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.
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.
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.
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?
- Entertaining story
- More than competent fighting
- Awesome roster of characters
- Plastic looking characters
- Dodgy voice acting
- Slightly short story mode
- These guys’ faces. I mean, seriously. Just plastic.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is out now on Xbox 360, PS3 (reviewed) and Wii U.
Review copy kindly provided by Premier PR.