Mortal Kombat was an success story of 2011, relaunching the once tired series making it relevant once again. Shortly before this reboot the Mortal Kombat franchise experimented with making a crossover with the DC Universe that was met with some lukewarm reactions. Injustice: Gods Among Us is revisiting where Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe left off, though this time there is no direct connection with the Mortal Kombat universe instead concentrating entirely on DC characters with an storyline crossing different dimensions.
Injustice isn’t Mortal Kombat, there’s been a concerted effort to give it a distinct feel while preserving some familiar things. It plays faster than Mortal Kombat with every character able to gain ground quickly with dashing on the screen. You still have your uppercuts but otherwise things have been shaken up; there are 3 different types of attack Light, Medium and Hard and there’s a forth character specific move that will vary depending on any individual character you play as. Blocking is now switched to the Street Fighter style of holding back instead of having any dedicated block button. Each character has launcher attack by using the charge Hard attack for throwing the opponent right across the screen giving you the chance to unleash an devastating combo. Combos is an area that Injustice shares a lot with Mortal Kombat since if you can perform key specific 10 hit or more combos then your chances at being good an Injustice player become just that much better.
Another aspect that Injustice is similar bar system to Mortal Kombat where you can use a stronger version of a normal move. You can use your bars to break combo using an “Clash Breaker” which starts an attack sequence where each player then wagers parts of their meter where the winner who wagers the most of their meter will either gain health or do damage depending on who started the clash breaker. Finally you can use your full bar to pull off a Super Move that are quite like the X-Ray attacks of Mortal Kombat though a tad less violent because of the Teen rating, these Super Moves are your character’s best move and do a whole lot of damage if you can land it.
Injustice feels like they took the base that Mortal Kombat created and then worked on it. Instead of the best of 3 round based system, when a character loses all the first health meter they just go straight to their second meter and the action continues. Characters have a few attacks that seem similar to trademark moves in Mortal Kombat, Green Arrow has an Ice Freeze style attack, Batman has a sliding attack, like Sub Zero for one example. Another example is Batman has a spear attack that’s quite similar to Scorpion’s. It’s not a big deal, there’s definitely a lot of unique moves but it’s worth mentioning the similarities. Injustice had stage based items that you can use to attack enemies with. You can throws enemies into the background which can cause some damage. Finally each stage has a second section to it so like in some Mortal Kombat games you can throw people through the stage and do damage to them in the transition.
Mortal Kombat had a detailed story mode and so does Injustice. In one of the hundred DC Universe things have gone horribly wrong and copies from another more normal universe show up to try and set things right. Without going into any spoilers to ruin the story mode, it’ll take you about 5 hours to get through it. The story takes you through some pretty interesting situations like where Green Lantern Hal Jordan versus Yellow Lantern Hal Jordan or The Joker against Lex Luthor which while are some unusual situations I felt more could have been done. The game also has a whole series of ladder based single player modes with different gimmicks you need to overcome, a S.T.A.R Labs challenge mode which you are given a number of different challenges using every character in the game from fighting with an handicap to dodging obstacles and sneaking past guards. All the single player portions are fine but they are just distractions from the meat of a fighting game the multiplayer. There isn’t anything much to really say about the local multiplayer except everything seems fine and the only complaint being that doing something as simple as starting rematch will put you through a somewhat long load screen which in a lot games would be instant restart. Both the single player and multiplayer have you gain XP to level up your avatar and in return for levels you unlock items in the game such as avatars and costumes.
Just like almost every fighting game on a modern console, Injustice has an online multiplayer mode to compliment its local mode. It’s as bare bones as you can get having the usual Ranked and Player matches like in every game. The one stand out is the excellent King of the Hill and Survival modes. King of the Hill is your standard get in line and take turns to face the winner in a up to 8 person party and Survivor is a modification on this where the winner doesn’t recover their full health between fights. What makes this standout from other games is the effort done towards this mode. You can watch all the fights as they happen in King of the Hill/Survivor, chat over voice like if you were with your friends and even wager who wins for the chance to gain experience towards leveling your avatar, It has everything you would want from such a mode. The only weakness with the online was that I did experience the occasional lag while playing which in a fighting game is a very sensitive issue though thankfully it didn’t happen often enough for me to take too much issue over it.
The characters are slightly more detailed than those of Mortal Kombat, though the backgrounds themselves have a lot more going on. There are some levels that have entire battles happening in the background in a city scape, you have Superman’s fortress of solitude with the miniaturized city of Kandor. Each stage has a very nice level detail for and comes alive hardcore fans. The voice acting has some well known favorites behind it such as Adam Baldwin voicing Hal Jordan and Kevin Conroy resuming his role as the voice of Batman for excellent results. The Joker isn’t played by Mark Hamill anymore but the replacement does a good job filling those big shoes. You’ll be hearing a lot of the voice acting in the single player and also the witty repartees you’ll hear before matches and while performing Super Moves. The music has a heroic tone that fits well since it’s found in a super hero game.
Injustice takes the base created by Mortal Kombat and creates a satisfying fighting game with DC characters. The story mode is a fun adventure though a side event to the main course which is one on one fights. The online is mostly solid except for some hiccups that happened now and again. It’s a much stronger effort than Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe that felt like a half-hazard attempt to attach DC characters to a Mortal Kombat game while Injustice is a game that was designed from the ground up and does a really good job.