‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’ Review

Published 2 years ago by

Injustice Gods Among Us Review

It’s an age-old question: who would win in a battle between Superman and Batman? DC Comics writers have sought to answer the question with various story arcs, alternate timelines, and one-off issues, but in each of those instances the fans have no agency in the matter. However, in NetherRealm Studios latest brawler, Injustice: Gods Among Us, fans can finally put the issue to rest.

Injustice: Gods Among Us takes DC Comics’ best and brightest, and puts them into the type of over-the-top fighting game only NetherRealm could pull off. Essentially, the game creates a scenario where heroes would fight heroes and villains would fight villains. How Injustice: Gods Among Us establishes that idea is a bit silly, but once players accept the general concept they’ll have a blast with the game.

As with Mortal Kombat 9, Injustice features a story mode that seamlessly transitions from cutscene to fight. The conceit of Injustice is pretty simple: several Justice League members from one universe are pulled into an alternate universe where Superman has named himself the “High Counselor.” On the opposite end of Superman’s dictatorship is Batman, who enlists the help of the alternate universe characters to bring Supes down. So, what starts out with Batman fighting a few of his common foes turns into an ensemble piece with players seamlessly segueing from character to character.

And by the end, players will have seen all of the marquee match-ups, including a few throwdowns between characters and their doppelgangers (i.e. Batman vs. Batman, Superman vs. Superman). That being said, the game’s story is pure fluff — the type of comic book fodder that lacks true depth but that delivers all of the superhero-on-superhero action fans crave. And in all honesty, the set-up and story beats only serve to fuel the fights, which are superb.

Injustice Gods Among Us Review - Story

There are definite heirs of Mortal Kombat in Injustice, but its fighting systems still carve enough of a unique path so as not to feel like a reskin. Every character has their inherent weaknesses, and each is well represented with a bevy of iconic moves (Superman’s heat vision, Batman’s batarangs, Wonder Woman’s lasso) to mix and match. On its own, the fighting feels solid, with enough variety to make each character functional, even if most will find their favorites based on playstyle.

NetherRealm has also included MK‘s meter system, although it works a little different in Injustice. A single bar of the meter can be used for supercharged versions of a character’s basic move, while two bars can be used for EX moves and better combos. Players can also initiate what are called wager matches, which allow each combatant to wager some portion of their meter in a risk/reward fashion. If the player who initiates the wager bets more of their meter they regain a specific amount of healthy, but if their opponent wins then the original player takes a specific amount of damage. Wager matches are few and far between in the game – unless the player regularly initiates them – but they are a fun addition.

More importantly, wager matches keep players from fully charging their meters and activating their “super.” These supers are akin to Mortal Kombat‘s fatalities, only they happen mid-match and can deal a large amount of damage (like MK’s X-Ray moves). Granted, the supers are a little long in the tooth, and take away from the momentum of a very fast-paced game, but they help differentiate Injustice from all the other fighting games out there.

Injustice Gods Among Us Review - Fighting Systems

The backgrounds also have a dynamic flair about them. Peppered throughout each level are a few items that players can interact with to deal out some extra damage. The fact that these level interactions are, for the most part, unblockable make them a bit of a nuisance, but they do keep players on their toes.

In addition to the level interactions, players can also trigger level transitions by enacting a specific attack while on the periphery of a map. Triggering a transition sends an opponent flying through an interstitial area, accumulating damage along the way, before they end up in a new stage. Again, the level transitions are fun to watch, and they usually include one or two DC Comics Easter Eggs, but they go on for a bit too long.

In addition to the story campaign, the game offers two other single player modes: Battles and S.T.A.R. Labs. Battles is a tournament-style set of matches with different modifiers. The options in Battles are pretty standard, but they will give players plenty of opportunities to test out all the characters — including those not playable in the story campaign — in a wealth of different scenarios like ‘Poisoned,’ which requires the player to defeat their opponent while taking damage internally and externally.

Injustice Gods Among Us Review - Level Transitions

S.T.A.R. Labs is Injustice‘s analog for the Challenge Tower. Unlike MK‘s Challenge Tower, which required that players only win to move on, S.T.A.R. Labs adds a 3-star objective system that players must complete to get full marks. That way players won’t just focus on winning the match, but will try and change their strategies in order to get 3 stars. The more stars the player earns, the more challenges they can unlock.

And finally there is multiplayer, where a lot of players will spend the bulk of their time. Multiplayer includes both ranked and unranked matches, and 3 modes within each: 1v1, King of the Hill, and Survivor. 1v1 is your standard multiplayer mode, King of the Hill puts a handful of players together and lets the “king” fight till he loses, and survivor takes king of the hill’s concept but requires the winner to enact certain moves to regain health between matches.

Like most fighting games, multiplayer is a mixed bag, with a lot players favoring Nightwing and Deathstroke (at the time of this writing). That being said, I was still able to win a fair share of matches, even while trying out less familiar characters. In that regard, Injustice is a success, as it makes the online fighting game a little less daunting; that is, until players log hundreds of hours with the game and become “pros.”

