Review

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustified

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fun spectacle, even if the familiar hand-to-hand style robs it of some punch.

By Drew Toal • April 22, 2013

With the recent release of BioShock Infinite, alternate universes have become something of a hot topic. The idea that there might be a million million equally handsome and charming versions of me flitting about the multiverse is somehow existentially reassuring, but what if some of them are unaccountably bearded and evil?

The possibilities for hirsute debauchery and remixed biographies are endless, and these infinite variations have been exploited to great effect by the comic book industry. DC Comics, whose heroes and villains populate the new fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us, has often used the multiverse to great effect. One of my favorites of these is Red Son, a tale written by Mark Millar that has a certain Kryptonian baby crash-landing in the Ukraine instead of Kansas. Instead of “truth, justice, and the American way,” Soviet Superman fights for “Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.” (Apparently there’s a downloadable Red Son costume for the Superman in Injustice, but I have not yet donned the hammer and sickle tights.)

Injustice: Gods Among Us

The Superman of Injustice: Gods Among Us is not really a communist super-proletarian or an American freedom fighter. He’s more of an all-powerful fascist overlord. The Joker somehow tricks the Man Of Steel into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child, and a nuclear weapon is detonated in the process, leveling Metropolis. Superman, unable to come to grips with what he has done, vows to bring order to the planet by any means necessary. In Superman’s utopia, there is no crime, because humanity lives in paralyzing fear. Questioning Superman’s order—or even littering, probably—is a sin met with excessive force.

Assault is definitely not allowed, but it’s pretty difficult to avoid in a fighting game. Injustice, developed by the same studio that did the successful 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat, follows the same general structure—two-dimensional, one-on-one fights between pissed off titans. But the violence here is somewhat restrained, at least by the standards of Kombat. Joker might pummel Wonder Woman with a tire iron, but there are no disembowelings or decapitations. Instead, the combatants just beat each other senseless—doing plenty of collateral damage to the surrounding environment—until one or the other runs out of stamina.

But where, in this perfectly conflict-less world, does the conflict come in? After all, the heroes (and some of the villains) have flocked to Superman’s banner. Except one. Batman is nobody’s slave, and he becomes the de facto leader of an insurgency to depose the despotic Reichmaster Kent. He needs help, though, and he’s not going to get it from his own dimension. There is an alternate world where the Joker’s device didn’t go off, and Lois is alive. It’s from there that Batman pulls heroes in to help fight for freedom in his own world.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

As the story progresses, you at times control most of the “good” guys and some of the “bad” guys. The line between who is who is often blurred. In Hitler-Superman world, Lex Luthor is a hero. The multiple dimensions thing has always felt contrived and lazy, but it’s difficult to otherwise create a plausible scenario where Superman might have to fight himself. For all its space-time complications, however, the game’s interface is surprisingly simple. Most of Injustice’s primary moves are some variation on the time-honored quarter-circle thumb slide that launches Ryu’s “hadouken” attack in Street Fighter, or the back-forward directional pad move that would facilitate Raiden’s “Superman” charge in Mortal Kombat.

Injustice does add a few wrinkles. Each level has its own environment that can be used as weapons. Punching holes in tankers gives opponents a bracing chemical shower. You can smash foes with statues or set them on fire with a jet engine. It’s all there to be discovered and destroyed.

The game makes a sporting attempt to explain how a normal human like Batman or the Joker could stand toe-to-toe with Superman or the musclebound murder monster Doomsday, but one of the more disappointing developments stems, in a way, from this human-superhuman divide. The tutorial puts you in control of Batman, and one of his techniques is a counter—if you time it right, you can redirect an opponent’s attack back on them. Countering like this is a crucial move in the Arkham Batman games, so it’s good to see something like it included here. Soon enough, though, you learn that most characters don’t have this ability. It’s more or less specific to Batman. While I understand why someone who can punch through buildings doesn’t need basic jiu-jitsu training, the lack of creative defensive options—especially after learning with Batman—is a missed opportunity.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

