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Talkingship – Video Games, Movies, Music & Laughs | October 19, 2018

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REVIEW: Injustice: Gods Among Us

REVIEW: Injustice: Gods Among Us

Does Injustice have the ‘Shazam’ you’re looking for, or is it just a ‘Joke(r)’?

Whatever you say about Injustice: Gods Among Us, you cannot deny that it answers a question as old as time itself. Well, a question about 60 years old but nonetheless one that’s been argued over for what feels like centuries. Whether debated on school playgrounds, in hot, airless convention centers, or over drinks in a crowded bar, there will always be controversy surrounding the answer. At least Injustice can go some way to settling this age-old conundrum: who would win in a fight: Superman or Batman? Hint – it’s totally Batman.

Injustice is a one-on-one fighting game developed by NetherRealm Studios (of Mortal Kombat fame) that pits the heroes and villains of the DC Universe against each other in an original story. The story’s been placed in safe hands, with comic scribes Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti consulting. If you’re into comics or DC at all, that’s a nerdgasm right there, so go clean yourself up. The good news is that, for the most part,Injustice delivers the goods. The fighting has a ton of depth, but most importantly, is extremely accessible. In fact, I’d go as far to say as this is the most welcoming fighter to newbies that I’ve played in a long while. A highly in-depth (and optional) tutorial walks you through the mechanics step by step, and the feeling of progression when you start to ‘learn’ a character is ace; especially when you’re stringing together high powered moves that you’ve consciously decided to use, rather than just getting lucky whilst button mashing. Accessibility aside, you’ve got a long way to go before becoming a true master of these godlike powers, so the balance is struck well. No doubt you’ll settle into a couple of favorite characters (all of whom, it must be said, feel distinct enough to warrant their presence) and before long you’ll have a couple of options to choose from which you can really kick some ass with.

THE FIGHTING IS IN DEPTH, BUT EXTREMELY ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE THANKS TO THE SUPERB TUTORIAL

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http://youtu.be/2ZakUp9dArc

Characters are split loosely into three types: Heavies, like the mech-suit wearing Lex Luthor and the big bad zombie Solomon Grundy; Powers, like Green Lantern and Supes himself; and Gadgets, like Batman and Joker. NetherRealm has done a great job of making sure that these divisions aren’t at all gimmicky. Batman can fight Lex Luthor and you don’t immediately think ‘Gadget vs Heavy’. The fighting is fluid and balanced enough to blur the lines and make every character feel like they’ve got a chance at winning, even against the almighty (yawn) Superman. As you’d expect from the studio who created Mortal Kombat‘s Fatalities, there are some downright crazy finishing moves that are sometimes hilarious to watch: Flash running around the world to gather momentum for a massive punch to the chin is a personal highlight. Mixed with environmental attacks and moves that can take the fight to a totally different part of the battleground, Injustice can provide moments on the fly that you only ever thought you’d see in painstakingly worked on comic book panels.

WAGERS ENSURE FIGHTS AREN’T ALWAYS SO STRAIGHTFORWARD

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Something new to the established fighting formula is the introduction of wagers. These caused some negative murmurings amongst the hardcore fighting game crowd when announced, but it should be known that if you don’t get on with them, they can easily be switched off. If you’re finding yourself on the rough side of a fight and have more juice in your special attack meter than your opponent, you can trigger a wager. This involves gambling a portion of your meter against your opponent. A nice cinematic of both characters launching themselves at each other occurs, and whoever gambled the most wins the outcome.
If the wager’s instigator wins, then the amount of meter they had is deducted from their opponent’s health bar, but if the defender bets more, they get that amount added back on to their health bar. It’s a nice idea that can ensure fights aren’t always so easy to predict, as a well timed, successful wager can be just the thing you need to turn the tables on your opponent and clinch the win.

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While the story isn’t that long, it is entertaining. It’s the closest thing you’ll see to a Justice League movie for a while, it would seem, and it does a lot to realistically explain just why everyone is kicking seven shades of comic colors out of each other. You get three or four fights with a character before the game whisks you off to someone else’s perspective, and it mixes it up nicely with the good and bad guys (though the distinction isn’t quite as clear as you think). The transition from fights to cutscenes is nicely done, never breaking up the action and the story, although, somewhat surprisingly, the game looks better during gameplay than it does in the cutscenes. During scenes, characters look like they’ve been knocked up with a bit of plasticine found in an abandoned art studio. Rubber faces don’t convey emotions very well, and hit and miss voice acting prevents the story from being the epic it could have been. There’s also the addition of simple, quick time event-based minigames between certain fights. In anything else, these would be frowned upon, as they’re hardly revolutionary and sometimes go on far too long, but for the most part, they serve as nice little bouts of action to break up the constant one-on-one battles. Hundreds of these unique little distractions are also available for you to ace after you’re done with the main game, in the S.T.A.R Labs mode. With Angry Birds style three-star ratings, you’ll be kept busy long after the dust has settled on the battlefields.

CONCLUSION

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a lot of fun. It’s obvious, but the amount of enjoyment you get from the game will have a lot to do with how much you enjoy its source material. If you’re only interested in fighting games, then while Injustice handles this well, you’ll probably find a more accomplished representation of the genre elsewhere. But if you have even a passing interest in the characters of the DC Universe, then Injustice may well rise higher than other fighters, with its smart uses of the DC license and the fact it gives you the opportunity to play as characters who would never get their own video game (I’m still petitioning for a Green Arrow/Dishonored mash up). Injustice is a great fighter with an excellent roster, and let’s face it: who doesn’t want to see the Dark Knight stick Supes with a couple of batarangs to that indestructible ass?

THE GOOD

  • Entertaining story
  • More than competent fighting
  • Awesome roster of characters

THE BAD

  • Plastic looking characters
  • Dodgy voice acting
  • Slightly short story mode

THE UGLY

  • These guys’ faces. I mean, seriously. Just plastic.

SCORE

7.5

 

INFORMATION

Injustice: Gods Among Us is out now on Xbox 360, PS3 (reviewed) and Wii U.

Review copy kindly provided by Premier PR.