Injustice Review: Great Combat in a Decent Game - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

Injustice Review: Great Combat in a Decent Game

Everyone loves those dream matches; Batman versus Superman, Wonder Woman versus The Flash and, of course, Solomon Grundy versus Killer Frost. The second that people see these characters even look at each other the wrong way the first thing they think is "who would win in a fight?" While DC has done a great job of giving us these experiences through comics, television shows and movies, sometimes you just want to be in the driver's seat during these matches. That's what Injustice gives you.

The story of Injustice starts off with a bang, quite literally. Metropolis is destroyed. The Joker nuked the city, killing thousands and causing chaos throughout the world. In all the chaos both Lois Lane and Superman's son were killed, as expected Superman doesn't take this senseless violence softly. The man of steel has had enough. As Joker taunts Superman about losing his loved ones Superman does the unthinkable. He murders Joker (quite brutally) and all hell breaks loose. Superman realizes that he is sick of being the hero and decides to start ruling the world with an iron fist. From there our heroes from dimension A get sucked into dimension B to stop the evil Superman and all of their alternate dimension selves. Now as awesome as that sounds, from there, the story slows down... a lot. The story then just becomes an incredibly linear experience going from one fight to the next until the story comes to a very anticlimactic close. Fans of the comics may love the story but I honestly felt that the story got incredibly dull after a great start and with a relatively short length, I felt like more could've been done.

Gameplay wise, the story mode in Mortal Kombat is a near clone of the story mode in Mortal Kombat 9. You play as either a hero or villain through about 3-4 fights and then you move onto the next. However unlike Mortal Kombat 9 which had you playing as every character on the roster, you only play as about three quarters of the roster in Injustice. While I have no problem with that and it makes sense to not play as some of the characters like Bane or Killer Frost who have little to no story significance, it would've been nice to play through the entire roster even if it didn't make that much sense. The only real thing that sets the story mode of Injustice apart from the one in Mortal Kombat 9 is the quick-time events. These bizarre events show up a few times through the story and require you to press the button show on screen to do things like block gunshots, throw batarangs and shoot down debris coming towards you. I find these segments pointless and the only penalty for losing these events is a slight health loss at the start of the next fight.

Much like Mortal Kombat 9, Injustice has more than just a story mode for single-player gamers. S.T.A.R. Labs, basically the challenge tower, gives you 150 missions to play. While some of these are fun, I found them to be far less enjoyable that the challenge tower missions. In Mortal Kombat 9 I always felt like I was getting some new challenge, in Injustice I feel like I am doing the same thing for each character and then doing it all over again with a new character. Sure there are some changes to this formula (like playing as a cat to steal jewels) but very rarely did these unique missions control well and many of them got frustrating really fast. Still, there were some upsides. These missions do offer a challenge and playing through these missions does allow you get better with characters in unique ways. But as a whole I was relatively disappointed with the S.T.A.R. Labs.

Finally there is battle mode. This is the standard arcade format that shows up in pretty much every fighting game nowadays. You choose a character and fight your way through a certain amount of opponents until you win and get an awesome ending. What makes these unique and different from other fighters is that there are more than just your standard battles to select from. You can unlock many different forms of battles like a round where you play as a random character each round or one where you slowly die from poison through each match. While these battles don't take long to beat, they are fun to play through and much like the S.T.A.R. Labs, give you a good challenge and a good place to train against someone that isn't a practice dummy.

Now let's get to the core of this game, the combat. If you're hoping for Mortal Kombat 9 with DC characters you may be a bit disappointed. That being said, this is still a fantastic fighting engine. The basic controls mimic that of both Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. You have your weak, medium and heavy attacks and they can be used in conjunction for combos. The game has a dedicated grab button and most of the special moves use Mortal Kombats button combinations. The game also includes a special button. The use of this button varies with each character. Batman for example calls in three bat drones that can home in on targets while Doomsdays allows him to gain a shield for a slight duration. While these abilities are pretty cool and can be used to elongate some combos, far too many are in the Doomsday camp where they only give a certain attribute an upgrade.

One of the more interesting things Injustice brings to the fighting game genre is how it deals with health. At the start of every match both players have two bars of health; one gray and one red. When a player loses his gray health bar the game pauses for a few moments and then the fighting continues until the other player loses his gray bar or the one player loses both bars of health. However after taking off your opponents first bar, yours doesn't refill, you keep fighting with whatever health you had. Instead of the commonly used rounds format this system effectively keeps the combat at a good pace while keeping in a round like format. Basically it makes every fight into one long battle instead of a fight that is fought in sections. It's kind of hard to explain buts it's a very interesting idea that I wouldn't be surprised to see being used in future fighters.

The game also takes a cue from Mortal Kombat 9 with the super meter. The meter slowly fills up throughout a match as you give and receive damage from your opponent. Much like in Mortal Kombat 9 the meter is divided up into sections. Just one section of the meter will allow you to use an augmented special move while waiting the meter out will give you a full blown super move. The super moves are basically the same as the x-ray moves from Mortal Kombat 9 but far more amazing. The moves range from the something simple like Batman hitting his opponent with the Batmobile to something outrageous like Doomsday punching you through the Earth and back again. My only real issue is that the super moves are far too easy to block and seeing as you will realistically only get one every match it's a shame to see them go to waste so often. The final use of the super meter is the wagers. The wagers are activated by pressing a certain button combination when you are on your final bar of health. This will bring up a screen prompting you to wager a certain amount of super bar. If the person who offered the wager wins they will get some health back but if they lose they will lose some health. It's an interesting system but without that randomness element only a dumb AI would ever challenge you if you have a larger super bar.

