Like a batarang to Aquaman's stupid face, Injustice: Gods Among Us is ready to make a powerful impact when it launches on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U next week. Developed by NetherRealm Studios – who made the critically acclaimed ninth Mortal Kombat installment in 2011 – the Injustice stars the biggest names of the DC Comics universe. With the likes of Batman, Superman, Bane, Black Adam, Deathstroke, Nightwing and The Flash, all your favorite heroes and villains are present.
For Ed Boon, the Creative Director of NetherRealm Studios, this isn't his first venture into world of Batman and Superman. Not sharing the same tone at all with Injustice, Boon previously made Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. But this fighting game won't be anything like that, outside of using a highly modified version of Unreal Engine 3, which Mortal Kombat also ran on.
NetherRealm has taken risks and made technical advancements with Injustice: Gods Among Us. With all that said, we're here to highlight five things you absolutely need to know about Injustice.
Not just a Mortal Kombat clone
Just because it's the same development studio that made Mortal Kombat doesn't make Injustice a MK clone. Ed Boon and company wanted to make a game outside of the Mortal Kombat series that would be dramatically different compared to other games in the fighting game genre. Risks have been taken – like removing the dedicated block button – and NetherRealm Studios didn't feel restricted by the parameters of their other fighting games or by the DC Comics license. Boon is pushing the 'Teen' rating with a little bit of blood and over-the-top, crazy action.
One big difference from Mortal Kombat is the Clash system. The Clash system is like a wager battle. It is a short cutscene cinematic where both players bet a hidden portion of their Super Move meter, with the highest bidder winning the clash. It adds a nice, little gambling mechanic to these epic fights.
The coolest Super Moves in a fighting game
If you've played the demo, you know what I'm talking about. A play off of Mortal Kombat's X-ray moves, Injustice: Gods Among Us has Super Moves. Super Moves are special attacks that can be done when a player has a Level 4 power bar. Not only do these specials do massive damage to your opponent, but they look freakin' sweet, too.
In the demo, that's out now on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, one of the Special Moves that you can see is Batman's. By pressing the Left Trigger and Right Trigger with a Level 4 power bar, Batman will throw a smoke batarang at the opponent, stunning them. He quickly inputs some coordinates to the Batmobile, then shocks the enemy with a taser and knees them in the face. After throwing one last explosive batarang, he flips backward as the Batmobile drives in, running over his opponent. That's just one over-the-top example.
While I completely whiffed on Wonder Woman's Super Move, Justice Javelin, I did get to see Lex Luthor's. I don't want to spoil any more Specials for you, but let's just say it results in an explosion that can be seen from space. Every Special Move is as awesome as Batman's, so the game will be hella-entertaining. Yes, I used the world 'hella.'
DC Comics heroes and villains as you've never seen them
Are you ready for this awesome cast of heroes and villains? In Injustice: Gods Among Us, you can play as: Aquaman, Ares, Bane, Batman, Black Adam, Catwoman, Cyborg, Deathstroke, Doomsday, The Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Harley Quinn, Hawkgirl, The Joker, Killer Frost, Lex Luthor, Nightwing, Raven, Shazam!, Sinestro, Solomon Grundy, Superman and Wonder Woman. That’s quite the line-up, but it still has potential for some more great characters through DLC – maybe characters like Penguin, Robin, Mr. Freeze, Blue Beetle, other Green Lanterns like Guy Gardner, or go into The Watchmen for characters like The Comedian.
The characters currently in the game have a nice little spin on their look. It’s modernized and makes each character unique and badass – even Aquaman.
The world is a weapon
The stages in Injustice are multi-tiered fighting arenas. You can hurl opponents through buildings or launch them off cliffs. These iconic locations – like the Batcave, Atlantis, Fortress of Solitude, Metropolis, Arkham Asylum and Wayne Manor – have environmental elements that players can use as weapons. Standing next to an oil truck? Press the assigned button and your superhero will punch a hole in it, sending oil shooting at your enemy. See that car on the street? Might as well pick it up and smash it over your enemy’s head. And that helicopter flying in the background? A nice roundhouse will send your enemy flying into it, damaging the helicopter as a result.
Another fine detail is that different heroes interact with the same environmental piece differently. A gadget character like Batman will fire projectiles at a car, causing it to explode, but a power character like Superman will pick up the car and smash his enemy with it.
A kick-ass stand-alone story
If we learned anything from NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat, it’s that they can create a hell of a story – one that’s better than anything we’ve ever experienced in a fighting game. The story in Injustice is an authentic DC Comics original storyline created in collaboration between NetherRealm Studios, DC Entertainment, and writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. Gray and Palmiotti have often collaborated on series such as Hawkman and Jonah Hex, in addition to writing the screenplay for the animated film Dead Space: Downfall. The two also co-authored Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
The game follows a major, catastrophic event. Superman creates a new world order after killing the Joker, who destroyed Metropolis, killed Lois Lane, their unborn child and Superman’s best friend Jimmy Olsen. The creation of a new world order causes heroes to stand in opposition to each other – those with Superman’s regime and Batman’s insurgency.