One of Injustice’s more pleasant surprises is the emergence of Aquaman. Now, I have in these pages had a little fun at the expense of the Atlantean scion. But it turns out he’s one of the best characters in this game. First of all, his evil alter ego unabashedly sports a full-on chin strap. Malignant doppelgängers often display questionable facial hair, but the Brigham Young is a bold move on any plane of existence. Secondly, Aquaman’s super move is incredible. He summons the ocean, fills the room with water, skewers his opponent with a trident, and calls his good buddy Giant Shark to take a bite out of crime! And by crime I mean your opponent! I take back everything I said about this subaquatic hero, because in Atlantis, every week is Shark Week.

These super moves are pretty spectacular, in the best worst Michael Bay sense. I wish there were more of them. It’s indicative of the only real injustice here—that the story ends up feeling too small to contain such huge characters in such an immense conflict. This is a product of the format—the mano-a-mano style is inherently limiting. Near the end of the game, for instance, there’s a cutscene pitting the Amazon army against the hordes of Atlantis. It’s impressive, but it’s also frustrating in the sense that you can’t directly involve yourself beyond a few well-timed strikes on bizarro Aquaman’s grill.

The game’s secondary modes are something of a balm to the main story’s shortcomings. There are 240 unlockable “challenges” that insert novel conditions into normal fights. In one mission, Superman must do his best internet cat impression, powering up by frolicking in a sun beam. Another mission has him dodging kryptonite batarangs. It’s the perfect thing to play right after story mode, just when you might be bored with the usual fisticuffs and find yourself with the desire to overcome truly heroic odds.

Injustice: Gods Among Us
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Price: $60
Rating: T

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  • The_Helmaroc_King

    “The idea that there might be a million million equally handsome and charming versions of me flitting about the multiverse is somehow existentially reassuring, but what if some of them are unaccountably bearded and evil?”

    Don’t care! Bring back the ‘stache!

    • http://www.facebook.com/deejaytaufiq Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi

      Something smother something daughter and lighthouse something

  • Enkidum

    Someone last week was saying (and other reviews say this too) that the story explains how you get no-power folks like Batman or Harley Quinn able to fight Superman or Doomsday or whatever. Just for shits and giggles, can someone explain the magic handwaving that takes care of this?

    Also, this looks really awesome, but (a) I suck at fighting games, (b) in the past two weeks I’ve probably bought games with about… oh… 400 hours (conservatively) of single-player campaigns, and that’s without trying to get trophies and so forth, and not even counting multiplayer, so , yeah… I need to hold off until this is cheap.

    • OhHaiMark

       I’m utterly awful at fighting games. All of them, without fail.

      I’ve also wondered how these games will clear up the issue of powered heroes fighting non-powered ones, and am interested to hear what the deal is with that.

      • Flying_Turtle

        Right there with you on being bad at fighting games. I try to learn special moves and figure out how to fight effectively, and Mrs. Flying_Turtle will pick up the second controller, begin mashing buttons (and announce that she’s mashing buttons), and defeats me a good 70% of the time. And then she laughs at me. It’s terrific.

        • http://twitter.com/zhandlen Zack Handlen

          Yeah, every time I read a review about how great a fighting game is, I think, “I should give this a try, maybe I can make it work this time!” and it always ends with me thirty bucks lighter, sobbing on the living room floor. Wait, what were we talking about?

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          @twitter-18700305:disqus I’ve always held that Virtua Fighter 4′s or 5′s training mode (for 3-d fighters) and The Beginner’s Incomplete Guide To The King Of FIghters (for 2-d fighters) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye3KVgI1LvU can solve everyone’s problems, but mileage may vary.

          Once the player gets over identifying with the character and treats it as geometry + arithmetic + algebra, it all makes sense.  “How much damage can I do and how quickly can I do it while maximizing my own safety?”

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          @GhaleonQ:disqus  – Virtua Fighter is still my favorite series, largely because of that training mode.  I haven’t played a fighting game in years, but when I did, VF made me at least slightly better.

