While Marvel comics has been dominating the silver screen with their constant stream of blockbusters over the last few years DC have been owning games consoles with their Batman Arkham games and DC Universe online. A new addition to this video game roster is that of Injustice: Gods Among Us, a new fighting game from the creators of Mortal Kombat featuring an expansive roster, wonderful story mode and lovely hidden extras.
Is "Injustice" a God amongst fighting games, or just a fool dressed up as a clown.
The story mode in Injustice is based around one question; what if Superman was a villain? Superman has decided that mankind cannot govern itself so he has restructured the planets governments into the Earth One Regime placing himself at the top of its chain of hierarchy. Only a few stand to remove from his self made throne, these heroes and villains are known as the Insurgency, led by Batman. The story is well written and all of the cutscenes are well made and feature some genuinely badass moments. The story even manages to explain why characters like The Joker can be punched into orbit by Superman and survive.
The story is broken up into 12 chapters in each of which you play as a different character (though you do play as Batman twice). Each chapter contains 4 fights and a minigame, these allow you to drain some of your opponents health before the fight though really you just press the on screen prompts to throw batarangs at a slow walking foe. The voice work for each character is wonderfully performed; most of the characters are voiced by animated voice actors. Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy from the legendary 90ís Batman cartoon. Cyborg is voiced by Khary Payton from the cult show Teen Titans. Sadly The Joker however is not voiced by Mark Hamill, this is due to Hamill apparently not wanting to be type cast in the role but his presence is still noticeably missed. The biggest problem with story mode is that it is an alternative universe story, the group of heroes the player experiences the story from have be brought into this universe in which superman is a cruel dictator. This removes all sense of tension from the story we feel as though nothing is at stake throughout the whole story as this is not Ďourí world. That aside the story mode is very enjoyable and could easily be an animated DC film of its own.
The fighting system in Injustice, if described in a single word, that word would be... Meaty. Every hit in every fight feels like it hurt, which truly helps sell the Ďsuper beingsí aspect of the fighting. The combat is based around a 4 button layout. Light, Medium and Heavy attack and a character power. Character powers are unique to each individual member of the roster and are based around there own powers, this really helps the characters feel unique and separate from each other. Bane for instance injects himself with Venom so his attacks do much more damage, when his Venom tank empties his does half his regular damage. Doomsday however gives him super armour so even though he takes damage he is not knocked down. The game however does have some balancing issues, keepaway characters such as Deathstroke have the upper hand during any fight against characters that do not have ranged attacks this can be exploited to a high degree when playing online. Though we can assume this will be patched somewhere in the near future. Online fighting works wonderfully, connections seem stable and returning from Mortal Kombat is popular "King of The Hill" mode which allows players to be spectators on online fights. However online is dragged down by a huge flaw in the games win-loss system mixed with the online community. If player one is fighting player two and player two leaves the match, it counts as a loss to player one and player two is not punished. This causes people to go online and if they are about to lose a match they leave as it does not affect them in any way. Again this will be patched at some point but for now it is a huge problem in the games online scheme.
The games presentation is a mixed bag. With it been a fighter based on comic book characters there are many wonderful references to find hidden away in the background of fight stages and within menuís themselves. The menuís themselves are clean and crisp and simple to follow, with the main menuís background been a wonderfully epic sight. Sadly following in the footsteps of Mortal Kombat the games soundtrack is practically nonexistent, with the exception of the main theme no music is even remotely memorable. The game allows features a huge host of unlockables, ranging from extra costumes, new battle modes, concept art and more. Unlockables are earned through levelling up via the games XP system, you earn XP from everything you do within the game. The problem with this is not within the game itself, it's within the fact that there is an iOS version of the game.
The game will frequently tell you that you have unlocked something for the iOS version of the game wether you have it registered or not. There are also some outfits that can only be unlocked via doing things within the iOS version of the game, these include a Batman Beyond outfit and a Knightfall outfit for Bane. The fact that some content is restricted to iOS user is ridiculous and unfair to gamers without access to an iOS device.
All these small flaws are irritating however they are not enough to truly dampen what is at its core, a fabulous fighting game experience. Filled with enough nerd value to fill a comic book store. "Injustice: Gods Among Us" is definitely worth your time.
Review by Jarrod Beauchamp & Ellis Atkinson
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