‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’ – Game Review (First Impressions)
It makes sense for a fighting game to use existing superhero characters to make up their roster. When the choice is to between another palette swap ninja or Batman to unleash awesome fighting combos the answer is, as always, Batman. With that in mind the DC aspect of Mortal Kombat vs DC mash-up has peeled away into it’s own title using the same game engine as the recent Mortal Kombat reboot. With a couple of hours of button mashing under the belt let’s take a moment to make a first impression.
Surprisingly the story is not only good, but fits into the game really well. Most fighting games keep their story and gameplay on separate sides of a concrete wall but any comic geek is going to get a kick out of this. If you’ve been reading the awesome tie-in series by Tom Taylor (if not do so right now) you’ll know what’s going on: The Joker has tricked Superman into murdering Lois Lane and his unborn son before detonating a nuke in Metropolis. After putting his fist through the Joker’s torso Superman embarks on creating a new world order where he rules the Earth with a steel fist. Batman and Lex Luther work together in secret to bring down the overlord. In order to achieve this they bring the regular versions of the superheroes in from a parallel universe to combat this powerful threat.
In addition to the original story and a good excuse to throw superheroes into combat with each other (and themselves) it is well incorporated into the story mode. The story is divided into chapters, each putting you behind the controls of a different character as they work to bring down Superman. It’s a great starting for players who have just picked up the game and want a quick introduction to all the characters.
In terms of gameplay, anyone familiar with the current Mortal Kombat engine will find few surprises here. Like with any fighting game any new player will need a couple of rounds to adjust to the timing and the style. Once this is down you’ll be throwing together quick combos with little effort. The fighting areas provide some fun interactive elements such as flinging dumpsters, swinging off chandeliers and spraying hazardous waste and these are integrated well into the combat. Less successful is the transitions between the parts of the level. When one character gets punched through a wall they go through a couple of seconds of being bashed around before landing and while it is plenty cool to watch it breaks the flow of the battle.
The main driving force behind each fight is the meter at the bottom of the screen that charges up with every special move. Sections of the meter can be sacrificed in order to power up a special move all a full meter can be put towards a giant super attack that can tilt a fight in your favour. There’s also a ‘wager’ system where both combatants pick an amount of their meter to ‘bet’ against the other in one big clash, with the winning bet coming out of it with a health boost. This usually comes down to who had the most charge to begin with a feels a bit like a broken mechanic.
With 24 characters right off the bat nobody is going to feel restricted in their chose of characters. The twelve heroes include the expected staples with lesser-known figures like Nightwing and Hawkgirl rounding out the roster. On the villain side regulars like Joker and Lex are joined by fan favourites Sinestro, Harley Quinn and Bane. Non-DC readers may not know some faces like Ares and Killer Frost, but with each being distinctive and unique they won’t have trouble getting to know their fighting style. Regardless of who your favourites characters are or your preferred fighting style you’ll quickly build up a small group of regulars. Whilst the styles between the characters isn’t as diverse as a Capcom fighter they are all unique enough to make it worth experimenting.
It’s an easy game to drop into and get the hang off, but as the challenges escalate the player will find themselves working quickly to master all the techniques in the game. It certainly leaves a good first impression, being a bombastic style of combat with plenty of familiar faces. If using Batman to knock the teeth out of Superman’s smile sounds appealing then this is worth a look.