        • Enkidum

          @GhaleonQ:disqus I’ve loved Virtua Fighter since the first one in the arcade, and bought 5 (largely on your recommendation, because I trust your opinion that way). But seriously, I suck so much the training mode is a massive challenge for me. I breezed through the first few, but then got to the stage with the counters, which seem to work completely randomly – I press that back button when the people are coming at me, and sweet nada happens. 

          So, yeah, I blame you for this, and all my other shortcomings in life.

        • WorldCivilizations

          @Enkidum:disqus You really have to just pick 1 character to focus on. I was really into Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution for quite a while.My friend and I each had a couple characters mastered – we would compete pathetically with all other characters, then square off with those we had mastered. It really took months to become proficient with a character. Now I really have no interest in any fighting game beyond VF.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus It’s objective, right?  I would be totally fine with everyone everywhere copying it, but even Virtua Fighter 5 didn’t TOTALLY incorporate 4′s in until Final Showdown.  Weird.

          @WorldCivilizations:disqus It also helps that Virtua Fighter computer characters act a lot like real-life players, thanks to them modeling the a.i. on real people.  My proficiency plummets after my top 4 characters, but I can avoid mashing thanks to endless time against the computer when I was 1st learning the game.  I try to mirror them.

          @Enkidum:disqus That legitimately made me sad.  *sniff*  My idea of heaven is everyone sitting around playing complex fighting games with cheesy voice-acting and chunky 1990s riffs.  I don’t feel players should have to see videos or go to VFDC http://virtuafighter.com/wiki/index , so that’s unfortunate.  That said, it’s totally possible to play with an incomplete game, and when you better intuit the game’s timing, you can come back and round it out.  That’s kind of how everyone has to build up.  1st, you learn basic actions, and then 1 of every “type” of move (poke, overhead, power, thrust, retreat).  2nd,  you learn complex actions and a couple more of each type so that you’re unpredictable.  3rd, you learn how to counter regularly and how to use combos.  You can be an old hand in 1 month, as long as it takes to beat everything but blockbuster AAA titles.  Maaaaan.  That still makes me sad that it didn’t click.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

        Thinking back on my fighting game days, I realized I got out of that genre because 1) the glut of post MK/SF2 fighting games were waaaaaay too numerous (although I did kinda get into Clayfighters and Power Stone) and 2) “hardcore” gamers ruined the fighting game genre.

        Expanding on point 2 – see, back in the day, people just played fighting games to, you know, beat other people up. They were digital Fight Clubs. Sure, there were moves and combos, and certain people were more adapt to them, as well as timing, but for the most part, you and a buddy put in a few quarters and mashed buttons to attack each other. It was FUN.

        Fighting games, in increasing move sets, stages, combos, specials, etc., inevitably created this… sect of gamers that get together and somehow dictate specifically HOW A GAME SHOULD BE PLAYED. Like, they get into this huge tiff over the miniscule rule-set of time limits, which characters should be use, which stages, how many rounds, what extraneous items can/cannot be used, and so on. Apparently, there are LISTS that detail the framerate of various characters individual attacks so one can determine which attacks will hit first over other people attacks.

        The WORST was how these people ruined the SMASH BROS. series. SMASH BROS.! This game is defined by being a ridiculous and silly chaotic free-for-all, and therefore fun. But suddenly, there was this SERIOUS mentality over the game, who somehow dictated that the ONLY way to play the game was to use only certain characters (strangely, this tended to be Fox) and certain stages (Final Destination) with certain rules (no items, stock instead of time). If you played anyone else, anywhere else, you “weren’t playing the true game”.

        These people ruined the series for me, a series that I utterly loved. My whole playing technique was based on item use and stage-exploitation (I wasn’t a cheap player since the whole game is more-or-less predicated on unpredictability). The game is about using chaos to your advantage. So by taking the chaos out of the game, they turned it into a generic shitty fighter.

        Ooof. Sorry about that SMASH BROS. rant. TL;DR – hardcore gamers ruined fighting games with their obsession over how to play game “right”.

