With “Injustice: Gods Among Us”, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has produced a game that every childhood comic book fan was dreaming of: seeing some of DC Comics’ most iconic superheroes and villains beat each other up. While it may seem childish to enjoy Superman and Batman beat each other up, and it is, the hard work that the developers put into the game stands out.
Fighting games debuted in the late 1970s, when technology was expensive and unwieldy to market as a consumer product. They found their way into arcades with games made by various companies like Sega and Capcom. The revolutionary moment for the gaming genre was in 1991 when “Super Street Fighter II” came out. The game was important and successful for two reasons. The first is that it had adequate technology to reliably read complicated button commands. This allowed players to execute multi-button special moves for each character. Secondly, the game introduced a two-player mode that allowed opponents to compete against each other.
Originally, the first version of “Super Street Fighter” had punches and kicks that disabled the opponent, but there was a small amount of time, spanning just a few milliseconds, that allowed people to get multiple hits without opportunity for retaliation. The chance for combination moves was originally viewed as a fluke, but when competitive players began to use and abuse the mechanic, the concept of combo moves were implemented in the second game.
“Injustice” still feels much like “Super Street Fighter II” in many ways by displaying many familiar core mechanics, but it has many new quirks and features that makes it stand out among the new fighting games today. Along with unique move sets for every character, the game offers multiple ways to play mind games with your opponent. The game offers a meter system for ultimate moves. Players can wager some of their meter, accumulated through combat, to contest damage from their opponent. Stages have interactive objects to attack with, and if players are close to the edge of a level, they can be kicked off the stage onto a different arena of combat.
When released, the game gained a lot of acceptance in the professional gaming world. “Injustice” plays a lot like “Mortal Kombat” in terms of move sets with three button combinations, and many professional “Mortal Kombat” players have made the transition. Learning the game was not incredibly overwhelming. There are three attack buttons for low, medium, and strong attacks and a button for special attacks.
The file size was jarring when I first downloaded the game: It is an impressive 19 gigabytes. While the graphics are certainly impressive it didn’t seem to warrant so much memory usage. There are only a little over 30 characters to play, from superheroes to supervillains, each with only a few skins apiece. Initially I tried to run “Injustice” on my gaming laptop (running a GTX 560M), but seeing how I could only run around eight to 12 frames per second, I realized that the game needed more graphical strength in order to run. While Batman and Superman are certainly appealing characters to play, my sister mastered Ares, the god of war, and I played the Green Arrow.