This past Tuesday saw the release of one of the most anticipated fighting games for comic book fans. DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us was released to much fanfare with a midnight release and an actual competition amongst players to win different prizes (at least at our Gamestop). To be fair, I have never been a fan of fighting games. Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, none of these games have ever stimulated anything more than simple curiosity followed by extreme boredom. I am a story gamer all the way. An interesting story and characters are what gets me going and, most of the time, these types of games forgo any of this to make sure the fights are vicious and fantastic looking.
Injustice does the same thing but so much more. The game’s story, though not as “in depth” as non-fighter games, is still one of the best for its genre. For those who haven’t read the comics leading up to the release of the game, the prologue is both simple and extremely dark. The Joker, with a mix of Scarecrow’s gas, tricks Superman into killing Lois and their unborn son when he’s made to believe that she is Doomsday. What no one knows is that a nuclear bomb’s detonator is linked with Lois’ heart and, when she dies, the bomb is detonated and Metropolis is destroyed. Though the game takes place in a parallel universe to the DC’s “real” universe, to say this turn of events is dark would be an understatement. It is because of these events that Superman kills the Joker and establishes a rule where all of Earth is under his domain and crime is almost non-existent. I’m going to leave the story there as giving too much away would ruin the enjoyment of playing it. After the debacle of Mortal Kombat vs. DC, this game is a breath of fresh air.
One of the great aspects of the story mode is that it doesn’t force you to play as one character throughout the entirety of the game. You play as different characters through stages we all have become familiar with against foes that range from Catwoman to Solomon Grundy. This device is a double edged sword though. Sometimes you play as a character with a list of moves both effective and easy to perform. Other characters though have moves that are either hard to do or are hard to make effective with the range or angle of it. Luckily, this is only a small problem because everything else works perfectly. The special moves for each character are a pleasure to behold as each one is unique and all are beautiful to watch. One plus with these attacks though is that they are avoidable; this little thing is important because it can allow you to dodge the AI’s attack when getting hit is not the best course of action.
Speaking of action, there seems to be an almost infinite number of actions one can do within all of these levels. You can throws statues or floating weapons at characters, rip a pipe of a wall to hit your opponent with gas or liquid, or throw them into something in the background, rebound off of them, and continue to attack. The best aspects of the environments though, are the level transitions. Sending a character crashing through the level to another part of it is nothing new but I find that Injustice’s transitions are both brutal and entertaining to watch. Whether it be getting beat by the inmates of Arkham Asylum, or getting hit by a train in Gotham, to even getting hit by Darkseid, seeing each one is any reason to make it worth your while to go out of your way to set your opponent up to see them.
Despite the story being somewhat short, it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable and unexpected when certain twists are thrown in. Story mode isn’t the only thing added to this full game. The introduction to S.T.A.R. Lab missions, adds an altogether different experience. In this, you play as different characters through different stages, each with this one set of goals to achieve to get a three star rating that helps unlock other characters and missions. Despite the numerous missions though and thought it went into to make all of these, there is one glaring problem I find that kills my enjoyment of them. That’s the difficulty of some of these challenges.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a challenge as the gamer in me thrives off of it. Unfortunately, the OCD in me goes insane when you’re about to achieve that seemingly impossible goal only to have it ruined by one misplaced button hit or a random fluke. For example, there is one mission where you fight Batman and must not get hit once by his batarangs. While some would find this easy, it took me well over 30 tries to get it. Sometimes, I would get close only for one button not to hit properly and for him to get off one hit. Another is “don’t get hit by ten pieces of debris”. If you play the level, you will understand the difficulty of this. More experienced gamers will find these challenges hard but conquerable. For some without the experience of fighting games, they are a test in patience and will power not to throw the controller at the TV. Some may have to give up on getting all the stars and settle on getting just enough to unlock other challenges.
Again, this problem will only be a “problem” for certain people and is definitely not a detriment to the game overall. The only true problem I have with the game is the AI in story mode. There were times when I found the enemies FAR too easy and no difficulty in it at all. Again, not a horrible problem because I love the story more than the fighting. I do suggest that those with experience in these games go for a harder difficulty mode to give themselves more of a challenge.
The graphics are beautiful, as they should be, and need nothing more to say about them than that they are spectacular. Overall, I have to say that this game has met my expectations and shattered them completely. The game is beautiful, the story is great, and the gameplay is both hard but easily adaptable. For gamers and comic book fans alike, this is definitely a game one should pick up as it is easily worth the 60 dollar price tag. Add on the large list of playable characters and ones that are already primed for release, this game will not be getting old anytime soon.