I have a confession to make: I’ve never read a comic book in my life.
However, I am a huge fighting game fan, and I’ve got the fight stick and blisters to prove it. Thankfully NetherRealm Studio’s new fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us hopes to turn Batman and Superman into the next Ryu and Ken. Is this DC-based fighter FGC-ready, or is this battle royal DOA?
Right off the bat, Injustice: Gods Among Us certainly has a strong pedigree behind it. Created by Mortal Kombat’s Ed Boon, its 24 character roster (pre-DLC) and robust list of modes both orthodox (Survival) and unique (King of the Hill) is sure to warm the cockles of any fighting game fan’s heart. It also packs a fighting system with EX-style attacks, Super moves, and other mechanics familiar to arcade aficionados.
In fact, the system in Injustice should be familiar to anybody who played the 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat. Fatalities might be MIA, but the neverending juggles and grapples come right from the school of Sub-Zero. Street Fighter purists may moan at the more rigid flow of battles and the added weight of each character, but it is simply a different engine that packs just as much depth as its Japanese brethren.
If anything, the learning curve found in Injustice is far steeper than that of Capcom’s bread-and-butter. Neophytes will no doubt find themselves shooting Batman’s grappling hook in the wrong way or making The Flash turn the screen a bright shade of red. Some may write the game off as a clunky mess, but veterans can show what the game has to offer, and bring a level of fluidity to the table that can end matches in less than a minute. The game is willing to teach new fighters the ropes before throwing them to the wolves, and mastering each character through the in-depth S.T.A.R. Labs condition mode, robust online mode, and two-hour story mode proves a rewarding experience.
However, not all of the mechanics in Injustice’s core fighting system work. The destructible environments in each of the game’s 15 multi-tiered stages do provide a level of interactivity not found in many 2D fighters, but the option far too reliant on luck and button-mashing. Boiling down to an endless mashing of the right trigger, the mechanic literally asks you to be at the right place at the right time. Seeing Superman throw a missile at Batman might be a sight to behold, but it is no fun when you are on the receiving end of said missile.
The same can be said of the new “Wager” system in Injustice as well. While it serves as a decent last-ditch effort for those down on their luck, it proves to be less of a mindgame and more of a nuisance. Interrupting each fight for a betting match over health is a jarring experience, and feels more like an afterthought.
Overall, the system found in Injustice is one tasty package. It offers depth, replayability, and some serious brand recognition for those looking for it. I still might not be a true believer of graphic novels, but now I can truly appreciate the power each of these heroes and villains brings to the table.