Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pocket Review - Injustice: Gods Among Us

After the success of the ninth Mortal Kombat game, NetherRealm was given the task of crafting a new fighting game staring characters from the DC universe. The 2D fighting game that came from this venture is Injustice: Gods Among Us, an alternate dimension adventure in which Superman's now the bad guy. The PlayStation Vita version of Injustice: Gods Among Us was released as part of the Ultimate Edition which came out over six months after the initial release and includes all the downloadable content and characters. This is great, because this means there are a ton of characters to choose from in the game's arcade and online modes. One thing Injustice is not lacking in is variety, from characters to gameplay modes, NetherRealm has packed this game full.

The story segments are a highlight of Injustice's single-player modes. Like Mortal Kombat before it, the campaign will take players through multiple chapters each staring a different character. During these chapters, players alternate between cutscenes and battling foes. The story mode is great because it gives players a taste of each character and without having to play through every character individually just to get a piece of the story like fighting games of old. The only problem with this is the source material. If players are not familiar with the world of DC, Injustice does little to introduce the characters and their backgrounds during the campaign itself, which leaves the story mode feeling a little weaker than Mortal Kombat, where less prior knowledge was required.

Outside of the story mode, there are plenty of other options for fighting. There is the standard arcade mode where players can fight other AI-controlled opponents, the S.T.A.R. Labs missions where players attempt to perform specific tasks during a fight, and also the online mode where players battle against other human-controlled characters. Online play is impressively fast and stable, but it suffers from the same problem that plagues many other multiplayer modes where it can be hard to find a match if you aren't playing at the right time. Fighting games really should work on a passive or asynchronous method for pairing players up for online play.

Injustice is a solid fit on the Vita, but it doesn't feel as polished as Mortal Kombat. The combat is smooth and responsive, but the move sets just don't feel as natural. This could likely be just adjusting to a new fighting game, but other recent fighters have felt easier to adapt to. Battles animate well on the small screen, though characters are rather small and lacking in detail. And in the story mode, cutscenes look low res and the framerate is very inconsistent. The entire package just doesn't feel as well put together as it could be.

At the end of the day I enjoyed my time with Injustice, having picked it up at a discount, but I don't see myself playing it as much as I did Mortal Kombat. In fact, I found myself wanting to reinstall MK as soon as I finished the story mode. It's fun, but without having a strong attachment to DC, it's easy to put out of your mind when you finish the main campaign.

Recommended? Yes, especially if you can find it on sale. Lots of replay outside of the story mode.
Enjoyed By? Anyone who enjoys a story-focused fighting game or who loves the DC universe should enjoy this.

This game was played on Vita via a PSN purchase by the author.

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