Special Look - Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U) is a fighting game featuring characters from DC comics that is developed by NetherRealm, the company known for the Mortal Kombat series and the crossover spin-off title, Mortal Kombat vs. DC. Like the former DC fighting game, DC comics required a teen rating, but allowed NetherRealm freedom with letting them give their own spin to the characters’ design and moveset. The gameplay is also unique to the game, Ed Boon planning to not let Injustice become too similar to Mortal Kombat.
Like almost every fighting game out there, Injustice has two characters fighting one-on-one in a third-dimensional background with a two-dimensional plane. Matches only last one round, and the characters have two health bars instead of one. An interesting new feature is the “Wager” system: a character defending itself from a combo can stop it by betting some of its super meter. Each player hits their button combination and the one who bets the most of the super meter wins, either winning health or finishing a powerful combo. Getting the first strike in the match is a good way to get a head start in filling the super meter. Like the MK re-vamp, characters’ costumes will get damaged during battle, but muscle bone will not be seen, keeping with DC’s rating requirement.
Along with the basic arcade battle mode, local versus, and training modes, Injustice features a story mode which takes place after the end of the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic book series, S.T.A.R. Labs mode, made up of 240 character-specific missions with a variety of objectives to complete. Online modes include King of the Hill, a room of eight players where two players battle to stay on top, while the others watch and wait their turn, and a two-player practice mode.
The majority of the stages are multi-tiered, meaning that if a player uses a heavy attack at an edge, such as the rooftop in Gotham City, the opponent will be knocked off, going into a cinematic that shows the character being crushed into a nearby building via a wrecking ball, falling onto the subway tracks before getting hit by a subway car that crashes through a neon sign that says “Welcome to Gotham City.” There are also interactive objects that can be used against the opponent such as cars, dumpsters, or the Batman symbol in the Gotham City stage.
There are twenty-four confirmed characters in Injustice, and twenty-two are confirmed to be playable at launch. They are defined in two categories: Power Users, characters that have and use superpowers in battle, or Gadget Users, characters that use weapons in a fight. Catwoman’s feline companion, Iris, Ares, the God of War, and Killer Frost all have their own missions in the S.T.A.R. Labs mode. The other twenty-two confirmed characters are:
- Aquaman (Power)
- Bane (Power)
- Batman (Gadget)
- Black Adam
- Catwoman (Gadget)
- Cyborg (Power)
- Deathstroke (Gadget)
- Doomsday (Power)
- The Flash (Gadget)
- Green Arrow (Gadget)
- Green Lantern (Power)
- Harley Quinn (Gadget)
- Hawkgirl (Power)
- The Joker (Gadget)
- Lex Luthor (Power)
- Nightwing (Gadget)
- Raven (Gadget)
- Shazam (Power)
- Sinestro (Power)
- Solomon Grundy
- Superman (Power)
- Wonder Woman (Power)
The story of Injustice: Gods Among Us takes place right after the end of the comic book series of the same title. Superman finds out that his wife Lois Lane is pregnant, and he becomes worried about her and the baby’s safety because she plans to keep doing her journalism and reporter work. She tells him not to worry, then goes to the Metropolis docks to find out a tip for a news story. She and Jimmy Olsen, Clark’s best friend who sees him and Lois as role models at The Daily Planet, head to the docks only to find a lone figure there. The Joker comes up from behind and shoots Jimmy in the head, and Harley Quinn reveals herself before grabbing Lois and disappearing.
Superman finds the two in a stolen submarine standing over Lois as if they are operating on her, and he goes to stop it. The Joker grabs him and covers his face with a gas mask of a hallucinogenic gas laced with Kryptonite. Superman then spots Doomsday heading to Lois and he stops him, murmuring about Lois and the baby. Batman appears and stops him and reveals the truth to Superman: it wasn’t Doomsday, but Lois. The Joker had a nuclear bomb connected to her heart, and Superman stopped it, causing the bomb to explode and destroy Metropolis. He flies back to the city ruins cradling his wife’s body. Wonder Woman appears, and takes her for Superman, who flies off to find the Joker, and he kills him.
Superman then establishes a new world order, causing the heroes to turn against each other. His group is called “The Regime.” Heroes and villains have no choice but to band together to stop the Man of Steel. Harley Quinn is one of those that changed; realizing that she was meant to be a heroine and joins Batman’s resistance, known as “Insurgence.”
Who's on what side?
Superman (founder and leader)
Wonder Woman (second in command)
So far, the game has fifteen confirmed stages, each coming from a characters’ individual comic series. They are:
- Arkham Asylum
- Ferris Aircraft
- Fortress of Solitude
- Gotham City
- Hall of Justice
- Joker’s Asylum
- Stryker’s Island
- The Watchtower
- Wayne Manor (Day)
- Wayne Manor (Night)
Costumes and other DLC
The downloadable content for Injustice: Gods Among Us comes with additional costumes for some of the playable characters. Most of them come from pre-ordering the game, with the exception of the Season Pass and the “New 52” costumes for The Flash and Green Lantern.
- “Red Son” Pack: New costumes for Superman, Wonder Woman, and Solomon Grundy from the “Red Son” comics as well as twenty extra S.T.A.R. Labs missions based from the Red Son storyline. This is the pre-order bonus from GameStop.
- Arkham City Pack: New costumes for Batman, Catwoman, and the Joker from the hit game Batman: Arkham City. This is the pre-order bonus from Wal-Mart.
- “New 52” Costume Pack: New costumes for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman from the “New 52” comic series. This is available with the collector’s edition.
- “Blackest Night” Pack: New costumes from the “Blackest Night” comic story, and a zombie mode that turns the fighters into the undead. This is the pre-order bonus from Best Buy and Amazon.de (Amazon Germany).
- “Arrow” Costume: New costume for the green arrow from the Arrow television series. Be one of the first 5,000 people to vote for a super battle to get this costume.
- Season Pass: Get the “Flashpoint” costumes for Deathstroke, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, along with four downloadable characters for the price of three! This is available at launch day.
- “New 52” Costume Flash and Green Lantern costumes: New costumes for The Flash and the Green Lantern from the “New 52” comic series. How to get these costumes is currently unknown.
Demo and a Teen Rating
A demo for Injustice was released on April 2 on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace. It showcases a short version of the arcade battle mode, and also features local versus multiplayer. The demo only has three playable characters: Wonder Woman, Batman, and Lex Luthor. In the arcade mode, there are four stages starting with the chosen character as the first stage and Doomsday as the final stage. The only stage on the demo is Gotham City, but it truly shows the potential in the multi-tiered stages and interactive background objects.
Yes, Injustice: Gods Among Us has a “teen” rating, just like Mortal Kombat vs. DC. This was predicted as soon as the game was announced, and NeatherRealm knew that fans would become worried. To make up for the rating, Injustice has extreme violence replaced with crazy, over-the-top action. This is truly pushing the rating, but it will not be seen as a major issue.
After everything I have learned about Injustice: Gods Among Us and playing the demo, I am very excited and confident that this game will be a huge success. The game will be released worldwide on April 16. As launch day gets ever closer I just have to ask one thing:
Which side will you be on?