Just a week ago, the demo for the highly anticipated fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us was released. Developed by NetherRealm Studios, the team that brought you the well-received reboot to the Mortal Kombat series, this game allows you play as the heroes and villains of the DC Universe.
While I hope to bring a more in-depth review of this game at a later date, I thought it would be fun to give you guys my first impressions. I’ve always been a grinch towards the Mortal Kombat fighting engine, preferring the look and feel of the Capcom fighting games. However, when I started playing this demo, my excitement for this release grew by three sizes. Hit the jump to find out why!
The Injustice: Gods Among Us demo that I played on Xbox 360 gave the opportunity to play as three characters – Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor. I decided to try my hand with the Caped Crusader, envisioning the sexy Christian Bale under that black suit. Since this is an initial impression, I spent no time looking up the button layout or moves for the first couple of matches. I was happily surprised to find that, unlike Mortal Kombat games of the past, the layout was something that seemed almost familiar to me. Light punch, strong punch, and kick are your main buttons, but I quickly discovered that the B button corresponded to a special attack. This command triggers an ability that is unique to each character. With Batman, for instance, it summoned three flying bats that you could release to attack the enemy by pressing it again, while for Lex Luthor, it activated a shield that could soak up a hit. This special attack button reminded me of the Drive attack in the Blazblue series and with its discovery I became really excited to find out what each character’s special attack might be.
I began to toy with the special moves and was pleased to find that the inputs were the classic “down to forward” or “down to back” inputs. What I discovered in my second play through as Batman was that certain moves could be treated as EX moves in Super Street Fighter 4 by pressing the RT along with the input. For instance, Batman’s hook shot normally leads to a knockdown attack, but by pressing the RT button it just brings him closer to the opponent allowing for an even larger combo. The use of this ability uses up one bar of meter so taking care not to waste it as meter will be every bit as important in this game as in others.
As far as the combos go, most of them were simple three button attacks, with very easy inputs. Combos such as X,X,Y, or X,X,A were simple enough to pull off but most exciting to see was that with enough experimentation I was able to chain these three hit combos back to back. In one combo, Batman ends in an uppercut, which allowed for me to follow it up with yet another. The ease at which I self discovered a quick 6 hit combo within ten minutes of play means that with even more time, I’m sure there is the possibility for some really exciting stuff. I took the liberty at this point to look at some videos of what the pros are already figuring out prior to the game launch, and I have to say I’m impressed.
Finally, one of the draws of Injustice: Gods Among Us is the ability to use the environment during play. Basically, by hitting RB when prompted, your character can smash the opponent into a nearby helicopter, hurl a garbage can, or perform many other environmental effects. While I’ve heard some in the fighting community are a little hesitant about this feature in tournament play, I think it lends to more awareness of spacing and placement. I can see professional players pulling off certain combos to ensure the correct placement in the level to pull off these environmental attacks, increasing the amount strategy needed during a match.
After this brief 30 minute session with the game, I’m really excited for it to come out. This fighting game went from “maybe I’ll check it out” to “I can’t wait to pick it up!”. This may be the first fighting game by NetherRealm studios that I’m excited to play and hopefully get good at. Shortly after launch on April 16th I hope to have an full review of all the features of Injustice: Gods Among Us, but as for now, I’d say things are looking good!