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Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us

PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360
Genre: Fighting Players: 1 to 2 (2 Online)
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Brothers Interac...
Release Date:
2013
Injustice: Gods Among Us Review
Review By @ 01:49pm 17/04/13
XBOX360
Injustice: Gods Among Us might just be the best story ever told in the fighting game space. That’s not really a bold statement though, when you consider some of the ludicrous stories that have been tacked onto fighting games of the past, but with its comic book foundation and established characters and rules (not to mention a great transmedia lead-in via an Aussie-written comic series), Injustice just works. After a while, you’ll start wanting to get to the next contextual fight just so you can get it over with, because, you know, that’ll advance the plot and you can finally see what Batman’s ultimate role in all of this is going to be.

It’s an odd point to be at with a fighting game -- to want more of its story than its fighting. And that isn’t to say the fighting is in any way bad, because it’s fricking awesome to be honest. And this is why Injustice: Gods Among Us is such a winner -- on two fronts it’s equal parts awesome and will cater to a wider, more thankful audience as a result. In short, it’s not just a worthwhile package, it’s almost a must for any fan of either the DC universe and good storytelling, or just plain solid fighting games.



On the genre front there’s enough new here to warrant a very close look for die-hard fans. And for what on the surface could be construed as a simple arcade game, it’s amazingly well-balanced and very deep, right down to frame-data in the fighting moves menu for the comboing jugglers out there. The new though, comes in the form of the environment being a larger part of combat and a character unto itself.

Every arena you dabble in has interactive elements, as well as transitions that will equally count towards damage on your opponent. Things like fighting in Aquaman’s throne room and being able to break the walls to his aquarium that surrounds the level make for great tactical recourse when either backed to the wall or wanting to gain leverage. But not everything has an attack element, which is where the aforementioned balance comes into play. Certain characters (namely more agile archetypes) can also use parts of the environment for quick evades, and combining these with the attack parts can really help turn the tide in a conflict.

None of these are to be taken as gimmicky though, because they’re just as important as knowing how to launch and juggle with a basic three-hit combo, and fighting against someone who knows how to utilise the environment, if you don’t, will quickly separate the men from the boys. But further to what these offer the game from a tactical fighting perspective, they also go a long way to selling NetherRealm’s vision of their DC universe (which becomes important with the story side of things).



Out of the box you’ll have access to some 24 characters ranging from the likes of classics such as Batman and Superman to more obscure picks like Black Adam and Killer Frost. For the uninitiated, quite a few from the roster will be strangers, but when you consider games like Marvel Vs Capcom and some of their outlandish offerings, it’s not really a bad thing and playing through the game’s story will not only give you context to their place on the roster, but might even help you pick them as favourites.

Among the 24 are fighting game archetypes with light, medium and heavy. Each character has both ranged and melee skills alongside the environmental differentiator. They also each have a special power you can call in with B or Circle that can be used in a variety of different ways, depending on your chosen character. And this wouldn’t be a modern fighter without specials, and in Injustice: Gods Among Us, these specials really paint a very clear picture of why the game is named such as it is (some of them are downright crazy in scale). You can also grapple, launch, juggle, parry and wager in each confrontation serving up a heady mix of classic mechanics alongside the new already mentioned.

It’s not all perfect though. The specials, though awesome the first few times, get a bit tiring after a while. We’re dealing with superheroes, all of whom have varying abilities. It would have been great to see a bit more variety in this department. And while transitions are a great way of mixing up the arena side of the game, a bit more variety here would have been good too. Also, on a visual level, the story is presented in what appears to be pre-recorded cut-scenes (using in-engine visuals), and the game flicks to real-time whenever you’re about to face off against an opponent. It’s just a bit jarring at times, and I’m not really sure why it all couldn’t just stream in real-time, but it doesn’t break the game.



Actually none of the negatives mentioned are game-breaking by any measure, they’re more wishful thinking on my part, but on the whole, as both a fighter and a narrative, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a truly rich experience. It’ll be interesting to see where the DLC leads, and to see if we get any more story. It’s obvious we’ll be getting new characters and arenas, but with a storyline like this (which involves multiple dimensions), there’s no reason we couldn’t be getting an expanded narrative, and it’s something I really think the game deserves. Not just because I’m a comic and DC fan, but because the game’s storyline really is a rewarding one to play through and I’d be interested to hear how non comic book fans feel about it.

Despite the fact we’re finally getting Mortal Kombat here in Australia next month, you couldn’t go much better than Injustice: Gods Among Us for your fighting game fix. It feels like a classic NetherRealm game with all the mechanics and balance they’re known for when they bring their A-Game, and it has Batman duking it out with Superman. Honestly, what’s not to love here?

What we liked
  • The best fighting game story in the genre
  • A great interpretation of classic DC characters
  • Solid, well-balanced fight mechanics
  • Environments add much to conflict and are, themselves, characters
  • Batman beating up Superman
What we didn't like
  • Specials need more variety per character
  • Character-specific transitions would have been nice
  • Cut-scenes aren't real-time
More
We gave it:
8.8
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
Crash
Posted 02:47pm 17/4/13
Hey Steve, found a mistake in your review. It says "Batman beating up Superman", it should actually be the other way around. kthanks
Steve Farrelly
Posted 04:05pm 17/4/13
He grimaces!
Khel
Posted 04:25pm 17/4/13
So, what are the controls like? Is it like mortal kombat with the block button?
RUSTA
Posted 04:32pm 17/4/13
There is a demo on Xbox live Khel. I downloaded it the other day. Haven't had a chance to play it yet.
Crash
Posted 04:33pm 17/4/13
i think the combat is more complex than MK, you have a lot more to worry about. There isn't a block button, its more like street fighter where you hold back or down depending on the incoming attack. Also can play it like MK where you tap the buttons - down forward, or just quarter circle like in SF.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 04:34pm 17/4/13
pressing back on the d-pad or analogue is block, like classic MK
Khel
Posted 04:37pm 17/4/13
Oh cool, I'll have to grab the demo and try it out. Though, I think I'll probably get it anyway, it sounds pretty awesome. I was hoping for a block button though, I'm more used to that. Guess I'll just have to adapt :p
darkjedi
Posted 09:27pm 17/4/13
pressing back on the d-pad or analogue is block, like classic MK


MK never utilised back for block - MK1 through 9 all used a button.
tspec
Posted 09:54pm 17/4/13
Pressing back was a Street Fighter thing, definitely SFII anyway, can't remember about the others.
Calsy
Posted 09:15am 21/4/13
MK never had back block, never ever ever
Reverend Evil
Posted 09:35am 21/4/13
Will be playing this and mortal kombat at my place this arvo. Gonna be awesome fun.
Khel
Posted 01:24pm 22/4/13
Its pretty good, controls are taking a bit of getting used to for me though. Its a bit like Marvel, theres a light, medium and heavy attack, then a 'special' button, and then your heavy attack is also a launcher. Doesn't map too well to the MK joystick I have though which is a bit of a shame
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