With Joker having set off a nuclear bomb destroying Metropolis, Superman finds himself drowning in despair. Knowing that among the million or so dead in the wreckage of the blast are his wife and son. In his grief he kills The Joker. Superman decides to lead a new world order with several other “heroes” joining him. He uses his power to oppress rather than protect. He becomes a villain. Luckily, Batman — as usual — has a plan to clean up the mess.
Summoning heroes from another dimension. While at this point introducing alternate dimensions in a game is sort of cliche, Injustice does it pretty well, and the gameplay in its story is more interesting because of it. Rather than being restricted to well-known villain vs well-know hero, there are some good versions of heroes, as well as bad ones. Same goes for the villains.
From character movement to level design, Injustice reeks of influence from Mortal Kombat, luckily, the odor of Mortal Kombat is quite pleasant. Characters don’t feel quite as stiff as they did in MK9, and it feels more precise than any Mortal Kombat before it; i.e. punches visually look like they hit rather than appear several inches away from their supposed point of impact.
Much to some fan’s chagrin, Injustice does not feature Mortal Kombat’s notorious Fatalities. While the absence of these gruesome finishers is a disappointment, “X-ray” moves make a return in the form of Super Moves, special cinematic that can be preformed when a player’s “Super Meter” is full. While players don’t witness via x-ray the bone-crushing result of each deadly blow, Super Moves are pretty hilariously over the top. An example of one would be Superman uppercut-ing his foe into space and then hitting him back down to the ground below.
Similarly over the top are the game’s transition moves. One side of most levels has a wall that can be broken through. By preforming a particular move, players can knock their opponents into the wall as the camera follows them in their painful journey to another (usually) brand new stage. Whenever I pull one of these moves off — or even when someone manages to pull one off on me — I can’t help but burst out laughing. With each stage having at least one unique transition, players will have plenty of fun trying to find them all.
Another new mechanic is the game’s wager system, at a certain point in a match, players can initiate a wager in which they bet a certain amount of their “Super Meter” juice. Whoever bets more wins and gets a small boost in health. While it’s aggravating that in story mode your foes will usually initiate this before you’re able to subdue them, I can see the wager system’s usefulness in very close competitive matches.
While Injustice’s core gameplay is a lot of fun, the game throws a few curve-balls — specifically in story mode — that it could do without. Between fights there is always a cutscene, and occasionally the game will throw little minigames at you. Most of these minigames consist of pressing a particular button at a certain time or preforming the same combo a few times in a row. I would much rather see what’s on screen in a cutscene rather than have to preform the same button presses every few seconds and see an enemy make the same knock-back motion several times in a row. Especially right after a particularly intense battle.
While the minigames do break up the story mode in an irritating way, they are all perfectly welcome in the game’s S.T.A.R. Labs. The S.T.A.R. labs are Injustice’s version of MK9’s Challenge Tower. This gives players access to over 200 missions ranging from regular fights, to playing Shazam in a bullet-hell-like side-scroller.
In addition to that is the game’s Battle Mode which is a more arcade-style mode in which each character has a unique story ending. These endings are sort of reminiscent of Twisted Metal: Black’s endings, only not quite as dark.
Injustice is the complete NetherRealm package. With its great mechanics, legitimately good story and a wealth of content, whether you’re a comic book fan or fighting game fanatic; missing out on this game would be pure injustice.