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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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Posted by SmashBrawler

@k4tzm4n said:

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.

Actually, and this is from someone who wasn't a fan of this portrayal at the beginning, I have to say I have no issues with him being evil, especially because we still have a good Superman. I personally like evil Superman as a character, he comes off as pretty badass. Overall, I have to say this was a pretty good review, especially from a site that doesn't exactly specialize in video games. Kudos.

Without giving out any details, which arcade ending would you say is your favorite so far?

Edited by M3th

Does anyone know who are in the season pack?

Posted by Stormbox
Posted by JLDoom

I want to play this so badly but I won't get the game for a while, AGH!!!! I'm just glad to hear it's getting good reviews, including from this site!

Posted by Ravager4

That story... *smashes face against desk* Ugh.

It's sad when the comic based on the game is better than the actual game. Not that the comic isn't phenomenal... but the game's story was just... not.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n said:

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.

Actually, and this is from someone who wasn't a fan of this portrayal at the beginning, I have to say I have no issues with him being evil, especially because we still have a good Superman. I personally like evil Superman as a character, he comes off as pretty badass. Overall, I have to say this was a pretty good review, especially from a site that doesn't exactly specialize in video games. Kudos.

Without giving out any details, which arcade ending would you say is your favorite so far?

That paragraph was addressed to fans concerned over seeing a "purely evil Superman." I'm not saying I think it's a bad thing -- I just want to let them know there's zero empathy for the guy. There's clearly no going back for him here and I know that's an important subject for at least a few people.


Thank you, I really appreciate it. It's my first time writing a review for a video game. As for arcade endings, I'm afraid I've only completed it with Deathstroke so far.

Staff
Edited by SmashBrawler

@k4tzm4n said:

@smashbrawler said:

@k4tzm4n said:

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.

Actually, and this is from someone who wasn't a fan of this portrayal at the beginning, I have to say I have no issues with him being evil, especially because we still have a good Superman. I personally like evil Superman as a character, he comes off as pretty badass. Overall, I have to say this was a pretty good review, especially from a site that doesn't exactly specialize in video games. Kudos.

Without giving out any details, which arcade ending would you say is your favorite so far?

That paragraph was addressed to fans concerned over seeing a "purely evil Superman." I'm not saying I think it's a bad thing -- I just want to let them know there's zero empathy for the guy. There's clearly no going back for him here and I know that's an important subject for at least a few people.

Thank you, I really appreciate it. It's my first time writing a review for a video game. As for arcade endings, I'm afraid I've only completed it with Deathstroke so far.

Yeah, I can see some people still having some problems with an evil Superman (even though we've had evil Batmen, evil Spider-Men, etc.).

No problem, I actually think a comic book reader is a more adequate reviewer for this game than a non-reader. Actually tackling some issues comic book fans may have with the game is greatly appreciated (even if I had pretty much none).

My favorite ending would be Green Arrow's. I won't spoil anything, let's just say a non-playable character appears and the way said character is introduced is great.

Posted by Cavemold

@k4tzm4n

I rather enjoyed WW minI game. The classic cuff move was quite intresting

Posted by fullmetaladam

Got Mortal Kombat 9 3 weeks ago and have played nothing since. Even though I love the roster for this game is it worth getting for full RRP?

Edited by dreamfall31

Loved the hell out of MK, but not looking to get invested into a fighting game right now. Maybe when it's cheap I'll get it because of the DC fan in me!

Posted by modunhanul

Awesome review, thanks Katzman! I love this game.

Edited by Deep_Six

I'm still in tutorial... anyone else have trouble with Batarang combo? These combinations are so foreign to me.

edit: The Bounce string cancel was even more complex o.O

Posted by k4tzm4n

Awesome review, thanks Katzman! I love this game.

Thanks and you're very welcome!

Staff
Edited by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n said:

@smashbrawler said:

@k4tzm4n said:

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.

Actually, and this is from someone who wasn't a fan of this portrayal at the beginning, I have to say I have no issues with him being evil, especially because we still have a good Superman. I personally like evil Superman as a character, he comes off as pretty badass. Overall, I have to say this was a pretty good review, especially from a site that doesn't exactly specialize in video games. Kudos.

Without giving out any details, which arcade ending would you say is your favorite so far?

That paragraph was addressed to fans concerned over seeing a "purely evil Superman." I'm not saying I think it's a bad thing -- I just want to let them know there's zero empathy for the guy. There's clearly no going back for him here and I know that's an important subject for at least a few people.

Thank you, I really appreciate it. It's my first time writing a review for a video game. As for arcade endings, I'm afraid I've only completed it with Deathstroke so far.

Yeah, I can see some people still having some problems with an evil Superman (even though we've had evil Batmen, evil Spider-Men, etc.).

No problem, I actually think a comic book reader is a more adequate reviewer for this game than a non-reader. Actually tackling some issues comic book fans may have with the game is greatly appreciated (even if I had pretty much none).

My favorite ending would be Green Arrow's. I won't spoil anything, let's just say a non-playable character appears and the way said character is introduced is great.

THE NIGHT BELONGS TO RED ARROW!

Staff
Posted by modunhanul

@deep_six: I couldn't complete tutorial but you can skip that if you want.

Posted by highaccuser

@k4tzm4n: Why? The game came out yesterday. I would have them if not for a problem in my Ps store.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Feel like I should play this while reading the comic at the same time :)

Posted by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n: Why? The game came out yesterday. I would have them if not for a problem in my Ps store.

