Injustice: Gods Among Us is the new fighting title from NetherRealm Productions, the genius minds responsible for 2011’s extremely satisfying Mortal Kombat. Announced last summer, the public demo for personally one of my most anticipated games of 2013 was released not too long ago. Needless to say, I’ve been playing the mess out of it.
How does it hold up? Does it feel like a re-skinned Mortal Kombat, or is there more to it than ‘MK vs. DC’ minus the ‘MK‘? Hit the jump and find out.
Right away, the first thing I noticed while playing is how much it feels like you’re playing with superhero action figures all over again. I don’t know if it’s the character models themselves, or something else, but playing as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor invokes a sense of childlike glee that people may have felt about NetherRealm’s previous game, but with less gore. Injustice feels lighter and faster, with a stronger emphasis on cinematic gameplay and interactivity.
Blocking, fighting, and even interacting with the environment have been changed to differentiate itself from the M-rated blood fest of Mortal Kombat. Whipping cars at your opponent until they explode or elbowing them in the sternum hard enough to send them flying through a brick building was more fun than I imagined when I first saw video of the game last year. The combo attacks also seem to have been polished to allow for a more fluid and dynamic fighting system. There’s just something about watching superheroes performing brutal and devastating combos on each other that is so unique and entertaining as opposed to their more innocent movie/cartoon appearances.
Also kept in from 2011’s blockbuster is the notion of character entrances. Each character has an exciting pose to strike or witty line to say right before the match begins and they feel more in place with the game as a whole than in Mortal Kombat. Seeing Wonder Woman pray to Athena for strength or Batman fly down from a mist of bats makes the game more personal and tells a little bit of background story for each individual character. Winning animations are also just as fun to watch.
The demo itself offers what you would typically expect by now. You have your standard shortened single player game, a local Vs. match, and not much else. Once completing the three-opponent ladder, you are rewarded with a beautiful and jaw-dropping video showcasing the game in its entirety with unplayable characters going head-to-head, tidbits of challenges from the S.T.A.R. Labs, (essentially Mortal Kombat’s challenge tower) and clips from the story mode. This is just fanfare and gives you time to drool over what will be made available soon.
Does Injustice feel like a MK clone? Not at all. What it does feel like is another triple-A title from NetherRealm and Warner Bros. as they build their library of high quality fighting games whose audience is just as passionate about taking a Sedan to The Joker’s face as they are. With an overhauled fighting engine, a new story, and the exclusion of fatalities for hyper-dramatic super moves, it seems I was right to keep this game on my radar. If only Aquaman and his giant crabs were playable… Check out the demo available now on PSN and Xbox Live. Injustice: Gods Among Us comes out April 16.