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Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice: Gods Among Us

After countless encounters with the world's biggest boy scout in multiple generations worth of poor video game tie-ins, I've been itching to punch that spit-curl off Superman's face.

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Thanks to the team behind Mortal Kombat, Netherrealm Studios, I finally get the chance.

Gods Amongst Us provides us with a fighting roster crammed with all the heavy hitters of the DC Universe - Superman, Batman - alongside several lesser known characters that have populated the comics over the years, such as Ares and Hawkgirl. As expected coming from the studio in question, the gameplay is fairly similar to that of the current generation of Mortal Kombat titles, a commonality that has both good and bad attributes.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Even when I play the training mode to test out combos, I'm reminded how static the MK animation flow is. Uppercuts, super attacks and chains feel more like dialling out international numbers. Cold mechanical rather than the smooth fluidity of the game's competitors.

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The series has its fans, but personally the not-overly generous combo buffers, long counter times and lousy throw timing meant it didn't rise to the top tier of fighting titles for me. However, it is damn good fun, as usual, to tear each other to pieces. The series has enormous charm, gallons of dark humour and the developers have always offered a healthy dose of self-irony.

That irony's a little harder to wield in Injustice. While the cast is huge, that a lot of the characters won't be as well known to anyone outside comic fandom lessens the impact of the roster screen, and so too is the impact of superpowers used during matches: unless you've been following the Geoff Johns run religiously through the years (or just watched the recent film), the sight of Green Lantern conjuring a wall of green will behind his opponent and then kicking them through it isn't going to do it for you.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Moreover, Netherrealm Studios hasn't been exactly gracious with the gang here. The coolness factor that the DC gang possess has been effectively buried under strange design choices - this isn't the 'classic' designs but an alternate world take on the characters where too much body armour has been decried better for the 'darker' take on the heroes rather than the colourful spandex - and the visuals don't quite made the grade either - both Batman and Joker looked better in the Arkham Games.

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Without the fandom, you're more likely to see the shortcomings of Injustice: Gods Amongst Us. While the Mortal Kombat template is an obvious one to base the foundations of Injustice upon, the title does struggle to find its own identity. At least it isn't a complete clone of the MK series: each stage has several environmental objects to interact with, and you can send your foe to another section of the level with the right strike in the right place.

And while I'm far from being skilful enough to enter the competitive circuit, I spotted problems with the balancing system. It feels there hasn't been an overall structure to balancing out the featured cast: it's like they've made a bunch of fighters individually instead of designing them with the others in mind. Some have easy combo openers, while others suffer severely; there was excessive patching in Mortal Kombat to fix those issues and I expect the same here.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

With that said, I have to applaud the studio for the work they've put into the game; this is a feast for DC fans. There's plenty of alternative costumes, surprising stages and such that you'll enjoy if you're into the wider DC universe. And, just as in the case of Mortal Kombat, the single-player mode beats every other brawler on the circuit hands-down in the form of a long continuous story.

In this you switch all the time between different characters as the story unfolds, and while the narrative is somewhat standard fare, there's a lot of scenes that'll raise a smirk thanks to some great fan service. There are some misfires though; a series of 'interactive' scenes add nothing to the game (for example, playing as Batman you've to throw multiple batarangs at an advancing enemy to stop them in their tracks).

There is also an extra game mode with special challenges - such protecting civilians from Lex Luthor's henchmen, or defeating Cyborg without being hit by falling debris. I almost wish I had the game on PS Vita instead, as Mortal Kombat was a constant companion on the handheld when I as travelling precisely because of these single player additions.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

The online modes prove stable at time of review and offers daily challenges - such as winning five matches with the Joker - to grab some extra points and give you variation and reason to keep jumping back on.
 
Injustice: Gods Among Us is by no means a bad game, but unless you're an ardent fan of the source material, it lacks the charm of Mortal Kombat and doesn't try anything different enough to mark it more than an alternate take on the developer's previous work. In the end, no superhuman strength or bonus content can conquer a combat system that doesn't quite measure up.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us
06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
+
+ Good single player + Lots of fanservice + Good online support
-
- Problematic game control - Too many gimmicks - Mediocre graphics
overall score
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Injustice: Gods Among UsScore

Injustice: Gods Among Us

REVIEW. Written by Jonas Mäki

"Without the fandom, you're more likely to see the shortcomings of Injustice: Gods Amongst Us."



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