The development team behind Injustice: Gods Among Us are no strangers to the fighting game genre or to the DC Universe cast of super heroes and villains. NetherRealm Studios, formerly known as Midway Chicago, is the studio behind the popular and successful Mortal Kombat series. They were also the studio behind the crossover title, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe and more recently, the 2011 re-boot Mortal Kombat. Following the success of those two titles, NetherRealm Studios decided to branch out and create a new fighting series specifically for the DC comics universe.
The story of Injustice starts off with the tragic destruction of the city of Metropolis and a grief stricken Superman that is pushed over the edge by the insane and maniacal Joker. Batman and the rest of the Justice League soon discover that this tragedy led to an alternate reality where an unknown Dictator took advantage of the tragedy to create a new world order. The Justice League are split up between both realities and must desperately uncover the mystery behind the alternate Earth so that they can prevent that same tragedy from occurring on their real Earth.
Much like the 2011 Mortal Kombat game, Injustice: Gods Among Us is more than a simple arcade fighter. NetherRealm Studios used the same cinematic narrative fighting formula that worked so well in the 2011 Mortal Kombat. Old school arcade fighters all suffered from the same problem of having a weak plot that tried to tie together the entire backstory of the game. NetherRealm found a way to successfully give arcade fighters an engaging plot while still maintaining the same old school arcade fighter feel that we all grew up loving.
The campaign portion of Injustice is carried out over ten chapters and is played through the point of view of several different heroes and villains. The story is played out through beautifully designed cut scenes and the interactions between the heroes and villains lead to the arcade style fights that play out the "battle" between them. The story itself is very well written and feels like a high quality story straight from the pages of the comic books. The overall graphics look amazing and the fighting mechanics feel very solid. Aside from standard attacks, each character also has special abilities specific to their gimmicks and can also fill up a power meter to unleash a devastating super combo attack. Players can also engage in wager battles known as the Clash system where each fighter gambles on the level of strength needed to win in a stand off against their opponents.
There is a large selection of Battle Arenas in the game to choose from including iconic locations within the DC universe like the Batcave, Fortress of Solitude, Metropolis, Gotham City, The Justice League Watch Tower and Wayne Manor. Each stage has specific environmental attacks that help inflict massive damage to enemy combatants. The background arenas are as beautifully designed as the characters themselves and feature many familiar non playable characters in the DC universe that make cameo appearances and in some cases even get involved in attacking players. Fans of the Batman Arkham series will even appreciate the extra Easter Eggs found in the Arkham Asylum arenas.
The game also features classic arcade style fighting options including Battle Mode, Versus Mode, King of the Hill and Survivor Mode. There is also a challenge mode known as S.T.A.R. Labs Mode which offers hundreds of different character specific challenges. Playing any of these modes, including the story campaign, builds up your overall XP and unlocks special bonus features including alternate costumes, icons and backgrounds for your player card, music and concept art. You can also unlock temporary bonus XP boosts for faster leveling up.
Overall, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fantastic game for fans of arcade fighters or any DC comics fans looking for an entertaining Justice League game. The many different gaming options offer many hours of engaging gameplay and comic book fans will appreciate all of the nods to the history of DC comics.