Injustice: Gods Among Us Demo Impressions
It seems exceedingly rare that a developer or publisher releases a demo of an anticipated upcoming game. Fortunately, we got one for NetherRealms upcoming DC Comics fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game has been hyping the debate between comic book fans as to whether Superman or Batman would win in a fight but is there more to this game than that?
As this is a demo, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot of content here. There is one level to fight on but as it’s a two-tiered map, you start on each tier to it looks like two levels. The only modes on display were “Battles” mode which looks like an arcade ladder mode. In the demo, it only featured four fights but it may be longer in the full release. The other mode is local multiplayer.
The demo came with three playable characters: Batman, Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor. Each character played different from the others which you’d expect given their different sizes, speeds and powers/abilities in the comic books.
I found Batman to be the hardest character to use effectively. He’s a close range fighter who relies on combos to do his damage. Lex Luthor was probably the easiest character to use. Maybe it’s because he was the slowest moving character, his combos were easier to string together but just button mashing did a bunch of damage.
My favourite character was Wonder Woman. She wasn’t as powerful as Bats or Lex but she was the fastest and had the coolest moves. She also has the best special ability. Each character has a special ability tagged to the circle (B) button. Batman’s is a swarm of robotic bats. Lex Luthor’s power suit gets a shield that makes him immune from damage on the next hit. Wonder Woman’s special ability switches her from lasso mode (which she flies during) and sword and shield mode (which causes her to hit the ground).
One of the best features of the game was the move list. I know that’s an odd thing to say but you can actually tag moves on the list and they’ll be displayed on the HUD in-game as a quick reference. The move list also includes statistics about damage and the frames taken up by each move. It’s almost as if NetherRealm is thinking about the hardcore fighting game fans by presenting stats like that.
The game also features a comic book / superhero cliché clash system called the wager system. In this, you wager a portion of your special power meter (which is different than your special ability) in a mano e mano clash with your opponent where you charge at each other and ends in a bright explosion. Very comic book. The idea of initiating a wager is to gamble the special meter to regain health. If you don’t wager enough, you take damage.
The problem is that this demo doesn’t have a tutorial so you don’t know how initiate a tutorial. Heck, I don’t even know what the button is for block. There’s a tutorial mode in the full release so I’m hoping that somewhere along the way that someone tells me what the block button it. And I’d like to know how to use the environment to my advantage because the computer likes to do it to me but I can’t do it back. It would also be nice to know what the game is trying to tell you by occasionally flashing R1 next to your health bar.
There are a few other things that I’d like to see improved upon come the full release. The ladder looks to be some PNG images of characters you’re going to face. That’s all well and good but they zoom in tight on them which looks pixellated. Hopefully that’s not the case in the full release.
My other problem was with the entrances and exits of the characters. Each of the characters in the demo had one intro and exit routine. That will most certainly get old fast if NetherRealms doesn’t include more in the full release. I want to say the Injustice website showed off a couple of Superman exits during the “Battle Arena” voting but couldn’t tell you for certain. It wouldn’t break my heart if they added a variety of special attacks in the final game either.
Just as an FYI, there are a bunch of things that aren’t included in the demo but are worth noting. The story mode is supposed to see you switch between characters in order to go through the narrative. In addition to fighting the story mode has minigames whose outcome can affect upcoming battles. The minigames will also be accessible outside of the story mode in S.T.A.R Labs mode.
Online modes will include your standard one-on-one fight and a King of the Hill mode. Unlike Marvel vs. Capcom 3, KotH will actually have a spectator mode so you can see what’s happening as opposed to two character cards bumping into each other.
While I’m not certain how good the full release will be until I play it but this demo was good enough that I’m very interested in it. I’m not a fighting game fan and I haven’t really been a DC Comics guy since my childhood. However, reading the Injustice comics and playing the demo have me thinking that I’ll be picking this one up when it comes out… Even if they’re making Superman the villain and Batman the hero that opposes him just because Christopher Nolan put out some damn good Batman movies and Hollywood can’t figure out Superman.
The Injustice: Gods Among Us demo was played on the PlayStation 3 but is also available on Xbox 360 and Wii U. This is not the same as the iOS app. The demo is not necessarily a representation of the final product. Your impressions of the game may change depending on the system played on and if you’re a Marvel or DC fan.
Cross-posted from The Lowdown Blog.