Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us is so good it'll make you fall in love with Aquaman
Here at GameZone, there isn’t a week that goes by without someone debating how good of a superhero Batman is. The biggest debate is who would win a fight between Batman and Superman. Half of the staff are Batman fanboys, so of course we hear nothing but, “Batman is the greatest detective ever!” and “He knows everyone’s weakness!” They feel Batman would win because he’s smarter and knows how to defeat anyone; also, Superman’s morals keep him in check.
Injustice: Gods Among Us helps answer some of these questions. Developed by NetherRealm Studios -- the team behind the very impressive Mortal Kombat -- Injustice pits some of the greatest heroes and villains of the DC Comics Universe against each other in grand spectacle. With powers and moves fitting for super humans and a custom story mode that’s as good as Mortal Kombat’s, it’s one of the better fighting games of the past few years.
In Injustice: Gods Among Us, we are introduced to a Superman that just had his world rocked. Tricked by the Joker, Superman resorts to killing the Joker after the Joker destroyed Metropolis with nuclear weapons and killed Lois and their child. This leads Superman down a dark path -- one where he sets up a regime, which happens to kill anyone who opposes it. Superman has convinced the other heroes and villains to join him -- because he has the power to protect everyone and create stability and peace -- and the ones that don’t must be eliminated.
Batman leads the insurgents against Superman, trying to foil the regime and bring Superman down. To help defeat Superman, heroes and villains from an alternate universe (one where the bomb didn’t go off) are pulled into the other one (where the bomb did go off). This helps explain how characters can fight against their alternate selves. Now, the two sides are fighting to stop each other.
There’s a lot to the story, and I would say it’s right on par with the one in Mortal Kombat. NetherRealm, with the help of some DC Comics writers -- the same ones who wrote Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe -- have created an excellent story in a fighting game. That doesn’t happen often. The story mode has you play through the characters, doing a couple of fights before moving on to the next character. There are cutscenes in between that advance the story, and the transitions to the fights are seamless. That’s really one of the most impressive parts -- how the fights feel totally organic. Aside from the story being great -- with BioShock Infinite-esque elements of string theory in there -- it’s a nice way for you two get your hands on all of the characters in an entertaining way. And it’ll only last around five to six hours.
There are also some nice minigames in the story mode, like Batman having to block attacks from Green Arrow in a button input minigame, or Green Arrow having to shoot Grundy away from charging him, while shooting down projectiles.
Outside of the story mode, players can test their skills in Battles and S.T.A.R. Labs Missions. Battles are themed fights where you progress through 11 different enemies, kind of like an Arcade mode. Some of the options are a survivor battle, where your health carries over from each fight, or fighting exclusively villains or heroes, with more options to unlock.
The S.T.A.R. Labs Missions mode is the equivalent to the Challenge Tower in Mortal Kombat. In it, there are 240 single-player challenges with specific tasks for specific characters. Each mission has three objectives, with you earning a star for each completed objective. It adds more challenge and replay value to the game, as the challenges ramp up in difficulty. It also provides a means of earning more Access and Armor Cards (you get them in story mode, too), which you use to unlock new costumes, concept art, etc.
Online play was smooth sailing as well. Connection to stable servers is a breeze, gameplay in the matches are smooth, and I didn’t experience any lag. Online multiplayer matches consist of 1v1 ranked or unranked matches, Survivor, or King of the Hill. What’s King of the Hill, you ask? You and up to eight players battle it out in a ladder-type match where players move up a ladder through winning, trying to take the King’s spot, or get knocked down to the bottom. If you’re not the one fighting, you can spectate the match.
Since it’s a fighting game, it also comes with local multiplayer, of course. Through the single-player and multiplayer, you share an experience bar. Performing good attacks and combos, winning, and other tasks give you more experience, leveling you up. Leveling up unlocks pictures and objects for your Hero Card -- which is like your player card in Call of Duty.
Enough about modes; this is a fighting game! Let’s talk about the combat!
The best way I can describe the combat in Injustice: Gods Among Us is to say that it’s like a cousin of Mortal Kombat. They look and feel familiar, but there’s enough difference to make Injustice unique. Timing with frames is more forgiving with Injustice than it is with, let’s say, one of the 45 Street Fighter games released in the past two years. While it’s easier for a newcomer to pick up and play, there’s a lot of depth to the fighting system -- something better players will appreciate.
Aside from light, medium and heavy attacks, each character has a power move that gives them a boost. For instance, when you press ‘B’ as Batman, you gain three Batarangs that hover around you, which you can then use in a few different attacks against the opponent. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, switches from her lasso to a sword and shield, gaining new attacks. And Superman gains increased damage for a short period of time. Combining button and directional inputs will result in combos and special power attacks. Simple combos are easy to pull off, but there are some more intricate ones that’ll only be mastered by playing with that superhero enough.
One major difference from Mortal Kombat is that there is no dedicated block button now. Simply pressing back or down will block most attacks.