After their blowout success with the reboot of Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios stunned the ever-growing fanbase by announcing a deviation from the franchise. For the first time, the MK team was working on a title that had nothing to do with MK. When the curtain rose on the project, it was none other than Injustice: Gods Among Us and the MK Kommunity had mixed reactions. Many assumed it would be a watered down Mortal Kombat much in the vein of MK vs DC Universe from 2008, some even going as far as to called it just the DC part of that game as a whole. The trailers were intense, the gameplay looked brutal and the story seemed well thought out, but the reservation of the internet held strong.
NetherRealm made an appearance at PAX East 2013, hidden within the Twitch TV booth. Though there were no plans for them to be there, they set up a deal a mere two weeks before the show to introduce an exclusive demo. With eighteen playable characters and builds for every mode announced, the game had a consistently packed line wrapping around the display throughout the entirety of the weekend. Players were introduced to new mechanics that had only been seen in trailers and were shown more intuition in gameplay than initially expected.
An XP meter set in place to rank up and earn unlockables for your character and the game as a whole, a massive challenge area (S.T.A.R. Labs) where the team created hundreds of alternate missions to go wild on, a full length story mode explaining how the concept came to be in a full cinematic scale are only a few of the highlights shown that weekend. But it’s the core gameplay that really detailed how much the team has learned over the past twenty years in what makes a fighting game strong. While the additional modes add hours of gameplay and imaginative contribution, the one on one brawl is the main focus and has expanded a familiar engine and tweaked it to near perfection.
Each character feels different in a way that no past NetherRealm game has done before. Though each fighting style and moveset are unique, each character feels like they have an individual weight to them and strategy plays a big role when characters of focused athleticism, sabotage, ranged attack and brute strength are mixed together. The interactive environment (thankfully dumbed down to a single button press) really shows off this battle strategy mechanic most of all when a character of a certain personality deal with what is in front of them in a different way to suit all of the previously mentioned values.
While other things are taken from past NRS installments, they have also been given improvements and innovations so that they feel familiar yet new to this title. The super moves are back from MK vs DCU, but they are controller by the also returning EX Meter and rather than frustrating timed animations, have be condensed to holding the right trigger. The Ex meter itself has been upgraded as well. While as far as special and super moves go it is what’s to be expected, there is a wagering system in place to shake things up. A fighter may choose to challenger their opponent and wager how much meter they would like to put into that collision, whoever ends up putting in the most may get a damage increase or some health returned. This leads to a lot of tense moments as you are worried about holding onto your meter in case of a collision, or using it for a super move to take down your opponent. A new and much needed outlook on the system.
While the game won’t be in stores until April 16, if this demo proves true, the final product should end up being a blast. With its recognizable yet innovative system, brutally violent level transitions and bucket loads of extras in the forms of modes and unlockables, Injustice: Gods Among Us will leave both comic and fighting game fans happy and there is no doubt find its way into EVO this year.
For more details, check out the interview below:
For a little NetherRealm and Mortal Kombat history, check out Random Assault’s Mortal Kombat podcast with special guest Total Mortal Kombat
[Written by contributor Alex Cabral]