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Review

Injustice: Gods Among Us Review

  • Game release: April 3, 2013
  • Reviewed: April 16, 2013
  • X360
Aaron Sampson on Google+

Injustice provides a complex fighter with some unique twists, but is found wanting in features that have become commonplace in its contemporaries.

When it comes to superheroes-turned-street fighters, DC Comics' stable of superfriends have always received the short end of the stick. While Marvel enjoys the steady success of Capcom's legendary Vs. series, the likes of Justice League Task Force and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe have not done DC any favors. Injustice: Gods Among Us, the latest fighter from the house of Mortal Kombat, aims to break this combo with a fighting system that builds upon the lessons of MK, while also introducing a few new tricks. But for all its complexities, Injustice unfortunately falls short when compared to its contemporaries.

If you are familiar with Mortal Kombat, you will feel right at home in Injustice. Character movement has that same deliberate, staccato style that's distinct from the fighting genre's Japanese-developed counterparts. That style feeds into the satisfying weight and brutality of each attack, whether it's Bane breaking you over his knee or Hawkgirl taking her mace to your face. Controlling these characters feels powerful, and the destruction you bring upon your opponent and the environment add excitement to each fight.

While MK and Injustice have a similar feel, their underlying mechanics are very different. Injustice has three attack buttons and a special trait button. Whether it's flight, healing, or a simple strength boost, these traits are unique to each fighter and play into their particular abilities and histories. The distinctions are clearly apparent, and don't just boil down to slightly altered punches and kicks.

Clashes are another interesting mechanic. When activated, they instantly interrupt a combo, and then both players secretly spend an amount of their super meter. If the fighter who initiated the clash spends more, he regains health proportional to the amount spent; otherwise, he takes damage proportional to what his opponent spent. Clashes can be used only once per round, per character, and only if the initiator is down to his second health bar. The threat of a clash adds an interesting dynamic to the back half of a fight. It forces you to constantly reevaluate how much meter to save and spend based on what your opponent has stored.

While clashes are only a two-time threat, Injustice's interactive backgrounds are a constant hazard. Peppered throughout each stage are items--a missile here, a motorcycle there--for characters to use. Different characters use these items in different ways. Some use these objects as weapons to be smashed over an opponent's head, while others use them as springboards to quickly navigate the arena. These items are a fun way to augment your fighter's arsenal and take stage awareness to a new extreme. Knowing that a combo could put your opponent near a deadly item might make you think twice before launching your assault.

Injustice does not have rounds. Instead, you have two health bars, and when they run out the match is over.

It's too bad that so many characters simply destroy these background objects. A stone tablet that Batman can spring off of to reach the other side of the screen, Superman just smashes. Superman--along with the game's other heavyweights--smashes almost everything he touches. In some stages, it is too easy to smash all of the interactive objects early on simply to deny your opponent their functions. This is especially troublesome for characters with limited mobility options who need these items to compensate for their shortcomings.

The story in Injustice--while grand in scope--is also full of shortcomings. This lengthy tale presents a world where Superman has reached his limit after being tricked into murdering his pregnant wife and unborn child, thereby triggering a nuclear bomb--which was linked to Lois' heartbeat--in the center of Metropolis. It is a premise so ridiculous it borders on parody, but it's presented in all seriousness. The cracks quickly begin to show as this narrative labors under the weight of finding new reasons for characters to stand around punching each other. By the end, you're left wondering how the game could treat this cornball story with such unblinking reverence.

The alternate control option changes the move inputs to a Street Fighter style.

If you're new to fighting games, you'll find Injustice's educational options disappointingly sparse. An extremely basic tutorial runs first-time fighters through the fundamentals, and that's it. There's a practice mode, but any information on fighting game theory or character-specific instructions is left to independent study. The S.T.A.R. Labs missions, Injustice's version of MK's challenge tower, offer some character-specific instruction, but are more of an enjoyable distraction than a way to prepare for real combat.

To further compound the confusion, other, lesser features are left completely unexplained. Tucked away in the controller settings menu are options for release check and alternate control. Both can significantly impact how you play, but you are on your own to figure out how. The largest omission lies in the frame data. This data provides useful insight into the properties of each move, but unless you know what startup frames and block advantage are, it's not going to do you much good. And, once again, the game offers zero insight.

Online, Injustice offers the basics of player and ranked matches, along with the option to practice online with a friend. Player match options let you fight one-on-one, in a king-of-the-hill style or a survival mode. Unfortunately, replay support is a glaring omission. While players in the same lobby can spectate matches, there is no way to record and replay other fights. Replays can offer fantastic insight for players of all skill levels on how to play their favorite fighters, but their absence further compounds Injustice's educational deficiencies. Matches against opponents within a three- or four-bar connection range run without serious delay. However, falling below this connection range can cause some noticeable lag between inputting a command and having it appear in the game.

