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Injustice: Gods Among Us - Video Game Review

The DC fighting game is out now, but is it worth the wait and all of the hype? Read our full review to find out!

After enduring months of an astronomical amount of anticipation, Injustice: Gods Among Us is finally... well, among us. We already know NetherRealm Studio is still capable of creating a solid fighter (Mortal Kombat 9), but can that level of awesomeness still remain when they tone down the gore and focus on the DC universe? Thankfully for us, the answer is yes and I'm stoked to say Injustice: Gods Among Us was absolutely worth the wait.

In case you're attempting to avoid any and all spoilers, I'll do my best not to include specifics about the story. All you need to know is Superman's essentially Earth's dictator and Batman's leading the resistance. While the digital comic is doing a good job of making Kal's decisions fairly understandable, it's fair to assume hardcore Man of Steel fans won't be pleased with Kal's portrayal in this game. Like, at all. Calling him "temperamental" would be a massive understatement and he makes some truly shocking yet baffling decisions. He's blatantly evil and there's zero conflict when it comes to who you should root for. Sadly, I didn't feel an ounce of empathy for Clark.

Batman always wins... until Superman shows up.

Over the months, one thing keeps getting brought up: power differences. They do attempt to address that in the story mode with a plot device that boost the physicals of street level characters like Joker and Green Arrow. I know that's a big deal for some people, but I honestly don't think it's even necessary. We're talking about a fighting game -- it's all about balanced gameplay, not logic. If we were aiming for a logical game, you'd obviously pick Doomsday or Superman every time... and that game would be zero fun. My advice? Don't sweat the small stuff because the balancing required to properly address this issue would take a ridiculous amount of effort on the studio's behalf. I'd rather have them focus on making the game a good time and they've succeeded in that regard.

The campaign feels like the one from Mortal Kombat 9 -- and if you've played that game, you know this is a good thing. It's not a traditional ladder of enemies and then topped off with a boss. Instead, you organically switch between characters as the tale progresses. Between matches, there's occasionally a quick time event and the results of that will impact the starting health bar for you or your enemy. They're all simplistic (most are "hit the target as it approaches!"), but Green Arrow's was without question the standout QTE (it's a FPS). In spite of the archer's cool mini-game, some of the others feel silly. Blocking bullets as Wonder Woman against Bane felt like a totally missed opportunity. Instead of showing off her reflexes, she merely holds up her arms and blocks them all in one spot. It's kind of bland and at one point you're destroying cars with drivers in them. And yes, you're playing as a good guy in that one. Aside from mediocre QTEs, there's some awkward dialogue sprinkled into the mix. All of the voice actors do an able job and Green Arrow/Joker have some legitimately funny remarks -- it's just every now and then there's a really cheesy line tossed in there.

A lot of the cinematics are dedicated to watching fights as well. Sometimes they're great (Aquaman was a boss), but other times I was anxious to have it wrap up so I could take control myself. Furthermore, it only took me roughly five hours to complete it, and that's including two quick breaks. Despite these complaints (short story, occasionally bad dialogue, mediocre QTEs), I still thought overall the story mode was a blast. Most of the cinematics are definitely amusing and, while the story wasn't up to par with the digital comic, it was still a hugely enjoyable experience. There are some very interesting elements in here that aren't really fleshed out (something with Nightwing, for example). Hopefully we'll see these huge plot points unfold in the digital comic because there were more than a few moments that piqued my interest and then the story just moved on.

Born on a Monday, played Injustice all day on Tuesday.

When all is said and done with the story mode, there's still many more hours to enjoy when it comes to single player options. There's the traditional ladder experience and it's there you can unlock short endings for each character. Additionally, you can play the ladder with all kinds of different variables if you're up for the challenge (for example, your health doesn't regenerate as you progress). Then there's S.T.A.R. Labs. This is basically Netherrealm's equivalent of MK 9's Challenge Tower. There's over 200 unique missions and it's sure to keep you glued to the screen for quite some time. I've barely scratched the surface of this one, but I was scrolling through the tabs and there's a lot of variety in there. Meanwhile, you're earning XP during all of this and unlocking new items along the way. There's a library where you can check out 3D models (I'm a sucker for that), unlock new skins, variables for the battle ladder, concept art, etc. Needless to say, the solo adventure doesn't end with the story.

