Injustice: Gods Among Us Review

The clash between DC characters feels fantastic with the exception of online competition.

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njustice: Gods Among Us is a brand new offering from developer NetherRealm Studios. NetherRealm Studios was responsible for the 2011′s critically acclaimed hit Mortal Kombat. They also previously released Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, which wasn’t that successful and a tad disappointing overall.

Injustice: Gods Among Us focuses on the conflicts between Super-Heroes and Super-Villains. So how does this new fighter perform? As always, I will be covering the presentation, gameplay, trophies and overall impressions. Let’s get to it.

Presentation

Injustice: Gods Among Us presentation is surprisingly better than I originally thought. It has good graphics, fantastic animations and an awesome roster of well known characters. There is a total of twenty-four playable characters in the game which doesn’t include future downloadable content.

There are plenty of impressive Super-Heroes to choose from like Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Superman and many more. I am certainly impressed with the Super-Villains, players can play as Bane, Joker, Hawkgirl, Doomsday, Solomon Grundy and more.

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Not only does Injustice: Gods Among Us has a great look to it, and a good roster of playable characters, but the game’s story mode is actually good. This is probably the best story that I’ve seen/played in any fighting game ever. I don’t want to talk about any spoilers but let’s just say that Superman goes insane, and you have never seen him act like that before.

What I truly like about the Story mode is how NetherRealm Studios managed to blend in-game cut-scenes to actual fights, everything is just done so seamless that it’s almost like watching a featured comic movie and playing a role in it. It will take about three to four hours to complete the story mode which is considered to be lengthy for a fighting game. Most fighting games arcade/story modes last for about 30 minutes or fewer.

Overall, I am happy with the presentation of the game and the story mode really makes it top notch thanks to the phenomenal voice acting and fantastic sound design. This is probably one of the most well-presented fighting games I have played in a while.

Fighting System

Injustice: Gods Among Us has a lot to offer when it comes to single-player. From the three to four hour story mode that I’ve talked about previously in the presentation section to all the way to S.T.A.R Labs Missions and Battle Modes. However, lets talk about the combat system first and how it’s implemented.

You can also level up in the game up to level 100 and unlock more extra content for your Hero card, everything you do in Injustice is a progress towards something. Whether you’re playing online, or single-player modes you are always earning experience points towards your level. This make the game feel rewarding all throughout its entirety until you hit the level cap and unlock everything.

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The fighting system is both complex and easy to understand at the same time. It’s easy to understand because any newcomer to fighting games can pick up the game and have fun with it without getting frustrated. Meanwhile, if you want to take your A-game further and become pro, you’d certainly have to start analyzing the system and understand it. Once you grasp the fighting system to the point where you know what you’re doing then you can start experimenting and try to find most beneficial ways to play your favorite character.

Every character has basic attacks, combos, special moves, throws and special powers. Basic attacks range from regular punch combos, jumping and kicking. Combo moves are what’s the hardest to learn and memorize and most players will probably spend a lot time practicing their combos in practice mode, just like they would practice in any fighter.

Character powers are unique to each character and usually do something that other characters don’t. For example, Batman’s character power is to call upon electronic bats that he can send out flying to attack his opponent. Meanwhile, Catwoman’s character charges as you continue damaging your enemy until full charge to unleash a devastating attack.

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Special moves are different kind of moves that use a character’s signature abilities. Superman can use his eyes to zap people, that’s considered his special move. I am not going to go over the entire list because it’s quite self-explanatory at this point and more fun to discover on your own when you play the game.

Last but not least, every character in Injustice: Gods Among Us has a super-move that can only be unleashed by having a full meter that is displayed at the left/right corner of the screen. The meter can only be filled up by attacking your opponent and getting hit for damage. Once the meter is full, you can press the R2 and L2 buttons to activate a devastating super-move. Each super-hero/super-villain has an awesome super-move, they’re well animated, easy to execute, fun to watch, and they do a ton of damage to the opponent.

Speaking of the meter, you can also go into “clash” mode with your enemy and bet a certain portion of your meter to win the clash. If you win the clash, you gain a certain amount of health back while the opponent suffers an injury. This option can also be turned off if you do not like it.

Every stage in the game also has interactive environmental objects that you can use against your opponent by pressing the right trigger. These interactive moves can actually help out during a tough situation, especially if the player is cornered on the edge of the stage. One of the stages has a bike that you can ride on to run over your enemy, some include throw-able objects like gas tanks or head statues. It’s a very pleasant touch to the game’s gameplay and makes the game feel like its more than just a fighting game where you just throw punches and kicks all the time.

Stage-transition is another cool mechanic in the combat system. Stage-transition can be pulled off when you’re on the correct side of the map. Basically, you can kick someone through a wall on an edge of the stage and watch an impressive over-the-top stage transition that has your opponent flying through a ton of obstacles. Once the transition is over you end up on a completely different part of the stage and your opponent ends up with a lot less health.

All in all, Injustice: Gods Among Us contains a fighting system that is easy enough to understand for casual fighters and complex enough for the hardcore audiences who want to play competitively.

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Battle Mode

Injustice: Gods Among Us Battle Mode is the game’s arcade mode that is fundamentally filled with different game-types. You can play a battle mode that only consists of Heroes or Villains, Poisoned, Survivor and plenty more to unlock.

Poisoned mode pits the player against enemies while their health is being drained as you get further down in the opponents become more challenging and smarter. The player will be forced to be smarter about his fighting tactics because their health is being drained during the fight, luckily if they fail they can just retry the battle.

