Warner Bros. and NetherRealm showed off two new playable fighters at PAX 2012. One is Nightwing, Batman’s former sidekick-turned-autonomous superhero, and Cyborg, the half man, half robot popularized in Teen Titans. I got to battle as both across the Batcave and Metropolis. Though I’m not the best at Mortal Kombat and NetherRealm’s other fighters, I had a fun with the overpowered spectacle of Injustice.

I started off as Nightwing facing off against Superman. On paper, the fight sounds awfully imbalanced, but Nightwing’s speed, versatile weapon, and the gadgets scattered around the Batcave even the odds. Nightwing races into the 2D-fighting arena on his flashy motorcycle. He wields a staff that can be split into two batons. Attacks with the staff are slower but stronger, while the baton flurries are much faster with less damage. Nightwing can also toss projectiles and unleashes a super move that incorporates running over his competition on his motorcycle.

Cyborg is a much slower and stronger character compared to Nightwing. He enters the battle via a portal emitted from his futuristic arm-computer. He packs a heavy punch in melee combat, but also controls space with heat-seeking missiles and ground-sweeping lasers. His special ability allows him to recover a sliver of help, which can turn the tides of battle in a pinch. For his super attack he unleashes a series of screen-filling laser blasts that remind me of Iron Man’s ultimate attacks from the Marvel vs. Capcom series. 

The Batcave and Metropolis feature tons of creative ways to punish your foes with the environment. Getting cornered in a fighting game is generally a bad thing, and NetherRealm is fixing this by putting cool stuff on the edges of the arenas. In the Batcave, players can smash a big red button that launches missiles from the Batmobile at your attacker. Abandoned cars litter the streets of Metropolis, and characters interact with these in different ways. Lightweight characters like Nightwing can vault off a vehicle to deliver an aerial attack to escape the corner. Heavy hitters like Superman simply pick up the car and smash it over their opponent’s head. You can also hit your enemies so hard you send them hurling into new environments, ala Mortal Kombat 3. Sending your foe flying through numerous buildings before he lands city blocks away is a satisfying feeling.

I’m a casual fan of both comic books and fighting games, and Injustice does well to scratch both itches simultaneously. I’m not the type of gamer who digs into the nitty-gritty of fighting game combat (read Dan’s Injustice insightful write-up for that), but I know a fun fighter when I play it. So far Injustice delivers enough character variety, fan service, and eye candy to keep me entertained even if I’ll admit to button mashing in a few instances. While some of the environmental attacks may sound gimmicky, they may be enough to get me hooked long enough to learn more nuances of the game.