NetherRealm Studios is perhaps my favorite fighting game company. As the creators of Mortal Kombat, I have high expectations of them, especially considering the masterpiece that was Mortal Kombat 9. Needless to say, i was pretty skeptical when I heard they were going to try and dabble in the DC Universe once again considering how forgettable Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was. This time Scorpion and pals won't be joining the fight, just the heroes and villains of the DC Universe in Injustice; Gods Among Us.
Now comes the question. Will a company dedicated to over-the-top violence be able to make a good fighting game without their most iconic characters backing them up, or will this be another excuse for the masses to hate fighting games?
VILLAINS WILL RISE
Getting Around T - Perhaps my biggest fear with Injustice: Gods Among Us was the fear that a “T” rating would hold the game back. As the reason for the ESRB system, it was weird that NetherRealm studios wasn’t doing as much as they can to make the game as violent as possible. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
Rather than focus on bloody fatalities, Injustice makes the most of super heroes. After all, these are superheroes, not giant bags of blood and spinal cords. Watching the combat go from Extreme Blood Donor Simulator 2011 to an arcade fighter was kind of refreshing. Yes, Injustice is still violent, but in a positive way. The characters still get the crap beat out of them, but the violence is more something you’d expect from a comic book, which is more fitting for the characters.
A Comic Story - When NetherRealm Studios did rebooted Mortal Kombat they created a new way to tell stories. Cut-scenes between fights made fighting the next opponent worthwhile. It was no longer a bunch of mindless ladders to grind through, but an in depth story. This idea for a story had been brought back for Injustice.
The story takes place between two dimensions. Dimension 1 is 5 years in the future from an event in Dimension 2 that is just happening. However, before the event can happen, the heroes in Dimension 2 get pulled into Dimension 1 to fix problems caused by the event. Along the way, players will play as a variety of heroes (and maybe a few villains) as they work towards fixing Dimension 1. It’s an interesting story that once again sets a new standard for fighting games everywhere.
Simple Controls - The controls for Injustice are easy enough for anyone to pick up. Each of the buttons on the controller relate to a type of attack, and each character’s special move use the same button combinations as everyone else, making specials easy to remember in this game. It’s the kind of fighter you can ease someone into who’s never played a fighting game in their life before.
A Small, but Solid Roster - When compared to some fighting games, Injustice’s roster may seem small. Boasting a grand total of 24 characters, Injustice has one of the smaller rosters in recent years. However, it’s a roster with a respectable amount of heroes and villains with the DC mainstays like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Joker, and Lex Luthor. Even though I don’t see much purpose for characters like Solomon Grundy, Ares, or Killer Frost, the game has something for everyone. Especially Deathstroke.
HEROES WILL FALL
I Don’t See Much Depth - I can see the designs for Mortal Kombat’s reboot being part of the inspiration for Injustice, as well as them trying to pull away from Mortal Kombat to make their own unique game. However, it seems like some things are missing. I’ll go into the other details later, but for now I’ll cover the controls. The controls leave much to be desired. The concept of “Power Attack, weak attack, medium attack” are a bit dated to me, and I find the combat system to be a bit lacking. Yes, it can do some of the things that other, more hardcore fighting games can do, but this combat system feels like it has training wheels still attached. I will admit that it’s entirely possible that I’m simply being negative and that the combat can stand its own ground, but I felt like I had less control with this system than I have with many others.
Missing Some Features - Going back on my complaint, there’s not a lot to Injustice. The story mode takes all of six hours to beat, and the arcade is only fun for so long. Even then, the multiplayer is a shadow of its comparative, Mortal Kombat. There are no senseless mini-games, and only a few things to spice up a rather generic combat experience. I suppose these things don’t matter to true fighting fans who simply want to jump online and beat everyone down as Aquaman, but there’s not a lot that would make Injustice appeal to a larger audience.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a solid attempt at making a somewhat deep fighting game that has a bit more broader appeal. The story mode makes it just as entertaining to watch as it is to play, and the controls are very welcoming to new players. However, I did feel that Injustice is a bit of a shallow title that lacks some of the charm and features that gives other fighting games longevity. A solid rental, but I’d really only recommend buying it if you were madly in love with the controls or characters.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 retail version of the game.*