Survivor mode is much more difficult because your left over health carries over to the next battle and if you die near the end you have to start from scratch, this mode is more for players that don’t mind tackling a challenge and are good at fighting games. You can also pick a difficulty level for whichever battle mode you pick, higher difficulty just makes the opponents harder as opposed to on lower difficulty and is made for players that are more skilled at the game.

Battle Mode includes a bunch of other modes in it; however, they are locked and can only be unlocked by using access code cards in the archives menu. Access core cards are usually obtained when a player gains a new level in the game.

S.T.A.R Labs

In S.T.A.R Labs,  each character has ten unique missions that put players in particular circumstances and rules that they must follow in order to beat the mission. This is the mode where you will be spending the majority of your time trying to complete missions and progress all the way to the end.

Each mission also has a challenge, you can complete these challenges by meeting  certain criteria, you can earn a total of three stars in a mission. For example, one of the missions with Batman requires you to stay alive for twenty seconds without getting hit. Although, if you want to attain the three-star rating you need to do 2 throw moves and a 4-hit juggle combo on Catwoman. Some missions are easier than others. There are a total of 240 missions to complete, and that is a lot.

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S.T.A.R Labs is a fantastic break from your regular trial missions that most fighting games have. Trial missions usually have players complete a set of complex combos and sometimes it can get really frustrating to players and rather annoying due to the fact that most people are not professionals when it comes to getting super-technical in the fighting genre.

Instead, S.T.A.R Labs has players complete a strong variety of different missions with specific conditions and its actually a lot more fun. S.T.A.R Labs mode  in my mind is a good step for the future of the fighting genre. Hopefully future fighting games will start implementing similar gameplay mode and possibly still include their classic combo trials if they want to.

Training Mode

The Training mode in the game is great. Those who are new to fighting games can practice all day long in the training mode and try to become a master with their favorite DC character. However, the real cool thing about training mode is how it also caters to the hardcore fighting geeks.

It shows players every single possible move in the game and all of the frame-data that fighter enthusiasts thirst for. You can also highlight whichever moves you want in the move menu and have them appear on the screen as you’re fighting so you can execute them without going back and forth between menus. The awesome training mode really makes the game accessible to players of all skill levels.

Online

The online in Injustice: Gods Among Us is not as impressive as its single-player counter-part. You can do ranked matches – One vs One, regular online matches, private matches for you and friends and create/join game rooms that have multiple in them. I was very surprised that this game doesn’t include custom matches as an option, you can only customize things in private matches.

Also, the ranked system isn’t very well done either. Majority of the time I was pitted against players that were way better than me in terms of win/loss ratio, this made the online experience a bit bland because I was getting obliterated it until I was finally matched up against a person my own skill.

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Player matches include the following options: One vs One, King of the Hill and Survivor modes while the ranked match system only includes One vs One. Why not have an extra ranking system for Survivor and King of the Hill modes with separate leader-boards? Beats me.

Overall, I think the online mode could have been much more deeper or even just have a few extra options and let players play different kind of ranked games but, unfortunately, that is not the case.

Trophies

Injustice: Gods Among Us has a good trophy list that consists of a few online trophies that are not super grind-fest and a lot of single-player based trophies. Most of the trophies will ask you for simple things like beating the story mode, equipping a hero card, changing background images for your player card, doing something specific with a particular character, completing all of the battle modes, unlocking all of the costumes for every hero/villain in the game and reaching the maximum level in the game.

More time-consuming trophies ask you to complete all of the S.T.A.R Labs missions and obtaining maximum of three-stars in each of the 240 missions. Online trophies are simple and just ask you to win a single online battle, 10 ranked online wins, 100 regular online wins and participate in a practice match with a friend from your PSN’s friends list. Overall the game has an excellent trophy lists that will have you play the game to it’s fullest potential.

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Conclusion

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a great fighter, this is the best comic mash-up you’ll be playing for quite a while. If you like fighting games and you like DC comics then this game will be the perfect fit for you. The game packs in a ton of single-player content, good lengthy story mode, great amount of unlockables and an awesome roster of 24 DC characters.

S.T.A.R Labs and Battle Mode add a lot of replay value to the game, and they’re both fun in different ways. However, I was somewhat shocked that the game didn’t include any sort of tag-team mode. I have no idea why the tag-team mode wasn’t included in the game. Most fighting games these days have a tag-team mode as a standard, so I am curious why they decided not to do it. I can only imagine how fun it would have been to have tag-team special moves, but oh well.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us has fantastic presentation, phenomenal voice acting, fluid and beautiful animation, good sound design and an excellent fighting system that adds to the overall experience. However, the online mode is not as good as it should have been and the ranking system has serious issues when it comes to matching people with the same skills. Competition is a big deal for a fighting game and, unfortunately Injustice: Gods Among Us lacks in this department due to weak online options.

Although, despite all of this I still think this is a great game and should be played no matter what. It’s accessible to players of all skill levels and you can have a lot of fun with your friends playing locally on your couch at your house if you’re looking for some fun competition. Injustice: Gods Among Us was built upon the mechanics of NetherRealm’s previous game Mortal Kombat 9 and it does a great job at expanding its core. Injustice: Gods Among Us definitely does justice for fighting games.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.

The Good

Well-presented, story mode is kicks-ass, awesome roster of heroes and villains, tons of single-player content and unlocks to get, practice mode is deep for the hardcore players.

The bad

Online mode is a lackluster considering how good the single-player is and that is extremely disappointing, ranked system doesn't match players with the appropriate skill level, no tag-team battles in the game.

FINAL VERDICT

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a great fighting game, with a healthy roster of super heroes and super villans and plenty of single-player content and great training mode to practice in. However, the lack of online options and a ranking system that doesn't match people with proper skill levels hurt the game's overall verdict, the addition of tag-team mode is also missing.


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