gamescom 2012: Injustice: Gods Among Us Preview
NetherRelm, ex Midway staff and the genius’ behind the recent rebirth of Mortal Kombat have been busy behind the scenes creating their latest fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Now, this may sound like some cheap, bland medieval hack and slash title but what the name actually relates is the hyper powered superheroes of the DC universe. Taking the very core aspects of Mortal Kombat whilst injecting the cinematic DC feel and character specific locations, NetherRelm are aiming to create something brand new yet easily accessible to potential new fans of the fighting genre.
Poor name aside (we’ll get back to that later) Injustice: Gods Among Us will contain a cast of some of your favourite DC heroes, each with their own unique skill set. Confirmed thus far is Batman, Nightwing, Catwoman, Cyborg, Flash, Harley Quinn, Superman, Solomon Grundy and Wonder Woman. A cheeky count up at the preview event I attended revealed a further fifteen empty character tiles. Each hero has been divided into two prime sides of ‘power’ – for people such as Superman and Solomon Grundy, or ‘gadget’- for the less super powered Batman and Harley Quinn.
Each hero’s weapons and fighting style are enormously distinctive to their own characteristics; Superman hovers slightly above ground at all time, the Flash is low damage but incredibly fast, Wonder Woman can switch between her sword and shield to her truth whip and Nightwing can combine his batons into an electrically charged fighting stick. In NetherRelm’s attempt to create a more superhuman feel, each hero also has access to a unique super move. To unleash this amazing ability all you have to do is fill a combat meter throughout a match and then tap the shoulder buttons. This will then start a short cinematic cut-scene followed by a huge attack. With the small amount of characters on display and without spoiling things too much these are massively satisfying to watch and pull off, in a way that only watching The Flash run around the planet a few times just to punch someone in the face can achieve.
Depending on the style of character you play as they will interact with the environment differently; see a car in the background of a city? Press LB and Nightwing will jump off the back of it into a better vantage point. Superman however will simply pick the car up and launch it at his opponent in the face. In an attempt to move away from Mortal Kombat’s universe and give the game more of a cinematic feel, NetherRelm studios have taken out fatalities and instead of opting for multiple rounds they have implemented a singular, large life bar.
Accessible objects within an environment are not the only thing to take an onus within the game – the stages themselves contain two to three different arenas. To access these sites you simply pull back on the thumbstick away from your enemy and press punch, which unleashes a powerful attack similar to Mortal Kombat’s upper cut and will knock your opponent into the air/sky/wall opening the new zone. Each area then has their own multiple unique intractable items, ranging from throwable grenades and exposed electric wires to pressing a big red button that sets off the Batmobile’s heat seeking missiles. Obviously with this level of destruction there will be effects on the environment and as more carnage happens the stage will slowly crumble and fall apart.
I will be honest and say I haven’t enjoyed a fighting game in a long time, but genuinely had fun with Injustice. Before, I couldn’t help feeling the name was a bad choice as it builds no reference toward the title’s key selling point. When I questioned this in my playthrough I was met with silence and a bit of a “we can’t tell you” dodge response. Read into that as much as you want but it still doesn’t negate the fact that this early build of a fighting game comes from good breeding and a great idea, thus I am suitably excited.