While patiently awaiting the release for the highly anticipated Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios was gracious enough to offer players a playable demo available now on the PSN store and XBL Marketplace. Going through the menus I noticed that Injustice will include a Story Mode, Battle(Arcade Mode),Practice Mode, and S.T.A.R Labs which after watching the in game preview montage seems to be similar to the challenge tower in Mortal Kombat(2011). The demo offers players a glimpse of Battle mode and pits them against the three playable characters included in the demo: Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor and ending with a fight against Doomsday. While players can select between these three they will notice that the character select screen has 21 block out sections meaning that the playable roster will add up to 24 characters total, 12 on the hero side and 12 on the villain side. Once in combat players will find that even if you’ve recently come from a long or frequent sessions of the recent Mortal Kombat game you won’t be able to just pop into Injustice glance at the special move list and button mash away as if your still playing the same game.
Injustice runs on the same albeit upgraded Unreal 3 engine used to power Mortal Kombat so players coming from Mortal Kombat will feel similarities but will have to go through a brief learning curve. Immediately as I started my first fight in Injustice I noticed that my character had a feel of more weight compared to characters in Mortal Kombat, but thankfully the combat is not slow in any way. The combat, once you get used to it, actually seems just as fast if not faster than Mortal Kombat thanks to there not being a simple round mechanic. Instead of depleting you opponents health down per round, each character has two health bars and when a character losses one bar, the game just immediately continues after a brief one second “cooldown”. Another change that I had to adjust to was that Injustice removes the block button in favor of using the opposite directional button common in other fighting games in order to play defense. The fighting mechanics haven’t been simplified or made overly complex so once players get used to the new additions and slight changes to the controls, they’ll feel right at home. More new additions include having a “power button” located on the “O” for PS3/”B” for 360 buttons to use a character specific trait instead of a traditional four button fighting style from recent NetherRealm Studios games. For example Batman deploys floating bats that can be used for either offense or defense while Wonder Woman can switch between a lasso fighting style to a sword and shield combo fighting style.
Including having dynamic changes such as knocking an opponent down or through a wall into a new area, the few stages that were included in the demo had environmental uses that allowed a player to manipulate the environment to their advantage such as a helicopter in the background of a rooftop stage that allows players to ricochet their opponent off of it for a little damage use or smashing a trashcan on their opponent. These little stage advantages don’t do a heavy amount of damage and have a safety net to keep people from abusing them such as the above mentioned helicopter use that forces players to wait a solid 2.5 seconds before being able to use it again. Visually the game is good looking and even features the same gradual damaged bodies from Mortal Kombat as a fight continues but definitely not to the grotesque “how is this person still standing” detail of Mortal Kombat. Since the demo didn’t have a controller setup up option, I wasn’t able to check out how the new Clash system worked myslef but thankfully the A.I activated it for me a few times.
The way the Clash works is that since Injustice still features a super meter for the previous Mortal Kombat, players can use one of the four face buttons(depending on how much is in your meter) to determine how much they wanted to use up and since they can’t see how much their opponent is going to use, this makes it one of if not only more strategic components of the combat in Injustice. While the combat is not bad in any way as stated earlier and maybe it was because I was facing off against A.I, but there didn’t seem to be as much need for impromptu strategy in Injustice’s combat compared to Mortal Kombat, but since this game is going to be focusing more of big comic book like grand scale action then that isn’t a bad thing in any way. My time with this little taste of Injustice left my wanting more than before, especially since the game is only two weeks away the wait is growing even harder. With the way NetherRealm surprised me with how much content Mortal Kombat had, the tight combat, and diverse character roster, Injustice: Gods Among Us could end up being the best fighting game of 2013, but we will have to wait for the game to come out to see for ourselves.