Injustice: Gods Among Us Review

Injustice: Gods Among Us is the next great game from developer NetherRealm Studios.

Fans of NetherRealm’s last game Mortal Kombat have been eagerly waiting for Injustice to come out so that they can get their fighting fix in. Now that it’s out and the wait is over, how does Injustice Gods Among Us stack up to the other fighting games out there?

To start Injustice has an absolutely amazing cast of characters to choose from. Superheros and villains from all over the DC universe have been brought together to battle it out for the fate of the world. With choices like Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and Aquaman for superheroes; and villains like The Joker, Bane, Lex Luthor and Harley Quinn, there will definitely be no shortage of epic fights.

Most of your choices you will recognize from any number of DC comics and some you might not. On top of the great selection of characters you can play as, there is also a huge number of characters you cant play as that you will see in different parts of the story or in the background of certain levels. When it comes to Fan service NetherRealm knows what they are doing.

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Once again NetherRealm has stepped up their storytelling. Not many fighting games have good deep stories to go along with them. Sure, each character might have a small background story but you almost never see all of the characters in the same story. Injustice doubles down in this department giving you both individual background stories in the battles section classic mode, and the overall story of the entire situation facing our heroes and villains.

The main storyline is so good and full of twists and turns that I don’t want to ruin it for you so I’ll just give you a quick glimpse at how their story starts. Metropolis is destroyed; millions dead in a nuclear attack orchestrated by The Joker. Back in Gotham, Batman is interrogating Joker when Superman bursts through the wall of the interrogation room. Now if that doesn’t make you want to know what’s going to happen next then I don’t know what will.

What truly makes this a great fighting game however, is the actual fighting. Injustice feels very reminiscent of Mortal Kombat with just enough changes to give the game its own identity. Each character has their own styles and tricks. Batman is more of a Gadget fighter using things like his batarang and grappling hook along with his speed while Solomon Grundy is more of a heavy hitter making him a slower choice but still able to use his strength to his advantage by slamming you all over the level.

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One thing that sets injustice apart from Mortal Kombat is that there are only three main action buttons leaving one button to use your character’s equipment. Batman for instance uses homing batarangs to attack his opponents while wonder woman will pull out her sword and shield to change her fighting style. Injustice doesn’t have your traditional rounds that you might be used to. This is no tournament, just a street fight between superheroes and villains. You get 2 health bars once your first bar is gone there is a very small break in the fight for some trash talk before it starts up again without much warning.

Using your specials and taking damage will fill up your super meter allowing you to do a meter burn–an enhanced special– move; use your super move or go into a clash mode. Clash mode is like what a breaker in Mortal Kombat was except with a twist. Once clash mode is started you wager how much of your special meter you want to risk and so will your opponent. Whichever one bets more–if you have any to bet at all–wins the clash either regaining health or dealing more damage to your opponent depending who used the clash.

You only get 1 clash per fight and only after your first health bar is gone. This all leads to some very interesting gameplay strategy wise. Should I save up for a super move or use a clash and try to get some health? Or should I use clash now or save it for the end when I’m really low on health? Those are just a few strategic questions you will be asking yourself.

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For those of you who like to play with fight sticks– an arcade style game pad–Injustice even has a controller option, making the moves more like Street Fighter. Instead of the typical back, forward, and a button to do a move, the Street Fighter style controls would make it more like half or quarter circle and a button. This is a welcome addition to any fighting game. Having a choice in control styles can be huge for some gamers.

Beside your normal fights you also have the S.T.A.R. Labs for some extracurricular activities. S.T.A.R Labs consists of over 250 different objective based missions and mini games. You can tell NeatherRealm really put a lot of work into this section of the game. Missions have a good mix of activities so you never feel like you are doing the same thing over and over. On each mission you can earn between 1 and 3 stars. Getting everything with 3 stars won’t be easy in anyway but if you do succeed you will be granted with what I’m told is a very cool unlockable.

With all the fighting you are going to be doing in Injustice, the fights have to happen somewhere. Each level you see has different sections that can be gotten to by hitting someone through a part of the level you are currently in. Besides the different areas each level also contain usable level items such as a neon sign you can throw at your opponent or a giant laser beam you can use to burn your enemies. Not all the characters will use the level items the same either. Since batman is more of a gadget style fighter he might jump off an air conditioner while planting a bomb on it to blow up his enemy. On the flip side Wonder Woman is strong and will just rip the whole thing out of the roof and throw it at you. With tons of levels to chose from and their secondary areas you wont get tired of the arenas anytime soon.

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Injustice looks great most of the time. All of the characters were painstakingly detailed from the plates of armor on their costumes, all the way down to the tiniest cuts and scrapes. Whenever a fight is happening you won’t be disappointed by what you see. When you’re in the story mode though, it’s a bit of a different situation. The fighting in the story still looks great as do the main characters, but the background characters like SWAT team members or cops don’t seem to have much work put into them. Some of them look a little blurry while some just look a little pixelated. It’s not that big of a deal but it was something that stood out to me.

The audio in Injustice is top shelf. All the voice actors do a great job voicing their respective characters. This is great because nothing can ruin a great story faster than terrible voice acting. Punches and kicks land with a solid hard hitting audio leaving your enemies moaning at your feet. Level transitions send your opponent exploding through trucks or walls with full bone crunching sounds that leave you feeling your enemy’s pain. Hearing the joker scream as he’s flying through buildings never gets old.

Injustice has done a great job with its soundtrack. While playing through the story mode there were multiple times the music kicked in and started getting me hyped. There’s nothing like hearing an orchestra playing epic fight music as Superman bursts through a wall to put a beat down on anyone in his way.

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Online play in Injustice works great. Finding someone to fight is just as easy as it ever was. Either jump into a ranked or player match or hop into a room and start trash talking to potential victims. There is even a king of the hill mode for up to 8 people where you take turns fighting the current champion. If you win you keep fighting. This is a great mode to play with friends over the internet or if you want to play but also need breaks since you won’t always be due up to fight.

So far I haven’t had any problems with lag or bad connections but I do live in an area where connection isn’t much of a problem. One thing I’m disappointed about is that there is no type of tag match. Fighting games where you can tag in a partner are some of my favorite and I understand they want to differentiate Injustice from Mortal Kombat, but tag is great for when you have 4 people playing in the same room and not including it even as a local only mode seems a little odd.

Injustice: Gods Among Us is the best fighting game I have played since the release of Mortal Kombat. With lots of different things to do you shouldn’t find yourself bored with this game for a very, very long time. With a great story mode that brings all of the best superheroes and worst villains DC Comics has to offer, and fighting mechanics that rival any fighting game out there right now I expect Injustice to be taking home the gold as fighting game of the year 2013.