Normally I don’t pay interest to fighting games but a new title caught my eye, most notably due to my hype for the upcoming Batman film. Recent footage has been revealed of Injustice: Gods Among Us, a new fighting game announced in May 2012. Developed and published by NetherRealm Studios and WB Games, the former which developed Mortal Kombat 9. The game takes place in the DC comic universe involving both heroes and villains such as Superman and Solomon Grundy respectively. The developer’s walkthroughs (included below) I will be referencing showcases fights between Superman Vs The Flash and Batman Vs. Solomon Grundy.
Injustice’s fighting system is reminiscent of Mortal Kombat 9. Instead of being a straight MK9 clone though, the developers have added a few mechanics to differentiate it from conventional fighters. First of all, there are two types of character classes: Power and Gadget. Power characters such as Solomon Grundy and Superman use their superhuman strength to manipulate heavy objects easily in the arena. Gadget characters such as Batman use tools and speed to manipulate environmental objects for purposes such as zoning. These archetypes are evidenced in the Batman Vs Solomon Grundy demo. Grundy is relatively slow, but is a powerhouse that can grab heavy objects within reach for brutal usage. Grundy is also able to chain throws, resulting in high damage combos. Batman, on the other hand, is very agile, being able to rushdown and zone with ease. The Caped Crusader utilizes gadgets such as batarangs and his grappling hook. Batarangs can be used as projectiles but can also “trigger” objects in the arena, even from long distances. The grappling hook has been shown to extend his combos by pulling the opponent toward him much like Scorpion’s “Get over here!” spear in MK9.
Arenas play a pivotal role in Injustice. Each arena has a myriad of objects that can be manipulated. In Superman’s fight against The Flash in the Batcave for example, The Flash was able to access Batman’s computer and have the Batmobile (set in the background) fire missles at Superman. Superman was able to deliver a power hit that sent The Flash inside of an elevator where Supes was able to pummel him, then knock him across a new level of the arena. Speaking of new levels, there are multiple in each arena. When a fighter delivers a power hit the opposing player takes damage as they are sent through a series of set pieces, finally reaching the new level. With a new level comes new environmental hazards that can again be manipulated. Items can also be accessed via stage destruction. As characters land hits the environment will slowly crumble, revealing control opportunities. Environmental manipulation isn’t abusable though as objects do not have infinite usage. Others can also be avoided. For example, the Batmobile’s missles are limited in ammo count and can also be jumped over allowing for a counterattack.
In addition to the surprising amount of detail in suits such as Batman and Superman’s, you can feel the power and speed of each hero/villain’s attacks through “meaty” power hits and stage destruction. Meters have four gauges and was shown to be used for special moves, power hits, wagers, and super moves. Special moves are basically just powered up versions of normal moves or one that exhausts meter. Power hits require two gauges and are used for level changes. Wagers are similar to breakers in MK9 but have a special twist. Both players bet gauges and enter a climactic clash, resulting in an increase, decrease, or no change in the meter gauge. Super moves are self-explanatory. The ones showcased were either straight rush moves or ones with special properties. Upon activation of his super, Batman entered a defensive stance with his cape. When hit, his super animation activated. There are other supplemental icons present such as the Bat Symbol and Flash’s signature lightning bolt but their use, whether practical or aesthetic, was not mentioned.
There’s a lot of room for additional gameplay mechanics and a robust character roster. Two characters, Nightwing and Cyborg have been revealed recently so that’s a start. Seeing as this is an early demo, there’s a lot that can be done and built upon. Injustice has potential so hopefully it doesn’t end up being like Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe. I hope Ed Boon delivers on his promise of content and depth. Injustice: Gods Among Us is set to be released in 2013 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U.