I decided to play the story mode after trying some single player matches just to get better acquainted with the characters and their move sets, and in some respects I am glad I did. NetherRealm Studios crafted the story for this game in collaboration with DC Comics and borrowed many elements from Mortal Kombat, so getting acquainted with all of the characters is definitely something I recommend. While the typical progression of a ladder-style story mode is common, the fact is that collaborating with DC Comics gave NetherRealm Studios a better stand alone story, and with DC’s blessing answered questions like “How can Batman fight Doomsday or The Joker fight Superman?”. There were ample instances where the story progression seemed forced in order to set up certain battles and that is a negative for sure. As a long time comic fa,n I think NetherRealm could have created a more cohesive story with DC.
There is a definite polish in the graphics for Injustice and the backgrounds have a tremendous amount of detail. I commend NetherRealm Studios for pushing the T-rating and giving us some battle damage. While not on the level of Mortal Kombat, it does add to overall appearance of the game. There are some characters who have more pronounced detailing which is quite impressive especially in close-ups.
The details in Deathstroke’s armor as well as the detailing in Hawkgirl’s wings are crisp and easily seen which is very impressive. Even in the post fight animations any battle damage that occurred is still visible which is a nice touch.
Here are some the characters in action. Make sure to switch the player to HD:
While at first glance you will expect gameplay similar to Mortal Kombat or Mortal Kombat vs. DC, there are some underlying differences that set this game apart. The three attack buttons yield a healthy mix of combos and juggles that will make seasoned players feel right at home and all for novice players to pick up the game and execute special moves with relative ease. The special trait button adds some strategy to your combat as each combatant’s traits can greatly affect gameplay. When using someone like Wonder Woman or Nightwing, the special trait button allows you to change weapons and open up new attacks which serves to deepen the combat system substantially. Super moves can be executed with the left and right triggers, which again will be welcome by novice players who dread the Street Fighter-style inputs while experienced players will enjoy integrating them into combos.
The clash system is another addition to the game that will definitely have it’s fair share of detractors. They serve to interrupt combos at the cost of your super meter but the gambles can yield replenished energy or increased damage, so while they are impressive to see in action they can turn the tide of battle in an instant.
The last item worth mentioning are the interactive backgrounds, which if playing the computer will be abused readily. Super powered characters can throw cars and statues with ease while non-super-powered characters can use the backgrounds to evade attacks. Expect players using Superman to lob every possible object that isn’t bolted down at you. There isn’t a crazy input command for this attack either. It’s as simple as hitting RB (right bumper) to evade or use any of the items on a particular stage.
When I played the demo I felt the movement of the characters was robotic and slow and while it is substantially better in the final product, there are instances where it tends to pop up. But, they are few and far between.
Online multiplayer for this game is one of the high points as I have not experienced any lag and most battles have been with people who have two and three bar connections. I like the fact that you can minimize fights to view the other players in the room and their respective stats. Our friends from Unveil were inadvertently helping me test this out when the game was released. The overall multiplayer offerings are basic, but it’s not something I’d say is a flaw. You get the usual ranked and unranked matches as well as “king of the hill” and “survivor” mode. The one thing I felt was missing was the ability to record or replay matches which I think would have been a nice addition and would have been an invaluable resource to improve in the game.
The bottom line is that Injustice is a solid game with a few flaws. Are the flaws big enough to warrant not checking the game out? Not at all. This is not NetherRealm’s first crack at the DC Universe, but it definitely erases the memories of Mortal Kombat vs. DC. While at a distance this game screams reskinned Mortal Kombat, the fact is that the fight mechanics and controls are definitely different and easily accessible by newbies and veterans alike. There is one thing to note that may dissuade some people and as we all know, that is if we wait we’ll get a re-release of the game with Nether Realm DLC included. I am personally not a fan of this tactic, as day one purchasers will end up paying more for the game in the long run. A $60 title plus a $15 season pass for DLC that many will argue should have been in the game will definitely make some second guess purchasing this game right away.