Couple of notes before we start, I’m terrible at fighting games. Why bring that up you ask? In case you’re unable to discern from the title, Injustice is a fighting game featuring the DC Universe. Regardless, when it comes to fighters, all I do is button mash. Fighting systems take too much time to learn, let alone an entire move set for multiple characters. That being said, while I can’t speak to the intricacies of the fighting system, there’s still plenty to talk about.
This isn’t the first time the DCU has found themselves battling in digital form. In 2008 Midway released the head scratching crossover Mortal Kombat vs. DC. While Marvel vs. Capcom made some sense, MKvDC never did as MK was about violence and fatalities. At least Marvel got top billing in their game. Fast forward to 2013 and Ed Boon & co. are at it again. This time giving DC their own game, which doesn’t even feature them in the title. Anywho, in some parallel Earth, Joker poisoned Superman, causing him to go insane and kill Lois, who was pregnant. From there he really did lose his mind, killing the Joker and instilling martial law around the globe. Many of his fellow heroes joined him, except Batman. Pulling a few of the good heroes from our world to his, Batman hopes to take down Superman.
The story was decent. If you were wondering why the Joker or Green Arrow can go toe to toe with Black Adam or Superman, it’s because evil Superman developed a pill for his soldiers to take, making them stronger and invulnerable. I would even go so far to say that the story was inspired. The prequel digital comic book series was popular. So much so that it’s continued past it’s original planned run.
Combat in the game was fun. Each character was true to their roots, sporting a style that best suited them. Power sets were included and tempered for balancing. Green Lantern can charge his ring and use it for attacks before it drains while the Joker has a bevy of weapons in his pocket ranging from crowbars to poison spewing lapel flowers. The environment was just as much a character as the roster. The BatCave, Hall of Justice, and Themyscira are all present. Each stage has multiple tiers and destructible set pieces. While fighting in the Fortress of Solitude, Kandor and the Phantom Zone can be spied in the background. Knocking your opponent to a lower level will reveal Superman’s alien menagerie.
The weakest part of the game is the character design and animation. In the opening moving, Superman walks awkwardly towards the Joker, everything from the waist up locked in place. Wonder Woman is the worst offender. Her obnoxiously long arms, which end somewhere around her knees, along with her stiff hair, off putting muscles, and low placed chest cannonballs make her incredibly hideous. Green Arrow has a blanket covering his arm, and they found a new way to sexify Harley Queen. I’m sure this is what Paul Dini had in mind when he created her.
One gameplay element that I found annoying was the occasional QTEs (quick time events) between stages. Batman would throw batarangs at an approaching Lex Luthor for example, with the players hitting buttons in a sequence. How successful you were would affect the combatants health in the following round. Good in concept but awkward in execution. Why would they stand there awkwardly throwing objects at you or walk towards you in a straight line?
Atrocious animations and design aside, the game is still fun. The difficulty scales during story mode as you win or lose. Win a few in the row, game gets harder, lose and it’s bumped down a peg. Which was great for me because I suck. With the myriad of easter eggs strewn about, there’s plenty to love for a DC fan. At the time of publishing the Ultimate Edition should be available including new DLC characters like Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, and Zod.
Did the animations bother you? Who was your favorite character (surprisingly, Wonder Woman)? Comment below!
The twist with Nightwing was neat.