Injustice: Gods Among Us

InjusticeGodsAmongUs“What if our greatest heroes became our greatest threat?”

Injustice: Gods Among Us presents the long-standing DC Comics franchise in a high quality fighting action game in the familiar arena format.

Injustice: Gods Among Us feature the famous DC Comic characters, polished visuals, and online/multiplayer modes create an amazing action experience. There really is no “us” as bystanders do not really factor into the gameplay as individual elements, but only collectively the title distinguishes the extraordinary powers and lives these varied heroes and villains lead.

The 24 core characters include Aquaman, Bane, Batman, Black Adam, Catwoman, Cyborg, Deathstroke, Doomsday, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Harley Quinn, The Joker, Lex Luthor, Nightwing, Raven, Solomon Grundy, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The mix of villains and heroes reflects the storyline, by comic book writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, where special circumstances/events blur the line between good and evil among several famous settings.

Each character has their own set of special moves and match up abilities against every other character. Matchups can always be exploited while the base characters can expand in the future in various ways. Players get a constant sense of discovery and competition. Players also get reveals and refreshers about the characters themselves

The relationships combine well with the power abilities into the main “matchup” format. This setup keeps the replay value high for incentive thinking players that want to progress deep into the game. Player also get experience points for every finished activity, which can unlock additional Hero cards that feature an icon, background, and portrait.

As the player response time and quick reflexes increase, so does the level of play. Juggles, throws, and counter moves add unique action possibilities. All these rumbling moves can also affect objects so be aware of the surroundings. Players can also go on the defensive and shield themselves from oncoming attacks.

Combat success depends on the move execution. Some schemes are smooth while others take some practice. Performing certain moves requires agility and coordination that definitely warrants a stick controller – a common addition in many of developer NetherRealm Studios’ games. Unfortunately, at this review’s release time, there were no traditional stick controllers (only pro controllers) available for commercial sale on the WiiU.

Thankfully players can play Injustice: Gods Among Us separately on the WiiU GamePad controller, which is a nice option though WiiU game owners will miss out on the season pass (nice for extra content) and any collector’s and battle editions of the game (PS3 and Xbox 360 only). The free-to-play mobile game on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, which features a collectible card mechanic, 3-on-3 tag tam combat, and unlock content for the console game version (PS3 and Xbox 360 only) and vice versa (just register a Warner Bros. ID (WBID) account).

The appealing visual production mixes 3D action with a 2D feel in cinematic style presentations featuring great character rendering, detailed damage objects/animations, and tangible environments that enhance the real battle experience.

Injustice: Gods Among Us presents great “eye candy” where players can enjoy the action while clearly finding their desired target. Background visuals become important as well as special moves can offer quick advantages. Players have to watch their position, so distraction and movement are key strategy points as well as proficiency with the action buttons (light, medium, heavy, special, etc.).

Special moves are available when the power meter in the lower screen fills using combat moves. The helpful visuals, tutorials, and player assistance offer endless resources for player improvement at every level. Players can also make wager battles that put their current power (gauges in bottom screen meter) on the table with the reward of restored health, additional damage to opponents, etc. This welcome ploy usually occurs when at least one player’s health bar has been depleted once already, so there is always a big risk either way that can tip the scales of the current fight.

Deep multiplayer play options, including local and online play, combine with competitive tournaments and ranked and unranked matches. Online play lag time is nil to very minimal and players can change important options like interactive objects. Battles and S.T.A.R. Labs also offer extensive experiences beyond the single player campaign. Battles pits players against AI controlled opponents and represent a challenging practice mode. The S.T.A.R. Labs offer hundreds of special scenarios with a potential 3 Star rank for each.

The orchestral music soundtrack matches the epic scenarios well and includes musical artists like Rich Carle, Christopher Drake, and Dan Forden. The regular song soundtrack includes high energy offerings from Depeche Mode, Rise Against, Minus the Bear, and Killer Mike. Both soundtracks are available separately for purchase

Injustice: Gods Among Us can satisfy DC Comics fans and fighting game lovers. The high production values represent the overall franchise as well as each individual characters that could warrant their own stand alone spin-off games, which most production companies would welcome. Players will have no problem finding enough challenges and exciting battles. Even without the extra editions, traditional hit stick controller, and mobile game options, this recommended WiiU version (*** out of four stars) makes a strong addition in the game library. Also available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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