Why what?

Staff
Posted by Jacobin_Wisdom
Edited by ThunderBat

The iPad version is totally awesome, great graphics! The only downside is the price for Tier-1 characters like Superman and Batman

Posted by k4tzm4n

@cavemold said:

@k4tzm4n

I rather enjoyed WW minI game. The classic cuff move was quite intresting

If it showed off her reflexes I would have loved it, but instead she just holds her hands in place and block all of the shots in the same position without having to even move her arms :(

Staff
Edited by JJrKing

@k4tzm4n said:

@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.

@k4tzm4n: I believe it's because that game was mainly consisted of the fighting game fans (FGC,Evo) as opposed this game where they went to cater and persuade comic people to join in the fray as well. Looking at the previous installments from the first MVC to MVC3, people were interested more in the fighting mechanics and how it would play than story wise; It's also maybe a hidden factor among(st) the fighting game community to not expect a long story when playing games made by the street fighter developers or being associated with them (sfxt is a good example that appeared to have a huge story behind it but really was just a arcade run and that's it). Still, you can say that the MVC series was smart by not making a huge story like Injustice did since some people play exclusively for the story (I somewhat fit into this category) and nowadays you can just watch youtube to find the cutscenes and endings, dimishing the chances of being bought by that consumer even less or prompt them more to buy it. The FGC has a loud voice in the fighting game genre -they were the voice of MVC3-, and I also believe they were trying shut out the Mortal Kombat 9 community from EVO for some time during the release before embracing it since they it didn't play like street fighter. While I don't agree with some points you made in your review, I feel you made enough strong points for Comic-Vine fans decide if this is worth a purchase to them.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@jjrking: Valid points, sir, and thank you.

Staff
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

I love this game. I even liked that the story was a bit shorter, because it meant you could play through it in one sitting and then it felt like a movie.

I was a bit worried that the creators had it in for Supes, but once you get to that final chapter it's clear that fear was inaccurate.

The cutscene graphics weren't very good, but the game has so much to do and the in-game models look terrific that I couldn't really care less. And if you play a fighting game for the cutscenes, you're doing it wrong.

Posted by k4tzm4n

I love this game. I even liked that the story was a bit shorter, because it meant you could play through it in one sitting and then it felt like a movie.

I was a bit worried that the creators had it in for Supes, but once you get to that final chapter it's clear that fear was inaccurate.

The cutscene graphics weren't very good, but the game has so much to do and the in-game models look terrific that I couldn't really care less. And if you play a fighting game for the cutscenes, you're doing it wrong.

Exactly! I couldn't help but laugh at all of the posts of concern and criticism when we posted the opening cinematic.

Staff
Posted by Stormbox

@ravager4 said:

That story... *smashes face against desk* Ugh.

It's sad when the comic based on the game is better than the actual game. Not that the comic isn't phenomenal... but the game's story was just... not.

I didnt even like the story of this game that much but its hardly that bad

Edited by Uncle_Yusuf

<p>I reserved this game before it came out, so fortunately I was able to get the Red Son skins and the twenty bonus levels. I haven't tried out every character, but my favorite to use so far is Nightwing. I'm getting better with him all the time. I definitely want to get better with Diana and Arthur as they both seem quite formidable.</p>If a sequel is made, these are the players that should be available:

1. Martian Manhunter

2. Katana

3. Blue Beetle

4. Dr. Fate

5. Mr. Terrific

6. The Spectre

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

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

i agree for the most part on the voices. Josh Keaton or Nolan North would have been better for Hal, Michael Rosenbaum and NPH would have been better Barrys

Posted by secondfallen616

@ftomato: You took the 0011010110's out of my 01010110!

Edited by huser

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

Or that Superman is such an iconically awesome guy that the easiest shorthand to show how messed up this strange new world is, is for him to be a badguy. Like Spock with a goatee. I'd have to go with the majority of 75 years of comics over singular interpretations (and in Hush the dude was being mindcontrolled) in other mediums.

Edited by huser

While I'm not going to cry too much over Green Arrow physically beating Doomsday, I do have to question the notion that you COULDN'T have a comic logical fighting game because the only options to win would be to pick Superman or Doomsday and it would be boring.

Because just using this games roster and ignoring the less than godlike in a game subtitled Gods Among Us, you'd reasonably be able to pick the aforementioned Superman and Doomsday, along with Black Adam, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Sinestro, and Ares. That's light for a modern fighting game sure, but actually a reasonably varied core. Also, it's not like there aren't a whole bunch of other DC cats to include even ignoring multiversal alt versions.

Posted by Vaeternus

injustice is awesome, 10/10 i rate it and outside of being made by nrs is nothing like mk9...

Posted by Queso6p4

@k4tzm4n: Well-written and balanced review. Nicely done.

@uncle_yusuf: By mentioning Martian Manhunter, Dr. Fate, and the Spectre, you've proven to be a viner after my own heart.

As both k4tzm4n someone else mentioned I like how they put extra effort into the game to make it appealing to comic readers. Who else can appreciate the Martian Manhunter floating about nonchalantly as you're pummeled senseless, get the "joke" of Joker using the crowbar, or gawk at Superman's zoo. I was thrilled explaining some of the background stuff to my friend while he played.

Edited by k4tzm4n
Staff
Edited by Arkhamc1tizen

Did not enjoy this!!!!!!!

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