        • SuperShamrock

          What the heck.  If you didn’t want to play like that, don’t play people who play like that.  If people want to get aspie with the game, what’s the harm?  Why dictate how they should be playing?

        • Enkidum

          Yeah… I’m kind of with @SuperShamrock:disqus here. I mean, the latest iteration of SSB is very clearly aimed at pleasing people who just want to have fun (it may also be aimed at pleasing the frame-rate types, I dunno), and is full of the kinds of environments you like. Why not just play it like that?

        • http://warren-peace.blogspot.com/ WarrenPeace

          I’m also curious about this complaint; who are these people, and why do they ruin the game for you? Is it that discussion online has become focused on the tiresome details rather than the actual fun of playing the game? Or are you somehow stuck playing against these people? 

          Myself, I usually just play SSB against friends and family, so I’m not stuck in these sorts of tiresome duels against killjoys, so I’m curious why you feel like they’ve destroyed the game. Please enlighten us!

        • His_Space_Holiness

          My dorm had Smash Bros. freshman year, and this exact mentality emerged. People would play Fox vs. Falco (because those characters were the fastest, you see) on Final Destination, over and over and over. I really didn’t get it. My Smash Bros. style favors hijinks over winning, so it was a little baffling that someone would play a whimsical game like that as if it were Mortal Kombat. I didn’t take it personally, but it sure was boring to watch when I was killing time in the common room.

        • PaganPoet

          I dunno, I can kind of sympathize with @facebook-501651:disqus on his complaint. Of course fighting games are more fun to play with other people, but if you spend every online match getting your ass handed to you by players that take the game way too seriously, it very quickly stops being fun. The obvious solution would be to just play the game with your friends with local multiplayer, but sometimes that’s just not an option.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Apologies if I’ve told this story here before, I honestly can’t remember.

          I was totally hooked on Virtua Fighter at the arcade when it came out.  The polygonal characters were so much more interesting to me than 2D sprites.  Of course they look absurd now, but back then – TECHNOLOGY!

          Problem was, at the arcade I played at, one kid totally dominated everyone at VF.  Every time he showed up and put a quarter on the screen, several of us would groan, because he would usually be there for at least a couple hours after that, with probably a 90% win rate.

          I got sick of getting my ass handed to me over and over, and struck up a deal with him.  I’d pay for his plays for the next couple of hours if he’d teach me some strategy and the harder moves.  By the end of the day I was good enough to hold my own against him at least a few times, and maybe even beat him once or twice.

          My favorite character was Lau – very powerful moves, but very slow. When I fought an opponent who beat me repeatedly, I would switch to Lau’s daughter Pai, who had similar moves but was much faster.

          A year or two later, the cafeteria at the Junior College had a VF cabinet, and I would stop by and play between classes.  Thanks to that kid’s training, I was one of the better players there for the semester or two I attended.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

          To clarify – it’s basically that everyone I know and have played with have always played it that specific way, and maintained the mentality that it had to be played that way to be a “real” fighter.

          When I manage to find a few people okay with playing it in it’s normal, chaotic form, it’s amazing. But I would say 90% of the internet doesn’t see it that way (yeah, it’s a bit of a hyperbole).

          No one at home plays SSB anymore, and the game kinda fell out of favor over time, so it’s been a while since this has been an issue. But things like tournaments and large-gatherings emphasize those kinds of rules. And those around me that happen to want to play will play with those rules no matter what. Oddly enough, I had the same issue with Goldeneye – everyone outside my family would ONLY play “one shot kill” rules, under the argument that “it’s more realistic”, thus rendering the whole point of having different guns and weapons useless.

          I think I just must live in a shitty multiplayer neighborhood.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Oh, and in my extended story mode, I forgot one additional point I was going to make:  I HATE when people focus solely on the numbers in a game.  One of the reasons I finally quit playing WoW was the incessant crap about Gearscore and DPS output.  Not necessarily the people who went by it, but that the game made it a requirement for the harder instances to meet those numbers exactly or fail.

