Injustice: Gods Among Us ReviewGreg Knoll
I'll just come right out and state it: Injustice: Gods Among Us is everything you wanted and hoped for with DC Vs. MK.
I admit even I was a bit leery when I recalled all the flaws the last time DC characters were put into a fighting game, but considering Netherrealm's last devolpment in the almost flawless Mortal Kombat, I risked it.
And very glad I did.
Because, put honestly, Injustice is a fanboy's paradise. With the game focusing solely on the DC universe it's not bogged down by silly storylines where Darkseid and Kahn mesh together to form a super bad guy, or hollow methods as to how Superman can be injured or even killed by humans. This is strictly comic book. It does bring back the ideas of a parallel universe, and you eventually will face an evil Superman but it's not the same structure DC has used prior in the form of Ultra Man. This one poses a very unique question: what would happen if Superman lost control-the real one? What follows is a very plausible situation. Ultra Man was always dark, so it made sense that in most situations the others were evil as well or spent their energy battling him. Superman was good until one decisive moment, so his heroism and status still existed. Still revered by many of the other heroes so when he left, they followed. All except one. Bruce Wayne. And with exhaustive efforts Batman manages to bring in the heroes of the original world to take down the villains in his.
I must say, as a longtime fan, what Netherrealm created was pure magic. I saw Green Hal Jordan battling the Yellow version of himself, a very dark, brainwashed Wonder Woman blindly following and fighting for the new Superman and-oddly enough-Batman and Harley fighting on the same side.
In the effort to bring down the one world government and put an end to Superman once and for all the story shifts between characters. An idea that could very well been a gamble. Everyone has their favorites, and their distaste. If I'm being honest, a good lot of the massive roster I would have stayed away from barring morbid curiosity. Had I not played the story and been forced to battle with different characters I never would have learned how deadly Green Arrow can truly be, Flash is even more entertaining than I ever could have imagined and despite how clunky he may seem, Lex Luthor is almost equally matched with the Man Of Steel.
Cyborg is still a big, clumsy idiot though. Sorry.
The story alone makes this game worth the price tag and can easily overshadow the other aspects but make no mistake: Injustice is not a game made solely for comic book fans, but MK junkies as well. Yes, fatalities are gone and the violence is severely toned down but the mechanics are still present. The same two-dimensional war that forced you to use knowledge of the character, timing and skill to survive. The style takes a bit of talent. Each character has several moves that initiate an air launch, and a good lot of them have special moves to allow you to follow up-like Superman's heat vision angled upwards or Green Arrow firing arrows at the sky. If you're good enough, regardless of who you're playing with, the ability to constantly juggle an enemy is present.
And though the fatalities are gone, that's not to say Injustice is lacking a unique quality to make it really stand out, found in the form of super moves. Oddly enough, they're not a series of control combinations, but the press of the two shoulder buttons that's universal to every character and can be done at any time provided your super meter is full. Each one is unique, and personifies the icon. I watched Flash race around the entire world to get a running start and smack Sinestro in the face. Superman pulled Bane high above the earth and dropped him as if he were nothing; Doomsday continuously punched Nightwing straight through it. And Batman....oh, Batman was my favorite. He tased Joker, sling an explosive Batarang at him then back flipped over the Batmobile as it raced through the screen-and The Joker.
Even the environments have specific properties. Hurl Harely up and down the floors of The Daily Planet, smack Adam into the bat cave's elevator and continue to pummel him. Hurl Ares through Cyborgs lab to be crushed on the assembly line or scrape Grundy along the rooftops of Wayne Manor.
Though fatalities and violence are gone, that's not to say Injustice is lacking-in any way-on the originality and uniqueness that MK fans fell in love with.
Outside of story mode there are a wealth of other options to keep gamers entertained. Each character has their own ending, one that takes off from where story mode left and reveals what path each chose. There are countless challenges, such as taking on every single villain one at a time while you only have one life bar. S.T.A.R. labs serves as somewhat of a tutorial and asks that you take on specific challenges like landing a five-hit combo, or scoring a perfect match.
Large or small, each battle earns you experience points to level up. With each higher level you earn keys and access cards that can be used in the game's data base to unlock anything from bios, alternate characters and artwork-much like The Krypt from MK.
Regardless of what you're after, or why you play there is enough to keep you interested for a long time.
And while I hate to use the term "all out"-as I despise clichs-I can think of no other way to put it. Netherrealm didn't trailer themselves on the success of Mortal Kombat and put together a lackluster effort, using the lure of a beloved DC universe as bait. Injustice is a deep, entertaining experience both for comic and fighting game fans. One that has few flaws, if any.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
May I have the strength to lead with compassion. May I have a resolve strong enough to inspire it in others. May my heart be true, my motives virtuous, my spirit valiant. And whether I fail or succeed, may I at least be brave in the attempt.
About the Author: Greg Knoll
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