Injustice: Gods Among Us, created by NetherRealm and published by Warner Bros. is far from your average brawler. It combines the best elements of the Mortal Kombat franchise (also created by NetherRealm) with the DC Universe license.
Not to be confused with the oft-maligned Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, Injustice is pure DC. The story, created with help from some of DC’s top writer’s concerns Superman getting royally peeved and taking over the world, meanwhile, Batman and Co from another, almost identical universe come into this one to sort him out. That’s the plot in the nutshell, it’s not big, it’s not particularly clever, but it does give us an excuse to have Green Lantern pummel the living daylights out of Aquaman.
In fact, the story is one of the element’s that makes Injustice so great, it’s ludicrous in the way only a comic book plot can be, but it provides some much needed depth missing from most fighting games. It gives the fight’s more weight and it helps sell the universe created. The story mode is essentially one long interactive cutscene, cut into various stages and allowing the different fights to take place. You’ll start off as Batman, fighting various villains, then move on through other’s whilst the story pieces itself together.
Mechanically, Gods Among Us is not dissimilar from past Mortal Kombat outings. Punches and kicks all have major heft, and the addition of unique character abilities help lend the game some panache. Each character also has a unique ‘finisher’ if you will that if it connects, does massive damage, and looks absolutely stunning on screen. This is executed by filling up your power meter through combo’s, and simply pressing two specific buttons together. It couldn’t be easier and couldn’t be any more satisfying.
I’m not great at fighting games, I don’t get along well with fiddly combo’s and precise timing, but NetherRealm have made this extremely accessible for those who just want to see their favourite heroes and villains duke it out in spectacular fashion, in even more spectacular environments. Some of the combo’s require very precise timing and whilst some of the ‘beginner’ combo’s are fairly easy to pull off, it soon gets tricky when the game wants you to throw in other buttons that have to be hit the precise millisecond your finger leaves another. It can be an excersie in frustration but you’ll often find button mashing produces some nice results and the game very rarely get’s rage inducing as can happen with some of these games.
Each stage is destructible and interactive, with quick button presses allowing for combos to combined with he environment in a devastating manner. Stages also have transitions, allowing you to essentially move to a different part of the particular backdrop. This add’s more flavour to each stage and stop’s things from becoming too dull with repetition.
The graphics on show during fights are nothing short of brilliant. Costumes are well detailed and there’s all the appropriate flashes and crashes you would expect when Superman and Doomsday come together. There’s truly weight behind each punch thrown and everything comes together to look spectacular in front of your eyes. The only thing letting the graphics down is during cutscenes, which really should have had more effort put in. Textures often appear flat and there’s a definite lack of detail, particularly during big outdoor fights.
It’s clear NetherRealm put a lot of effort into each individual character on the roster, with a lot of DC’s favourite heroes and villains making the cut. Each character feel’s truly different and a lot of throught has obviously gone into making each one of them feel special. None of the super power’s seem cookie cutter and it’s truly a joy to try each character out. There’s clear love for the DC license on show, down to every menu design and every bit of story telling. This really help’s sell the game. Warner Bros. could have easily thrown together a fighter from any third party studio in an effort to make a quick pound, but they didn’t, thought and attention has gone into the game and what comes out the other end is something truly special.
There’s multiplayer thrown in for good measure as you would expect. Matches were easy to get into but unless you’re a seasoned fighter or willing to learn combo’s, you’re not going to find yourself winning often.
If you don’t like fighting games, you will still find something to enjoy with even the most ham fisted of gamers able to pull off stunning looking special moves and enough flash to keep you interested. If you’re not a fan of the DC universe or comics in general, but love a good beat-em-up there’s a good solid fighter engine here that fans of the Mortal Kombat games will love. Injustice: Gods Among Us is a true love letter to fans of this universe giving you the chance to live out some of your more wild comic book related fantasies, whilst beating the crap out of Aquaman.