There's a lot of fan service tossed into this game. Each level is packed with easter eggs to spot and cameos that'll make you point at the screen like a fool and exclaim something like, " There's Martian Manhunter!" That comes as double-edged sword, though. Characters like Gorilla Grodd and Deadshot are busy with other matters in the background, but others are literally just hanging out and watching you fight. Please, don't worry about me, Martian Manhunter, you're fine hanging out over there and watching me get punched through the freaking planet by Doomsday. Thanks for the help, man. It's a totally minor criticism but I did find it pretty jarring during fights.

When it comes to the visuals, what you see is what you get. We've known for months now that Injustice isn't eye candy. In fact, it unfortunately feels a little subpar in this department when the pace slows down during cutscenes. Things look fine and fluid during the chaos of battles, but when cinematics get up close and personal, you can see the engine feels fairly dated. It ain't pretty, but it's not going to offend your eyes, either. It is worth noting there's some stiff animation from time to time in the cutscenes, too. Although, what's important to me is the gameplay and thankfully the visuals are more than adequate there -- especially during insanely fun stage hazards and brutal special moves. Witnessing Batman do a backflip over the Batmobile before it crashes into your enemy never gets old and warrants a confetti toss every time it happens.

I anxiously await a Deadpool alternate skin for Deathstroke. Legal issues be damned.

As for the gameplay, if you don't train with each character first, you're likely going to spend a lot of time paused during the story to check out the move list for each character. Sure, you can mess around and attempt to figure out their unique set of combos and full move list on your own, but this game doesn't reward button mashers. You may get lucky here and there, but overall you'll likely be juggled and humiliated. That said, this is by no means a bad thing. If anything, it's a credit to how much time it'll take to truly appreciate and master every character available. It was a tad disappointing to see some moves are taken directly from Mortal Kombat (Ollie has a move identical to Sub-Zero's ice slide), but based on my experience so far, every character does manage to bring their own feel to the table. As for me, I'm a sucker for Deathstroke. Who needs heat vision when you can spam firearms at a distance and dish out sick sword attacks in close range?

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a violent bundle of fun and excitement. The characters are balanced (for the most part, of course... stage hazards definitely seem to favor powerhouses), pulling off lengthy juggles is cheer-inducing, and there's plenty of content here for completionists to enjoy. If you love fighters and you love DC, this is obviously worthy of your money. It may take some time to adjust to the gameplay, but once you get the hang of it I'm confident you'll be celebrating as you connect vicious combos. However, if you're only curious about the story, then it's worth a rental because the campaign can honestly be completed in one sitting. Well done, Netherrealm Studios... now let's hope they continue to provide us with a steady stream of downloadable content!

+ Fun and somewhat balanced gameplay.

+ Legitimately entertaining story.

+ Lots of content.

- Story mode is too short and has some awkward dialogue.

4/5

Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. This is the part where he shamelessly plugs his Google+ and Twitter page in hopes of getting a new follower or two.

*This review was done on the 360 and multiplayer was not tested.

85 Comments
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Edited by Gotham331

I'm playing in on iPad and I'm hooked!

Posted by theTimeStreamer

batman beating deathstroke, superman beating with ease ares, captain marvel yelling shazam and the lightining not hitting him but far away and ps2 graphics....... yeah i said it, mediocre voice acting at best. this game isnt worth 30$.

Posted by andy_117

@thetimestreamer: I don't think those first things are at all relevant to how the game actually plays (or the price of the game). Like, at all.

Also, will people stop saying "PS2 graphics"? Go back and play a PS2 game! First, they look better than you'll remember - and second, most games you think look as bad as you remember the PS2 being look better, too. The graphics are sup-bar here, but they're honestly more on par with mid-generation games, not last generation games.

Posted by TheCheeseStabber

Want to play NOW :O

Posted by Mandrewgora

I'm going to go pick myself up a copy.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@thetimestreamer: you realise that Captain Marvel doesn't turn every time he says the word SHAZAM? Also mediocre voice acting from the actors that voiced the characters on TV? Just hardly.

Online
Edited by theTimeStreamer

@andy_117: crappy story (that has been done to death in every medium and blatant disregard to how powers/skills work to appeal to the non-comic readers), mediocre voice acting, last gen graphics (god of war 2 has the same graphics) are relevant to my purchase. you may enjoy a crappy cash grab fighter game with your favorite hero's skin but i do not. mortal kombat (2012) was way better.

Edited by theTimeStreamer

@jonny_anonymous: yes he does. that's kind of his thing with magic words and all. and kevin conroy sounds like he's just there to cash in a check to pay some bills. there is no vigor, no heart in what any of them are saying.

