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In the video game arena, only one comic book brand reigns supreme if Rocksteady’s Batman:Arkham series were to be put aside Marvel. Exploding onto the videogame scene back in the mid 90’s with stellar titles published by Capcom on both the arcade and home console scene, Marvel established the X-Men, Spider-Man, and even the Avengers to the video game community. D.C. Comics, Marvel’s eternal rival, on the other hand had somewhat successful Batman games which are now more a distant memory than nostalgia. Not too long ago Capcom even briefly resurrected the Marvel Vs. franchise which complemented the Avengers' movie release. However, D.C. Comics have yet to mine success from other properties than Batman. D.C. has Superman, the Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and many other titles but none have translated over to the video game scene with success.
How can you make a videogame about a hero who is practically invulnerable, or about a hero faster than anything, or even about a space police force tasked with governing the peace of the known universe? I used to groan when I heard that D.C. had a new Superman or Justice League game coming out because other than brand recognition, my spider sense would tingle telling me to avoid the hot mess. Of course Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City not only changed that view but showed the world that even without the words SHAZAAM, lightning can strike twice. And now another game is upon us that has the potential to do for D.C.’s other heroes what Rocksteady did for Batman. This is not the game that D.C. Comics deserves, this is the game that D.C. Comics needs. This is Injustice.
Developed by Netherrealm Studios, the team behind Mortal Kombat’s comeback, Injustice: Gods among Us is a superhero fighting game. The first thing that Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon confirmed was a logical explanation as to why Batman can take on Superman in hand to hand combats…in other words an even playing field despite different power levels. The second thing I realized was that Netherrealm also needs this game to be a success to prove that they are back in fighting game arena after quite a few lackluster MK titles. Now the one saving grace for me in Mortal Kombat vs D.C. is that Ed Boon, also the head of the team behind that title, not only aims for a solid story mode, but he also respects the D.C. characters' legacy. From what I have seen so far, I can feel the passion behind Injustice sizzling warmer than Superman’s heat vision.
The need to have a great fighter while respecting the comic book material has done little to hinder Injustice. Boasting a yet to be full revealed roaster, the game promises a dark storyline pitting hero against hero in a world gone wrong. Many characters have different stances to add more gameplay depth such as Nightwing bringing both his taser batons together as a staff. Each character falls into one of two categories, gadgets or power, which comes into play in each interactive background. The backgrounds seen so far are colorful and alive rivalling those of Mortal Kombat which were spectacular. Little details like Kal-El's space ship in the fortress of solititude will bring a smile to comic book nerds such as myself.
Picture for instance you are fighting in the Batcave against Batman and he just flung you against a wall. Hitting the wall hard, you fall as do two bat grenades which you can pick up and fling towards Batman. Or, also in the same stage, you press a red button which makes the Batmobile, parked in the background, shoot projectiles at your opponent. These are the options available if you are the Gadget class and if you are the power class…then expect to see a lot of cars being swung around.
The fighting engine itself looks promising. Combos and fighting stances have been incorporated to each fighter. There is also a super meter, which when full, can unleash spectacular attacks on to foes on a scale which has never been seen before. For example, Superman uppercut launches Batman into Space (!) and the man of steel then flies up just to double ax handle the Bat down hard back to Earth. These are not your super fireballs, even though there is nothing wrong with super fireballs.
Again the roster has not been fully revealed, but you can expect a big selection. Each character exposed so far looks beautiful and promising. To give you an idea of the marriage between graphics and characters, Solomon Grundy, a huge zombie like beast, can fling the very knives stabbed in his back at you as a projectile. It is these many little things that make me anticipate the release of Injustice: Gods Among Us set for April 16, 2013 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii U. Even though Marvel has a Hulk, Injustice just might be THAT game while finally do D.C. Comics justice.