“IT CAME! IT FINALLY CAME” – Sid Phillips – upon receiving his long awaited ‘big one’ rocket – Toy Story
That pretty much sums up how I felt when Injustice arrived in the post. Now, I know this might make me rather unpopular with Marvel fans, but I sit rather deep into the DC camp. Don’t get me wrong, I like Marvel too, but I just think DC have some of the better heroes. So when I found out that there was a DC beat-em-up being made, I got a little excited.
The thing that made me MOST excited though, was who it was being made by… Ed Boon! Yes! The brilliant man behind my favourite beat-em-up (Mortal Kombat) was now going to be making the DC game! IT WASN’T GOING TO SUCK! So, I’d gotten a bit excited before release… did the game let me down?
Animation is much the same as the most recent MK, minus the blood. Gameplay is similar, but not identical to MK. There are some fresh ideas that I really like. The story is actually interesting!
So, where do I begin?
OK, this should really be the first thing you approach with a new game. Even if you intend to almost exclusively play the multiplayer (online or vs), remember – someone has worked REALLY hard to create a place where a story will engross and entertain you, as well as give you a good bit of practice before you throw yourself up against some friends.
The story in Injustice takes advantage of the fact that there are multiple universes within the DC universe. The story shows how Batman from universe 2 has pulled the heroes (and for some reason joker) from universe 1 (the separate universes aren’t ever called that, it just makes it easier to explain.) It doesn’t immediately become clear why, but it’s clear something isn’t up. Superman has gone insane. Earth has basically been taken over by heroes who used to protect them. Batman is the only one thinking straight, and he’s been made an outlaw.
It took me a morning to play the story start to finish, I’d say that’s slightly longer than usual for a fighter, but I guess you could do it a lot faster if you skipped all the cut-scenes and didn’t loose any fights.
This is the standard arcade mode you’d expect to find in any beat-em-up, choose a character and attempt to defeat a selection of enemies at your desired difficulty. This mode allows you to select a difficulty, so I’d say this is probably the place to go after you’ve finished all the tutorials and the campaign for some training before heading online into the unknown.
VS. Mode (offline multiplayer)
Injustice isn’t quite so hard to master as MK. I found that matches were more even between myself and a friend who only plays games on a casual basis than on something where I’d have been able to master all the combos etc. But that may well be different now that I have a few hours under my belt.
It’s certainly not into “button bash” territory, but I think it’s certainly a little easier to pick up than some other fighters. That said, when thrust upon a complete non-gamer, apparently the controls were more frustrating than anything else.
S.T.A.R Labs Mode
This has been an interesting one, there are 240 challenges, each with 3 stars available. This is a single player mode and it’s not really practical training. The missions are, odd. I kinda like it though and it’s an amusing way to pass some time.
This is really what we’re all here for, right? Modern day fighters are all about the online. I’ve gotta say, I like this. Apart from one annoying glitch where you can’t look at your own scorecard (hopefully this will be fixed in an upcoming patch) It runs rather well. There are ranked 1v1 matches as well as “1v1”, “king of the kill” and “survivor” player matches. The problem with these is that a lot of the time, it’s down to you to enjoy it, and if you’re getting beaten a lot, let’s be honest it’s no fun. So before venturing into online too much, make sure you’re at least semi-competent with at least one character.
My overall view of this is that it’s been done well. It’s so easy to disappoint people when you’re making a game about their favourite superheroes. DCUniverseOnline was a prime example here (I know plenty of people still love and play it) I found it too restrictive, I didn’t FEEL like a hero. This however, does. It’s smooth, fast-paced and great fun. Each character has powers which make them fun to use and unique. I’m a happy man right here.
Release: 19th April 2013
Platform: PS3 (tested), Xbox360, iOS, WiiU
Publisher: Warner Bros
Rated: PEGI 16