          I’m sorry, but whomever invented the Enrage Timer, where a boss instantly kills everyone if the fight lasts a certain amount of time, can go eat a bag of …something they would most definitely rather not eat.

        • Enkidum

          @facebook-501651:disqus fair enough. I imagine it would be something like me playing Starcraft II, where I’m a pretty solid sliver league player and will never get any better because I just can’t be arsed to study build orders and unit counters and so forth. Fortunately the online matchups there are done well enough that I can still have an enjoyable time. 

        • Cornell_University

          at the arcade I frequented in high school there would most days be a very small, very young asian boy (had to be under ten) that would just fucking dismantle everyone at fighting games.  MKII, Tekken, didn’t matter.  it was like watching one of those tool assisted youtube runs, but in real time with no cheating.  it was impossible to get mad at him (he was very sweet and didn’t clown you when the annihilation was over) because he just beat you SO BEAUTIFULLY.

          and Wolf in the first Virtua Fighter was so spammable it was ridiculous.  I pissed off an entire NEA Convention free play room one glorious summer day.

        • Groofus

          Today I heard someone try to justify their loss at smash brothers with the line “Pikachu isn’t good against swordsmen.” For some reason that sentence is very funny to me.

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

        What kills a fighting game for me is when one character is demonstrably “better” than others, especially if that dominance requires no skill. For example, Mileena in MK2 and Noob Saibot in UMK3 had easily-spammable moves. These moves could theoretically be countered, but it required very precise timing.

        I suppose it’s the same for hardcore Super Smash Bros. players. They get tired of non-stop MetaKnight mirror matches.

        • OhHaiMark

           I recall one of the most irritating video game experiences I ever had was playing one of the new MK games at a friends house.

          I have this one friend who loves being an asshole about video games, and taunts endlessly. When it comes to fighting games, he has no “code” of how to play, he will use the same attack over and over if it works.

          In that goddamn game you couldn’t avoid shin kicks very easily, unless you knew a solid counter to it, which my other friends and I didn’t. Basically, all night he would yell “shin kick bitch” and dance around like an ass, while we struggled to hit him even once.

          Fuck that game.

    • sledgehammuh

      SPOILERS
      There’s a pill that’s “Kryptonian tech” that makes people much more durable. That’s it.
      END SPOILERS

      • Enkidum

        Oh, well at least they didn’t just half-ass it and came up with a sensible explanation.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        They just put up one of those old silent movie title cards that reads: “Plot Device Here”, followed by a slide-whistle representing powering up. 

    • Professor_Cuntburglar

       It would be interesting if there was a mode where the characters weren’t all so balanced, and were more like they are in the actual comics. Like, the Joker is super wimpy, and Superman is basically invincible, but you can team up on him or something.

      I guess I’m all little tired of multiplayer games being so freakin’ balanced is all. It’s much more interesting when one side has a clear advantage and the other has to get past that.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        There was an Extra Credits episode on that very same subject a while back. It proved highly controversial.

      • Destroy Him My Robots

        Not quite sure if I got what you mean because you seem to conflate balance and symmetry, but I’ll try.

        In my experience, there’s little or no difference between defeating someone 10/10 times in balanced SF4 matches and defeating them 5/10 times in SF4 matches with handicap. The same goes for losing with Barca against Inter in FIFA as opposed to winning with Barca against Bolton Wanderers or whatever.

        So either no one’s happy (at least if they have a shred of competitive spirit in them) or your “but you can team up” proposition ends in a Zerg vs Protoss situation, which is still balanced.

        Outside of that: I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t comment on the actual quality, but the asymmetrical multiplayer of Nintendoland might be want you’re looking for.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        This was actually done for story reasons in Arc System Works’ http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/battlefantasia/battlefantasia.htm Battle Fantasia.  Though it was called out for other issues, critics pouted about the lack of balance a lot (though, as a story-based game, it was on purpose).  And even though it’s single-player, Warzard/Red Earth did the you-against-a-behemoth situation very well.

        To me, that makes those games more interesting than they would otherwise be.

