First thoughts of… Injustice PAX Prime demo

September 10th, 2012 | Posted by Emmett in Comics | Games & Gaming

Brought to you by someone who definitely did not also make NFL Blitz.

Injustice was one of the few games I waited in line to play at PAX this year. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I'm usually not big on things that just give me a glimpse of something I'm really interested in like trailers or demos. However, there are a lot of exceptions to this tendency of mine, and fighting games (where there is no story to spoil) are one of those exceptions. Truth be told, fighting games are really the main reason I own a console; my affinity for computer gaming has claimed the remaining genres. Not that I haven't tried fighting games on a PC. I have and it was a mistake, but I'll digress. Injustice is a head-to-head fighting game set in the DC Comics universe. It's being developed by NetherRealm Studios, who you may recognize from last year's Mortal Kombat title, because when you're eight or nine games deep in a series, you might as well just start over with your numbering convention. This may also sound familiar to those of you who remember the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe crossover title from 2008, but lucky for us, that was a different developer. Moral Kombat vs. DC Universe was developed by Midway, the people who brought you what was always the loudest and most obnoxious game from your childhood arcade / bowling alley / sports-themed pizza buffet restaurant.

The absence of Midway games in development probably means no Big Head Mode for Injustice. Sorry.

Regardless of whether know who the developers are, if you have played the most recent Mortal Kombat game, you'll instantly notice similarities in the look and feel of Injustice. The dark but polished look of the character designs (at least from who was playable at PAX) and the character movement was almost identical in the classic forward/back, up/down options with minimal running. The Soul Calibur series is a good contracts in terms of movement and combat styles, I think. Injustice doesn't seem to be trying to keep up with the level of gore you expect from it's Mortal Kombat counterpart, but the combat is a lot of fun. Characters introduced so far seem to fall somewhere on the acrobat/strength-focused/gadget-focused Venn diagram. My girlfriend and I played as Harley Quinn and Nightwing, respectively, and as I was getting my ass handed to me, I got the impression that there are a lot more extra combat elements than what we were able to discovery from a single round with no other information. On a couple exchanges, the combat would become more cinematic (beyond what you see with a lot of grabs), and it seemed to do this in the form of special attacks for a single character as well as kinds of mutual attacks that trigger some kind of quick-time or button mashing challenge between the two players.

While I don't think we're going to see a spine removed, it's still pretty intense.

Again, we didn't get much opportunity to experiment, but even the normal combat was fun. Your choice of characters gives you a lot of variation in terms of weapons or no weapons at all, and even individual characters give you options on how you want to use them. For our experience, Harley had a interesting mix between acrobatic combat and weapons like pistols or a giant hammer and Nightwing had two different play styles based on whether he used his two Eskrima sticks separately or joined together as a staff. Really, there was little chance I wouldn't pick this up, and there's also little chance that I wouldn't spend a fortune on DLC if they keep adding characters to the roster. It's the characters I'm really in this for, and I'm guessing it also is for 99% of the people who eventually buy this game. Games like this mix the childhood joy of nostalgia with the adulthood joy of decimating your opponent. This game in particular also provides a medium to settle those "who would win in fight between..." discussions, and allows you to champion your hero and kick the crap out of anyone who doubted that they were the best. Not that it will likely help you and your friends settle those discussions, but you can still have fun trying.

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