Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Injustice: Gods Among Us Review (Or At Least Most of It)

I done goofed.

I knew since I promised you guys I'd write a review of Injustice: Gods Among Us that it'd be a little late coming out of the gate. Maybe Thursday or Friday instead of the regular Wednesday. But instead, I go to college, where we have work to do. Between a paper and a speech on said paper (which went awesome, thanks for asking), I didn't get a whole lot of time to play around with Injustice at the time of its release last Tuesday. I felt compelled to wait until I experimented with all it had to offer before I gave my opinion on it; in the meantime, I, you know, went to school. Juggling activities is hard, and to quote the philosopher Swanson,

After a week of nothing, I figured I'd give you guys my opinion on what I have experienced, which, to give me some credit, is most of the game. And I have to say, it's pretty friggin' awesome.

Injustice's main draw is its story campaign. I'd have to describe the story as the best episode of Justice League: The Animated Series you've ever seen. And I have to assume the writers had that in mind. There's everything from the team dynamic of the League, clever writing, and a terrific voice cast ripped straight from the cartoon. The only misstep here is Phil LaMarr as Aquaman. The guy's one of the most talented actors in the business, but the voice of "Literally every black guy ever" doesn't quite mesh as the King of Atlantis.

Like this, but more in line with a pissed-off Hermes Conrad.

For all of you wondering why Green Arrow and Harley Quinn would team up to take down Wonder Woman, I can assure you it works here. Anyone familiar with DC's use of alternate Earths will feel right at home, and newcomers can get caught up with a bit of suspended disbelief. And don't worry about finding the tie-in comics to get caught up. They do a good job of exposing how ridiculous the story is when they look at each individual development, so I'd recommend you just piece together the game's allusions to the backstory. As for the reason Bats can take down Superman? Drugs. Listen up, kids. Your favorite heroes take HGH.

Injustice features an impressive 24 fighters for you to try out. They all add a nice sense of variety to a game that could've simply had the major players and called it a day. Admittedly, there are some major balance issues among the fighters. Nothing is in place to discourage move spamming, so you could potentially rise to dominance by using Deathstroke's guns the entire time. A few of the characters seem a little overpowered as well. Solomon Grundy has several moves that can't be blocked or cut off by other attacks; and if you play a friend who uses Doomsday, they probably won't be your friend after. As long as you and your friends share the same sense of exploration when trying out the fighters, you shouldn't have any frustrations with cheap strategies.

The gameplay is also mostly amazing. Controls can be customized in every way, from button layouts to control stick usage - feel free to stick with the directional inputs of Mortal Kombat, or switch to the quarter-circle turns of Street Fighter. Most of the characters feel very responsive, allowing long combos and juggles that feel awesome pulling off. Stage transitions and interactive environments offer something fresh not found in other fighters, and each character's special move is absurdly cool. Hey, remember that "mostly" earlier in the paragraph? A few of the characters such as Bane and Killer Frost have seemingly no melee range, forcing you to get up close and risk being launched into a ground-and-pound. Furthermore, Injustice is difficult. Like swearing-and-throwing-things difficult. Luckily, the difficulty lowers slightly after a couple straight losses, but I don't think I should need to throw matches just to get past a round in the "Battles" mode.

Speaking of modes, Injustice: Gods Among Us has a metric buttload of them. My international readers can tell you that a metric buttload is about 1.3 times that of a standard buttload. There's the story, the arcade-like "Battles," the weird-if-it-wasn't-there versus mode, and the somewhat confusing S.T.A.R. Labs missions. Several missions offer a new level of challenge to normal fights, such as dodging falling debris or keeping an opposing Superman out of the sunlight so he can't heal. Others feel out of place and not much more than mini-games. Others still are just downright frustrating. Try to avoid getting hit for a full twenty seconds by a Joker who waits until the last five to pull out an unstoppable pistol. It''s freaking stupid. And I hate it. And Joker sucks. Sound frustrating?

Just looking at this picture is giving me an ulcer.
I had mentioned earlier that I would only discuss what I was able to play. By that, I mean to say that I was able to try out everything but the online multiplayer. But hey, if I wanted contact with new people, I'd go outside. I'll give you an addendum once I make my way to Xbox Live.

In closing, Injustice: Gods Among Us is well worth your time. Honestly, it can be stupidly frustrating at time, but for all I know it's a secret attempt at studying aggression in gamers. If you're a fan of fighters, comics, or simply nostalgia for the cartoons of your childhood, I really encourage you to give this one a try. If you do, make an effort to play "Under the Sea" while playing as Aquaman. I tried it the other night, it works great.

"What do they got, a lot of sand? We've got a hot crustacean band..."
Have any of you gotten around to playing yet? I really want to know what you guys think of it. Also, in the comments below, write your favorite Disney song/video game match-up. Mine is "Colors of the Wind" and Assassin's Creed 3.

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