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Gaming review: Injustice: Gods Among Us

Last updated on: May 3, 2013 14:30 IST

Gaming review: Injustice: Gods Among Us

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Murali Venukumar

Injustice: Gods Among Us may do a lot of things well, but easing fighting game newbies into its oceans of moves, counters and specials isn't one of them, says Murali Venukumar

Murali is a full-time marketing exec, part-time writer and a life-long gamer.


Platforms: Xbox 360 / PS3

Price: Xbox 360/PS3: Rs. 2499

Developer: NetherRealm Studios

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Distributor: E-xpress Interactive

Genre: Fighting

Age Rating: 16+

Score: 8/10

The sparse tutorial doesn't do anything radically different to make riding the steep difficulty curve any easier. You'll instead have to go through the now two-decade old fighting game drill of picking and mastering a character by sheer force of will. Granted, the game can be made to display a move list on screen, but that's about it as far as concessions go.

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Photographs: NeatherRealm Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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Injustice also manages to feel a lot like Mortal Kombat -- developer NeatherRealms' core blockbuster fighting franchise. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, mind you. There's a fairly large audience that enjoys the chunky, methodical feel of a Mortal Kombat as opposed to the silky smooth mayhem of a Street Fighter. You have three attack buttons of varying intensity and a character specific ability button, with the rest of the controller chipping in for modifiers, specials and environmental attacks.

Replacing Mortal Kombat's combo-breakers is a clash system that lets each fighter wager a part of their special meter when activated. You'll earn health if your opponent wagered less than you did, and you'll also get a really nice animation to go with it. Also of note is how interactive the arenas are. Each arena has different levels that you can transition to (again with really nice animation bookends), and a number of objects strewn about that you can either interact with or just toss at your enemy depending on the strength of your character. While this works most times, there are occasions when brute force characters exhaust objects quickly leaving nothing interactive left on stage for the rest of the fight.

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Photographs: NeatherRealm Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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Gaming review: Injustice: Gods Among Us

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Injustice: Gods Among Us' hook is clearly in its story mode. It'll last you a good four hours and tells a nicely voiced and directed story that manages to feature every DC superhero (or villain) on the roster in one way or the other. It may be cheesy, but there's something to be said about reveling in acreage of DC lore. It isn't a bad way for a comic book fan to spend his or her time. You'll swap between characters in the story, which involves Joker conning Supes into obliterating everything that meant anything to him. The plot spirals from there with all manners of parallel universe hopping shenanigans.

The story also retains the absolutely cool seamless transitions between cutscenes and fights that also featured in the last Mortal Kombat game. The game as a whole looks, animates and flows as brilliant as ever, with the only hiccup being that the engine looks to have some issues coping with visual quality when it isn't in its native 2D fighting view. Textures and models especially look simplistic in cutscenes whereas the in-game havoc-fuelled graphics are rich, colourful and chock full of detail.

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Photographs: NeatherRealm Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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Complimenting the story mode are 240 S.T.A.R. Labs missions that group together some of the mini-games that you encounter during the single player campaign with a fresh set of mini-games and assorted fights that task you with achieving random challenges and goals.

You earn XP for everything you do in Injustice, and the game also lets you customise your own Hero Card which acts as a unique profile identifier. A variation of the Mortal Kombat Krypt also lets you unlock some nice bonuses -- backgrounds, music, concept art, and the like.

There's also a Battle mode, a ladder tournament of sorts, which also nets you an 'ending' for each character. There are 24 ladders in all, so you won't be short of content.

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Photographs: NeatherRealm Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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Throw in a robust (but standard) online suite, and Injustice ticks all the right fighting game boxes. And while it plays well enough and is packed to the rafters with content, including a sizable single player campaign, a bit of innovation would still have not gone amiss.

We've played this sort of game before, as have we seen variations of stage transitions and interactive environments as well. NetherRealm Studios are capable of innovation. Here's hoping their next game doesn't play as safe as this one does. The genre (and the industry as a whole) could do with some risk taking.

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Photographs: NeatherRealm Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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