Injustice: Gods Among Us Review

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3 stars

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If you think reading is for chumps check out my video review here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hmlub5OrgI

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a one on one fighter developed by NetherRealm studios the team behind Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe and the more recent Mortal Kombat reboot. So now they’re attempting a game that got its own comic book prequel prior to the game’s release. Is this just a Mortal Kombat clone or is it a genuine fighting game that exceeds expectations?

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If you’ve played Mortal Kombat this will feel immediately familiar the weight and brutality are spot on. Every character feels different and there’s no cloning of characters from Mortal Kombat or itself. There are now some cool super moves for when you press the trigger buttons simultaneously which play a cool cinematic cutscene which deals mass damage to your opponent. These can range from Bane breaking your back over his knee or Superman punching you into space and then punching you back down to earth even if you’re on a space station. When you press the circle button on the PlayStation 3 version your character performs an action called a character trait. Although most characters have completely original traits like Batman’s mechanical bats or Solomon Grundy’s chain throwing some like Green Lantern and Superman just deal more damage. A new feature is the clash system which allows you to break your opponent’s combo and then wager your meter whoever wagers the most meter deals damage to your opponent or heal yourself. Clashes however sometimes feel gimmicky but they do offer a bit of banter which varies from character to character. For example Superman might say to Batman “All that armour won’t help,” then Batman would say “Just shut up and fight,”

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Another feature the developers tried to hype up are the larger and more interactive levels which supposedly make the choice stage just as important as the character choice. Some levels have only 1 stage like Atlantis but levels like Metropolis have 3. Doing a big old wind up kick/punch on the edge of a stage will knock your enemy to the next stage dealing maximum damage to them as a cutscene plays of their brutal trip. Scattered through each stage are interactive objects which can sometimes get you out of sticky situation. These interactive props can be used to make a quick escape or to decimate your enemy. The problem about these interactive objects is that too many characters just plainly smash things and it gets a bit boring having little variety in the interaction.

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Graphically Injustice looks good even if it is only running at 720p 60 frames per second. The main cast all look great but all the NPCs look bland and emotionless. The NPCs look like they belong in a game from 2006. Cutscenes sometimes look a bit washed out but most of the time they look great with a few areas that admittedly look low-budget. In combat everything animates for the most part smooth and buttery aside from a bit of weird looking hit detection.

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The build-up to Injustice was told through a prequel comic of the same name. Whatever hype and momentum that series was gathering is quickly gone since early on in the game we’re told that it’s a parallel universe to the regular vanilla DC universe. I felt though that because there’s so much going on and the story is so large in scale and only the length of a feature film there are some things that I wanted to learn more about. Some of these ideas could have been there own 10 hour campaign but they shuffle them into a bunch of great ideas but most of them are skipped over or are poorly executed. The story overall isn’t completely bad though it just feels squished and undercooked. There’s still some great DC fan service littered throughout the campaign. Some of the dialogue comes into cornball territory.

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The game’s extra content is pretty standard there’re alternate skins as well as music, backgrounds and avatars. There is your standard battle mode where you fight ten opponents then receive an ending for that character. You can mix this formula up a bit with things like having your life bar carry over round to round or have our life bar get slowly taken away from you. Then there are the star labs missions which are mostly minigame focused. Some are more interesting than others like trying to avoid kryptonite batarangs as Superman or throwing grenades at Solomon Grundy. Some just feel gimmicky like controlling Catwoman’s cat Isis. Star labs can be extremely fun or extremely annoying. Online mode is not recommended for novices as I’ve played 9 ranked matches and lost them all. For those of you are hard-core though there is no lag even if you’re in Australia. Story mode is a very short ride, I clocked in 1 hour and 47 minutes on very hard.

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You’ll instantly recognize most of the voice actors with the likes of Kevin Conroy, Troy Baker and Adam Baldwin unfortunately no Mark Hamil there’s Richard Epcar to take his place who does a pretty good job. Ever thing sounds meaty as it should be especially with superheroes in the frame. The music is orchestral and epic and it sounds like it belongs in a blockbuster action film.

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The menus are good and do the job but the archive has a long load time for just a menu.

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Injustice is the best fighting game I’ve played. That’s not saying much though as this is the fifth fighting game I’ve played.  But what I can say that this is a fun game with deep fighting mechanics but still accessible enough that anyone can pick up and play. Decent production values with a story mode above most fighting games even if it is less than 2 hours.

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