Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3)

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Title: Injustice: Gods Among Us
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (8.9 GB)
Release Date: April 15, 2013
Publisher: Warner Brothers
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Price: $59.99 (US) / $108 (AUD) Collector’s Edition
ESRB Rating: T
ACB Rating: MA15+
Injustice: Gods Among Us is also available on Xbox 360 and Wii U.
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.

*Note: Michael French (aka Fluffy Nuts) drops in from Australia to give us an early review of the game.

Gameplay:
As a casual fighting game fan but not an expert on them in any way, I could easily tell that the combat really doesn’t live up to other fighting games. Mostly based on Mortal Kombat, it just doesn’t feel as clean or precise as it should. It seems slow and sloppy and uncontrollable at times. As fun as it is, I couldn’t see this being played in any proper fighting game tournament as it seems better suited towards casual play with friends or the single player story mode. The fighting is relatively simple and I managed to get through the entire story mode without even knowing how to block. This, along with infinite retries without penalty, makes it obvious that this is aimed towards the casual player.

Injustice has, in all of its stages, different forms of environmental attacks. Interacting with different objects in different levels makes for a lot of fun and something cool to look at but every one of these attacks does the same amount of damage and is triggered by the same single button every time. It takes away from needing to fight and have a bit of skill when these moves, which seem a bit cheap, make the game a whole lot easier. The character’s special moves have the same problem. Much like the x-ray attacks in the last Mortal Kombat game, these deal the same amount of damage and are set off by the same two buttons every time. No need to remember and practice different buttons like in Street Fighter. As cool as it is to look at, it just feels cheap.

NetherRealm has been clever by doing away with the traditional ‘best of 3′ fight system and opting to give the characters double the health bar. When it gets to half-way, the fight stops for just a second to indicate the next round but doesn’t do that weird thing in fighting games when the character just gets up brand new and healed after being beaten.

The story mode is brilliant in this game. In my opinion this story is good enough and I would personally like to see it as an animated feature. It takes you through the game, much like the last Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe as one character for four fights before changing you to the next character and it gets progressively more difficult as you go on. Since this is a fighting game including Superman, most people ask “How would that work?” but the story covers that detail. It explains how everyone is strong enough to handle super powered attacks but not be any stronger than normal. This would be a ridiculous explanation but after watching All-Star Superman it works well. With lots of subtle and not so subtle references to the comics and movies it’s easy to say that the story is the main focus and the best part of the game.

Besides the story, Injustice also includes lots of character based mini games, training rooms, arcade style ladder battles and new mixed style ladder battles.

Visuals:
This is definitely a beautiful game, the artwork and colours are amazing and the animation is almost flawless. The transition between cutscenes and fights are barely noticeable. These are all very well designed models, from their different looks to all of the many alternative costumes.

Unfortunately (in my opinion) most of costumes are based of the New 52 comic books. Whereas some of the costume redesigns are great, others really aren’t but that’s just my taste. I guess the important thing is that they look like the current stories. The story mode doesn’t show this, but once you get into multiplayer then characters start losing flesh in patches to show damage. This has to be its biggest downfall in visuals. Instead of looking like they’re damaged they just look like some bad zombie make up.

Audio:
The audio is especially brilliant, backing tracks and sound effects aside, as good as they are, the best sound in the game comes from the voice actors. Bringing in, for most of the characters, the voices by which most of us know them best, from Batman/Justice League animated series, Young Justice, Teen Titans and other DC animated movies, it was great to spot all the familiar cast (although no Mark Hamill).

The backing music is great though, even though it’s a very Superman based story it has mostly Batman themed music, very dark and strong rather than uplifting.

Online/Multiplayer:
I haven’t played online yet (due to region locking) but same room multiplayer is great fun. I look forward to playing more multiplayer but for the moment I’m stuck to just playing with friends.

Conclusion:
It’s a good looking and fun game, best played with friends and not to be taken too seriously. Great for the comic book enthusiast and the casual fan, not too hard if all you’re after is the story. Lots of time to be put into this and lots to unlock. A great game but not a great fighting game.

Score:
7.5

Any interest in back story or main references I’d recommend:
* Injustice Comic 1 – ongoing
* Justice League Animated series (2×11, 2×12)
* All-Star Superman
* Superman: Red Sun
* Flashpoint (Aquaman/Wonder Woman)

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