A few years ago when Midway was always alive and the crisis of the videogame market just beginning, Ed Boon and his companions in the wake of the famous and appreciated Capcom crossovers, decided to give the world a title even more unlikely than those of the Japanese company. Let's talk about Mortal Kombat vs DC Comics, a fighting game that sees the gruesome characters of the Mortal Kombat series collide with those of the comics and have always been antagonists of the rival Marvel. This experiment, however, did not fully convince, definitely leaving a bad taste in the mouth of all those who have always dreamed of a beat'em up starring Batman, Supeman and company. Evidently Ed Boon was also not satisfied with his work and developing a new 2D fighting game, this time focusing only on the DC Comics license.
Version tested: Xbox 360
Another universe, other heroes
Injustice: Gods Among Us kicks off with the Justice League intent on foiling yet another plan of the Joker ready to detonate an atomic bomb placed in the center of Metropolis. Just as the clown is about to press the button, he, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow and Aquaman find themselves in another place, which looks like Metropolis, but much darker and more nefarious.
Our heroes will soon discover that they have ended up in a parallel world, where Superman, under the effect of Scarecrow's gas, killed his wife Lois and the baby she was carrying, detonating the same bomb that our heroes wanted to stop in the their reality. Shocked by his gestures, the man of Krypton killed the Joker (architect of the plan) and started a dictatorship of peace thanks to Wonder Woman, and the other heroes who have decided to collaborate instead of fighting the Man of 'Steel.
Only Batman, aided by some criminal, decided to resist the Kal-El dictatorship, but to implement his plan, the hooded crusader needed other heroes, for this our Batman, and the rest of the Leaugue, along with the crazy Jokers will find themselves willy-nilly to face this new challenge. The story mode of Injustice, following in the wake of the one proposed in the last chapter of Mortal Kombat, stages a series of fights divided by acts and that will make us experience the story from various points of view, coming to discover the reasons that led Superman to become a dictator. At the same time it will serve as a long tutorial to learn the controls and dynamics of the game, all of which can be completed within five hours that will allow you to have a general overview of almost the entire roster of fighters which as a whole has twenty-four appearances from the major DC newspapers. Comics.
Better alone than badly accompanied
Although the story is written in close collaboration with DC Comics, Injustice delivers to the player an unpublished story. This choice, more commercial than anything else, derives from the need to attract not only the die-hard fans of the various comic series but also those furthest away from the world of comics who know the various characters more for films or other videogame series. (see Batman Arkham City). Even at the level of the screenplay, while convincing on the level of development, it leaves one puzzled by the quality of the dialogues between the various characters, very bland and often too obvious and remotely comparable to the paper counterparts. After the long and all in all enjoyable story mode, the player opens up a wide range of game modes possibilities. If you decide to continue alone, Injustice offers some very interesting options to choose from: Battle, STAR Laboratories and the classic training. The choice of NetherRealm Studios was to focus on the single player (a choice already carried out with the MK series) offering two modes that will steal the player many hours of play before they can be completed and which will guarantee a high level challenge in case you decide to get 100%. STAR Laboratories is perhaps the richest in terms of content with its 240 missions to complete, requiring the player himself to observe a whole series of rules and challenges, to get the maximum evaluation. It will happen to use a character and have to resist for a few seconds avoiding being hit or dodging a rain of debris that will knock down on the stage. In the same way Battaglia, which replaces the classic Arcade, offers a series of fights in succession and we will be able to choose a whole series of rules and options to apply. You can choose to face only the heroes or villains, fight in certain health conditions or finish the game within a certain time limit. In addition to variegating the game experience at each of our completion we will unlock new content among the myriad of those proposed, whether they are sketches, character cards or new costumes to be used in multiplayer.
Even on the multiplayer side, NetherRealm Studios partially exploits the good things done with the previous Mortal Kombat by first of all improving the netcode of the game to ensure a cleaner match.
Here we will be able to face the classic 1Vs1 matches, classified or not, or decide to participate in the King of the Hill, a name certainly known to accustomed to online games but which here finds a whole other connotation. In re della Collina the challengers will compete in classic matches, in rooms for 7 players. The winner of the match will remain in command facing the next one until his defeat, while the loser will end up at the end of the line, waiting for his turn. In turn, the challengers will be able to watch the match live while waiting for their turn to arrive, killing time by betting experience points on the winner. Similar Survival, which takes place in the same way the only difference is that the winner's energy is partially regenerated making the next match more difficult.
