Just forget the treachery that was Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The creative minds at NetherRealm Studios, creators of the Mortal Kombat franchise, have brought justice to the DC Comics and the genre of fighting, with Injustice: Gods Among Us. With 24 characters, all of them from the DC universe, the game is heavy on the characteristics of their comic book counterparts. The game also focuses on a very emotionally strong and dark story, while giving players rest with their incredibly well thought out multiplayer. In short, I found myself to be quite occupied and amused by this new superhero button masher.
Being a DC comics fighting game, characters are the main focus of the game. With 24 DC stars overall, each one are parallel to their comic book counterparts. From heroes ranging from Superman, to Green Arrow, to Cyborg and the villains having a great roster contribution from the usual superhero nemesis’s to the unknown Killer Frost and Solomon Grundy. Also, with the likes of Batgirl, Zattana, Lobo, Martian Manhunter, Scorpion, and Zod, these DLC characters make Injustice worthy of an Ultimate Edition. Weapons and character art give each character an authentic feel that can not be found in any other superhero game this generation. For example, Batman’s devices vary from his C4, grapplers, batarang, and even the occasion appearance from his bat-mobile. One element that makes Injustice so original are the costumes. Unlike the comics, character costumes seem a more futuristic, which adds a bit of darker and apocalyptic appeal to the color of the outfits. Its not a negative at all, if anything, its what gives identity to this dark and gloomy game.
On the PlayStation 4, the gameplay is the sole reason to buy this game. Playing with someone like Green Arrow, with his hefty hops and the use of all types of arrows, each character in the game feels incredible and different than any other fighting game this generation. Insane combos only take a few buttons to pull off, but being an advanced player pays off with many deadly attacks, that take a chunk of time to perform.
As an added bonus, battle arenas are incredible, which make this game feel like a true superhero title. In comics and movies, you have battles that include the fighters throwing each other through building and wrecking the city. In Injustice: Gods Among Us, its the same EXACT situation. In the beginning of every fight, you start out in this beautifully detailed setting, but in the end you might find yourself in a city full of rubble. From Metropolis to Justice hall, the game is drenched in many perfected maps.
Story-wise, the game seems like a obvious spin-off of Mortal Kombat; that being a positive and negative for the title. The story circles around the comic book arc of Infinite Crisis, where the Justice League faces the issue of being in a parallel universe of the good gone bad superheroes, which makes for a great campaign in the video game world. It being a game from NetherRealm, means that the story will have jaw dropping twist, which proves to not work to well. The reason being that EVERY character in the story dies at one point, which is insane to the comic book world. Yes, a few comeback to life in some very strange story plots, but something that seems like such a Mortal Kombat idea, should stay in Mortal Kombat. The story starts high with the idea of Superman finally dealing with the Joker, at his deadliest. It then falls to the dilemma of reasons for each character to fight, which is hard to play and sit through at times, but the ending is very satisfying.
Going into the multiplayer life of the game, its so well done, that it makes me wonder why we are not presented with more great fighting games like this each year. There’s game modes like the traditional ‘One vs. One’ and ‘Survivor’, but ‘King Of The Hill’ is where you need to spend your time. Like Survivor, there is a group of players in a server and two members fight against each other. During the fight, other players (spectators) can guess who wins and what combo each fighter can complete. After the fight, the winner is crowned and is ready to fight the next guy in line, while the loser is kicked to the bottom of the ladder. If any spectators win a bet, they are rewarded XP, which is then used to level up online. Leveling up online allows players to unlock character skins and customize in-game profile pages to display to people while in a ladder match.
To cap off this review on a high note, Netherrealm has also introduced S.T.A.R. Labs, which are mini games circling around the main campaign of the game. S.T.A.R. Lab challenges vary from actual missions, puzzles, and even side scrolling missions with Catwomen’s cat. While most puzzles and hardcore missions appeal as a wonderful way to waste time, some odd missions are just plain useless and boring. Although, the most satisfaction comes from beating a group of lab challenges and unlocking skins for each character.