Superheroes are some of the most revered characters in fiction, and every now and again, someone tries to make another superhero video game. Mostly, they tend to suck. So it’s with mixed feelings we received Injustice: Gods Among Us. Is it superpowered? Or is the transferal to a digital medium its proverbial Kryptonite? Let’s find out.
Injustice tells the tale of an alternate DC Universe where the Joker destroyed Metropolis, and in so doing, killed Lois Lane and Superman’s unborn son. This, understandably, makes Superman just a teensy bit ticked off. Things soon go to hell in a bucket from there, and several of the former heroes turn bad, dishing out a warped kind of justice. While all that is going on, cut to the regular DC Universe, where all the various heroes are fighting off all the various villains. Joker is about to plant and detonate a bomb, and is about to be stopped by Batman. Also on the way to assist are Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. Just before the bomb explodes, the five of them are transported to the alternate universe, and of course, it’s up to the heroes to fix the things that have gone screwy.
As far as plot goes, it’s one of the wonkiest I’ve ever come across, but it turns out that there’s actually a decent pretext for it: it’s so that within the game’s story mode, the game’s writers can justify battle pairings that wouldn’t otherwise make sense, for example, Green Lantern vs Green Lantern. However, the wonky plot actually doesn’t matter, because the game is just so much fun. Yep, this is one of the best superhero games I’ve played in a long time. As a brawler game, it takes just about every trope you can think of and then some. It’s strictly a two dimensional fighting game, so if you’re used to games such as Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Soul Calibur, this one will suit you like a pair of multi-coloured tights. There are destructible environments, counterattacks, super moves, and so on. Everything except a third dimension.
Injustice (it’s a pun, geddit? It features the Justice League, but up against a Justice League that doesn’t do them…well…justice) is also a fairly hefty game if you like to play solo. Aside from the single player story, there are also 240 S.T.A.R. Labs missions, wherein specific characters are given specific tasks to perform. If that weren’t enough, there is also a Battle Mode where you are pitted against a series of increasingly stronger foes, and then there is still all the multiplayer to dig into. In particular, the S.T.A.R. Labs missions are great fun, and actually serve as a great training ground outside of the actual Training Mode.
The game’s graphics are fairly astounding, and actually better than what I’d expected from current-gen games. Each character is beautifully and lovingly animated, and unlike some games where every character feels like a reskin of all of the others, Injustice’s characters actually feel different to each other. In fact, each character uses the interactive background elements differently, too, adding to the uniqueness factor. When you combine the look of the game with the game’s top-notch voices, it becomes a very pretty package, both visually and audibly. I do have one minor gripe, though: for some reason, I struggle to believe that the character of Superman is, well, Superman. To me he just looks like a young Jay Leno. This breaks the entire game, of course. I kid, I kid.
Honestly, there is little to fault with Injustice, Jay Leno aside. The game’s tutorial is a bit long-winded, and could probably have been done better, but once you start to grapple with the game, the tutorial starts to make more and more sense. Eventually. The S.T.A.R. Labs serve as a better tutorial than the tutorial does. Despite that, though, there’s a very strong fighting game here. The story mode is very forgiving, and it is fully voiced and animated, too, so it never feels tacked on. Initially I struggled to find multiplayer matches, but as the number of players increased, so did the ease with which I found other players.
If you love fighting games, you’ll be a Joker to pass over Injustice. Heck, if you’re a fan of comic superheroes, you could definitely do a lot worse than this game. Normally it wouldn’t mean much to say that it’s one of the best superhero games out there, but to say that it’s among the best fighting games out there, too: now there’s a compliment.
Final Score: 9 flying, fighting, swimming, running, lantern-wielding prawns out of 10
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: WB Games
Platforms: PS3, Xbox360 (reviewed), Wii U