The Average Gamer

Injustice: Gods Among Us Review (PS3)

Injustice Gods Among Us - Deathstroke vs Flash
Superhero video games can be a risky business. Not only must the game be of a certain quality (like any other), the superhero fans need to be appeased also. But as the movie industry has proven of late, particularly Marvel with The Avengers, and DC Comics with The Dark Knight Trilogy, excellence can be achieved. It’s the latter company’s assets that are under scrutiny this time with the birth of (potentially) a new fighting game franchise. Ambiguously titled Injustice: God Among Us, and developed by NetherRealm, this latest one-on-one scrapper is a Justice League title that sure packs a punch.

NetherRealm developed the latest Mortal Kombat game, which was a sure fire hit. But Injustice is no simple Mortal Kombat clone; it stands on its own two feet rather well, and great for any fans of DC’s beloved comic characters. There are similarities of course, which is no bad thing. Simple combos are integrated into each of the 24-strong roster’s move list, along with typical two-touch Street Fighter-style special moves, but this is simply the beginner’s reference list.

These combos and special moves can be linked in a variety of ways and, with lots of practice and perfect timing, to devastating effect. Injustice caters for all; those who just play for fun and use the basic moves, those who are willing to spend hours becoming a master, and of course, the button-bashers. The types of character and move lists are extensive, from big bruiser fighters such as Solomon Grundy and Doomsday, to the more common quicker types such as Superman and Batman.

Injustice Gods Among Us - Flash vs NightwingEach character has 2 health bars per fight, instead of the typical ‘Round’ setup, a la Darkstalkers 3, with the only pause being once a character’s first meter is depleted. NetherRealm’s previous credits are of course famed for their horrific violence and infamous ‘Fatalities’, but unlike MK vs. DC Universe, the latter have been removed completely. They’re instead opting for the more Street Fighter-style super moves, but performed with a simple tap of 2 shoulder buttons instead of any directional complexity. All it takes is for each fighter’s meter to be fully charged and the rest is up to you.

This is somewhat disappointing; from years past that Capcom have deployed such moves with at least some complexity and timing required, these feel more like a late addition, but are nonetheless pretty spectacular. Although still a violent game, Injustice is nowhere near the ‘spectacular’ level the last Mortal Kombat produced, with only the occasional spit of blood here and there, leaving only the ambience of super powered hit after hit, and the visual arena devastation left in their wake.

A secondary use for the meter is the Clash system. Only available once per fight, and occurs should you break up an opponent’s combo. You both have up to 4 options (square, cross, triangle, circle) depending on the current size of you super meter, with the goal being for the options to not match.

Injustice Gods Among Us - Batman vs CyborgThis leads to a boost of health or temporary regeneration of it, or on the flip side, trying to prevent your opponent from obtaining the same bonuses. It’s a bit gimmicky, plus there isn’t much control over the outcome, it is pure pot luck. The fighting arenas are the expected Batcave and Fortress of Solitude, and all are interactive in some way. For example, an opponent can be smashed through the end of the Batcave level, which prompts a sequence showing them crashing through walls and the like, coming out on the lower level, with much damage taken.

So, Injustice clearly has a lot to chew on, but that’s just the fighting itself. There’s also a massive wealth of single and multiplayer modes, both on and offline, and many bonuses for more hardcore DC fanatics. Operating an XP system within the game, each level gained reveals more available content and bonuses, to edit your Hero Card, which is how people view you online. As a Superman fan-boy myself, I proudly display my Superman symbol, caped background, and comic book cover portrait picture. There is something here for all DC fans to keep them unlocking those levels. The XP system applies to all modes as well, so every bit of action in the game has its reward, and it works really well.

For the single player, there are hours and hours of modes to take on, and my first port of call was the story mode. One of the best features of the latest Mortal Kombat, and delightfully cheesy, Injustice’s story mode does not disappoint. 12 chapters of multiple fights with the key roster members, interspersed with cut scenes of high quality, and voiced by the DC Animated actors themselves (sans Mark Hamill) is very appealing. The result is excellent, and is highly addictive and engrossing.

Injustice_gods_among_us_1Battles mode puts your choice of character against 10 opponents, one after the other, under different conditions, such as depleting health, or a typical gauntlet mode. The skills are really put to the test, with each round’s difficulty increasing subtly. S.T.A.R. Labs is also excellent; each fight has 3 conditions to meet, each one rewarded with a star. This is where the single player longevity really kicks in, with some of the conditions very difficult to obtain and expect to win the match in time. There are several missions for every character in the game also, and it’s great to see such variety in a game where the aim is usually purely to kick the crap out of each other.

So it’s no surprise given the amount of content for a single player that there should be suitably extensive online multiplayer modes. Once again, Injustice does not disappoint. Not content with the usual Player and Ranked match modes, there is also King of the Hill, which allows up to eight players to be spectators while waiting for their turn to fight, placing XP bets against the on-screen match. Survivor mode is purely that; your health carries over match after match until finally defeated. Each experience is different, and the action is always solid.

That last statement sums up Injustice: God Among Us to a tee. There is a lot on offer here, and is a great non-violent (compared to MK of course!) alternative to your King of Fighters and Street Fighters of this world. Due to the interactive arenas, I don’t see Injustice appearing in any fighting game tournaments, but otherwise the action is very hardcore. And, with practice and its great learning curve, most will be launching devastating combos of their own in no time. The quality and amount of DC content on offer here is tremendous also. This is perfect for any DC Comics or fight fan, and could be the start of something wonderful.

Curious about the verdict? Read our review policy.