April 26, 2013
Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us
I’ve decided to break the format of my ‘First Hour’ review for this game since it would basically end up with me talking about the cutscenes in the game. Instead, I decided I’m just going to gush about how good this game is.
Injustice chooses to follow a similar gameplay style and format as other 2D fighting games, like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Each player chooses a D.C. Comics superhero or villain, and use combinations of button presses and thumbstick movements to pound their opponent into submission.
The controls in this game are simple enough if you’ve played fighting games previously. The left thumbstick is used to move left and right, crouch, and jump. If you double tap the stick in any direction, your character will perform a quick dash, good to close distance or to separate yourself from the other character. X performs a light strike, Y is a medium strike, and A performs heavy strikes. Holding the thumbstick in a direction as you press a button makes your character perform a directional attack. For example, holding forward and A will have your character do an overhead attack that bounces the opponent in the air, allowing for further combos to be chained. Holding backwards and A will have your character send the opponent flying across the screen and bounce back for more combos.
Each character has tons of combos and special moves at their disposal. Batman has a grappling hook and batarangs; Superman can use his heat vision and super strength; The Joker uses laughing gas, crowbars, and blunderbusses to blow away the enemy. All of these abilities can be used by combining a sweeping motion of the thumbstick and a button press. Combine these with regular and directional attacks, and you can string together devastating combos that do tons of damage.
Lastly, there’s Character Powers. Pressing B will activate a special ability specific to your character and their abilities. Batman will summon a swarm of electronic bats to shield himself or throw at enemies; Flash’s ability slows down the opponent, allowing him to punish them with blinding speed; Cyborg can use his own power to heal himself slowly. These add a whole new level of depth previously untapped in fighting games. Each character also has a Super Move. After hitting the other character with the initial strike of a super move, an awesome cinematic sequence is activated where your character lets the opponent have it.
Every now and then, you’ll get the chance to pull an environment-interactive attack, where you use something from the stage to your advantage to help you out of a situation. Many examples of this are throwing cars or detonating machinery to blow your opponent away. There are also special spots where if you hit the other character with your back and A attack, they’ll fly out of the stage, activating a transition sequence that deals tons of damage, and takes the fight to another location.
Outside of the fighting mechanics, this game still has much to offer. A 5-6 hour story mode is a beautiful thing to see in a fighting game, and the story plays out much like a superhero movie. The graphics are the best in any fighting game I’ve ever played, and there are tons of unlockables and collectibles. You can unlock character portraits, emblems, and even old comic book covers for your personal player card. There’s also an archive where you can unlock concept art for many characters and stages in the game, as well as new types of battles and alternate costumes for each character.
Injustice is a beautifully made game, a masterpiece, even. Having never played Mortal Kombat extensively because of the blood and gore that’s associated with it, I find this game to be the pinnacle of fighting games. NetherRealms really gave D.C. fans something to play and enjoy for years to come, and I’m excited for what new fighting titles come after this one.
Image Credit: NetherRealm Studios