Injustice: Gods Among Us (Wii U Review)

injusticeFinished the story-mode but I still have to beat the Arcade mode as all the characters.

Gameplay: 3½/5 – I gotta say that I’m not a fan of NetherRealm Studios reinventing the wheel with this one. Alright, having a back-block instead of a block button was a good thing, but I found it annoyingly limiting to only have three attack buttons. I also think that the reintroduced battle stance/style system wasn’t put to the best possible use. Some characters don’t even get an alternate combat style and for many the alternate style is better than the primary one which is annoying. I also had to switch the meter-burn buttons and throw button because I found pressing L&R to be much more of a chore than just pressing ZL&ZR.

However, I was delightfully surprised by how balanced most of the characters were and it’s also fun to tear shit up with the interactive backdrops in each fighting stage. I’m a little surprised that my favourite characters (Batman and Wonder Woman) were actually the worst characters to play as, but at least it’s a moderate step up from MK vs. DC. However, I had to hack off half a point for the Quick Time Events in the story-mode. Not cool, NetherRealm, not cool…

Graphics: 4½/5 – At first I was quite put off by the normal character outfits until I realised that the game was about the dystopic alternate DC universe. Batman’s standard outfit for one looks terrible as does the alternate universe (50-year-old, banana-hammock) Superman. However, all the characters at least have some nice alternate costumes available from Archives. Backgrounds are detailed and have a lot of stuff in them. I would have hoped for a bit more variety, but at least most arenas let you smash your opponent to a new screen, Mortal Kombat 3 style.

Animation: 4½/5 – I was pretty close to giving this game a perfect score on this one. Firstly, the Super Move animations look excellent and the cutscenes in the story-mode were also pretty damn good. However, it’s only in the crowd scenes where you realise that every other character in the game is just a clone and this was a little disappointing. However, it’s only a small flaw so I’ll only take half a point for it.

Music: 3/5 – NetherRealm sadly continues its traditions of having very undramatic music in their fighting games. Why can’t they get this thing right for once. The music in the cutscenes sounded pretty good though, so there’s at least that.

Sound: 5/5 – Kevin Conroy, George Newbern, Susan Eisenberg and Khary Payton are all back reprising their iconic roles as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg. The game also features Tara Strong and Grey DeLisle reprising their roles from Arkham City as Harley Quinn and Catwoman which is also pretty awesome. I’m a little bummed out about having Jennifer Hale as the voice of both Killer Frost and Hawkgirl, but there really wasn’t anything worth complaining about in her performances either. Richard Epcar returns to voice The Joker as he did in MK vs. DC and does it pretty damn well, once again stealing the show in every scene.

Plot: N/A* – I don’t have any major complaints from the point of view of the story. It’s the same “Superman as the dictator of the world” scenario seen in many other media, but it was handled pretty well and with some class. However, this also means that Superman is both one of the good guys and the final boss of the game which in my view was just a little stupid and boring. The game brought fourth some rather interesting plot-points, but next time I wish NetherRealm wouldn’t jump straight for the “alternate universe” angle when making a DC comics fighting game.

Replay value: 2½/5 – I find the replay value of this instalment greatly lessened from MK9. I find the combat system to be unnecessarily simplified which is why the fighting begins to feel a bit more repetitive than usual. Also, you pretty much have to play the story mode first if you want the characters to have any decent outfits which is a bummer. I will definitely play through the arcade mode as all the characters, but with no other interesting extras to unlock, I don’t think I’ll be coming back to this game once I’m done with it.

Score: 77% – With Injustice, NetherReal Studios has done a lot of bad decisions which sadly keep it from being a better or even as great of a game as Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. The gameplay is only okay and the story in this one wasn’t anything new or special. There are more characters and the roster this time around is more balanced, but the game simply doesn’t offer anything substantially better compared to Midway’s/NetherRealm’s prior titles. If you’re a huge DC fan, you’ll enjoy it – but regular fighting game fans should probably look elsewhere.

* Fighting games are not given a Plot-Score, I just wanted to comment on the story.

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