Friday, 30 November 2012

Preview: Injustice: Gods Among Us (360, PS3, Wii U)


The intellectual property of Marvel Comics has seen strong representation in the fighting game arena for many years, particularly with the Marvel vs. Capcom series. It has only been in relatively recent years that rival DC Comics has explored the genre.

Departing from the generally well-received Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe -- a weird pairing if ever there was one -- developer NetherRealm Studios shakes free of Mortal Kombat and has grabbed onto DC Comic characters Batman, Superman, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Solomon Grundy, Deathstroke, Green Arrow and more, in an otherworldly slog fest "where the line between good and evil has been blurred."

It's not the most earth-shaking setup to be sure, but when titans like these knock heads, I'm not sure anyone will care.

And it's a fighting game. You don't care. You just want to see Batman fight the Flash! And watch Solomon Grundy get punched through a building!

Anyway, "shakes free" might be a bit of an overstatement because I'm sure many of the lessons learned by NetherRealm's previous game, the successful Mortal Kombat reboot from 2011, will be put into full use here. I just wouldn't expect to see many -- okay, any -- of MK's trademark blood and gore-filled Fatalities. My guess is that the MK Fatalities are somewhat replaced by "power" moves.

In the announcement trailer there's plenty of insane punches -- like Superman punching Flash into outer space -- which makes sense in the larger "super heroes gone bad" context. Whether these kinds of moves are executed by building up a power meter or are simply transition routes to different fighting arenas, is a bit of a mystery at this point. They do look pretty awesome though!

Judging from the game clips and screens of Injustice: Gods Among Us has offered so far, I'd expect something a little more light-hearted and suitable to a splatterless "T" (for Teen) rating than an "M" (for Mature), which is actually just fine considering the broader audience a "T" brings with it.

Launching sometime in April 2013 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii U, I'll be interested to see how the three versions vary. With the touchscreen possibilities of the Wii U, I wonder if NetherRealm will offer "simple attack" buttons so that even the most complicated moves can be accessible to new players by simply hitting a "special combo" button on the screen. Street Fighter IV 3D and Dead or Alive did it on 3DS, so why not here? Time will tell.

- Aaron Simmer