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Review

Injustice: Gods Among Us Review

  • Game release: April 3, 2013
  • Reviewed: April 16, 2013
  • PS3
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.

by

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.

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

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.

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
STAR Labs missions are a fun distraction.
The Bad
Minimal educational tools
Disappointingly dull story
Lacks replay support.
7
Good
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Discussion

159 comments
BarraKas
BarraKas

" Surprisingly strong story " - IGN

Smileyassasin
Smileyassasin

Now being a trophy hunter, trying to get 3 stars on the STAR labs missions are FRUSTRATING, I actually had to go take a walk I was so mad!! Does anyone agree with me that they make some of these stupid additional objectives crazy difficult!! Especially for a newcomer like me!

LAN7ERN
LAN7ERN

I need to get this game soon! 

lordgoregore
lordgoregore

Just because one game ( I think it was a transformer game ) had a dlc that would unlock every thing for you We've been screwed ! A bunch of little kids must have stolid daddy's credit card and bout this . Now we don't get to unlock stuff at the end of a game anymore we have to spend real money to unlock what is already on this game . WTF?
I don't do it , even now with the UNJustice league , they now have my favorite player  LOBO !  But if you look at his dlc you'll see he's just a few kls Not MB . So that means they are charging you $5-6 for what you already have !  It's just BS . STOP BUYING THIS CRAP Sheeple !

greymon12345
greymon12345

A video game about anti-heroes.  It is fascinating when bad guys are stars.

kcbandy
kcbandy

I was VERY disappointing...

Mortal Kombat is WAY better, so I play IT instead...

bioshockz
bioshockz

This guy also gave a 7.0 to ME3:Citadel. Dude just seems like a harsh reviewer.

eliaskull
eliaskull

mk is wayyyy better than this 

Douille1666
Douille1666

I don't get it. I just finished the Story Mode and I had a great time. The story is kind of silly, indeed, but it's the kind of silly stories we find in most superhero comics (with interdimensionnal evil twins and all). Anyway, it has a substential story mode, wich is already more than most fighting games offer. 

And the tutorial is OK. The basics are shown, no need to take us by the hand. And hey... Every single move and what it does is textualy explained in the move list... Isn't that enough?

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

For anyone that has not played the Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition, pick that game up instead, it's far better than this.

ELEMENTZERO707
ELEMENTZERO707

All I can say is, it builds on MK9 amazingly, and its a major hit at party's :D

oflow
oflow

I'm a fan of MK so I'm enjoying this game. The environmental addition to the combat is pretty cool.  I actually found the story to not be as bad as the reviewer it was better than MK's story.

Loshead
Loshead

Im a huge fighter fan ranging from CvS2, soul calibur, tekken and virtua fighter. None of them have good stories. I thought the story from injusice was awesome and kept me coming back for more to find out what happened. I do agree that injustice doesn't match the depth of the fighters I listed above, but its still a great game in its own right, and the best story in fighting games. 

Loshead
Loshead

I think this game is great, is it perfect no. But its still awesome. 

Nintyfan95
Nintyfan95

This review itself is Injustice....I'm sorry I had to. 

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

Vote.. Is the reviewer a D-Bag or Tool? Vote now for his ridiculous review. This game is at least an 8.5 (like IGN gave it an 8.6) and his reasons for dropping the game are almost laughable if it wasn't so sad. What a moron!

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

lol at Gamespot. Just stopped by to see and yep still a dumpster fire over here. Terrible review like usual.


J-shark
J-shark

Bad review.The game was great, maybe not perfect, but the story was definetly not a negative aspect of the game. 

MrDokas
MrDokas

Solid review from Mitch Hedberg.

daviz88
daviz88

HAPPY PILLS !!!!!!! really? i know that story isn't a big criteria for most combat games but this a lame addition to the plot device.

sky-619
sky-619

looks a good, when i saw the cover i thought it is an adventure game such like Batman games, but anyways I would got this game if it releases on PS Vita someday

samus_my_life
samus_my_life

Lack Of Story huh....


give me a break " Sigh " 

daviz88
daviz88

apart from the bad texture whats the deal with their costume, is it suppose to be an armor or what. maybe they were trying to make it more stylish but in combination with bad texture it just looks nasty.e.g batman

C_Mexico
C_Mexico

Maxwell, I don't know you at all so please know that what I'm about to say isn't personal. I'm so disappointed that you say this game had a bad story line. The story made you try out other characters and had amazing twists. I'm surprised it didn't get the "OH SNAP" award...Can you honestly tell what other fighting game has a good story line? But honestly you lost my respect and I can't trust what you say anymore.

