Developer: NeatherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Brothers
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Who would win in a fight, Superman or Batman? This question is always been one that comic fans have always been asking. While we don’t have a true answer to that question, Injustice: Gods Among Us allows us to make the answer. Developed by NeatherRealm Studios, this game seeks to be more than just a Mortal Kombat with DC characters and stand as a unique, one of a kind game that not only DC fans can enjoy, but fighting game fans as well.
Even I have my limits
The premise of the story is that Superman breaks and becomes a tyrant after killing the Joker. Batman leads an insurgency and gets other various heroes and villains to end Superman’s reign. The story that NeatherRealm created isn’t a bad story and it is nice to see that a development team is putting serious effort into this aspect as it can appeal to a much broader audience than a hardcore fighting game player. However, the story is short clocking in about 5-6 hours for one play through and has bad quick time events in between certain fights in the story and some are just puzzling (like Superman just destroying cars with civilians in them).
The story in Injustice reminded me of the Dark Knight Rises and I attempted to relate the tyrant Superman to the character arc of Harvey Dent in that movie. It tells the tale of what would happen if Superman broke much like how Harvey Dent broke after the Joker’s schemes. The only problem is that it doesn’t tell the tale as well as the Dark Knight Rises and I didn’t feel for Superman like I did for Dent. So instead, the actual story reminded more of the Saturday morning cartoons which were a clear case of good vs. evil with good winning in the end. Unfortunately, this makes the story feel too campy for its own good. It also could have been better by not revealing its hand right away with a quote from Lex Luthor that takes away any type of mystery away from the story itself.
Feeling some déjà vu
The graphics of Injustice are based on a heavily modified version of the unreal engine and they are very good. While there was a rough animation or two I saw during my time with the game, it still looked solid. The dynamic stages are also interesting as you can go to a different part of a level in most levels, not to mention how background items such as statues and remote cars can be used in combat. So there is a ton going on in the stages themselves when you throw in the fighting.
The audio in the game is also good. The dialogue in the story sounds good as is the overall sound of combat. You feel like your punching someone with Superman, you feel Green Arrow’s projectile attacks. The production values of this game are absolutely top notch from NetherRealm studios.
That being said, it is disappointing at the end of the day. It’s the small details that got to me, specifically the intros and outros, and the super moves performed by each hero and villain. The lack of variety, while not a big deal, did grow to frustrate me. Batman telling his opponent to stay down after winning the match each time got on my nerves as did seeing the same super move with each character. Sure, the intro and outro for Superman is different depending on the costume you select but for more the most part, they are all the same and the lack of customization options outside of the costume is a bit upsetting.
So who wins?
The overall gameplay is solid, if feeling a bit less than 2011’s Mortal Kombat both in content and a little bit of redundancy. The best thing that can be said is that each character feels like they should. No matter whom you choose; whether it’s more of a gadget character such as Deathstroke & Batman, a strength character such as Doomsday & Superman, or a character with lots of agility such as Catwomen & Nightwing. Despite the characters playing like they should, there can be some issues. While playing online, I have noticed some spamming one move to victory such as Green Lantern’s throw or Deathstroke’s use of guns to make it difficult to have fun playing online. There were also moments while playing the single player story where the computer would be just as bad as some of the players I encountered online. However, I have confidence that NetherRealm studios will fix this with patching.
Injustice does new things that MK didn’t do and have interesting potential, but they are more often than not, disappointing. One of the biggest differences is how characters interact with a stage. If you play a strength character, you are at a considerable advantage compared to an agility character because you can break the statues and everything else the agile character would bounce off of to get behind an opposing player and start a combo. This makes it tougher to have a balance fight and so more often than not, the players I played against had characters who would exploit this.
The second major difference is the clash system the game introduces. If you are on your last bar of health and being juggled or your opponent is in a combo, you can bet with meter and get into a clash. The clash system benefits are different depending on if you initiate the clash and win (you gain the difference of meter spent in health while if your opponent wins, they will deal that difference in damage to you). This clash can only be done once per match but more times than not, I found it useless since the only time you are likely to use it is when both players have full or nearly full meters which makes it really just a combo canceller.
The battle begins
Online play in Injustice, like the rest of the game has its highs and lows with mostly being high. The best modes by far are survivor and king of the hill with king of the hill being my personal favorite. These two modes allow the spectating players to view the match and in the case of king of the hill mode, make bets on who wins and you can set challenges for when you play to get more XP in a match. Every time I played king of the hill, I had a blast. The same is true with survivor mode with the survivor getting a percentage of health back but only able to stay with the character he or she chose. With that being said, not all is well with the online in this game.
My main complaint is the rank match. The reason is that it took WAY too long to just get a match. I’ve played 3 ranked matches and it took about 10-15 minutes just to find the match. I wish I was joking but that is sadly not the case. There is also online lag which surfaced while trying to connect with other players and made the experience more frustrating. While I am sure that NeatherRealm will fix it, that isn’t in effect as of this review.
I want to give Injustice: Gods Among us a great score, but as I sit and reflect on the week I’ve had to play it, I can’t in good faith. While the game has its moments of fun without doubt, such as the awesome pride I felt winning 5 matches in a row in king of the hill, it felt too much like Mortal Kombat but with less content. No replay channel or general spectator mode for online matches, a weak single player campaign with quick time events between matches, a so-so story that doesn’t make sense unless you’ve read the prequel comics to this game and some imbalances in the fights so far. It’s a game that falls short of the great expectations that it had placed on it.
BOG’s Injustice: Gods Among Us Review Score
|8.0||Why so high?
|Why so low?