Injustice provides a complex fighter with some unique twists, but is found wanting in features that have become commonplace in its contemporaries.

The Good

  • Brutal presentation makes you feel powerful
  • New mechanics build upon Mortal Kombat’s foundation in creative ways
  • STAR Labs missions are a fun distraction.

The Bad

  • Minimal educational tools
  • Disappointingly dull story
  • Lacks replay support.

When it comes to superheroes-turned-street fighters, DC Comics’ stable of superfriends have always received the short end of the stick. While Marvel enjoys the steady success of Capcom’s legendary Vs. series, the likes of Justice League Task Force and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe have not done DC any favors. Injustice: Gods Among Us, the latest fighter from the house of Mortal Kombat, aims to break this combo with a fighting system that builds upon the lessons of MK, while also introducing a few new tricks. But for all its complexities, Injustice unfortunately falls short when compared to its contemporaries.

The best part of any fight is watching the characters gloat in their opponents’ faces.

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If you are familiar with Mortal Kombat, you will feel right at home in Injustice. Character movement has that same deliberate, staccato style that’s distinct from the fighting genre’s Japanese-developed counterparts. That style feeds into the satisfying weight and brutality of each attack, whether it’s Bane breaking you over his knee or Hawkgirl taking her mace to your face. Controlling these characters feels powerful, and the destruction you bring upon your opponent and the environment add excitement to each fight.

While MK and Injustice have a similar feel, their underlying mechanics are very different. Injustice has three attack buttons and a special trait button. Whether it’s flight, healing, or a simple strength boost, these traits are unique to each fighter and play into their particular abilities and histories. The distinctions are clearly apparent, and don’t just boil down to slightly altered punches and kicks.

Clashes are another interesting mechanic. When activated, they instantly interrupt a combo, and then both players secretly spend an amount of their super meter. If the fighter who initiated the clash spends more, he regains health proportional to the amount spent; otherwise, he takes damage proportional to what his opponent spent. Clashes can be used only once per round, per character, and only if the initiator is down to his second health bar. The threat of a clash adds an interesting dynamic to the back half of a fight. It forces you to constantly reevaluate how much meter to save and spend based on what your opponent has stored.

Injustice does not have rounds. Instead, you have two health bars, and when they run out the match is over.

Injustice does not have rounds. Instead, you have two health bars, and when they run out the match is over.

While clashes are only a two-time threat, Injustice’s interactive backgrounds are a constant hazard. Peppered throughout each stage are items–a missile here, a motorcycle there–for characters to use. Different characters use these items in different ways. Some use these objects as weapons to be smashed over an opponent’s head, while others use them as springboards to quickly navigate the arena. These items are a fun way to augment your fighter’s arsenal and take stage awareness to a new extreme. Knowing that a combo could put your opponent near a deadly item might make you think twice before launching your assault.

It’s too bad that so many characters simply destroy these background objects. A stone tablet that Batman can spring off of to reach the other side of the screen, Superman just smashes. Superman–along with the game’s other heavyweights–smashes almost everything he touches. In some stages, it is too easy to smash all of the interactive objects early on simply to deny your opponent their functions. This is especially troublesome for characters with limited mobility options who need these items to compensate for their shortcomings.

Injustice provides a complex fighter with some unique twists, but is found wanting in features that have become commonplace in its contemporaries.

By Maxwell McGee