For years, DC fans have always discussed the age old question of who would win in a fight. Superman? Or Batman? Green Lantern? Or Green Arrow? Wonder Woman? Or Catwoman? The time has finally come to put those matches to the test in NetherRealms newest game, Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a 2D fighter similar to that of Mortal Kombat (2011), which coincidentally, was also developed by NetherRealm. What better studio to design a 2D fighter than the one that revamped a beloved franchise?
When I heard that this game was coming out, I was worried. For two reasons to be exact.
Reason 1: This is going to be Mortal Kombat with a DC skin.
Reason 2: Please, oh god please, DO NOT let this be like Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe!!!
After spending time with Injustice, I can safely say that both of those fears have been put to rest.
Starting off, I immediately jumped into the games story mode. Just looking at the cover, I was drawn in and had to know why members of the Justice League were turning on each other. My excitement only continued to grow, as I knew an all nighter was ahead of me.
The story is played through multiple chapters, each focusing on a different hero or villain. One aspect that I loved about this, was that it forced you to try out each character to get a better feel for them. While I’m a huge Batman fan, I had better control playing as Green Arrow when playing his chapter.
I’ll sum up the games story without giving any spoilers, as playing it for yourself is a fun experience on its own. It is your typical comic book story of parallel universes and how one is full of the heroes we all know and love, while the other one is riddled with said heroes gone bad. For example: Universe A: Superman is a good guy! In Universe B: Superman has decided to take matters into his own hands and rule over humanity with an iron cape. Kind of similar to the Justice League movie “Crisis on Two Earths”
So game play. Pretty simple even for a gamer like me, who isn’t exactly the best at 2D fighters. While the occasional button mashing has saved me from certain doom, it has also led to my downfall. Each character has their own classification giving them their own skill set. Characters like Batman, Green Arrow and The Joker are more gadget based, using an array of projectiles and devices. However, characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman and Solomon Grundy are considered power characters and with that, have the ability to pick up objects in the background to throw at their opponents.
If there’s one thing that annoys me about 2D fighters, it’s playing with someone that constantly keeps you in a relentless barrage of attacks, preventing you from landing a single hit. This is where the super meter becomes your best friend. Depending on how full your super meter is, you can activate a “wager”. This pits your current super meter and your opponents, as you wager a certain amount of bars to either defend from your opponent or attack. You can build up your meter by either taking damage or attacking your opponent. If you win as the attacker, you deal a certain amount of damage depending on how many bars you wagered. If you win as the defender, you will regenerate a certain amount of health. This is a fresh way to mix up the outcome of a fight, seeing as though gaining back health saved me from losing a previous online match.
Each hero or villain has their own slew of combo moves that can be executed with relative ease. But those are nothing compared to the all mighty super move. This is the trademark attack suited for each character. The only requirement is that your super meter be filled to max. Batman will send out a flurry of attacks, only to summon a speeding bat mobile to finish off his opponent. Superman will uppercut his target to the stratosphere, only to smack them back to the ground faster than a speeding bullet. Everyone’s attack is different and oh so satisfying when pulled off without a hitch!
One of the great features that can help you hone your 2D fighting skills, is the S.T.A.R. Lab missions. These multiple missions require you to execute small tasks, whether it would be simple combo execution, mini game or avoiding damage within a certain time limit. If you’re a gamer who likes a challenge and likes to keep busy, then you’re in luck. There are a total of 240 missions (260 total if you include the Red Son DLC pack) and a total of 780 stars total to collect. Not only that, but there are a TON of unlockables for you to obtain along the way. Alternate costumes, soundtracks, concept art and details for your Hero card when you play online.
Injustice has your traditional versus mode, where you and another friend can play match after match, to your hearts content. You can also test out your skills online in one on one ranked matches, King of The Hill where you and other players can be spectators on a current match and even bet their own experience points to determine the winner. Then there’s survival. Similar to the King of The Hill set up, except after a match, your health does not regenerate as this is a true test of your gaming skill.
A familiar feature in 2D fighting games is present in Injustice, as you can challenge a ladder of computer-controlled enemies to victory. There are multiple variants to this battle feature such as the option to fight heroes only, villains only or poisoned, which slowly depletes your health over time each match. Those are only three to name off as the rest on the list need to be unlocked first before access. Did I mention that there is A LOT to unlock in this game?
Earlier I mentioned how I was worried that this was going to be exactly like Mortal Kombat. It is, and it isn’t. Yes it’s a 2D fighter, but this game has its own uniqueness. This would be the equivalent of comparing Bioshock Infinite to Call of Duty. Yes they’re both the same game genre, but both two completely different games.
With a compelling story, fun fighting mechanics and enough unlockables to provide a high replay factor, I highly recommend this game to both DC fans and 2D fighter enthusiasts.
Also on a final note. In a previous article that I wrote about Batman Arkham Origins, I mentioned that if someone were to choose Aquaman as a strong super hero, that I question their taste. After playing the story where you take on the role as Aquaman, I was thoroughly impressed with his fighting abilities…Batman’s still better though.