Leveling up your account unlocks music, concept art, and costumes.

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a hard-hitting fighter that plays to the hardcore crowd. Its creative use of background objects coupled with satisfying fighting mechanics make it both fun and distinct from it contemporaries. But for newer players, the minimal instruction modes and disappointing story provide little incentive for your sustained interest. And the absence of replay support is a loss for everyone involved. Injustice is an enjoyable fighter but as a whole, the package is found wanting.

The Good
Brutal presentation makes you feel powerful
New mechanics build upon Mortal Kombat's foundation in creative ways
S.T.A.R. Labs missions are a fun distraction.
The Bad
Minimal educational tools
Disappointingly dull story
Lacks replay support.
7
Good
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Discussion

868 comments
Taz_12_Dave
Taz_12_Dave

Why don't game company's or studious or whatever make more games like Mass Effect 2? 

L3X18999
L3X18999

This is a good start... Now we just need Star Wars vs. Disney... I'm just saying Luke Skywalker vs. Mickey Mouse and Mickey destroys Luke, tears his dead off and eats it...

Sablicious
Sablicious

MK: DC Cosplay Edition - Simple Mode

R.I.P. fighting game genre.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Why does Hawk Girl have wings.  She doesn't use them, but has the ability to fly anyway.

yearssomuch
yearssomuch

What an awful review. The fact that the game lists ALL of your fighters special moves/combos on the FIRST pause screen makes the 'lack of a tutorial' argument totally moot.
Lacks replay support, HAH! Someone's solely interested in the campaign, me thinks.

gvandewiele
gvandewiele

Bottom line, if you like MK style fighting then you will like this game. oh and "Lacks replay support"? There are 20 different ways to play the ladder and Star Missions, each giving the player opportunities to unlock costumes, game modes, etc. So Max you are absolutely wrong when you say "lacks replay support". 

vicke32
vicke32

This game wished it was Mortal Kombat, the animations are made for x-ray, but since it would be too obvious to use x-ray they instead chose not to use it without changing animations. The lack of blood is also lame, it doesn't need to be "shop u in haff n' rip of al da' skin bichh", but without blood it looks weird.

ali_manslayer
ali_manslayer

umm I am confused wasn't Mortal Kombat released in 2011, or was he referring to a different MK?

asapp7
asapp7

Oh the guy who completely underscored ZombiU, yeah I really trust his opinion. Actually no I don't I wasn't sure my sarcasm came through. Yeah yeah yeah Tom mcshea, "oh 7.0 is a great score." Bullplop this guy has the second lowest score on metacritic so yeah I don't know. Reviews are just one persons opinion and it shouldn't effect my enjoyment of this game, very true. I think I just don't like maxwell very much, he looks like he's high on goofballs and that effects his reviews.

ShadowofSonic
ShadowofSonic

What I expected.

2D fighters have become stale.

TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

Congratulations, Maxwell.  You Are Now The New Tom McShea.



RobDev
RobDev

I know it's probably not relevant but i have trouble getting my mind around a game where the Joker can beat Superman.

buffaloblitz85
buffaloblitz85

Guys reviewing games with scores like this is why a panel of three should review a game.  First guy should be an avid player of that genre, whether it be fighting ( cough), action, FPS or what ever. Second should be someone that doesn't play the genre. Third person should be someone not associated with this site (that way no one can claim _____ paid ____ for the score)

amin7224
amin7224

Gamespot is stupid 

Like if u Agree

ozzye_rage
ozzye_rage

Its really cOOlll! game.... Awesome fun

Fantasy_Dragon
Fantasy_Dragon

I don't even have to play the game or any other fighting game to know that it's just going to teach you the basic fundamentals. He even said it in the review itself, this game "plays to the hardcore crowd", so why would it instruct on everything? He completely contradicted his review.

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

After more time with the game, I have to say i'm really impressed with it.  I really don't understand your argument on the lack of educational tools?  I mean they have all the moves listed, even the frame data.  You can set the AI in practice mode to fight on all difficulties to work on strategies and even have somebody on a second controller(i think you can even practice online). 

dfahrpapa
dfahrpapa

This is actually the first gamespot review I've ever disagreed with. 

polterdice
polterdice

As a Marvel fan who never really got into DC, this game looks awesome.  Can only dream about Marvel doing something like this.  Guess I should expand my horizons and appreciate what both worlds have to offer.

