Pitting super-powered fighters against each other.
Fighting games are a matter of taste, you either love them or hate them. If you are a gamer who yearns for the simple pleasure of beating an opponent to the ground in a flurry of well executed combos, then you will likely have a favorite fighting series that you follow religiously with each new entry. For the fans of the Mortal Kombat series, and its excellent recent reboot, then next on your list of must have fighting titles will be the much-hyped Injustice: Gods Among Us, which has been developed by the mighty NetherRealm Studios.
But Injustice is not a game that will just draw in the fans of NetherRealm’s work. The usual character roster has been cast away in favor of something that will appeal to a much wider audience – comic book fans. And this is no cross-over either, there will be no mixing characters from different creative worlds here. What we have is a fighting game based around the heroes of the DC universe, plain and simple.
The recent ad campaign starring cult favorites Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the appeal of Injustice. Everyone has a favorite hero, and everyone wants to prove that their hero can beat the favorites of others. Well, now you can settle those differences by facing off heroes from the impressive roster available in Injustice. But the game offers so much more than simple superhero grudge match resolution.
DC hero fans who do not usually participate in the type of virtual fisticuffs offered by fighting games will be happy to hear that Injustice is supremely accessible. The game is easy enough to pick up, with an uncomplicated three attack buttons and super move button, that they will be able to enjoy fighting with their favorite hero in no time at all. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of complexity here to keep the more “pro” players happy, and newcomers will find themselves being trounced on a regular basis. But after a relatively short amount of time, and a quick run through the tutorial, players will find themselves able to hold their own and do their hero proud.
The tutorial itself is quite lengthy and moves from the very basics through to explaining all manner of combos, environmental factors and the wagering system. Players will have the moves/mechanics explained before being able to try them out for themselves. For the newcomer, it may take a few visits to the tutorial to finally get the hang of everything that Injustice has to offer, but brushing up on techniques is never a bad thing.
The fighting itself is over-the-top and dramatic. Each hero has special moves that are appropriate to them, and are a joy to execute. Whilst the heroes themselves tend to lean towards a relatively limited number of fighting styles, it is the special moves that give each character their personality and make them different to play. And the same can be said for the environments in which they fight, with different interactive objects and the chance to move to new areas, such as by throwing your opponent through a wall in the Batcave.
Even the backgrounds come to life whilst the player is busy trying not to have their cape handed to them. This may well be missed during the heat of battle, but the chance to watch the matches of others will reveal everything that is going on and the sheer amount of detail that is present in every match.
Fighting games are traditionally more enjoyed when playing with, or against, other real-life players. However, Injustice has managed to pack in an incredibly compelling story mode, which is both hugely enjoyable and acts as a perfect introduction for the newcomers to try different heroes.
The story is typical comic book stuff. In an alternate universe, The Joker has caused the death of Lois Lane and Superman’s son, pushing the Man of Steel over the edge. Superman kills The Joker and then sets himself up as ruler of the world. A bunch of meta-humans come through from other dimensions to put a stop to Superman’s shenanigans. So far as stories go, it’s pretty good. But the main perk of this story is that players will get to see heroes fighting other heroes that they usually wouldn’t with a reason, rather than just for the sake of the game. With some brilliant dialogue that will send shivers up the spines of comic book fans and some lovely cut scenes, the story in Injustice is an absolute highlight.
But the content doesn’t stop there. Challenges are available in S.T.A.R. Labs, with each of the characters getting 10 quick-hit challenges of their own. These are great fun for trying out other characters and a change of pace, but be aware that the difficulty curve is somewhat wobbly and could lead to tantrums of super-sized proportions. Classic arcade ladders are also available in Battles and players completing the standard ladder will get a special ending for their character.
And of course there is a healthy dose of solid multiplayer action to be had. With lobbies, standard one on one bouts, King of the Hill and Survivor modes, there is plenty of fun to be had playing with others. Being able to watch other matches while waiting your turn in King of the Hill ensures that waiting is almost as much fun as actually fighting.
Injustice: Gods Among Us comes packed with 24 heroes at launch, and more to come through DLC down the line. It may not have the competitive edge that some of the bigger fighting games offer, but it is that fact that will make the game appeal to those who normally don’t turn their hands to fighting games. And with the subject being DC super heroes, and looking as stunning as it does, there will surely be many gamers who pick up Injustice: Gods Among Us just to play as their favorite hero. Fortunately, it also happens to be one of the best, and most accessible, fighting games of this generation.