Superhero slugfest


  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Heroes and villains battle for supremacy in a world gone terribly wrong.

Have you ever wondered who will win in a fight between Batman and Superman? Injustice: Gods Among Us lets you find out for yourself.

Veteran fighting game developer, NetherRealm, which successfully rebooted the Mortal Kombat series in 2011, takes the reign for this mega bash.

Unlike most fighting games, Injustice has a coherent story that’s over the top, something fans of the comics and cartoons will appreciate very much. Heroes and villains from the DC world have been sucked into an alternate dimension ruled by an evil Superman.

The amazingly detailed story even explains why mere mortals such as the Green Arrow or Joker can take on Superman.

As we don’t want to spoil anything for you, we’ll just say that we enjoyed the single-player campaign which lasted five to six hours. We just didn’t like some of the cutscenes which had low resolution textures spoiling large scale battles.

Big brawler

Crafting a balanced fighting system is not easy especially if the characters are from the DC universe as some of them are overpowered. But NetherRealm succeeds and has even made it accessible to gamers who are not hardcore fighting fans.

There is a sizable roster with 24 characters, all of whom are unlocked from the start.

Notable characters include favourites like Superman, Batman, Joker, Green Arrow, Flash and Bane.

Injustice’s fighting engine is based on an improved version of the latest Mortal Kombat game’s and introduces a few fresh mechanics.

Gone are the round-based bouts where you have to win two out of three matches. Instead each player is given two health bars and to win you must deplete both of the opponent’s bars.

This makes each fight last longer and gives players more room to plan and execute their attacks.

Injustice does a pretty good job of recreating battles from the comics where heroes and villains can pummel each other with reckless abandon.

Each hero and villain has distinct moves and unique powers that give him or her an edge in the battlefield.

Superman, for example, can boost his attacks temporarily while Wonder Woman can switch between using her lasso and sword to execute different moves.

As this is a teen-rated game don’t expect to see gory fatalities like the ones made famous by the Mortal Kombat games. But you can still unleash ridiculously powerful attacks to finish off your opponent.

Our favourite is Aquaman’s super attack, as he can summon tidal waves to unleash sharks and impale his foe on a trident.

Naturally, the arenas for the battles are iconic locations like the Batcave, Hall of Justice and the Justice League’s Watchtower.

And the colourful locations are not just for show, as objects in the background such as statues, cars or bombs can be hurled at your opponent for significant damage.

Locked and loaded

Once you are done saving the world in the campaign, there’s still tons of other things to do. There is, of course, the online and local multiplayer mode which should test your skill to the max.

If that isn’t your thing then you can hit the Star Labs missions which is something like Mortal Kombat’s Challenge Tower. It offers character-specific missions that range from battles with NPCs (non-player characters) to minigames.

Those that don’t really care for the story can just jump into Battle mode where the game will assign random opponents. To spice things up, you can set your own conditions like battling two opponents.

There are also lots of secrets to unlock such as artwork, music and alternate costume for each character.

However, some content like certain alternate costumes are pre-order bonuses and cannot be unlocked which is an injustice to the rest.

NetherRealm said the game is getting additional DLC (downladable content) characters and the first one has already arrived — Lobo the intergalactic bounty hunter.

End game

We are happy to report that Injustice is not another clone of Mortal Kombat.

The core combat mechanics have been tweaked just enough to make it one of the best brawlers featuring super heroes and villains but without making it too difficult for newcomers.

The campaign should appeal to those who want an exciting story while the online mode should keep fighting game fans busy for many months.

Plus, there’s also unlockable content and more are on the way in the form of DLCs.

Pros: Accessible to beginners; large roster of characters, each with unique powers; lots of extra content.

Cons: Some cutscenes look ugly due to poor textures; certain alternate costumes cannot be unlocked unless the game was pre-ordered.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

(NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment)

Fighting game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U

Price: RM139 for digital download on PlayStation Store; US$59.90 (RM185) for physical copy

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong, asia.playstation.com

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