NetherRealm Studios has also done a good job also in terms of gameplay, going a little to sweep away the doubts of those who feared to find themselves in their hands a clone of Mortal Kombat. Basically the combat system takes its cue from its structure with a set of combos based on quick key presses X, Y, A (Square, Triangle, X on Sony pad), creating expandable attack sequences with the use of the D-pad. The B key (circle) will instead be a variable depending on the character we are using which will activate special powers (speed for Flash), gadgets (batarang for Batman) or change in the fighting style (sword or bare hands for Wonder Woman) and which will allow you to extend and vary the achievable combos. Compared to Mortal Kombat, the parade returns by pressing the directional cross, making it more immediate and comparable than the "brother" who relied on the guard through a dedicated button. An integral part of the gameplay is the juggle, an element often at the center of discussion among fighting game lovers. For those unfamiliar with this technique, these are combos that exploit the bounces of enemies on the ground or on the edge of the stage capable of causing great damage to the enemy's energy bar, without this being able to do anything to interrupt its execution. Injustice in fact allows the wide use of this technique by using charged shots that will launch the opponent so as to ring aerial combos with devastating results. There is also another possibility, through the pressure of the right backbone, to throw the enemy on duty on the seabed, and then attack him once back on the playing field.
This opens another window on the new game mechanics introduced by NetherRealm Studios in Injustice, namely theinteraction with the internship. Each stage has numerous elements with which to interact and use to our advantage, for example some can be launched, others used to gain momentum and catapult behind the opponent, still others will explode or paralyze him. During the clashes the levels will change under the blows of the fight, making available new elements that can be used while destroying certain areas you will be able to access new areas where you can continue the game. Each fighter also has a special super move, which can be activated after loading a special bar and which, if used at the most appropriate time, will turn the tide of the match. The counter system also plays an important role, allowing the player to interrupt the opponent's attacks and immediately counterattack using the surprise effect. The game offers several more or less easily assimilable defense solutions, even if the most interesting is represented by the Wager System. Activated only once per game, you can interrupt the action, betting part or all of the special bar on who will overcome this sort of QTE, which in case of victory will restore part of the energy. Speaking instead of the balance of the characters this would have needed more optimization. The move set features a virtually identical control scheme for almost all characters, making the approach to each of them very similar. There are some characters who can rely on the use of long-range moves or the larger and slower ones, but in general it will be difficult to switch from one character to another during our games.
Behind the mask
For Injustice, NetherRealm Studios has again relied on Unreal Engine 3, a graphic engine already used in its previous productions and which is also at ease in this field. The polygonal models of the wrestlers are well made, thanks to the use of the DC Comics license as well as the various levels that digitally transport the iconic places of the various superheroes, such as the Batcave, Metropolis, Metropolis or the Watchtower. Rich in details, often references or cameos of other characters will delight fans who will have fun discovering the numerous references hidden in each stage. Also good is the fluidity of the game always on high levels, as well as the quality of the animations which, although well made, maintain a certain woodiness, due to the stylistic choice (also present in Mortal Kombat itself) to emphasize the move itself, making it almost a caricature. . Where the game engine, however, shows some gaps, it is in the surrounding elements, such as the cut scenes that intersperse the story mode or the various supermoves, made with in-game graphics, but technically backward compared to the fighting phases, where it generally stands at good levels . We will therefore have inexplicable drops in frame rates, flat and grainy textures and an overall poverty of polygons that clash with the good things done by programmers for the phases of struggle.
After the disastrous Spanish dub that appeared in Mortal Kombat, the choice of having localized only the textual part in Spanish proves wise, leaving unaltered the original dubbing. The presence of licensed songs, including even Depeche Mode with a song extracted from their latest album embellishes an unmemorable soundtrack and which lacks some historical themes such as Batman or Superman, now entered to make part of the collective imagination of these characters.
✓ Technically well packaged in-game side
✓ Rich in content to deal with x Balancing of the roster can be improved
x Graphically backward cutscene