Written by KitchenGorilla; PSHG Team Writer
Truth, justice, and the American way – the three virtues that sum up one of the greatest heroes of comic books. Since 1938, the ‘man of steel’ has withstood the test of time, entertaining young and old with his adventures. Alongside greats like Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash, he has kept the world safe from alien tyrants, evil geniuses, and crazed clowns. Yet, what happens when the world’s greatest hero is pushed over the edge? When all he cares about is left in ruin and he takes a life? You get what might just be the greatest fighting game of all time.
The storyline is very similar to ‘Destiny’s Hand’ from the comics and ‘A Better World’ from the Justice League cartoon. In another dimension from the main DC universe, things take a turn for the worse. With the destruction of Metropolis and the death of Louis Lane (who was carrying Superman’s unborn child) thanks to the Joker, Superman snaps and kills him. Feeling the people of the world can no longer govern themselves, he forms ‘The One Earth Government.’ The world becomes a place where freedom is traded for order. Heroes and villains join the Regime or face death, leaving a handful to go underground to form the Insurgency, led by Batman. The heroes of the main universe are pulled into the conflict in hope of stopping the Regime.
Fighters are separated into two groups ‘gadget’ and ‘power.’ Gadget fighters are fast, agile, and like the name implies use gadgets ranging from batarangs to firearms to magic to things that go boom. Power fighters are slower, hit like a freight train, and rely on super strength and the like. Prime examples of gadget fighters are Batman and Joker. Examples of power fighters are Superman and Lex Luthor. I myself favor the power group, since its brute force style fits me to a tee and it’s good plain fun to smash someone with a car. That isn’t to say that it isn’t fun to jump off said car while strapping a bomb to it and making the big guys eat crow.
Aside from their normal attacks and special moves, every fighter has a power which varies from fighter to fighter, such as Superman gaining a massive power boost that by-passes armor and Doomsday’s armor increasing to the point that he becomes almost unstoppable. The powers are interesting, but pale in comparison to ‘Super Moves.’ Very similar to the ‘X-Ray Moves’ from Mortal Kombat 2011 (which was also developed by NetherRealm Studios), but lacking in gore and are just purely epic. These moves can end a round quickly by launching someone into orbit or breaking their back like a twig. A wager system called ‘Clash’ is introduced in the game, where you bet so much of your Super Meter to either deal massive damage or recover a portion of your health.
The visuals of this game are just amazing and seem to have jumped right out of a comic book. Gotham City is dark, dirty, and signs of rebellion cover the sides of buildings with graffiti tributes to The Joker. Metropolis, on the other hand, is clean and bright but well under the Regime’s heel with a giant statue of Superman dominating the background and Regime vehicles in the foreground. The backgrounds are full of life, with members of different Lantern Corps battling in the sky around the Daily Planet and sea life swimming outside the throne room of Atlantis. You could spend days trying to find all the nods to DC comics, films, and cartoons in this game. Most of the stages are multi-leveled and contain transitions that damage fighters, such as kicking your opponent through a door in Arkham Asylum, which leads to him or her getting a beating by three of Batman’s Rouges Gallery before entering into the new area. Each stage has its own hazards, that can be used by either fighter to their advantage, be it a dumpster that can be thrown in Gotham City or pushing a button to ignite the engine of a ship on the Watch Tower.
Over the past few years, my love of fighting games has dwindled to the point of giving up on the genre all together. Let’s face it, Marvel VS Capcom 3 didn’t live up to anywhere near the hype. Street Fighter 4 was good, but once you beat it with your favorite character(s), you were done with it. Mortal Kombat VS DC left me with mixed feelings (Rest in peace Midway). The reboot of Mortal Kombat had a great story mode and playing as Kratos was awesome, however, once the shock value was over, it was like Street Fighter 4 – beat the game with my favorites and then not play it again. I played other fighting games of course, but it was more of the same. Injustice has lit the spark back into my soul and gotten me to put the gloves back on for a few more rounds.
A good, solid game with great characters, breathtaking backgrounds, a great story (they even explain how Green Arrow can go toe-to-toe with Superman), numerous fight options, clever mini-games, and DLC on the way. Another thing that makes this a true gem, is its all-star voice cast, with greats like Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Jennifer Hale, Phil LaMarr, and many more. Anyone who is an animation fan, will want the game just for them. Injustice is by far the best fighting game I have played in years and holds the number one spot of all time so far in my book. So grab your cape, polish your crowbar, charge your power ring, load your guns, ready your magic, and join the fight of a lifetime. I’ll be waiting for you with a healthy dose of Venom…and I will break you!
“When I saw what a black, awful joke the world was, I went crazy as a coot! I admit it! Why can’t you? I mean, you’re not unintelligent! You must see the reality of the situation. Do you know how many times we’ve come close to world war three over a flock of geese on a computer screen? Do you know what triggered the last world war? An argument over how many telegraph poles Germany owed its war debt creditors! Telegraph poles! Ha ha ha ha HA! It’s all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for… it’s all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can’t you see the funny side? Why aren’t you laughing?”
The Joker – The Killing Joke