There hasn’t been a whole lot of new fighting franchises in recent years. Mostly because the old ones have been doing just fine, I mean, why create something new when you always have that loyal fanbase that’s always there to play the latest title? Well enter Netherealms (publisher, WB Games), the studio behind ‘Mortal Kombat‘, and then you have ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us‘. What makes ‘Injustice‘ interesting is that while it uses similar mechanics to Mortal Kombat, it also introduces some new ones like incorporating the environment, transitions, and super attacks. However while this is all very neat, does it ultimately stack up to be a ‘good’ game?
Essentially what you have here is a 2D staged brawler, with over 30 characters and a fairly wide amount of stages. Unlike other fighters though based on who you choose to fight with, that character could determine whether you could lift cars or use your gymnastic skills to bounce off vehicles or other objects. Or to simply put it this way, Superman is a power-type who can lift anything, Batman is a gadget-type who uses his reflexes to get out of cluttered situations. It brings a nice balance to an already interesting concept, although it doesn’t go beyond how you interact with the environments.
The gameplay does have that ‘Mortal Kombat‘ seal of control inaccuracy, but luckily the game does so much with everything else that it probably won’t bother you as much (unless you’re really into ‘perfected’ fighting games, which this will not be up your alley). Your fighters special moves are automatically shown on the main menu, which is a nice touch, and each have a unique ability whenever you press the B/circle button. Power moves are also important, not only can you dish out an ultra-finishing move that demonstrates just how ridiculous some of them can be, but also amplifying certain combos in favor of giving up one power bar. Although probably the coolest addition to all this are the stage transitions, in which pending on what side of the level you’re on, you could trigger a really cool cutscene that shows you beating up the opposing fighter.
As for the modes in the game, it’s very much what you would expect from a fighting game. You got your arcade mode, although in this case ‘battle mode’, that allows you fight against a string of opponents within a certain set of rules (villains only, low health, or clones). Then you got your S.T.A.R labs, which are essentially mini-games set within the context of a side story for one of the main fighters. There is the online mode, which is what you would expect as well, and there is not much to say there other than it works fine and uses a fairly standard player level-up system. Bonus features are there along with a customization menu (don’t get your hopes up, it’s only for your player card), however the mode that I think people would want to take a look at is story mode.
I’m not sure if it was the lowered expectations, but the story mode here wasn’t too bad. It’s pretty much a plot revolving around alternate universe Superman who has become this evil dictator, and an underground rebellion led by alternate universe Batman along with some of the non-alternate universe Justice League members. It does sound silly, and this may turn off some hardcore comic-book fans, but for someone like me who has seen the worst of story modes for fighting games, this was a solid attempt. Plus it gives you a good opportunity to try out some of the combatants, so why not give it a shot?
If I have any complaints though, the controls do feel fidgety at times. Sometime I found myself randomly jumping in the air for no reason, although that could possibly be due to my controller. The S.T.A.R lab missions are also kind of tedious and can be frustrating, and I personally found the rewards to be a little underwhelming. There’s not enough of a distinction between this and any other fighting games, and it’s not a complaint, it’s just that I wish the game stuck with something a little more original considering that this is a new series.
Personally I’m not the best at fighting games, and I’m still not even after playing this, however what this comes down to is just a ton of fun. Each of the fighters bring their own unique set of attacks that I think most people will dig, and the levels are not only well-detailed, but they also contain small nods to DC fans. While the modes may not be the most diverse, they do offer plenty of things to do for the player. It’s in no stretch perfect, but in due time it could be considering that this is a very good start for something beautiful.
Keep in mind though, my definition of beauty consists of superheroes beating the shit out of each other and causing buildings to collapse. What’s yours?!