NYCC 2012 – ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’ Impressions
When Injustice: Gods Among Us was announced at E3 this year, I could not help but formulate a few concerns in addition to the sheer excitement and anticipation I felt for its release. Sure the trailer was amazing, but was NetherRealm Studios just making another Mortal Kombat with a super-hero skin slapped on it? We’ve already seen some of these DC icons in action, brought to life by the same developers, in the mediocre Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Would the exclusion of the MK feel be enough to differentiate this title?
Then I thought that maybe a fresh, brand new fighting experience was not the appropriate aim for this sort of project. NetherRealm Studios proved their capability to build on old ideals and gameplay mechanics with their latest work, Mortal Kombat, which became hugely successful on consoles and translated extremely well to the Vita. The game was great because it did not try to incorporate different fighting stances, weapons, or mid-fight mini-games that served to interrupt rather than accentuate the gameplay. 2011’s Mortal Kombat became a fan favorite because it maintained the gory 2D roots while solidifying the addictive combo system.
Injustice: Gods Among Us stays true to the tweak and repeat formula that worked for Mortal Kombat. The underlying MK feel is there, but enough innovation, style, and control changes have been included, creating massive potential for another “greatest hit”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mortal Kombat, the block button has traditionally been mapped to a shoulder button, and the four face buttons represent the four main attacks; high punch, high kick, low punch, and low kick. In Injustice, the back button serves as your block mechanic, much like Street Fighter. Only three of the face buttons represent your normal attacks and the fourth performs an action unique to each character. While playing as Green Arrow, this unique button shot an arrow at my opponent. I was able to aim the arrow in any direction I wanted by simultaneously pointing with the analog stick or d-pad.
The special move mechanic was closely related to that of Mortal Kombat’s with some combination of two directional buttons and a face button resulting in something fancy. Down, forward + X or down, back + triangle will be the sort of commands we can expect to see in our moves lists. One shoulder button performed a throw while the other interacted with the environments. I could not experiment much with the environment button mainly because Nightwing was kicking my ass, but based on the combos I’ve seen in trailers, I think it will be a very satisfying way of keeping a combo string going. Each character has a meter at the bottom of the screen that fills up as the fight progresses. It seemed to be sectioned off in three parts, but I am unsure as to how or if each part can be used. When the meter is full however, pressing both triggers at once unleashes your character’s super move, much like MK’s x-ray attacks.
The movement was fast paced and the controls were very responsive. The environments looked great while the character models were both detailed and animated. Sorry kids, but there were no bloody super-hero fatalities … at least not in this version. The characters that have been announced so far are:
- The Flash
- Green Lantern
- Green Arrow
- Harley Quinn
- The Joker
- Solomon Grundy
- Wonder Woman
Aside from the most recent announcements, Green Lantern and The Joker, all of the above characters were playable in the build at NYCC 2012. Judging by Mortal Kombat’s current gen rosters, I believe that we can expect many more at launch in April 2013, most likely followed by some DLC characters down the line.
Overall, I was impressed with the presentation of Injustice: Gods Among Us at New York Comic Con this weekend. The game was playable on PS3s and 360s alike, and a Wii U version will also be available. Mortal Kombat characters are always refreshed when they make a reappearance whether it be because of a few new moves, combos, or updated visuals. I’m confident that we will not see the same Joker, Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, Flash, or Wonder Woman that we experienced in the lackluster Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. NetherRealm Studios did a phenomenal job incorporating Kratos into the PS3 and Vita versions of last year’s Mortal Kombat, suggesting that the developers are highly skilled in truly representing other IPs. He even had a special move that used a QTE! Injustice: Gods Among Us was already a day one purchase for me and actually being able to play it only solidified my decision. This will be the type of fighter that is played differently by experts, veterans, and beginners, but thoroughly enjoyed by all.