Thanos1960
Thanos1960

Superman is suppose to be to able to smash virtually anything! Along with a few other heavyweights in the game! But overall I think the game is pretty darn good because it's designed do brings about "fair play" even among the most lethal of combatants if the DC World. Having said that, let's just enjoy it with milk and cookies of course! Or after a few hours a stiff drink or two....

MALMSTEEN4774
MALMSTEEN4774

"Smashes everything" well yeah Gamespot whats wrong with that? $uck my nuts!

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

I gottta agree with McGee on this one, I went out to walmart two days ago picked up the combo pack with DCU vs MortalKombat and Injustice and well both games are good in there own ways but they just don't have the chops compared to alot of other fighters I have played over the years. 

 I do gotta say I'm a huge BlazeBlue and guilty gear fan so my judgement is a little jaded but i would've gave the game a Seven myself honestly its good but nothing to write home about.

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

I just can't stand Maxwell. Not because I just happen to disagree with him every single time, but it's his character/personality and his style of gaming that irritates me. He never has anything funny nor intelligent to say. I don't think he should be reviewing serious games.

Injustice has BY FAR one of the best [fighting game] stories I've ever come across, and I've played nearly all of them since the days of the ol' Sega Mega Drive. But even if the story was disappointing, the action/fighting is not. It's amazing!

wickdawg01
wickdawg01

Disappointing story? Maybe we played diff games here but I thought the story was outstanding. Some of the lines in the story mode were instant classics and it kept me intrigued throughout moreso than most rpg storys anymore. And this one was a fraction of the amount of time most RPGs storys are. I  don't consider a 7 rating a bad rating by any means but to be honest this is the first fighting game in a LONG time that has really kept me wanting to come back for more night after night.

modernrow
modernrow

@Smileyassasin I just finished it and ive got to say some of the challenges are absolute bullcrap like the fourth one versus batman or the missile dodging or shooting the arrows up with green arrow. Some of them feel forced

LtReviews
LtReviews

@lordgoregore  

I know this is late, but your comment fails so hard.

Lobo is not just a few MB's on the download.

All the data for Lobo is put into a compatibility pack. This way players who don't buy the DLC can play against those who do have the DLC.

Flamerdragon
Flamerdragon

@Douille1666 Agree tutorials are ok, and discovering your own combos is part of the joy of fighting games.


Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@oflow better than MKS story? are you high? MK has the best story arch of any fighting game. The new Mortal Kombat youtube series is also amazing.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@Loshead Mortal Kombat Games have the best stories and the only good stories in fighting games, this new injustice game is okay, but not even close to the awesomeness of Mortal Kombat. i think you people are all a bit too excited.

deathstroker
deathstroker

he didint like the story is this guy serious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ign loved the story someone else should have reviewd this game his given an awsome game a shit score which is obviously stupid compared to what its getting elsewere

NosadaAssasin
NosadaAssasin

@daviz88 how else can you get all these different DC characters into the game and make it still feel atleast a little plausible that Harley Quinn can beat Superman?  
Atleast they tried to explain it somehow instead of just ignoring the fact that normal human beings are as strong as Super beings.

DeadMan1290
DeadMan1290

@daviz88 I totally agree, as soon as I saw those suits it immediately turned me off...

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

@BlackBaldwin ArcsSys fan? Capcom fan here. I'd give it a 7-7.5 myself. No replays = no 8. So you're not that far off.

Coldpain
Coldpain

@Dredcrumb9 @oflow It's not really the story itself that is so amazing, it's how the story is fleshed out. It's highly immersive and 100% streamlined. This is what makes Injustice's story mode amazing.

Injustice: Gods Among Us More Info

First Release on Apr 03, 2013
  • 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 222 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Injustice: Gods Among Us
Developed by:
NetherRealm Studios, Armature Studio
Published by:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genres:
Fighting, Action, 2D
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.
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