Revelstone
Revelstone

Seriously?! This is one of the best/most cohesive stories in any fighting game, no training tools? You must have skipped the tutorial that everyone else went through. No replay value either huh, I guess you missed battle mode and star labs and you know the online mp as well.Do you just not like fighters or are you a Marvel fan boi?

dualblades
dualblades

Like everyone else said, story is great, fighting system is solid, review sucked. Sorry the tutorial wasn't deep enough for you and you had to actually play the game to figure stuff out.

Navardo95
Navardo95

I've read the review and this guy is a pretty bland reviewer...a bland gamer I would say?
Dull story? Injustice and MK are the ONLY fighting games of this generation that provided a great narrative..

This review isn't good and the user-score and metacritic further proves the point...
Gamespot...the next time you order a guy to write a review make sure he has interest in the genre.

TheAlmightyCow
TheAlmightyCow

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Br0k3n360
Br0k3n360

WoW!! This review is waaaaaaaaay off!!! Horrible review. Story was weak?! R u serious?! This was one of the BEST stories in a fighting game I've ever played. This game is a serious DC gift to its fans! Anyone thats a fan of fighting games or a fan of DC comics GET THIS GAME!!!!! This review is a HUGE FAIL!!!! 

Jinjuri
Jinjuri

I bet this guy sucks ass at the game.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

Dull Story?

Seriously?

Injustice is now the one to beat in terms of story modes in fighting games.

Yeah it was kind of riff on the Justice Lords arc of Justice League (which itself was based on the Crime Syndicate) but that was probably the best arc of the series. It was an awesome idea and deserved revisiting and Injustice actually did it better.


Overall I don't really agree with this review. Given the complaints feels like the wrong reviewer for a fighting game.

00J
00J

For anyone who is a DC Comics Fan, this review is seriously low balled.

It should have been a 9.0 the Fighting Engine is easily an 8.0...

Just want to let anyone who might not want to get this game because of the low rating ignore the rating you will miss out on a really good game!

The Villans are just as strong as the Heroes in this game and you want to play as both gleefully!

I can tell you the villans are really cool and true to their roles and character, when Joker beats you he throws gasoline all over you and tosses a match and stands there watching you burn, lol gets a laugh every  time i see it.

Lex Luthor lol, if he beats you, he steps out of his power armour suit and calls Lex Corp. "O.k. come pick up the suit" haha So cool.

Batman during a fight can call on the Batmobile which sets off a beat down combo that ends with the Batmobile racing in and running over your opponent. You can save this "power" until just the right moment during a battle to finish an opponent or even up the battle, good stuff! I love that "ace up your sleeve" that you can unleash.

Everybody i've talked to has nothing but good things to say about this game. 

You know a game is good when you can get beat 20 times in a row and you just keep coming back for 1 more round. 


Just so no one misses this that had high hopes to get it, yeah you should get it! 

Also there are 200+ different missions you can do with different characters called Star Labs Missions. Outside of the awesome Superhero THROWDOWNS you even get these missons that are all different.

This just might be one of the best Superhero games in a while, some of the Superhero games that have come out recently have incorporated an open world sandbox style, those are excellent but can get a little boring at times due to the nature of the game concept, but this seems to be a perfect formula, little bit of story mixed in with fun battles. 



Dudeinator
Dudeinator

I don't understand why they didn't incorporate a tag team mode. I was going to buy this so my buddies could crash at someone's house and play like we did with MK9, but without tag there's no point if only 2 can go at once.

Sam_021
Sam_021

It deserves 9, loved the game :)

presauk
presauk

@Taz_12_Dave Why don't you look up the ten thousand other rpg games in existence and keep an eye out for ME4, hmm? I happen to enjoy my fighting games quite much and sometimes a compelling story worth one playthrough is not what I am looking for in a game...

presauk
presauk

@Sablicious How is the fighthing game genre dead with ONE fighting game you don't approve of? I mean there are numerous people who like injustice and we just had MK 2011 2 years ago and that kicked ass! Not to mention that the next smash bros, mk, street fighter (or capcom fighter), guilty gear, tekken, <insert fighting game franchise> is prolly in the making. Also if triple A isn't your deal then please note that there are numerous indie fighters circulating. Also have you played injustice to know whether the characters handle like MK? I have played both games and there is still quite a bit of difference between the likes of subzero and killer frost (who is essentially a gender swap). It takes an actual fighting game enthusiast to tell you the full set of differences (crossup gameplay in injustice etc) and neither of us is one.