Posted by Z3RO180

@theTimeStreamer An obvious troll is obvious

Edited by theTimeStreamer

@z3ro180: oh yes. saying bad things is trolling. how is the weather in rainbow land?

Posted by Yurtigo

Nice

Posted by Shark_Repellent_Bat_Spray

@thetimestreamer said:

@andy_117: crappy story (that has been done to death in every medium and blatant disregard to how powers/skills work to appeal to the non-comic readers), mediocre voice acting, last gen graphics (god of war 2 has the same graphics) are relevant to my purchase. you may enjoy a crappy cash grab fighter game with your favorite hero's skin but i do not. mortal kombat (2012) was way better.

That's not a fair comparison! Mortal Kombat 9 is by far one of the most satisfying and enjoyable fighters ever. :P

Posted by Captain13

Cyborg's segment in story mode was awesome! If only he were used that way in the comics...

They should have gotten Josh Keaton for Hal because he and Barry had bad voice actors. I like Phil LaMar but he is no Aquaman. The only good voice performances were Cyborg, Green Arrow, Harley, Catwoman, and Wonder Woman.

I liked the explanation for the power levels in this game. 8.5/10- Great Buy

Edited by Z3RO180

@theTimeStreamer The weather is fantastic. Rainbows are in the sky and I'm about to go a party with some awesome gnomes and dwarfs :D

Edited by sethysquare
Posted by JakeN7

@andy_117: crappy story (that has been done to death in every medium and blatant disregard to how powers/skills work to appeal to the non-comic readers), mediocre voice acting, last gen graphics (god of war 2 has the same graphics) are relevant to my purchase. you may enjoy a crappy cash grab fighter game with your favorite hero's skin but i do not. mortal kombat (2012) was way better.

BWAHAHAHA!!! When's the last time you played God of War 2?

Seriously...how does that at all look like the screenshots above!?

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@jonny_anonymous: yes he does. that's kind of his thing with magic words and all. and kevin conroy sounds like he's just there to cash in a check to pay some bills. there is no vigor, no heart in what any of them are saying.

yea no, that changed about 7 years ago in Trials of Shazam. He doesn't turn unless he want's to turn.

Online
Posted by theTimeStreamer
Edited by Kneepawn

Well done, I have been anticipating this game for some time now. Going to pick up my CE right now~

Posted by vandinejd_1991

This game among many others things like Dark Knight Returns, Justice Lords, and Batman: Hush has shown me that Superman is a glorified jerk instead of someone to be admired by anyone

Posted by Vulshock

Friday can't come soon enough.

Posted by Captain13

@jonny_anonymous: not the deal in the new52. on which he is based on.

Actually, in the New52 he has to say "Shazam" with intent to transform. The first time he tries it, it doesn't work because he doesn't have intent. It would be dumb if he couldn't say his own name.

Posted by Nightflash

Neatherrealms really hyped me up for this game but in the end, it was a let down from what I expected. It's still a good game but I felt somewhat underwhelmed when playong it.

Edited by AllStarSuperman

This game among many others things like Dark Knight Returns, Justice Lords, and Batman: Hush has shown me that Superman is a glorified jerk instead of someone to be admired by anyone

those are not superman centered stories, of course they make him look like an idiot. Batman wasn't that good a guy in TDKR.

Posted by StMichalofWilson

I think this is a good game. Who knows? Maybe they'll do a sequel with a longer(yet better) story and more awesome DC characters...

Posted by andy_117

@thetimestreamer: A story that has been done to death and "disregards characters powers/abilities" is of little relevancy to how the game actually plays. I mean, I know the DC connection is the game's major selling point, but I'll let it take any liberty it wants if it wants to craft a fighting game around it.

As for it being a re-skinned Mortal Kombat 2011 - well, it does sometimes feel that way, I suppose. But at the same time, it is doing so much to separate itself from MK - no dedicated block, no rounds, no fatalities or finishers... it boils down to a game that plays very different despite being built of the same mold.

But really, ultimately, I can't say a product isn't worth money because it changed things to suit its purpose. That just seems... normal. I'd hate if the game kept internal DCU logic for the sake of appeasing fanboys and made it so the only viable fighters were Superman and Doomsday. Then, this is mentioned in Comic Vine's review, and I don't want to have to justify their opinion, too. Go re-read it.

