Injustice: Gods Among Us - Blurring the Line Between Heroism and Villainy (A Review by Ryodo & QB-sensei)
QB-sensei: So Ryodo, how do you define the word "hero"?
Ryodo: ...well, how do you define the word "villain"?
QB-sensei: To me, the word "villain" is something to do with world domination (or destruction), resorting to underhanded tactics such as crime and oppression to mould a society into their own twisted vision of utopia... and they keep getting defeated by the heroes. However, what if the view of "hero" and "villain" gets manipulated? What if heroes, after vanquishing the villains, live long enough to see themselves become who they detested themselves?
Ryodo: That's where the term "hero" comes in. A hero is someone whose actions affect the people around them and the world in a good way, both directly and indirectly. They're also the ones people immediately go to in order to cleanse the world of villains, yet at the same time abiding by their own good nature.
QB: Points to ponder when playing Injustice: Gods Among Us...
Developed by NetherRealm Studios (the ones behind the Mortal Kombat series), Injustice: Gods Among Us is a 2.5-dimensional fighting game that pits the heroes and villains of DC Comics that you love and loathe, like Shazam (Q: Actually, he's called Captain Marvel!), Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor and Aquaman, among others. Each character has their own unique abilities and capabilities in terms of combos, movement speed and range, just like a fighting game should be. In addition, there is also a story within the game: the Joker destroys Metropolis and tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane and his unborn son, and gets killed by Superman in a fit of rage.
Fast-forward to an alternate timeline where Joker's plan did not succeed, several members of the Justice League plus the Joker get sucked into the timeline after the destruction of Metropolis and Joker's death happened, and the story continues from there...
R: Because this game is developed by NetherRealm Studios, this game looks and feels a lot like Mortal Kombat, but if you're expecting Batman to rip the Joker's spine off, look elsewhere. No, don't even look at Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe as well, that game was a huge letdown, its Fatalities and Heroic Brutalities are a joke.
As mentioned, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a 2.5-dimensional fighting game. The controls and button combinations feel a lot like that of Mortal Kombat, in which it can be considered different from other fighting games such as King of Fighters and Street Fighter. However, they're easy to execute once you get the hang of it. Being someone who doesn't really play fighting games, I admit that most of the time I just mash buttons on the controller, hoping for a miracle. Ironically, I find The Flash to be one of the slower characters in terms of attack combination. For a superhero with lightning speed, I find this amusing and heart-wrenching at the same time.
Also included in this game is the ability to interact with background elements to your advantage. At certain spots of the stage, you'll see "R1" appear below your character's life bar. That's your cue to grab/activate something from the background to use on your opponent. Do be careful though, as whatever you do can be done by your opponent as well.
QB: Apart from the combos and stage interaction, there is also the concept of super meters. Once charged via combos or conceding hits, the characters can unleash enhanced special moves for a portion of the super meter. Another aspect that can be used with the super meters is the Clash system, where you wager a percentage of the meter after losing their first health bar. From there, an epic cutscene ensues, and the one who bids higher wins the clash.
With regards to Story Mode, the fights really blend well with the storyline, with cutscenes before and after the battles enjoying a smooth transition, not to mention the quick time events that enable the player to hack off a chunk of the opponent's health bar before the main fight itself.
R: What can I say? The music in this game utilises a lot of orchestral elements to create an ambience that's just right for the setting of this game. If you're watching the cutscenes, it feels like you're watching a Hollywood movie. May sound generic this way, but for a game, it's something that enhances your gaming experience.
The voice acting here is great too. Even though I do not know much about the English-speaking voice actors, they did a superb job in portraying the characters in this game, from the cutscenes right down to the fighting itself. When the characters scream in pain, you feel the pain with them.
QB: There was one gripe for me though - the way the announcer calls out the respective characters after choosing them sounds rather bland. Epic fights deserve more epic callouts than this, and that was my main gripe in character select.
R: For gamers who are into Mortal Kombat (9), this game should look and feel the same. The characters are very well modelled and highly detailed, and the backgrounds are vast and interactive. They even take battle damage (that is, injuries sustained from the battle such as bruises, cuts, torn clothing and so on) depending on where they're hit. By the way, QB-sensei, have you figured out what the two "titans" were doing in the background again?
QB: Yep, those are Giganta and Atom Smasher battling it out like a pair of 40-foot giants straight out of a kaiju movie.
R: If you're a DC fan who's into fighting games, this game is definitely for you. Its visuals and story will immediately immerse you into the whole experience and you'll have a hard time putting it down. Even though I'm not much into fighting games, I enjoyed playing this game when I had the chance to and I wouldn't mind picking this up one day.
QB: This game may be another fighting game that features superheroes out of comics, but with various gameplay concepts such as stage interactions and Clash systems, I feel that this fighting game is a breath of fresh air, and fans of fighting games could look forward to fresh challenges that this game can offer in terms of fight dynamics.
R: Thanks for reading our joint review, and may you Get Inspired Now!
Special thanks to New Era Entertainment for providing the game for review!