Video Game News, Reviews and Reflection! New Articles Released Randomly Every Week!
Tearing myself away from Candy Crush Saga has been difficult this week. It seems that once I’m awake, I can’t accumulate more than two lives before I’ve gone back to attempt three stars on every level. Being up to Level 33, and being stuck trying to three star Levels 28 and 31 has frustrated me. Fortunately my good friend Matt at work happened to be carrying around Injustice: Gods Among Us that day, and has kindly lent my poor self the game for two days. Sounds like a First Impressions to me!
Injustice: GAU was released in the U.S. on April 16th, 2013 and developed by NetherRealm Studios, the company responsible for the well-received 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, headed by Ed Boon, co-creater of the series. Mortal Kombat, for some of our younger readers, was and remains one of the most influencial and well known fighting games of all time. It was so popular, and so unbelievably violent, Congress included it in hearings on video game violence in the early nineties, leading to the founding of the ESRB (the guys that decide that rating on all the game boxes). Most of my inner circle of friends, myself included, were worried when we heard that NetherRealm was taking on DC’s comics again, considering how lukewarm the reception of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was. But the job of a professional reviewer is to be impartial, so today we’re going to pretend to be professional!
A classy and well chosen roster
A fighting game is nothing without a viable character roster, and this game delivers in spades. Mainstream favorites like Batman, Superman, Lex Luther, Joker and Harley Quinn make up the “Duh” section, others like Deathstroke, Catwoman, Nightwing and Cyborg fill out the rest, and stage cameos from Scarecrow, Atom and Darkseid keep you feeling like the DC Universe is well represented. Recently, Lobo became the first DLC character and Batgirl will follow shortly, but the possibilities are limitless. Imagine Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, or even the Wonder Twins (think Noob-Smoke) could make for interesting future characters.
Aquaman is a lot harder to make fun of after you see his Super Move
The gameplay is interesting, to be neutral. The Mortal Kombat fighting system is mostly intact, with new interactive environmental hazards, a super move button, and a simplified three-attack button system which is really a blessing for players who don’t have the time to learn a seventeen page move list. Each character also has a unique super move, anywhere from Superman punching you past the atmosphere and back down at mach speed, to Deathstroke using his many weapons to put on the hurt. Hit or miss with some of these, as some moves could have used a little more spectacle to them. Sadly, there are also no Fatalities, or even MK v. DC’s Heroic Brutalities. Though they might seem justifiably out of place in a non-MK game, I feel like it might have been sadly overlooked.
The opening Batman chapter is great… and yes, he did grab that sword with his hands…
With such a short time to play, which may be extended with some begging tomorrow, I touched on a few of the game modes. The story mode was the first destination, which is strongly influenced by the remade Mortal Kombat’s. In an alternate universe, the Joker manages to nuke Metropolis, makes Superman kill Lois Lane and Superman returns a favor by Kano-ing him off-camera. In the canon universe, the Justice League (my guess, but implied) is taking care of business and the Joker is preparing to set of this universe’s nuclear catastrophe, when all the nearby heroes and Joker are sent to the afore mentioned universe. The heroes find themselves under threat by this universe’s former heroes, led by an evil Superman and a much better armed and militant police force. More on that in a future review.
Yep, that’s a lot of Missions
S.T.A.R. Labs takes the place of the Challenge Tower of MK 2011, and includes non-voice acted storylines that are mildly entertaining. Each arc involves a single character and continues for about ten missions with three goals each to attain the maximum score and unlock more levels. Finally, Battle Mode is a traditional tournament ladder, with special match setups, like Villains Only, Poisoned which features a continually draining health bar, and Classic, which unlocks a character ending with its conclusion.
If petitions could grant wishes, I’d sign to get Mark Hamill back
As a last touch, I wanted to touch on the voice acting. Fans of the Justice League animated series are bound to be disappointed with only Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg and George Newbern returning to voice Batman, Catwoman and Superman respectively, but two of those were arguably the most important to get. Returning from another show also are Khary Payton and Tara Strong as Cyborg and Raven from the Teen Titans show on Cartoon Network. Firefly fans will be pleased as well to hear Adam Baldwin and Alan Tudyk reprising their roles from Young Justice as Green Lantern and Green Arrow. Most importantly, the absence of Mark Hamill as the Joker is depressing, as his incredible work with the character has linked the two together so thoroughly throughout the character’s numerous animated incarnations from Batman: The Animated Series to Arkham Asylum and City. Fans of the character know that no one will ever do the job as well, but we say try to put that aside. Veteran voice actor Richard Epcar has voiced numerous characters, like Raiden in MK 2011, Batou in most (if not all) of the Ghost in the Shell animes, and has even done the Joker before in MK v. DC Universe. With Mark Hamill officially retired from doing the Joker, it’s time to accept the next best voice actor in Epcar who does a very respectable job with the character. At least until Hamill comes back (he also said he wouldn’t do Luke Skywalker again, and he’s currently in talks for Episode VII). We shall see.
The epic battle will continue… once I get a longer borrow
That’s it for this overly long First Impressions. More to come if Matt will let me keep it a little longer…
What were your first impressions of Injustice: Gods Among Us? Let us know in the comment section below!