R.I.P legitimate expectations and reason

vicke32
vicke32

@gvandewiele
Ey you, don't reply only to delete the comment:

"gvandewiele said

vicke32 yeah cause DC comics is totally gonna agree in letting their characters get brutally murdered..."

Which is why it's a bad choice to go with a mortal kombat engine.

presauk
presauk

@vicke32 The game does have blood, of course it doesn't compare to the buckets of blood you see in MK but there is very clearly blood in the game (of course comparing the violence here to MK is apples and oranges). Characters even incur injuries on their model as they lose more health. Also I have watched and played a fair degree of MK and injustice. I fail to see how the xray anims show up in injustice considering there are no instances where the camera zooms in on your opponents body being broken in combat. Because they share the same engine and genre and developer of course you can expect similarities. Injustice isn't trying to be MK just as Bioshock Infinite isn't trying to be system shock. Injustice does enough to feel different while allowing the game to be accessible to NRS existing fanbase. If you were a company that recently released a very succesful product and built a strong fanbase would your next step be risking alienation of said fanbase by releasing a product that is drastically different from its predecessor. The same issue lies with COD but the difference between NRS and COD's developers is that they have only re-used their engine ONCE so far.  

presauk
presauk

@RobDev It isn't relevant but if you read enough comics that would be a lot less surprising prospect than you might think. DC once gave batman a power ring from the green lantern corps. Furthermore beast boy got his powers from a blood transfusion. I mean game logic is second only to comic book logic. 

buffaloblitz85
buffaloblitz85

@amin7224 No just this hippie, I'm sure his beanie was covering his eyes when he played this or that he spilt his soy cappuccino during it... Actually come to think of it he probably didn't really play it cause he was to transfixed on the game Journey.

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

Stating it "plays to the hardcore crowd" in a review I don't think was meant to be taken as a good thing.

blackzio
blackzio

@polterdice 

i have to say i was like that, besides batman, DC never really attracted me. But im loving this game, even the comics of Injustice are pretty interesting. 

presauk
presauk

@dualblades But compared to the stories we see in comic books (dark knight returns), comic book games (Arkham series), and even in some fighters (MK) injustice is not all that impressive. Not bad by normal standards for fighting games but compared to the story line we seen in the above titles injustice does not impress. On the other hand the injustice comic is really good I just don't think that the game tells the story as well as the comic does.

presauk
presauk

@WeWerePirates The comics for injustice were interesting and it was where the brunt of everything in the "overall story" happens. Bottom line I would say that the story would not be nearly as impressive if A) you did not read the injustice comics and B) you have checked out crime syndiacte/justice lords. Injustice is just like MK in that the value of it's story is in the telling (or retelling as we have pointed out) but the story does not break any new ground for comic book fans. Even then I still think MK was better but only because it didn't recieve all the hype injustice did for its story and because the brunt of the interesting occurrences was in the game and not in some external media (i.e. comic books).

presauk
presauk

@00JDude as awesome as this game is (and I do think that any fighting game fan or DC fan should get it btw) a game does not simply "deserve" an 8.0 because of it's engine. Applying this logic every recent COD game deserves a score of at least 8.0 (they all use the same or slightly modified engines). I had to give this game a score (imo) it would get an 8.0 overall. I completely suck at the game but I keep coming back for more which usually signifies a decent game for me. Frankly make sure your standards are up to par before giving a game "at least 9.0".   

presauk
presauk

@Navardo95 @The_Dude67I disagree that injustice is at the same level as MK in terms of story. It is epic towards the finale (in an avatar sort of way) but there are already several instances of superman going bad in elseworlds story arcs. I will not count the injustice comic as part of the games story since that is more of a prequel and it is only referenced by the game. Everything interesting happens in the comic and the game is just an aftermath/recovery arc. Mortal Kombat however, is the definitive story telling fighter of the generation though it is essentially a retelling of the stories of the previous MKs and is designed to be accessible to current gen gamers. Remember MK also had the advantage of there being no hype for it's story whereas injustice has been building up hype due to the comics; this probably contributes most to its weaknesses.

Injustice: Gods Among Us More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • + 4 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • PlayStation Vita
    • Wii U
    • Xbox 360
    Injustice: Gods Among Us is a new fighting game franchise from the creators of Mortal Kombat that introduces a deep, original story featuring a large cast of favorite DC Comics icons such as Batman, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman and many others.
    8.2
    Average User RatingOut of 230 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Injustice: Gods Among Us
    Developed by:
    NetherRealm Studios, Armature Studio
    Published by:
    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
    Genres:
    2D, Action, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence