On Sale And Not Bad: Injustice – Gods Among Us

Unless the RPS archives are lying to me, we’ve never posted about Injustice: Gods Among Us before – a heinous crime. I’d go so far to call it a great injust-nope, can’t do it. It’s the most recent fighting game output of Netherrealm Studios, them behind the Mortal Kombat reboot and upcoming sequel, featuring the DC Comics cast. It was brought to my attention by being currently on sale on Steam, making it the perfect time to tell you it’s rather good. It won’t compete with Street Fighter in pure depth of systems and endless fanbase, but does do one thing Capcom don’t seem to dream of: decent singleplayer.

It’s become Netherrealm’s calling card for me: a campaign that has you regularly switching characters, telling different stories with each and fighting from both sides of a conflict. They did something similar in MK9, though the formula had obviously been refined for Injustice. There’s usually a series of five battles with each character, interspersed with minigames and quick time events that have some minor impact on the fight afterwards. Nothing especially complex, but just enough to get me invested in the world.

I’m continually surprised that it hasn’t caused other developers to step up their game from the usual 1 minute intro/outro videos and generic win messages. You get just enough time with each character to discover whether you might find them interesting to take into the multiplayer, but it doesn’t burden them with a tutorial. Common fighting game missteps like poor difficulty curves are dodged too, as each new chapter resets the difficulty slightly to help accommodate a new move set. Well, mostly – the backside of Netherrealm’s calling card is usually a bastard-hard boss fight that causes the breakage of whatever peripheral I’m using to play.

Past the campaign it has a ridiculous amount of challenge modes. These range from multiplayer-helping combo tutorials to totally irreverent minigames that have no bearing or influence on anything else. It’s approximately a million times more effort than I’ve seen any other fighting game developer put into their solo experience and I appreciate it greatly. You could do a lot worse than the current £7.49.

The shark at the end is part of Aquaman’s super-move. It is not a wholly, or partly, serious game.

In a related recommendation, the official backup comics are just entering their third year. I read the first twelve issues and while “good” might be pushing it, “hilarious” wouldn’t be. Playing the ridiculous Superman-goes-evil concept entirely straight, the first year continually builds through ridiculous events and many deaths to a final punch-up – between Alfred and Superman. Superb nonsense. I believe comixology is the cool kid location for picking this sort of stuff up.

46 Comments

  1. Pich says:

    Capcom doesn’t care about the singleplayer mostly because fighting games in japan are made for the arcades.

  2. Viroso says:

    Injustice’s biggest problem is that the guys at Netherrealm are actually pretty good at making cool cutscenes. I mean, the writing and the story themselves are stupid but the fights are awesome. The super moves even awesomer.

    And then when the cutscening is over you have to fight on a 2D axis like a chump.

    • klops says:

      Is there a fighting game where the writing and the story aren’t stupid?

      • welverin says:

        No.

        • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

          Blazblue’s might be good? It’s all so long it’s quite hard to tell.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Blazblue’s setting and characters can at least keep you interested, but actually putting in enough effort to follow the plot doesn’t really give you much of a pay-off, at least that’s how it felt to me.
            Fighters don’t really need a good story. Just an excuse for ludicrous characters to beat the crap out of eachother on top of planes or in circus tents or literally in space.

      • PikaBot says:

        Persona 4 Arena, although you really need to already be invested in the Persona universe to get into it.

        Skullgirls’ isn’t bad for what it is.

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        neffo says:

        Elfmania.

      • Gargenville says:

        King of Fighters lore is quite extensive and fun, though the actual plots are pretty flimsy. Instead of talking straightforward trash I like to distract opponents with insane-but-true facts like Kula being mentally handicapped and that time Iori entered a ladies only tournament in drag.

        And by opponents I mean siblings because the closest KoF machine is 2000 miles away.

  3. DrGonzo says:

    Sorry but the singleplayer in this was pretty hilariously bad. It’s a fun playthrough just to laugh at the plot acting and some of the graphics during the cutscenes. It’s an ok game but felt like a downgrade from the last MK to me.

    • Jalan says:

      I think the whole point, whether anyone who worked on it will readily admit to it or not, is that they wanted to try and erase the memory of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe from the minds of their fans. If, by some fluke you remember that, then comparing Injustice to it will put Injustice in the favorable column (though you’ll still ultimately hate it, which is cool).

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Man, you prefer MK9? I liked it but the general coherence of the story was way off. The boss fights, particularly the final one (I assume it was final, I didn’t finish it) would EXTREME bullshit and it had less cool minigame bits. Plus there’s some stylistic choices (portrayal of women for one and extreme violence, which I realise is a MK mainstay but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, for another) that I really didn’t get on with.

      I can see it though, MK does have some cool characters and bits of the story were great.

  4. Hideous says:

    My issue with this game is, of course, that Superman can be defeated by anyone, even if they aren’t wielding kryptonite.

    • Sami H says:

      .

      • dethtoll says:

        And AMAZINGLY taken advantage of in the tie-in comic (which is really good.)

    • Philomelle says:

      Perhaps you should try watching the much-worshiped Justice League animated series. Superman being knocked out via ring out, convenient migraines and random plot elements is the first thing that happens in every major fight.

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        RaveTurned says:

        Wait, what? How do you ring out someone who can fly?

      • theblazeuk says:

        The Superman of the Animated Series is much less powerful than the comics or movie versions. He’s still the most powerful force around, but it doesn’t come without breaking a sweat.

    • pepperfez says:

      You would have preferred the initial release, where no one could beat Superman even if they were made of kryptonite.

  5. Vandelay says:

    I already picked this up after having some fun with it during the free weekend. I’m not much into fighting games and doubt I will be moving to the likely impossible to penetrate online mode, but it seems to cater well to the single player. I don’t know whether it has as much depth as many of the others (Street Fighter 4 is the only one I’ve played extensively and would say it doesn’t have as much depth,) but there is enough to keep it entertaining, but not too much that a bit of button mashing isn’t still fun.

    I particularly like the way the game incorporates the environment into the play. See that giant fish bowl in Aquaman’s throne room, why not pick it up and smash into your opponent? Oh, the Batmobile is just lying around in the Batcave. Fire some rockets from it! It really helps build that feeling that you are taking part in a superhero/villain battle.

  6. baozi says:

    I assume the gameplay feels similar to Mortal Kombat 9? Didn’t like the feel of it much but had bought it because 3D fighting games are scarce on the PC. If it’s true that Tekken 7 will come to PC, that’d be one reason less for me to get a console. Soul Calibur would be nice, too.

    • DanMan says:

      It’s mostly a re-skinned MK9, yes. It has more interactive stages where you can hurl stuff at your enemy or throw them to a whole different area to continue fighting there. The (super) moves are also character related (Batman throwing batarangs, …). At times you play little mini-games (think smashing bricks/cars in StreetFighter). That’s about it.

      So mechanically there’s little point in buying it, if you already own MK9, unless you can’t get enough of beat’em’ups.

    • Sami H says:

      .

      • zentropy says:

        Holy smokes, somebody who actually plays and understands FG. Wasn’t expecting that here. :)
        Enjoyed reading your breakdown of both games as I havn’t spent much time with either. Cheers!

    • baozi says:

      Thanks to both of you. I’m not sure I would have picked up the subtleties (casual player of fighting games at friends’ places, only know that I like Tekken and Soul Calibur a lot but Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter + 2D fighting games not much) but I guess I should have tried it.

  7. Guvornator says:

    It’s worth pointing out that you can pick it for under £5 here link to savygamer.co.uk . It’s on offer quite often, so you shouldn’t have to pay £7.49.

    • Jalan says:

      Yeah, most of these Free Weekend Weekend deals are far from the best discounts these games have had (be it on Steam or elsewhere). I was really tempted by Payday 2, for example, until I realized that it’s been cheaper and likely will be so again come the next big sale so it’s still on the wait to buy list.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Aye, you’re right, I realised it would probably be cheaper elsewhere but forgot to mention. If I write this sort of thing again I’ll make sure to put a “probably even less elsewhere” rider on it.

  8. thedosbox says:

    final punch-up – between Alfred and Superman

    OK, I must admit to being tempted. The only thing stopping me is the hatred of stupid hard boss fights.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      If you like dumb comics that you’re not quite sure know how dumb they are or not, the Injustice ones are truely great. At least up to that point, I’m told they got better but haven’t checked them myself. No knowledge of the game required, I think I actually read the comics first.

  9. Jalan says:

    One of the things that will forever agitate me about this game is the fact that Darkseid was only a playable character in the stupid mobile versions and merely an environment interaction in the game proper. Hell, even Thanos was playable in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Get it together, game developers!

    • dethtoll says:

      OMG YES Darkseid would be a valuable addition to the game. He’s one of my favourite villains so it’s excruciating to see him get ignored.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Aw man, Darkseid was in the mobile versions? That’s some BS, he would have been sweet. Doomsday was pretty cool, but that’s the next level.

      • Jalan says:

        It’s just baffling, I guess trying to fit him into the plot of the main game didn’t work but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that he could’ve been added in as DLC. Personally I would’ve preferred him over Lobo.

  10. Brosecutor says:

    Picked up Injustice during a Steam sale some time ago, but I couldn’t really get into it. I mean, the finishers are awesome (check them out on YouTube), but the gameplay to me felt never as fluid and intuitive as, say, Tekken. Plus, the story is rubbish because DC.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      “the story is rubbish because DC”

      You, sir, need to pick up some Geoff Johns Green Lantern comics. And some Conner/Gray/Palmiotti Power Girl.

    • Jalan says:

      I have a hard time with the disconnect between someone who played Tekken and then complains about the story in Injustice. Tekken’s storyline makes 6 series of LOST seem palatable.

      • Brosecutor says:

        This implies I played Tekken for the story. Which no sane creature should do.

        • Gargenville says:

          I actually love weird Tekken cutscenes and couldn’t care less about it as a fighting game.

        • Jalan says:

          Fair point.

          Still, the story in Injustice (the game) is not bad. It’s better in the comic run but it’s not nearly as bad as most people are quick to judge it on.

  11. Monggerel says:

    In fairness, Superman is still easily the most powerful character in the game.
    And then you can roast him with Scorpion and that feels strangely appropriate somehow.

    Get ouf of here Supes. Your brand of do-goodnik has run its course. We don’t like you that much anymore.

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    Phasma Felis says:

    Is that Solomon Grundy in the screenshot? Does he keep his steak knives in his back now? I don’t really keep up with DC.

    • Jalan says:

      It is. The knives are used in some of his moves so it’s more a means of having an easy way of explaining where they’d be coming from other than the old “a wizard did it” excuse.