10 Thoughts on… Injustice: Gods Among Us (Microsoft Xbox 360)
by Crystal Steltenpohl on April 4, 2013

Injustice Cover

So I’ve been excited about Injustice for a while, despite the noticeable lack of Power Girl in the lineup. The demo was released on April 2, so I thought it’d be a great idea to download it and give it a whirl. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wish they’d given us more to work with. I am also not terribly pleased that it was for Gold members only, even though I fit into that category.

1. The interactive environment really sells it for me. I love grabbing a dumpster with Joker’s face on it and smashing it into Doomsday, swinging a neon sign into Batman, and kicking Lex into a helicopter multiple times. It’s also nice that I can hit people off the roof so that they smash into the wall, get hit by a wrecking ball, and then fall into a train’s path. That’s just for Gotham City! I can’t wait to see what other surprises await.

2. I’m not terribly impressed with the voice acting for Batman. Kevin Conroy is the voice for our friend Bruce, as he’s been doing for years (and doing well at that), but for some reason it comes off as a bit flat in this game. It just doesn’t sound like he’s that interested in what’s going on around him. Diana sounds fine, Lex is wonderful, and Doomsday is, well, Doomsday, but Bruce just doesn’t sound like the Dark Knight. It sounds more like he really wants a nap.

3. I’m also not 100% on board with some of the character designs. Diana looks a little disproportioned. I love her costume, but I think it’s her face.  Her neck is kind of long and her facial expressions are weird looking. She’s an Amazonian woman, so of course she isn’t going to look soft, and I’m totally on board with her muscular figure. But something about her face just seems… off for someone who is supposed to be as beautiful as Aphrodite. Batman’s armor doesn’t look all that fantastic, either. Finally, on a side note, Harley Quinn isn’t in the demo, but can we please go back to old Harley? I can’t be the only one who is tired of her looking like she’s trying to get laid at a 30 Seconds to Mars concert.

4. I’m loving how each character has their own special moves and weapons. Of course, this was to be expected, but it’s still a nice touch. Diana has her Lariat of Hestia, her tiara that she can throw (nice touch!), and a sword. Batman has his gadgets, of course, and can place bombs on people’s backs, while Lex Luthor has the ability to call in orbital strikes and use gravity mines. While you can’t play as Doomsday in the demo, I did find out firsthand that he can literally punch people into the earth. It’s going to be fun going through each character to see what special tricks they have up their sleeves.

Injustice5. You know what would have really helped? A tutorial, or having some of the training unlocked. For people who have played fighting games before, a lot of the controls are the same. But for newbies, I can see how it’d be difficult to pick up. Also, because this game has some features that aren’t common to other fighting games (transitional areas and wagers, for instance), it would have been helpful to know off the bat how, if possible, to activate those. Some of this is mediated by pressing start to get a quick reference and a move list, but I still would have liked to have been able to play through some of the training in the demo.

6. It would have also been nice to have had more than Bruce, Diana, and Lex to choose from, but I guess it is a demo. I would have been interested to see Superman or Green Lantern, for instance. Three characters is a fine enough number for a demo I suppose, but considering it appears that there are 24 character slots, it would have been nice to have one or maybe even two more to explore.

7. The gameplay is a more awkward than I would have expected. Batman felt fine, but I felt a speed issue with Lex and Diana, at least for walking, and with Lex I felt like some of the attacks were a slow to register. It’s almost like the game can’t decide whether it wants to be nice and smooth or slow and clunky. The timer does pause when special moves are being used, which is really nice for those of us who have had bad experiences with that being used against us. You can dash, but if you can cancel it, I haven’t figured out how, which is weird for a fighting game. The plus side is that if you’re feeling like the game is too slow, you can always up the difficulty level (there are five: very easy, easy, normal, hard, very hard). That will fix that problem in a Flash jiffy.

8. They did something interesting with the lifebars, though I’m not sure how to feel about it. Instead of having rounds, say you knock your opponent down a lifebar. That person stays down for a few seconds, and then gets up. Your health is not reset. I guess this is a bit more realistic(?) than other games, but I’ve never played fighting games for their realism. I imagine this system may upset a few people. It didn’t really seem to affect my gameplay, but I imagine it might pose a unique challenge for some players who aren’t used to it.

9. The game’s ambiance is great. The graphics are beautiful and the music suits the mood. Everything is the right amount of nitty-gritty to make the experience feel like you’re in Gotham City. Hopefully they’re able to put the appropriate personalities into the other stages as well.

10. I wish they would have put in alternate outfits, if not for you to choose, but for when you’re facing an opponent. It’s not a huge deal, but it would have been nice to see those alternate costumes they keep raving about, and it would have helped differentiate between the two players when you’re fighting yourself. This is pretty standard practice in other games (see NetherRealm’s own Mortal Kombat for an example of that).

Injustice CEWhat we were able to play of the demo looks decent though there are issues. Hopefully this will be fixed before the release, though I doubt it. The full game will have access to online fighting, a story mode, a S.T.A.R. Labs mini-game-type mode, single fights, training, and additional settings for controls and gameplay. I wasn’t jumping on the edge of my seat for the game but I’m still tentatively interested in getting it. For any of my friends reading this… well… it does come out a week before my birthday… And… you know… if nothing else, the swag that comes with Collector’s Edition looks pretty sweet…




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Crystal Steltenpohl

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