Injustice Gods Among Us Review - Star Labs

Without question, Injustice: Gods Among Us is the definitive fighting game for DC Comics fans. While its roster doesn’t include everybody, it does make good use of those characters that are available. Its story, while a bit goofy, fuels a fun variety of match-ups, and gives players opportunities to test out a large portion of the roster.

The fighting systems are very accessible, and work well within the context of these iconic heroes, and the interactive backgrounds take combat to another level, turning each fight into a fittingly epic throwdown. Some fighting game purists might find that the game has a few too many “cheap” moves, including the level interactions and transitions, but DC Comics fans will love the chaotic super-powered mayhem. Most would have been sold on Superman vs. Batman, but the fact that Injustice is approachable and fun makes it worth recommending.

Have you had a chance to check out Injustice: Gods Among Us? Do you have any questions about NetherRealm’s latest fighting game? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Injustice: Gods Among Us is available now for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. Game Rant was provided the PS3 version for review.

Follow me on Twitter @ANTaormina

Our Rating:

4 out of 5

TAGS: DC Comics, Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios, PS3, Warner Bros. Interactive, Wii U, Xbox 360

  • The mighty avenger

    Great review! I’m having loads of fun this game. I’m no fighter but I’ve been able to pick up pretty easily on this game. Beat the story mode an some star missions but multiplayer is a lot of fun! I lose more then I win at the moment but I’m not a “pro” yet lol I favor nightwing and aquaman and ill favor green arrow if my damn arrow skin ever comes as Wonder Woman cuz I got pretty good with her in the demo. So far I find deathstroke,greenarrow and superman pretty hard to beat when te opposing player knows how to use them. I love the hero card concept for stats it a lot of fun haha

  • hanzo

    Ive been waiting to see what you guys think about this game!
    I love it. There were time during the story that I was quite shocked. Great game!

  • COREY_1993

    my only problem is the stage interactibles. at least let me block them or reduce the damage.

    • Shalkowski

      You can block them.

      • JT

        If by block you mean dash under/jump over, yeah, but you can’t just “hold block” on the interactables.

        • art

          he means he want to turn th em off and you (supposvely) can turn them off in the settings menu)

          • JT

            Thought that as well, but it was too much to type on a crappy touchscreen phone.

          • COREY_1993

            i play online. ive tried putting them off and it never worked. unless both players have to put them off of whatever.

      • COREY_1993

        hahahaha, maybe you should buy this game.

  • Drune

    Super moves are like fatalities that happen mid match? Have you ever played Mortal Kombat lol. They are like Xray attacks, exactly, in every shape and form, like X Ray attacks, nothing like fatalities. The lack of a tag team mode in this game is devastating though.

    • Henry

      Well…Nether Realms did make Mortal Kombat

    • http://gamerant.com Anthony Taormina

      X ray attacks aren’t nearly as absurd as fatalities/supers. Also X ray attacks were introduced in MK 9 so not everyone knows what they are.

  • max

    Thought it was ok but 1. The story is played out really its just kinda like m.k. vs d.c. and crisis on two earths. Why can’t they keep it in the same universe for once. And they didn’t bring much more to the table than mk9. and the only people that play online are spammers. I beat the story and sold it the next day, I give it a 5 out of 10. I’m gonna get naruto ninja storm 3 better selection of characters over 120 playable and better online community.

  • Shalkowski

    My only problem with this game is the back button blocking. Every time I try to block, I don’t and I get a combo done on me. Most frustrating thing ever.

    • The mighty avenger

      Yeah I hear you man took me awhile to get used to blocking in this game. That meter burning a combo was a bit difficult to get a hang of

  • Rianz

    I just don’t care for the controls. That is why I never cared for Mortal Kombat games. If it felt like any other fighter I would buy it right away.

    • Shalkowski

      You know you can change the controls to what ever you want right?

  • ColdSc

    Loved this game and the story felt like an original DC animated movie, wished it was a bit longer though. If they decide to make sequel I really hope they make the story a bit more cinematic and have more emotion running through it, similar to the scene between Nightwing and Batman near the end of the story, it was the best part of the story for me. The game definitely wasn`t perfect but it does stand out and really differentiates itself from Mortal Kombat, instead of it just being a DC re-skin of Mortal Kombat.

  • EastOfTheAnduin

    I’m enjoying this game so far, though I think I like MK9 better. I’m digging the storyline and there are some pretty cool mechanics, however, some of the “basic” moves I just can not pull off for the life of me. I’d definitely give it a play through for the story, but if you want a great fighter there are better ones out there.

    “What would you have me do?” “Yield. It’s what you do.”

  • hanzo

    I Could have seen this even be a Marvel game with the civil war being the main story.

  • http://facebook.com/johnnyfreshwater johnny

    Im just happy Harley quinn is a playable character in the game. I played MK vs. DC last night after playing injustice and my, how technology rises.

  • tre

    Picked it up Friday, finished it, traded it in today(4/23). ’nuff said.

    • JT

      lol, you don’t “finish” a fighter.

  • Gamer4life

    The story line is interesting enough, its just that learning all of the combinations is too much of a headache. For example, if I try to plan out my combos I end up failing miserably. However, if I just push buttons and pull triggers I perform all kind of moves and end up destroying all my opponents. Makes little sense! Also, the opening scene where joker backhands Harley is a big turnoff!