In comics, television and movies we see time and time again these hugely impressive beat downs between superhero and supervillain. They are a spectacle, great fun to watch but when it come’s to playing them something feels a bit lacking. We’ve had fighting games with superheroes before, Marvel vs Capcom and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe but where are all the dedicated superhero fighters? Well, Warner Bros and NetherRealm Studios have got you covered in their upcoming brawler ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’. A press release described it as “a bold new fighting game franchise that introduces a deep, original story featuring a large cast of favorite DC Comics icons such as Batman, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman and many others.” If they can deliver on the story aspects whiles making you feel empowered as the characters you know and love, staying true to their personalities and fighting styles, this game looks set to wow.
Whether it will or not is another question. There has already been some grumbling suggesting that the game just isn’t very fun. Sure, the game is way out from it’s holiday 2013 release date but maybe this is cause for concern. NetherRealm Studios (formerly Midway Chicago – developers of the Mortal Kombat series including the DC crossover) found success with their last outing Mortal Kombat, which is sitting happily at an 84 rating on Metacritic. However there is noticeable criticism that the draw of that game is the over the top violence, and with Injustice being rated T for Teen that violence will be noticeably absent from this outing. Now that’s not too big of a deal because it would just be wrong for Batman to break The Flash’s neck but without that gimmick to lean on can NetherRealm create a compelling title? Ed Boon is confident the “crazy, over-the-top action” will be enough.
The teaser trailer is chock full on fan service, but there are a few flags of concern, primarily the part where Batman kicks Solomon Grundy up through the 30th floor of a building. I mean, yeah the peak of human fitness blah blah blah but with Grundy coming in at about 500lbs it seems a bit out of character. This is my main issue, is it really going to feel like a DC fighting game or rather just a generic fighting game with a DC skin over the top? The characters break down into two categories: Power and Gadget. Power heroes will have environmentally contextual moves that differ to the Gadget heroes, for example Batman will slam someone’s head against a car whereas Wonder Woman will crush her opponent beneath it. It might feel a bit odd having essentially 2 sets of animations fit with such a broad array of superfolk, and stiff animations at that.
I’m not going to write it off because the DC universe is rich with characters, locations and story opportunities that could make this game a comic geek’s fighting fantasy, but whether it can deliver on what it’s promising and polish up is yet to be seen. Here’s hoping, I’m eagerly waiting for more info on this game, if only to see if I can live the dream of sticking my foot out to trip up The Flash.