DC Comic’s stable of superheroes and villains is quite a diverse group; where else are you going to find a crime fighter dealing with the trauma of his parent’s murder years after the fact; the last member of an alien race with our solar system’s sun fueling his powers; and a clown so insane no one is quite sure of his origin? For years Detective Comics have brought us some of the most memorable and enduring comic book characters, and NetherRealm studios have brought a number of them to life in their latest brawl, Injustice: Gods Among Us.
WB Interactive held a public launch event for the upcoming game at Toronto’s Dundas Square over the weekend, where fans could get their hands on the PlayStation 3 version of the game, as well as a chance to meet the co-creator of Mortal Kombat, Ed Boon, at an autograph session. We were fortunate enough to attend both events, and after kicking some superhero ass and shaking hands with one of the industry’s greats, we’re ready to shine the batsignal with our initial impressions of Injustice.
Before we talk specifies in terms of specific characters and arenas let’s get a few things straight about Injustice:
Firstly, at least from the hour or so time we spent playing and watching others pummel the crap out of each other, Injustice captures the look and feel of its characters and world spectacularly. Each one of the fighters had a unique set of moves, special abilities, and super-moves that stayed true to their comic book origins while giving players a diverse set of tactics.
Secondly, if your last experience with the franchise was Mortal Kombat Vs. DC, and you are afraid that there’s no visceral beat downs or blood, don’t worry. While we didn’t see Superman ripping off Batman’s arms, we did witness characters bleeding when injured and using firearms–unlike MK Vs DC, which infamously edited one of Joker’s fatalities to remove a death animation. Also, if that game was your last experience with the MK franchise, shame on you for missing the excellent Mortal Kombat reboot from a few years back.
The final version of Injustice features 24 playable characters ranging from well-known, classic heroes like Green Lantern, Batman and Superman; and villains like Sinestro, Joker, and Lex Luthor, as well as lesser known characters like Killer Frost, Black Adam and Ares. In addition to your favorite characters, there is bound to be someone in the roster who possesses a fighting style you’ll find appealing. There were certainly some fan favorites during the launch event this weekend, and since we witnessed the most gameplay featuring Batman, Harley Quinn, Green Latern and Solomon Grundy, we are going to focus on them.
Batman’s intro can be described as simply awesome, as the match begins with a swarm of bats forming in the center of the screen, with Batman dropping down into the arena. The Dark Knight has a number of moves that stay true to his detective and stealth roots, as he’s not known for killing his opponents, or a being of brute force, and his moves reflect this. He is able to summon mechanical bats to attack his opponents, he can use his grappling hook to pull opponents towards him, and can double jump to avoid oncoming attacks. Players at the event seemed to be huge fans of using the grappling hook to gain ground on their opponents
Another favorite was Harley Quinn, the insane therapist turned Joker’s sidekick. Her entrance involves her spouting her own twisted version of hopscotch before the fight begins. It sets the scene for unique style of gameplay, a mix between quick strikes and weaponry. She’s equipped with a pair of pistols and a special move where she pulls out a giant hammer and slams her opponent into the ground. Her speed is also an asset, when it comes to character juggling–we saw quite a bit of that. Fans at the event seemed to get the hang of her rather quickly, as one person went uncontested for a good 20 minutes using Harley exclusively.
In contrast to medium sized characters, like Batman and the slimmer Harley Quinn, there is Solomon Grundy. This hulking grey monster is capable of tossing characters so hard that they are projected into separate sections of the stages. While watching a match featuring a player skillfully applying the ancient art of bashing with Solomon, we learned that many of the stages are actually multi-tiered, should you inflict the right kind of damage. In the JLA Watch Tower for example, we saw Solomon use his raw strength to send Green Lantern flying into a group of docked space shuttles before crashing into a reactor. These moments are simply epic and feel ripped from the pages of the comic book source material.
We saw a few other interesting tidbits while in Toronto. Green Lantern’s moves are over the top and leave you awestruck. His standard moves include the ability to summon miniguns and other offensive weapons to help him dispatch challengers. What took the cake was his super move, where he beat his opponent into the ground and then flew above them and summoned a squadron of jet fighters, sending them crashing into the ground, dealing the final blow.
Fans on hand seemed really excited to try Injustice: Gods Among Us days before its official release. Some even showed up in professional level cosplay: they had a fully suited Batman on hand; one fan came dressed as Wonder Woman; and despite being a Marvel character, Deadpool arrived to scope out the competition, or perhaps it was Deathstroke dressed as Deadpool. The overall atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation, especially for those of us who wanted to meet Ed Boon, the creator of Mortal Kombat.
During the afternoon, after a quick lunch break, we stopped by the EB Games on Yonge St to wait in line and meet Ed Boon in person. About 100 people showed up in at the PlayStation Lounge to meet one of the fighting genre’s greats. Fans came equipped with their Mortal Kombat bookends, copies of the 2011 reboot, and even a few Mortal Kombat SNES cartridges were ready for Mr.Boon’s inscription. We all exchanged stories about our first experiences with the series, as teenagers and children, and what it was like to see the fatalities for the first time.
Our meeting with Ed Boon was brief but really enjoyable. He shook hands, handed out multiple autographs to those who asked, and posed for pictures. Our staff told him about the fact that the SNES Version of Mortal Kombat was one of the first 16-bit era games they had played. Others told him about playing the Arcade version of MK 3 while in high school. In a room full of fans, it was all smiles and excitement during the one hour signing session.
Look for further coverage of Injustice: Gods Among Us as soon as our review copy arrives. Until then, check back for the latest trailers and more. Injustice hits the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U tomorrow. If you’re getting it let us know in the comments section!