: Gods Among us isn’t just a fighting game: It’s a fighting game for DC fans. The game isn’t just good–it defies expectations by being original, borrowing almost nothing except from the DC universe itself.
The game’s roster consists of 12 superheroes and 12 supervillains, with four additional DLC characters coming soon. Each character has their own moveset and their own dialogue that comes into play during a match.
And Injustice brings something never seen before in a fighting game of this kind: Each of the 24 characters has a distinct “trait move,” activated with the press of a button. Green Arrow fires his arrows with it, Bane injects himself with venom, Doomsday encases himself in a layer of bone, making himself nearly impossible to hurt, and the Flash slows down time itself. Through superpowers or gadgetry, every hero brings his or her own style and powers into a fight, making their play styles even more singular.
Some of the character choices seem arbitrary, however. Alongside the Flash, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are two Titans, Nightwing and Raven. I’m still not sure why, or where they fit into it all. Would it have been too much trouble to use Zatanna and Huntress, or similar members of the Justice League?
But I digress. The story in Injustice is, essentially, the Justice Lords story arc from the 2000s Justice League animated series. In a dark, alternate future, Lois Lane is killed, and the Joker is responsible. Superman kills the Joker, and then decides that he can best serve the public by ruling over them with an iron fist, protecting people with strict totalitarianism…with the help of a darker version of the Justice League. Alternate Batman activates a portal that brings the present-day Justice League to his reality in the hopes of stopping the insanity.
The storyline takes approximately four hours to play through, culminating in a final showdown between Superman and Evil-Future-Superman. In all, the storyline is very well-plotted and well-written, with interesting scenarios and entertaining interactions between well-known characters…and lesser-known characters who surprise us by doing something noble.
The Story mode, however, isn’t the only draw for the game. Injustice provides hours of entertainment with challenge-levels as well, and simple versus matches and an Arcade mode in which you battle through a ladder of opponents to reach an ending for whichever character you play as.
There were moments when I gasped in sheer, nerdly indignation, of course–moments where I stood up and shouted at my screen, “Batman can’t beat Doomsday like that!!”
But it’s still fun to watch, and fun to play.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to give an impartial final score for Injustice: Gods Among Us. While it’s not the greatest fighting game that I’ve ever played, it’s certainly something special in a genre of palette-swapped ninjas and 3D beat-em-up action.
As a DC fan, I’d like to give it a final score of 5/5. As a fighting game connoisseur, I’m tempted to give it a 4. As a gamer, however, my recommendation is that you try this as soon as you’re able.