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

        I think the problem is in the genre. When you make a 1-on-1 fighter, the expectation is that the individual characters will be somewhat balanced (give or take a joke character). Casual players should be able to pick a “favourite” character and at least stand a chance.

        There are lots of contexts in which Joker could beat Superman: through wit, trickery, and ganging up, for example. But that kind of strategy doesn’t fit into the “punch for 60 seconds” box.

        I would love to see a super-hero game in the Bethesda mode. That would give you the depth necessary to deal with these characters appropriately. You could set traps, hire gangs, and mine kryptonite. (Arkham City has some of these elements, of course, but it’s limited to Batman.)

    • duwease

       The revolutionists team up with Popeye, who give them all spinach.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

       Despite my beard, I’m hard-pressed to imagine I’m evil universe me.  If mild neuroses, poor money management and sloth are all that qualifies me as the dark, cracked mirror of my good self, my ultimate platonic or Ur-self must hew pretty close to moral tepidity.
       In some other, less benighted world than our own, I can only imagine my better, clean-shaven self spending my Saturday afternoon recaulking the bathroom tub like I ought to instead of taking a nap.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      If anything, I feel like I’ve gotten more evil since I shaved off my huge, dirty caveman beard last month.

    • Enkidum

      Can you send him round to recaulk my my bathroom tub when he’s done? Seriously, it needs it.

      Hehe… needs caulk.

      • http://twitter.com/vampireseagull VS

        Make sure he uses quick hardening caulk, you don’t want to wait around for that caulk to harden.

    • The_Helmaroc_King

      Bearded, mildly neurotic, slothful, and a bird-themed avatar? I can’t help but feel some kind of kinship… some kind of awful, nerve-wracking kinship…

      On the other hand, good-universe you would probably never have had the opportunity to illustrate a special-interests article on a failed, tattoo-themed Mortal Kombat rip-off! What’s he got that’s so great?

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        He probably got to paint a fresco depicting key scenes from the Acta Sanctorum on the Pope’s freshly shaven balls, or whatever it is good artists get to do.

        • duwease

           I don’t normally watch reality competitions, but if Wrinkly Canvas All-Stars is the natural progression of TV artist battles, I could see myself giving it a shot.

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

      I am definitely the Evil Universe version of myself: I’ve got the scar, the fluffy white kitty, the plans for world domination…

  • http://www.facebook.com/deejaytaufiq Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi

     Yeah, after finishing Bioshock Infinite, i doubt i could really get myself into playing another fucked-up game based on multiverses especially one about a superhero going evil.

  • caspiancomic

    Parallel universe doods!? I was kind of hoping that if this game was going to have a plot at all, it would be more along the line’s of Marvel’s Civil War arc, in which some divisive external stimulus caused the world’s various heroes to organically separate into warring factions based on their ideals and characters in a way that caused each of them to re-examine their commitment to heroism, and their relationships with themselves and each other, and their responsibilities (if any!) to the general public, and in so doing would serve as a big “eventy” piece of writing as well as a compellingly executed study of every character in the Universe simultaneously.

    On the other hand, the parallel universe thing provides a narrative excuse for heroes fighting a palette-swapped version of themselves when both players want to be the same character! Nether Realm: 1, caspiancomic: 0.

  • Professor_Cuntburglar

    Am I the only one here who thinks that fighting games like this get really repetitive really quickly?

    • cookingwithcranston

      That’s why they threw in the super moves and interactive environments. Logistics aside, many of them are quite breathtaking and a satisfying guilty pleasure.

      Just finished it last night. The story mode was cool. There was some really great cinematic action sequences between the actual fighting. Much better laid-out story and character interaction than the MK reboot.

      The moves were pretty easy to pull off and didn’t require any rediculous pad and button combinations. Hardcore fighting gamers might be turned off by this but at least novice players can actually have some fun while learning better strategy.

      Having most of the JLAU voice cast return was most certainly welcome. Although, I would love to see a CAPCOM-made DC fighter with the Bruce Timm inspired character designs.

