Fighting games are a funny genre and often somewhat difficult to critique for everyone. There’s a lot of fighters that get flack for having a distinct lack of content and single player experience such as (Ultimate) Marvel Vs Capcom 3, but a lot of them get away with this for having incredible fighting engines that inspire a strong community interest local, online and in the tournament scene. AH, but if you a loner and demand a strong single player campaign from your one on one fighters for some reason then NetherRealm Studios, a company that crams as much content into their games as possible to mask the fact the actual fighting in them isn’t very good. OH SNAP.
With cards proudly revealed early on, let’s get into the nitty gritty of D.C.s new fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us, or as most people refer to it: “Batman’s in this and fights some other dudes – Hooray for Batman”. Just like Mortal Kombat 9, the main mode here is the story mode, which is about as incomprehensible as you would expect a D.C. plot that somehow has to wrap 24 widely different superheroes and villains into a single storyline that lasts about three hours to be. You have to respect an effort to try and represent the single player with this, but it just doesn’t work for a multitude of reasons.
First, the story itself isn’t very good, nor could it be as it’s just an excuse to have the superheroes punch each other as much as possible. Basically, Superman has turned evil and taken over the world…but in an alternate universe so it doesn’t really count, and as everything takes place in an alternate universe right off the bat everything that happens seems pretty inconsequential. There’s one issue with the story, and spoilers if you really care but it’s hard to imagine someone not figuring this out anyway, the alternate universe heroes’ solution to deal with the evil Superman is to drag in the heroes from the other dimension in to help out…but not the good Superman for some reason. There’s no reason why good Superman wouldn’t sort everything out in two minutes, and when it finally occurs to alternate dimension Batman that maybe this tactic is worth a try good Superman pretty much does sort everything out in two minutes, so that was three hours of monologuing and bashing the X button that could have been saved. THANKS BATMAN.
Second issue with the story mode, and the single player experience in general, fighting games never have and probably never will have good A.I. One on one fighting engines are made for human minds, it’s about tricking your opponent with your movement, throws, cross ups etc. depending on the game you’re playing, and the A.I. will never recreate that experience. It’s either going to magically block or counter everything you do, or it’s just going to stand there and take it, either way A.I. battles never feel like proper competitive battles in the sense that fighters should. This might seem like a copout defence of other fighting games with less content, but frankly this is a genre where multiplayer IS more important, and although it’s nice to see efforts being made to satisfy those playing alone there will only be so much fun you can have on your own.
It’s also bloody annoying how the story mode changes your character every few rounds. It’s probably to give you a quick feel out of most of the roster, but it’s really confusing to have all your moves changed on you when you’re still trying to learn the game. Also NetherRealms, it’s a bit of a dick mode to keep increasing the difficulty while you force us to change to characters we probably haven’t learned yet as most people will play the Story mode before anything else.
If you are set on playing alone however, outside of the story mode there are traditional arcade modes to blow through to get character endings, plus about a dozen other “variations” of arcade mode to play with various strange stipulations. There’s also a challenge mode where you play a ridiculous amount of little mini games with each character which mostly consist of doing a variety of moves over and over again. There’s SO many of them, and barely any of them are unlocked at the start so what order you do them in is limited too, so you better make sure you like playing as Superman because you aren’t touching the rest of the roster until you beat a bunch of his challenges first.
Seventh paragraph and it’s finally time to discuss the fighting engine itself. Well, the main reason for not entirely appreciating the amount of single player content is…the fighting engine properly isn’t good enough to support it. It is going to take days, if not weeks to 100% this game, and that’s without touching the multiplayer or online aspects and it’s really difficult to imagine anyone wanting to play it that much. The game is awesome at first, as all the super moves are fresh, you start messing around with the stage hazards and the “stage transitions” where one character gets blown through to another part of the arena in a hilariously brutal fashion. But it wears quickly, the game has the same stiff and clunky feel as Mortal Kombat 9, things don’t combo very intuitively, the super metre is strange in both how it builds up and how it’s used. There’s a “clash” system which is basically a quick time event that awards an advantage to whoever has the most metre which doesn’t always seem fair considering how easy it can be to lose all your metre in this game. Some will like it sure, but the in match segments will tire quickly and the fighting in general doesn’t seem to have enough depth to have lasting appeal. This review isn’t covering online aspects of the game, but if they’re as bad as Mortal Kombat 9s were then this game will be dead in the water within a couple of months.
Overall, Injustice is fun fan service for people who like Batman…and the rest of D.C. if those people even exist. It has strong character and stage variety, the fighting short term is fun and suitably over the top and there is a lot of content for single players if they enjoy the game long enough to stomach through it. Traditional fighting fans probably will think little of it, as will people who enjoy good storylines….but for button bashing comic fans it’s at least worth a rental.
Also, Superman is a villain, Lex Luthor is a good guy in a robot suit and there’s two Batmans and they fight each other. Figure that one out.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.