Providing all of the fun that could possibly be expected of a super-hero correctional facility’s weekly riot, Injustice: Gods Among Us is an expertly crafted fighting feast that punches in all the right places.
The plot concerns itself with the kind of inter-dimensional, parallel universe theories that one could expect of a purely comic-book affair. It’s fun, interesting and absolutely ridiculous in equal measure. And is to be appreciated for its uncompromising approach to bringing the very best of comic-book craziness to the world of gaming. Involving all of the finest DC comic heroes & villains, Injustice sees Superman pushed over the edge by the Joker, by means of nuclear explosion (how else) and in his blind rage finds himself crushing the very innocents he sought to protect. With little hope of stopping him, the remaining heroes, namely Mr Bruce Wayne, beckon in all of the heroes from a parallel dimension. As I said, fun and unashamedly silly.
The narrative itself aids the structure of the game in a manner that many beat em’ up games have struggled to engineer. The cut scene-rich story unfolds continuously with frequent fights and mini-games seamlessly implemented to ensure the action never feels disjointed. To Injustice’s credit, this is a great mechanism to help engage the player and ensures that every duel feels planted within both the surrounding plot and overarching narrative.
Mechanical excellence is the order of the day here and Injustice does not disappoint. Combat is lightening fast, (even when not playing as the Flash) remarkably well-balanced and is above all bone-crunching fun. The true ace in the hole here though is how immediately accessible the title is. Beat em’ ups are by their own admission a genre built for the elite. Challenging players to pit their skills against both each other and AI respectively, an unquestionable level of skill is often needed to reap the best from them. However, picking up the pad and starting Injustice is immediately satisfying for all of the right reasons. Combos string together with intricacy and speed, exhibiting the coolest ways to hurt people with every character.
Each character illustrates an individual identity within the game both narratively and mechanically. All possessing varying styles, the ensemble will test the player and also help highlight which characters suits them most. Characters such as Doomsday and Lex Luther are relatively sluggish but reap huge levels of damage, whereas daintier cast members such as the Flash and Nightwing are lightening fast in full flow, but lacking in damage.
Make no mistake; this title is a comic book with player input. It is intrinsically DC in every single way and makes no denial of this. This is a title for those who not only love seeing people get hurt, but also for those who love the razor-sharp pacing, astronomical scale and often inexplicable madness of comic books. If that is the case, then suit up and prepare for all manner of violent fun.
The campaign is a very generously sized offering that will see the player travel across the DC universe with around 15 characters, all fighting for their own admittedly shallow justifications. Fighting with so many different characters adds a welcomed level of variety to proceedings, whilst allowing the player to experiment with different fighting styles throughout.
Injustice: Gods Among Us also possesses a multiplayer functionality, which to its credit is a well-balanced platform for the best to pit their skills against each other. All of the characters are available from the outset and are genuinely feasible options in terms of their tactical viability. Differing levels of speed, attack damage and move-set ensure that no single character type will dominate the servers. However, as is often the case with this genre and converse to the single player component, the multiplayer has almost immediately become a totally inaccessible affair of uncompromising elitism. Taking to the multiplayer for only a handful of matches, resulted in an optimistic young Batman strolling in, and a mangled heap of black latex and crushed dreams being wheeled out. This being said, possess enough skill and the scope for heroic or villainous glory surely waits.
A visceral slog of bone-crunching brawls, grounded by a set of well-balanced mechanics sits at the heart of Injustice: Gods Among Us. It is a well-crafted exhibition of finely made combat with a drawing comic book aesthetic draped effortlessly above. Furthermore, the game is host to a creative, albeit silly, story mode, that is well told and engaging. Not to mention the welcomed addition of a competitive multiplayer that is an interesting departure from the more traditional single player, if not a touch inaccessible. This aside, Injustice is an engaging, well made fighter that should provide plenty of fun for fans of comic-books and beat em’ ups alike.
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Playstation obsessive and Red Bull fiend. Will play anything and everything. Max Payne champion, adequate FIFA player and hopeless driver. Currently studying Journalism at The University of Salford in the hopes of achieving game-reporting glory. A man can dream.