      I haven’t tried any of the S.T.A.R. Labs challenges yet but they sound like a fun diversion from getting my ass handed to me online.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

      I’m not saying there’s not a place for them, but it’s difficult to balance “easy control inputs and mechanics” and “exciting gameplay.”  I think that’s why they cram in a lot of bonuses, so that if it feels like grinding, you’re grinding for something.

      To me, it’s like having instant Cape Feathers granted to you at the beginning of every Super Mario World stage.  It still takes a certain level of skill (to fly over the stage and) bypass all of the gameplay, but it misses the point of the genre.  Your party fighting games like Rakugaki/Scribble Showtime and Power Stone solve this by transforming into quasi-beat-’em-ups.

    • http://twitter.com/zhandlen Zack Handlen

      Yeah, I’ve never understood the appeal at all. Don’t think that means the genre is shit or anything, but it just doesn’t click with me in any way.

  • conditionals

    So can I play this if I don’t really enjoy fighting games (but am a huge DC fan)? 

    Like, I know there’s a “great story mode that keeps you entertained for 6 hours”*, but is there actually a great story mode that keeps you entertained for 6 hours of not just hadoukens?

    *attributed to frankenmonster aggregated author the five reviews I have read.

    • double_hawk

      Vids I’ve seen show its super loaded with DC Easter egss

  • cookingwithcranston

    Download and try the demo to at least get a feel for it. I doubt the story alone is enough to warrant buying the game but there’s plenty of unlockable stuff for various game modes and extra goodies for DC fans.

    Having a friend or two who also has the game for some 2P competition can be fun.

  • Nudeviking

    Imperius Rex!

    • His_Space_Holiness

      That’s Namor’s catchphrase!

      NERD RAGE HADOUKEN!

  • Eco1970

    This sounds awful. And wasn’t that Ben Affleck Daredevil movie terrible?

    • Enkidum
      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        Introducing…The Internet Comments Section: The Game. It’s a brutal fight to see who can last the longest before giving up and going outside, featuring all your favourite characters. Is your enemy too tough? Fight against a weaker version of your opponent with Straw Man. Don’t want to battle your opponent’s avatar? Unleash your fury directly on your enemy’s controller with the power of Ad Hominem. Advance through stages from the cesspools of YouTube and IGN to meet more sophisticated enemies at The AV Club and The New York Times. Chain up devastating combos of wit and memes to unlock special characters like Godwin and The Slippery Slope. TICS:TG features a dark, harrowing backstory set in an alternate universe where Keyboard Cat murdered his best buddy Ceiling Cat after being tricked by a l33t h4x0r. Now, Keyboard Cat has gone insane, and the Internet must band together to stop him before he plays his final tune. Join the fight and buy a copy of TICS:TG today! Millions of people are on the Internet, so Argumentum ad Populum says you should be too.

        • Enkidum

          Woah there Hitler.

    • Cornell_University

      I just tried to imagine a Daredevil fighting game where the screen is black and you have to defeat your enemy using your hearing (and sense of touch?  and sonar?  how strong are Daredevil’s powers again?).  anyway, I’m insane now.

      • The_Helmaroc_King

        It’s not impossible, even with existing games, but I suspect that people like this guy are outliers.

  • The_Misanthrope

    I suppose it’s possible that Superman might have learned some basic hand-to-hand techniques, but he sure as hell doesn’t *dodge*.  In all of the Dini cartoons with him in it, he just kind of flies into whatever is being shot or throw at him–bullets, rays, eldritch power, etc.–and advances toward the enemy with a smug look on his face.

    If Batman’s pulling from other universes, why not grab some people from the Minutemen universe?  Him and Rorschach might have a few things to talk about.

  • JokersNuts

    Game seems like it would have been better had they just dropped all pretense of a story.  

  • https://twitter.com/tymcast Tyler Mills

    This looks pretty cool, but I think I’ma hold onto my money such that I can buy Dive Kick instead. It looks amazing.

