When I first had the chance to demo Injustice: Gods Among Us at E3 last year, I was almost sure this was Mortal Kombat with a mere DC superhero skin.
Boy, was I wrong.
There are so many elements to this fighter that make this one different than any other; and, with as many hours as you can spend with Injustice, the door is now open for even more fantastic sequels, or at the very least, damn cool-looking skins via DLC! (Blackest Night, Flashpoint and Red Son, said to be a few of the alternate skins among them.)
Yes. I’m craving a sequel already, and not necessarily because I feel the need for more characters — though Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Ra’as Al Ghul, Black Canary, Atrocitus, Constantine, Batwoman, Firestorm, Zatanna, and, uh, yes, Wildcat would be cool, too. While it doesn’t take very long to master each one of our in-game heroes and villains (special moves and combos appear to be pretty simple to pull off), there does appear to be a Metropolis amount of discovery had within each replay.
The most challenging discovery, perhaps, is pulling off ways to chain each hero/villain’s unique power mechanism. Batman can strike you with an assortment of his floating bat bombs; Flash can call upon the Speed Force for mega-hit combos; and Wonder Woman can even exchange her lasso for a big ass sword.
Hey, some ladies enjoy the use of a big sword every now and then.
Though you will enjoy the lengths of mastering each character’s special techniques, the most jaw-dropping moments in the game come from the — sure, the special move cinematic sequences and we’ll get to those — interactive environments. Every arena, be it the Wayne Manor, Stryker’s Island, or The Watchtower (no Jimi Hendrix included, sorruh) carries an enormous amount of wild objects to toss (lion’s head, anyone?), floors to stomp opponents through and triggers to pull. Get close to the right buttons in the Caped Crusader’s layer and you can literally zap the shit out of your foe. Larger dudes like Bane, Ares and Grundy will straight destroy you into another level — and yup, the fighting shall resume there.
Shit can get that epic.
All of the special moves are a joy to watch, but, unfortunately, there’s only one for each character, so watching Superman uppercut you to the Moon and back down again may actually get old the third or fourth time out. This, however, forces you to use an array of choices instead of being stuck on Raven. Cause I know you are.
The single player story-line itself is sweepingly epic, focusing on the DC Hero of the Year, Clark Kent. Surprisingly, however, the story unleashes a Man of Steel who’s more of the broodingly heartless, more interested this time in ruling (think: Kingdom Come) than protecting. That can be a very dangerous scenario. So, there’s a reason why Lex Luthor is a good guy, Green Lantern goes yellow (and I don’t mean cowardly), and our favorite Justice Leaguers are double-crossing one another (Atlantis vs. Themyscira, oh my!).
Like I said, shit can get that epic.
The main drawback from the story mode are the silly QTE’s that nearly implode it. For example, these Quick Time Events try to give reason as to why your Deathstroke is about to confront Green Arrow (*Minor Spoiler* even though they’re currently buddies in the TV hit “Arrow,” this is what happens down the line, fools!). They force you to exhibit some arcade-ready fingers, either to hurl items at your opponents with repetitive button presses, such as Joker cards, or to fend off/dodge other incoming objects. These sort of grammar school scenarios appear foolish when you understand the true matter at hand (Superman wants to kill us!).
Thankfully, there are enough “oh shit!” moments that happen throughout the campaign that many loyal comic readers will enjoy, particularly one involving a Red Son. When you’re done the prime story and whipping many of your friends either online or in yo’ mama’s basement, nerds can then turn to S.T.A.R. Labs, which conditions your fighters to the most extreme of challenges. You know, half-health, the villain’s only club, etc. There’s plenty of unlockables to be found here, too. And lest we not forget: Kevin Conroy voices Batman. Kevin Conroy voices Batman! KEVIN CONROY VOICES BATMAN!!