Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Injustice; Gods Among Us: All it took was a bomb, some gas, and a laugh.

Some say the DC Universe is like a Greek play, a Shakespearean performance. Some choose to stray away from these routes, where the events are mere coincidences, noting more, nothing less. Others try to embrace it; the extent of success is up to the viewer's choice. Allow me to take you on a path, one where the course of an entire universe was changed forever by one bad day. To take this path, there are two places to look. The first being the comics for the lead in to what they were inspired by. Welcome, to the world of Injustice. Welcome to a tale of death, destruction, and the collapse of everything you thought you knew about DC's strongest friendship.

The way I'll be handling these reviews is tackling the events in order. Year 1-5 of the comic series, then the game itself. Before going on I should say that this takes a more extreme approach then something like Last Stand of the Wreckers, though while that one had a more "War is hell" approach to the violence (and the fact that it was giant robots). Here the bloodshed is a mix of accidental, and intentional (in universe of course), so consider this a warning not for the review itself, but the source material. The game's more controlled on the matter though and as per usual, when the review changes to something else, there will be an image of it.

This is a tale of ideals, of beliefs, and like many tales, it starts with happiness, with joy. In this universe (I don't have time to discuss the DC Multiverse, look into that one if you're curious), Superman is happily married to Lois Lane, and is expecting a child. But it isn't to last as The Joker executes one of his most dangerous plans. Using Kryptonite laced fear toxin, Superman confuses Lois for Doomsday, and carries her to space where she dies in the vacuum of space. That alone would be a harsh blow, but Joker surgically implanted a detonator to Lois, connecting it to her heart beat. Once she dies, a nuclear bomb is automatically detonated inside Metropolis, destroying the city and killing almost the entire population. With all his ties to humanity gone in the span of seconds, Superman snaps and kills The Joker. Unlike most people though, Superman never really recovers and begins to use his power, and the members of the Justice League who side with him to cease all fighting, all war on Earth. What results is five years of conflict over the idea of taking a life to save more, and when heroes cross the boundary of protecting the people and controlling them.

The end result feels like something very contrived. I do get that its meant to justify the plot of a fighting game, so the end result was always going to feel contrived. But even in the context of this universe, I can't help but feel like it gets a tad too excessive. Ignoring the fact that Batman is supposedly going to have plans and counter plans for everything, including if Superman was turning evil, after things like "the destruction of two Lantern corps (including the destruction of a planet), magic almost destroying the universe, literal gods stepping in and many friends and family dying, you would think either one of them would say "We need to talk". The pen is mightier than the sword after all.

In terms of artwork and writing, they're hit and miss and it does come down to personal tastes. For me, I'm not a fan of the designs overall as they do try to stick to the designs in game, but that just lead to ones like Harley Quinn where you can't help but ask "Why are you wearing that?" It's easy to tell who's meant to be who, but ones like Harley still raise a few questions. That is however on the side of NetherRealm though more so then DC. The writing follows suit as it’s hard to tell if the writing issues are intentional, or just genuine bad writing and if so, by who? You might like it if you give it a chance, but that the same time you might not so be warned.

So, with that, let's move onto the game itself. As a last-ditch effort to stop evil Superman, evil Batman (I'm adding evil onto everyone from this side of the multiverse) decides to bring the heroes from the main universe into try and stop evil Superman. What follows is a chain of cheesy lines with solid deliveries because this is a fighting game, and the story serves only to move players from one fight to the other. There is a level of charm to it, even if it’s stupid, with things like good Cyborg and evil Cyborg trying to hack each other before fighting, good Aqua man getting pissed off that evil Aqua man is letting evil Atlantis fall under evil Superman's reign, the Amazon army trying to decide which of the two Wonder Women to listen too, and other things like that. But the writing issue, like I said in the comics section, still applies here. Only difference is that there is Voice acting here, with most of the DCAU voice actors returning to reprise their roles. One big issue though with the presentation is the cutscene animations, oh boy do those faces look bad.

It's hard to review the gameplay for this in my context. I'm not a fighting game aficionado, my fighting game experience is pretty limited to Smash Bros. I did find the game hard, on both the PS3 and the PSVita (I got the ultimate versions for both of them pretty cheap), but that is mostly down to lack of experience in this style of fighting game. I did however enjoy the gameplay of it, and I do still enjoy playing it. Just don't expect me to be joining into fighting game tournaments for the game (are they even still going now that Injustice 2 is out?). While the tutorial mode did help, the big issue with these kinds of fighting games is the learning curve needed for them, so I cannot recommend Injustice for a casual fan unless you're willing to dig into the mechanics and go beyond casual play.

These are for DC fans, but there are issues in them which may turn DC fans off. If you're willing to try, you're in for a long ride, it’s just a matter of if you're willing to take that first step. Overall, I enjoyed it, but there were some logic errors I couldn't let slide. Up next, I need to go fast, and I'm got to go fast. "Three eras, two hedgehogs, one epic adventure"

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