Following the reboot of Mortal Kombat, developer Nether Realm studios managed to redeem the long and stagnant franchise with a redesign combat system, story mode and one of the best single player fighting games around on top of its competitive play. And with Injustice Gods Among Us, they are taking a second crack at the DC Universe with a refined combat system, but things aren’t that super in this game.

Injustice 3 560x200 Injustice Gods Among Us    Mortal Kryptonite

An Animated Fight:

Injustice’s best feature beyond the gameplay would have to be the story mode. Written by DC writers, Injustice’s story is all about that line that Superman must tread between being a hero and a dictator. After the joker causes the death of Lois, Superman snaps and assumes control over the world. Some alternate reality twists later and we have a fairly good excuse to watch heroes and villains beat the crap out of each other.

Production wise Injustice was pretty good, with many voice actors reprising their roles from the Justice League and Teen Titan cartoon series. The only major exceptions would be Mark Hamil and Clancy Brown not voicing the joker and Lex Luthor respectively.

The combat system is similar to Mortal Kombat’s with the use of a special meter to dictate modified and advanced moves, but there are some new twists to it. Each character falls into two categories of power or agility. This determines how they make use of environmental objects in the level. Every character beyond that is different, from their attacks, special moves and even a special “powers” ability tied to the B button.

But where Nether Realm really got things right would be with the actual combat system. In a piece I wrote about Mortal Kombat, I complained how the special moves and abilities weren’t tied to their respective button commands making it harder to learn. What they did with Injustice was instead of trying to tie button commands to a host of super powers, they streamlined it down.

There are three attack buttons: light, medium and heavy which special attacks are built around simple commands. Such as back-forward X or down-right A and this pattern is consistent across all the characters. So while fighting game purists may complain that things have been simplified, this makes it a lot easier to learn special moves and keep that retention across characters.

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Standardizing special move commands was a smart move to help cut back on the learning curve of the game.

The special meter is used for enhancing special attacks, getting out of being hit along with a clash mode, where both players wager meter to decide who takes damage and who gets health back.

Lastly each character has a cut scene driven “super move” which is Injustice’s way of having the X-Ray attacks from Mortal Kombat, while keeping things PG. So while characters will be hit by cars, knocked into space and worse, there’s no blood or lost of limbs to worry about.

While Injustice sadly doesn’t have a version of Mortal Kombat’s krypt or bonus unlock mode, it does come with single player missions in the form of STAR Labs. The STAR Labs missions are all about variety with some being about battles with special conditions and others having completely different gameplay.

While Injustice is all around a great game, I have some problems both with the combat system and technical issues that really shouldn’t be there.

Not So Heroic:

(Note: I played Injustice with the PC version using an Xbox 360 gamepad, the problems mentioned here may not reflect the console versions which I have not played.)

Despite the simplified control system and special moves, I still found Injustice somewhat clunky to play. Similar to Mortal Kombat, the combat system is rigid in the sense that there is a very limited amount of frames built into each character. Unlike in a fighting game like Soul Calibur or Virtua Fighter, you can’t experiment with the list of moves available to create your combos.

Injustice 1 300x225 Injustice Gods Among Us    Mortal Kryptonite

Super moves add some flair to the combat, but do get repetitive after repeat viewings.

Any deviation from what’s been programmed for your character will result in them just stopping all movement.

And just like Mortal Kombat, the game is very special move oriented as opposed to combos. The timing for performing the small number of combos was hard for me to get down and it’s very hard to tell when you are supposed to input the next attack in order to continue the chain.

Not helping matters was a very annoying bug only found in the PC version, where the game will slowdown for no apparent reason. The bug was found by the PC port developer Splash Damage, but the game is not receiving any more patches and therefore it remains in there.

Other problems include online matchmaking not working and textures not looking as good as on the console versions. All in all this is an example of a poor port for the PC which is a shame as the platform could really use great fighting games. As a counter example, Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed was a great kart racer which was ported to the PC without any major issues and had continued work to make it better.

Injustice Gods Among Us despite the problems is still a good game and continues Nether Realm’s streak of great fighting games. I’m conflicted between wanting to see them continue in this style or try to elevate the fighting genre further. If they keep improving the formula and hopefully spend more time with the PC version, Nether Realm might just continue to improve the Mortal Kombat and fighting genre name.

Featured Game

Title: Injustice: Gods Among Us
Developer: Nether Realm Studios
Publisher: WB
System: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a Fighting game that blends classic Arcade style gameplay mechanics with an intriguing storyline that pits classic DC Comics characters against each other in unique combinations (hero vs. hero, villain vs. villain, etc.). The game is developed by NetherRealm Studios, and Ed Boon, of Mortal Kombat fame. Players can expect over-the-top action that is suitable for players of most ages, and a single-player storyline that provides the background for the unique character match-ups possible. Addition features include: more than 20 DC Comics heroes and villains, a variety of different attack levels, unique attacks for each character, multiplayer support, and more.

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THOUGHTS ON
“Injustice Gods Among Us — Mortal Kryptonite”

  • Charles Geringer

    I think the single-player campaign should be mentioned, I played trough it with some friends(all of us comic book geeks), and it was a very enjoyable experience, of watching a “interative movie”. They created an enjoyable story that fits the characters, while giving them an explanation to create their own versiosn of each character.

    /Begin Spoiler

    (I specially liked the heroic “resistance” version of Lex Luthor)

    As a bit of inconsistency there is a mini game where the good superman heroically destroys cars flung at him, stoically incinerating their drivers”

    /End Spoiler

    I personally don´t really like quicktime events, but they were not too frustrating, nor had heavy consequences for failuire, making this one of the games that best use them.

    The power equalizer they introduced, is a bit gimicky, but that is hard to avoid when you want the Green Arrow to go toe to toe with Superman

    Another thing I think you neglected to mention is each characer´s special skill whihc help to diferentiate each one´s gameplay, and they seem to fit well with each character´s theme

  • Charles Geringer

    I think the single-player campaign should be mentioned, I played trough it with some friends(all of us comic book geeks), and it was a very enjoyable experience, of watching a “interative movie”. They created an enjoyable story that fits the characters, while giving them an explanation to create their own versiosn of each character.

    /Begin Spoiler

    (I specially liked the heroic “resistance” version of Lex Luthor)

    As a bit of inconsistency there is a mini game where the good superman heroically destroys cars flung at him, stoically incinerating their drivers”

    /End Spoiler

    I personally don´t really like quicktime events, but they were not too frustrating, nor had heavy consequences for failuire, making this one of the games that best use them.

    The power equalizer they introduced, is a bit gimicky, but that is hard to avoid when you want the Green Arrow to go toe to toe with Superman

    Another thing I think you neglected to mention is each characer´s special skill whihc help to diferentiate each one´s gameplay, and they seem to fit well with each character´s theme

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