Posted by The Average Bear

I really wanted this game, but I'm probably gonna skip it. The graphics do indeed seem a little dated and fighting games just aren't my thing anyways. Might make a good rental

Edited by The Average Bear

This game among many others things like Dark Knight Returns, Justice Lords, and Batman: Hush has shown me that Superman is a glorified jerk instead of someone to be admired by anyone

DKR is an alternate universe. Justice Lords Superman was, you guessed it, an alternate version of the character and only appears in the DCAU. In Hush he was mind-controlled. Did any of this occur to you?

Edited by Mucklefluga

Awesome review Gregg!

Posted by TommytheHitman

Definately picking it up when it comes out on Friday!

Online
Posted by Oscars94

Awesome!!!! I can't wait to play as Sinestro and Black Adam.

Edited by mattwing87

I wonder if Batman was relieved that Superman killed the Joker?

Posted by sturmritter

I'm still playing Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, and am still enjoying it. Not sure if I can shell out for Injustice quite yet, maybe when the price drops a bit.

Posted by dtschemmel
Posted by Equonox

Can't wait to get home and jam on this all night!

Posted by dtschemmel

Definately picking it up when it comes out on Friday!

This game is out...

Posted by TommytheHitman
Online
Edited by Mrfuzzynutz

Me and the family enjoyed MK vs DCU so much that when this was announced we were beyond excited. "I can't wait to punch you into Orbit, dad!"

so yeah, well worth the price to have some family smack down fun!

Posted by FTomato

I want to point out that in MK9 the story mode cutscenes were compressed video files that looked way worse than the same models in gameplay. If that's the same here, that could explain why closeups don't look very good.

Posted by OldOldLogan
  
Edited by bloggerboy

@vandinejd_1991 said:

This game among many others things like Dark Knight Returns, Justice Lords, and Batman: Hush has shown me that Superman is a glorified jerk instead of someone to be admired by anyone

The Dark Knight Returns isn't exactly canon nor can you really give Frank Miller the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Superman...or pretty much any other superhero that isn't the "goddamn Batman".

And how was Superman a jerk in Hush? He was under Ivy's control most of the time. He held back while fighting Batman and eventually broke the control himself. Before and after that we saw what a good friend Bruce had.

And storywise Injustice sounds hack writing. I know it's a fighting game and the characters must give their all but if I can't root for them...what's the point? That said I wish the game was on PC.

Posted by NightFang

The game was fun and that's all that really matters.

Edited by PopRock123

I love the gameplay more then I did MK9 it feels like a combination of a capcom fighter and MK. Im happy they added a push block mechanic and made cross up useful. The story is entertaining which is a bonus for me cause I don't play fighting game for their story.

Edited by papad1992

Want to play NOW :O

Me too... Have the downloadable characters been revealed yet!?

Posted by Gritz217

Would someone explain to me why no fanboy bitches about the "power differences" in Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Spider Man can TOTALLY take on Dante or Thor in a 1 on 1) yet when it comes to this game, suddenly we can't have Batman beating Wonder Woman because comic book logic and realism? That said, I am so psyched to buy this. Who cares if it's like MK9? MK9 was awesome! If only I had an HDTV to go with it. This game deserves the HD treatment.

Posted by k4tzm4n
Posted by Ninjablade09

@jonny_anonymous: yes he does. that's kind of his thing with magic words and all. and kevin conroy sounds like he's just there to cash in a check to pay some bills. there is no vigor, no heart in what any of them are saying.

Yes, finally someone who has criticized Conroy on his work. You guys have to realize just because he can be good doesn't mean he is always good.

On the game though, I played the demo and it was alright. Cant wait to get it need a new game to play and this fits my standards.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@gritz217 said:

Would someone explain to me why no fanboy bitches about the "power differences" in Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Spider Man can TOTALLY take on Dante or Thor in a 1 on 1) yet when it comes to this game, suddenly we can't have Batman beating Wonder Woman because comic book logic and realism? That said, I am so psyched to buy this. Who cares if it's like MK9? MK9 was awesome! If only I had an HDTV to go with it. This game deserves the HD treatment.

No one is saying that's a bad thing -- at least it's certainly not in the review and I didn't spot anyone saying that.

And wholeheartedly agreed about power. I didn't see much criticism when Stryker beat Kintaro in MK9 or how you can take down Galactus with Deadpool in MvC3.

Edited by tasir

does anyone know the season pass characters the dlc is already out

Edited by k4tzm4n

@tasir said:

does anyone know the season pass characters the dlc is already out

No, no one is available yet.

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