Five years ago, I was one of the few people who bought the game “Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe” for the PS3, a crossover fighting game between both franchises. Being an avid fighting game and comic book fan, it seemed the obvious choice to try and play it. Sadly, the game never lived up to it’s hype; after a couple of hours struggling with the poor game system, it ended up at the bottom of a heap of unwanted games.
Fast forward to today: NetherRealm Studios, the developers of the Mortal Kombat Series and a subsidiary of Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, who owns franchises for a plethora of DC Comics-related video games. I was lucky to get my hands on a copy of this at its launch and spend a week with it, so let this comic-fanboy slash gaming-fanatic ramble on a little bit about this gem of a fighter.
The Story Mode in this game is wonderful, great graphics and a compelling tale about an alternate DC Universe where Superman is a villainous dictator and Batman is the head of a group of insurgents opposing him; the cinematic narrative will keep you entertained for hours even if you don’t have any idea who these iconic characters are. It also gives you a good feel of the game system and a chance to try your hand at different characters at separate junctures of the story. I’d elaborate more on the trials you’ll have to endure, if they weren’t classified as spoilers.
Besides Story Mode, there’s also the traditional Versus Mode, Training Mode, and a Battle Mode that includes a string of battles with various goal objectives to test your strengths in this game. An interesting inclusion is the S.T.A.R. Labs “side quest”, which has 240 character-specific challenges of varying difficulty.
Entertainment value is mediocre at best, and you would probably only go through the whole slew of missions if you’re on the hunt for the platinum trophy. Of course what’s a console fighting game in this day and age without an Online Battle system, with a variety of battle types for you to choose from.
Private battles and rooms have decent connectivity, but try the Ranked Battles and you’ll see how abysmal the netcode of this game really is. It took me 5 minutes to connect to an opponent, and 8/10 of them were disconnected at the character select menu. Sound familiar Mortal Kombat players?
Unique new fighting system
As a fighting game, Injustice has a few interesting features that most other fighters don’t – opponents can be slammed through the side wall where a cut-scene sends them to another level of the stage (and also dealing damage to a third of their health). Different objects in all stages can also be “interacted” with, such as throwing them at your opponents or blowing them up in their faces, giving opportunities to numerous “unblockable” setups.
Inputs for special moves and combos are extremely lenient, making it easy for new players to pick this game up. You can choose between traditional inputs, where you have to do a full motion for certain moves such as quarter-circle forward, or simple inputs where down-forward gives you the same move. There’s also an option to turn off “release check” (more widely known as negative edge) which is sorely needed if you’re a serious fighting gamer; the negative edge for controls are so lenient that if you move around and try to poke your opponent with a normal move a special move might come out instead.
Though the combo inputs are lenient compared to other fighting games, they must be keyed in a quick string or you’ll find a few hits missing. Unlike Street Fighter IV there’s no “hit confirm” where you input a few linked normal moves to see if it connects before inputting the special move. And example would be for the simple bread and butter combo my current character (Green Lantern) has – his combo is Medium, Medium, Heavy, quarter-circle backwards Light. The full string must be inputted by the time you see the character execute the second Medium attack or the combo is sure to be dropped. Mashing at buttons won’t exactly help either, just one additional input of any button will cause the combo to fail completely.
Verdict: If you’re a comic book fan, Story Mode is a good enough reason to purchase this. As a fighting game, it has it’s minor flaws but nothing so drastic that you can’t get accustomed to. Whether in casual or competitive play, this is a game that’s sure to give you bang for your buck.
“SBK” has been active in the Street Fighter and KOF arcade scene for more than 20 years. He is one of the co-founders of the Round 1 Singapore fighting game forums and has organized numerous fighting game tournaments and events over the past few years.
*Video and image credits to Tough Cookie Gaming Cafe