E3 2012: Injustice: Gods Among Us preview

We were invited by WB Games to check out a gameplay demonstration of Injustice: Gods Among Us, the upcoming fighting game from Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm Studios. The first thing that immediately got our attention was the insane level of detail. Characters don't have a cartoon-like appearance at all. Instead, their costumes are super detailed, with loads of varying textures. Additionally, facial features such as wrinkled brows and changes in expression were seen throughout. These are subtle touches, but they show just how much authenticity NetherRealm wants Injustice to boast.

The level of detail doesn't end with the characters, though. Injustice features fully destructible environments that tear apart as the action gets wilder. We witnessed this for ourselves, and it was really cool seeing different elements of the Batcave falling apart as Superman battled the Flash. Lights illuminating the action were broken, walls were cracked, and rocks crumbled and fell onto the Batmobile. Is that thing even insured?

From what we saw, there seems to be a nice level of interactivity. Fallen boulders, for example, can be utilized as weapons. Then there are the transitional sequences, where one character kicks another character's butt so bad that he knocks him into another area of the map, only for the fight to continue. Speaking of fighting, the action of Injustice reminded us of a modified version of last year's Mortal Kombat, which is to say it looks accessible and rewarding.

We were told that different characters could take advantage of different elements within the various levels. In the Batcave, for example, the Flash was merely able to roll a boulder toward Superman, while Superman had the strength to lift it up and chuck it at his adversary.

But it's the little nuances that make Injustice really stand out. These aren't just brawlers trying to win a tournament — they're heroes and villains with superpowers and high-tech gadgets, so everything has a dark comic book vibe to it that's larger than life. Aside from the main brawling and combos, you have special attacks that are specific to each character. To put it into perspective, the Flash actually ran around the entire globe, only to return to a prone Superman, where he delivered one hell of a punch. Likewise, Superman knocked the Flash high above Earth and then knocked him back down.

We were shown how different the powerhouse characters were from the gadget-based characters as Solomon Grundy and Batman faced off. A car was parked in the background, and while Batman was able to slam Grundy's face into the vehicle and throw projectiles at it to cause small explosions, Grundy just flat-out picked up the car and crushed Batman with it. It was brutal to watch, but it looked so satisfying. Well, for Grunday anyway. The two characters then proceeded to knock each other through several buildings. Injustice will not be realistic by any means, but it will be pretty badass by the looks of things. Despite the beating, Batman was able to come back, utilizing his grappling hook and electric bats. Seriously, that utility belt has everything!

WB Games and NetherRealm are really reaching into the DC Comics world to deliver a fighting game experience that's organic and impressive. The visual style is great, the environments are awesome, the destructibility of everything is insane, and the sheer concept of superheroes and supervillians beating the crap out of each other is just brilliant. Already the likes of Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn are expected to join the DC characters mentioned here, and there are more to come. If you're a fan of fighters or DC Comics, you definitely need to watch out for Injustice. The game is slated for a 2013 launch on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U.

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