  • stakkalee

    In 1991 Dan Jurgens writes Superman Annual #3, part of the Armageddon 2001 crossover, in which we see a “possible future” where Batman has to take down a grief-stricken Superman who’s disarming the world’s nuclear arsenals by force in response to the death of Lois Lane, killed in a nuclear explosion that also wiped out a big part of Metropolis.  In 1996, Mark Waid writes Kingdom Come, a seminal Elseworlds story, in which, following the death of Lois Lane by the Joker, Superman retreats from the world, but then returns in a bid to enforce peace through violence and internment camps; it doesn’t end well.  Then in 1997 an episode of Superman: The Animated Series titled “Brave New Metropolis” (with writing by Stan Berkowitz) shows us an alternate timeline in which Lois’s death causes Superman to go over the edge and team up with Lex Luthor to rule Metropolis as a brutal police state.  In 2003 we get not one but two examples of despot Superman, though neither story quite fits the trope – In the Elseworlds story Superman: Red Son (by Mark Millar) an alternate universe Superman fights for the Soviets, though Lois Lane is alive and unfridged, and in the Justice League Unlimited episode “A Better World” (another one by Stan Berkowitz) a parallel universe Superman, along with the rest of the Justice League, turns totalitarian after Lex Luthor murders The Flash.  Then you factor in all the OTHER times Superman has turned into a dictator (Silver Age Superman got into a ton of wacky hijinks) and all the other Superman expys doing the same thing (the Plutonian, Squadron Supreme) and you can see that Injustice has gone to the same well a ton of other comic books stories have gone to, and it’s just scraping up mud at this point.

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

      I miss the Golden Age when Superman was basically a Ralph Nader that punched people.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I read the first few issues of Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, and that’s the sort of vibe he infused it with.  Kieth Phipps, formerly next door at the A.V. Club, described him as “…a sort of hard-edged New Deal Democrat”.
           I think that angle dissolved pretty quickly after his run wrapped, but it was the most refreshing take on the character I’ve read since… well, since All-Star Superman.

      • stakkalee

        I have to disagree a little bit.  After all, GA Superman wasn’t just a tireless fighter for the rights of the opressed – he was a huge d-bag, too.

        • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

          Just like Ralph Nader!

    • ProfessorFarnsworth

      Let’s not forget the lobotomizing.  Yes…the insanely entertaining lobotomizing.

  • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

    Aquaman really took Tracy Morgan’s Advice to heart

    “Live every week like it’s shark week.”

    • cookingwithcranston

      Yeah, Aquaman really is one of the better all around fighters. Green Arrow is also a pretty slick fighter. He’s probably one of my favs so far.

      I think they did a pretty good job balancing the fighters overall, if you can look past the canonical absurdity of Catwoman or The Joker facing off against Superman, Doomsday or Aries.

      • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

        I’m pretty sure everything in the entire game falls into the canonical absurdity category.

  • boardgameguy

    eat ship and die

  • His_Space_Holiness

    Please tell me Ambush Bug is playable after some secret-unlocking chicanery. Anything this self-serious desperately needs some Ambush Bug.

    • Enkidum

      I doubt it, but that would be DLC that would almost make me buy it full price.

      Especially if he can break the fourth wall and, I dunno, roll up the background and take the fight somewhere else, or something.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

         Right on.  He could have a Cheeks the Wonder Boy super-move.
         I think about how Deadpool is sort of the contemporary placeholder for that same niche of self-aware ‘toonery, but with guns and violence -and at least in the sole Deadpool comic I’ve read, remedial misogyny.
         And it doesn’t seem sufficiently wry to succeed in the Verhoeven mold.
         More like the Seth McFarlane to Ambush Bug’s The Simpsons.

    • Thats_Unpossible

      Oh god, you made me think of the horror of a Keith Giffen fighting game. So man damn puns…

      • His_Space_Holiness

        And I would buy such a game in a heartbeat.

    • ChicaneryTheYounger

      You called?

  • http://twitter.com/knarfblack Knarf Black

    Lampshading: The Game

  • Thomas Crane

    I am passing on this. If this game makes it to EVO though, I’ll watch the stream.