Injustice: Gods Among Us Xbox 360 Review

Article first published as Xbox 360 Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us on Blogcritics.

201533bI have to be honest.  I wasn’t swayed by the heavy marketing campaign that the Los Angeles based publisher, Warner Bros. has been running for Injustice: Gods Among Us.  It isn’t that I’m not a fan of superheroes.  I’ve been a casual comic book reader and sometimes collector since the end of the Bronze Age of comics.  The real issue is that as a rule, I don’t believe fighting games are worth a full AAA game price.  They are too limited in scope and as an entertainment package are inferior to other genres.  The ironic thing is that Injustice is made for gamers like me.

The Mortal Kombat series has found a niche as the guilty pleasure of fighting games.  It has nowhere near the technical precision and balance of games like Blaz Blue or Capcom’s 2D offerings.  Developer NetherRealm seems satisfied with their audience and their model is really the perfect choice for creating fighting games for other IPs.  Recently at the L.A. Games Conference, a couple of panelists pleaded with a Warner Bros. executive to try to make a deal with Disney to merge the Marvel and DC universes.  You might remember that NetherRealm did merge DC Comics superheroes with their own Mortal Kombat characters a few years ago.

217090_440x350Where Injustice: Gods Among Us really stands apart is in the narrative for the single player campaign.  The story is pretty fantastical and one that you would expect from comic books before they went all dystopian.  That’s not to say the campaign is entirely consistent, there were a couple sequences that didn’t make a lot of sense, though trying to include so many playable characters is certainly a challenge.  Though the campaign was a little Batman heavy, there are 24 playable superheroes and villains out of the box with more characters to be offered as DLC.

There are certainly other fighting games that have tried providing a full campaign to their games.  Recent Naruto and Shin Megami entries have offered story modes that are nearly as ambitious, but their presentation style isn’t as appealing to western audiences.  As fun and lengthy as the campaign was to play through, I did wish there was more.  Injustice does offer the ability to choose a hero or villain and play through a short epilogue of sorts which is unique to each character.  Once you’re done with all of that, there are also S.T.A.R. Lab missions that offer unique gameplay challenges to unlock additional content.

191021_440x350The controls for Injustice are understandably a little different from Mortal Kombat’s to accommodate this super powered cast.  Unfortunately, this game has followed the trend of removing physical manuals.  There is a tutorial system, but only the basics are really covered.  The d-pad controls your character’s movement and the analog sticks are not used at all in this 2D fighting game.  The face buttons are mapped to a light, medium and heavy attack with the B button designated for character specific special attacks.  Pressing both bumpers will execute a character specific super move if the meter is charged.

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