My one huge gripe with the Injustice combat is how they handle the blocking. Instead of the block button from Mortal Kombat 9 they institute the common back block from games like Street Fighter. While that system works fine in games like Street Fighter I can't say the same for Injustice. In games like Street Fighter projectiles are relatively easy to dodge so while blocking is an effective option, you dodge just as much as you block. However in Injustice projectiles move fast and it is far harder to dodge in this game than block. For example, Deathstroke has two very annoying shooting attacks, both of which can be performed very fast and are hard to dodge. As such with the back blocking scheme it is very hard to gain any ground against characters with attacks like this as to block you have to move in the opposite direction. In Mortal Kombat 9 you could dash and block with relative ease and gain ground on even the cheapest of characters. Now this may just seem like a preference but the more I played the game the more I wish this game had a blocking button.

One final thing to add in about the gameplay is the stages. Unlike most fighters where stages are nothing more than 2D plains with beautiful backgrounds, Injustice turns the stage into a big part of the fight. On every stage there are pieces of the area that can be used in the combat whether it's a statue to throw or a portal to go through. What you do with these objects depends on who you choose. The characters in Injustice are divided into two groups; gadget and strength characters. Gadget characters can leap off of items, set explosives and manipulate objects in the background while strength characters will basically just throw whatever they can get their hands on. While I find this very creative, these items do a bit too much damage and can feel a little cheap. You can turn these off in offline matches but still, it really sucks to lose a quarter of your health because of a dumpster. The game also has stage transitions if you hit your opponent with enough strength at the right spot. These on the other hand are harder to pull off but do a much more appropriate amount of damage. Plus, they are pretty fun to watch even if it is you being punched through a building.

Injustice definitely goes under the easy the play, difficult to master style of fighters. While you can get makeshift wins by randomly punching and throwing, this is definitely game that has a lot of depth in its combat.

Now regardless of how good or bad a fighting game is, the one thing everyone cares about in these comic book fighters is the roster.  Injustice has a roster of 24 heroes and villains from the DC universe. The game is filled with obvious choices with characters like Batman, Superman, The Joker and Lex Luthor the game also includes some questionable picks. Characters like Killer Frost, Raven and Bane are all odd choices and have very little to no relevance in the story. I feel like they needed some roster spots and decided to throw in these characters. They aren't bad by any means but they just feel odd on the roster. As for balancing, I would say the game is balanced pretty well with some very notable exceptions. While I didn't find any character to be too weak there are definitely some that are too strong. Both Deathstroke and Black Adam can spam powerful attacks and keep enemies at bay for an entire match. While I understand that not every character can be the exact same, those two are far too powerful and can easily turn spamming into victories. Now obviously I can't get too mad about this as for all I know there could be a nerf patch tomorrow, but as of right now don't be surprised to see a lot of Deathstrokes and Black Adams online.

Speaking of online, nowadays the biggest feature for any fighting game is an online component. As much fun as it is to fight your friends from the comfort of your couch, online is more than likely where you will get most of your fighting done.  Luckily through the first few days of Injustice I haven't had any problem with the online whatsoever. No connection breaks, never took too long to find an opponent and so far not even any lag. Obviously these could change depending on your internet connection but so far so good with Injustice's online component. As for the modes, there isn't anything too out of the ordinary. You've got your ranked matches, player matches and private matches. Some interesting additions are a king of the hill mode which has one player (the king) fighting until he loses and then the winner becomes the king and so on and a wager system where you can bet on who you think will win and if he or she can complete certain tasks. Overall Injustice has a solid online component and although it doesn't introduce anything revolutionary, it works just fine.

Injustice is not a great looking game. In fact, it's probably one of the worst games I have seen in a while. Now the animation is great, the framerate very rarely dips (it only happened to me once in almost 20 hours of playing) and the super moves are beautiful. But speaking strictly on how this game looks, I felt like I was playing a late PlayStation 2 game. Character models look fine but up close the textures are blurry messes and despite the nice detail on all the playable characters, it's hard to see it with the bad textures. Also any character that isn't playable just looks boring and lacking of any detail. The same can be said for the backgrounds as well. While there may be a lot of things going on the backgrounds, it's just bland characters standing on bland environments. The weirdest part of how this game looks is that the in-game graphics look much better than the ones in the cutscenes. Characters look much better, backgrounds are far more vibrant and the animation is far superior.  

The audio on the other hand is much better. The music that plays during combat and during the story is dynamic and does a great job of fitting each situation. The characters themselves sound pretty good too. Kevin Conroy (Batman) and George Newbern (Superman) are definitely the stars of the show. Everyone else does a good job as well, even The Joker's voice actor, who sadly isn't voiced by Mark Hamill, does an acceptable job. My only real issue with the voice actors isn't really about the voice actors and more about the writing. It isn't bad but it feels a little dry and while the one-liners at the end of battles in story mode can sometimes be funny, they get old by about the tenth fight. Still, overall the audio in Injustice is top notch.

Injustice is a great fighter. In fact, I don't think it is crazy to call it the best fighter since Mortal Kombat 9. However as a game I did have some issues. The story mode is short, S.T.A.R. Labs gets repetitive quickly and the game isn't exactly easy on the eyes. If you don't have a good internet connection or you don't really have friends who are into a game like this than injustice may not be the game for you. But, if you are looking for a new great fighter with a lot of depth than you can't do much better than Injustice: Gods Among Us. 

Comments

No one has commented on this article.