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'Injustice' is a fighting delight

By Tom Kaufman
On April 24, 2013

 

In the spring of 2011, the award-winning NetherRealm Game Studios established itself as a
heavyweight in the fighting genre of the gaming industry and released the highly anticipated remake of
Mortal Kombat.
 
Two years later, NetherRealm added another title to its resume, Injustice: Gods Among Us.
 
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a 2D fighting game in which players control characters made up of the
DC Universe. Yes, I said DC Universe, so its time to put down Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for a bit and fight
with notable favorites Batman, Superman and the Joker.
 
If that isn't enough for you, how about indulging in the story mode?
 
One thing different fighting games never could quite grasp was making an entertaining and deep story
mode. Injustice is able to overcome that hurdle, thanks to a plethora of beautifully cut scenes, engaging
graphics and a cast of hero and villain voices that can be heard in any of the DC animated cartoons,
except for Mark Hamill's Joker, unfortunately.
 
This game also features a battle mode, which is a series of fighters, some with conditions, single fight,
and S.T.A.R. Labs, a mission-based activity in which players have to complete specific combos and
accomplish certain tasks.
 
This game is similar to Marvel vs. Capcom 3's mission mode, except in Injustice, there are more
missions, and each mission has a certain amount of stars to collect, based on how well you perform the
mission.
 
A nice feature is that there are many ways to play online. NetherRealm included an online component,
where you can battle friends or hone your matchmaking skills.
 
You have the option to go ranked or unranked, host or join a room and have private matches.
 
You have your pick of 24 characters, along with at least four more confirmed DC characters.
 
Seven of the 24 characters are Batman characters, which might appease or disappoint the player
depending on their favorite superhero. Each character has a unique ability, though there are some that
have similar effects.
 
For example, Batman can summon three bats to his side to utilize in combos and provide him with a
reliable projectile attack. Superman has five seconds of sun-bathed power, which makes his combos
cause more damage.
 
This effect was actually implemented very well by NetherRealm, as this might make the gamer favor
one character over another. Each character also has one special move that carries a lot of damage and a
pretty nice cinematic.
 
The game does seem similar to its Mortal Kombat counterpart, but it incorporates its own fighting style
as well. If you're an advanced fighting game whiz like myself, you'll love the abundance of combos
this game has to offer. They can be complicated, but if mastered, you'll have a blast owning your
friends.
 
When in a fight, players will notice some bars that grow throughout the battle at the bottom of the
screen. That is their special meter bar. When full, a special move can be performed by pressing both
game triggers simultaneously.
 
This is much simpler than the button sequences in many other games.
 
Special meters can also be utilized in tandem with a character's super move to add a secondary effect.
The meter is especially helpful in stringing together long combo sequences, leaving their opponent
scratching their head.
 
Clashes bring another dimension to the fight as well. Usually toward the end of the game, either
character can activate clash mode once per match, which allows players to "wager" any amount of
special bars they've stockpiled up.
 
Whichever player bets more special bars will win the clash, and that player will either inflict more
damage or regain precious health.
 
This can be a huge momentum shifter and might actually decide the fate of the match.
 
One of the cooler features in the game is the choice of arenas of play for the players. With 15 in all,
more than one-third being Batman stages, players are limited in their choice selection. To make up for
that, NetherRealm added stage transitions, which I enjoy.
 
Each stage, with the exception of Atlantis, has different transitions that can be incorporated into
combat. When activated near the corner of a stage, the character that initiated the transition will punch
an enemy through a wall, or into the air, and a brief video sequence will begin. If you choose to play
on the Joker's asylum map, it could contain scenes similar to Doomsday getting thrashed by Arkham
Asylum's Scarecrow.
 
My favorite part of the game is the environments. Although Injustice is a 2D fighter, NetherRealm
decided to allow for outside environments to impact the battle, and I enjoy that feature.
 
Players can grab dumpsters, cars, and spaceships to throw them at his or her opponent for a heap of
damage. All of the characters react differently to the environments, adding more character depth.
 
Batman, for example, is not strong enough to throw a car at someone, so he'll attach an explosive to
it and blow it up on the opponent. Players can also kick opponents into helicopters and other central
objects for major damage, which can be incorporated into combos.
 
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fighting game with huge potential. Its been influenced by some of the
greats, but also has many key elements that set it apart.
 
If you can afford the $60 price tag, grab it; you won't regret it.
 
Overall, I give this game an 8.5 out of 10.
 
Tom Kaufman can be reached by email at kaufman.record@live.com.

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