After a hands-on with Injustice: Gods Among Us, developed by Mortal Kombat’s NetherRealm Studios, I was surprised by what it delivered. This is not going to be a typical PG-13 superhero smackdown. It is a bloody sight messier and more brutal than I could have imagined.
Without divulging too much of the back story, though I highly recommend you download the official tie-in comic books to get the skinny, the well known faces of the DC universe’s marquee players are shown in an entirely different light in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Consider it an Elseworlds tale which translates into a “what if?” kind of deal. It takes characters you’re familiar with and puts them in radically different settings.
This gives developer NetherRealm Studios one hell of an artistic licence with the most notable and immediate difference the sight of blood in this well balanced beat ‘em up. That and watching certain squeaky clean characters get a little grimy as the line between good and evil doesn’t seem quite as neatly defined. Some cross the line and you’ll be more than a little shocked when you discover what NetherRealm Studios has in store, I know I sure was.
The combat (or should it be kombat?) feels fantastic and the developer has managed to find a satisfying sweet spot between the overpowered demi-gods and their far too human counterparts. Multiple arenas within battle grounds and a huge array of environmental attacks level the playing field.
These allow savvy players to exploit each level’s nuances to come out on top. Throw in the over the top finishing moves and large roster of playable heroes and villains NetherRealm Studios has provided all the right ingredients for a top notch brawler. But I found it was the little things that drew my attention, so here’s what I consider five undeniable reasons to get your spandex in a twist over Injustice: Gods Among Us.
1 – Superman isn’t a pantywaist
Let’s face it, the big blue boy scout has become a bit of a joke. All the powers in the world (super speed, bulletproof, x-ray vision, heat vision, icy breath) and he hardly ever uses them. I mean what’s the use of being nigh invulnerable with a slew of otherworldy abilities if you’re always worried about poncy things like collateral damage and human life? NetherRealm Studios has taken special interest in Supes, making him one of the primary focuses. His story arc is astounding in Injustice: Gods Among Us and his actions are sure to make your jaw drop.
2 – Kevin Conroy voices Batman
OK, this may be a bit of fanboyism coming through, so sue me. I’ve been a Batman fan for close to 35 years now. I’ve seen the character go through the campy Adam West phase, the schizophrenic Burton/Schumacher identity crisis flitting between Keaton, Kilmer and Clooney and the raspy Christian ‘I need a lozenge’ Bale version and none of them hold a candle to Kevin Conroy. He simply made the voice of both Batman and Bruce Wayne his own. With over a decade of voice over duties under his belt through both animated and video game properties he is the obvious and most recognisable choice.
3 – Aquaman doesn’t suck balls
Like the last kid left in the playground when you’re picking teams at lunchtime, Aquaman has always been a laughable first string superhero. If global warming continues he’ll be the top dog, but for now the character has never had all that much traction, even if you take into account the “New 52″ comic book reinvention of recent times. His identity in Injustice: Gods Among Us has vicious hand-to-hand capabilities through his wicked looking trident and can call in freaking sharks as back-up. Their laser capabilities have yet to be confirmed.
4 – Green Arrow is absolutely bad-arse
Oliver Queen, also known as Green Arrow, has gone through a resurgence of late. The Arrow TV series has brought the little known (outside comic circles) character into the limelight and both the TV show and Injustice: Gods Among Us seem to be adopting the same philosophy, namely to keep the crazy trick arrows to a minimum. Well that and bringing in a strong melee component. Green Arrow utilises his bow as a weapon beyond its Robin Hood capabilities. There’s a blade incorporated into the bow and it opens up a killer array of debilitating strikes. Deadly at range, even deadlier up close, he’s a wildcard and not to be underestimated.
5 – Original Bane not the shit ‘Nolan’ Bane
Remember when Bane was Batman’s most feared adversary? He was more than a match for the Big Bad Bat both mentally and physically. Then The Dark Knight Rises can out and he became a muffle-voiced parody inspiring not fear, but hilarity thanks to some inventive YouTube users. NetherRealm Studios is taking him back to his roots as the venom-swilling genetically enhanced super-serum addict we’ve all come to know and love. He also has a special move where he breaks his enemy’s back. Thank you for bringing him back NetherRealm.
On a hilariously unrelated note, here’s the brilliant Bane freestyle rap inspired by The Dark Knight Rises. Enjoy!