Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition Review (PS4)
Injustice: Gods Among Us was released for the last generation of consoles back in April and garnered some pretty favorable reviews. Mortal Kombat aficionado Anthony reviewed the game in-depth in April so I’ll just go over the highlights of the game and then go over the PS4 release and touch on the changes.
Developer NetherRealm Studios is well known for their fighting games that includes the Mortal Kombat series and they also dove into the DC World of comic book characters with their release of Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe. Injustice: Gods Among Us follows that same formula, bringing with it combat on a level that is far and away in its own league.
The game is split into a single player campaign and a multiplayer, online campaign. The single player campaign brings with it a storyline that is worthy of a comic book series, with a look at a world where Superman decides to go a different way in his approach to fighting crime and creating peace in the world. The story has depth that surprised me and entertained me, and having the actual gameplay of the campaign mixed in with the cutscenes that told the story did a great job of making the battles seem spontaneous and not repetitive. The story and the battles are used to introduce all of the main characters, including their combat moves, in the game and several different good guys get their own story arch, with all of them working together to reach a common goal. I’d say what the goal is, but that would give away the main part of the story and I hate spoilers.
The graphics for the gameplay have been polished and upgraded, but you can tell the game was ported over from last gen. What really stands out is the switch between a battle and a cutscene. It became quickly obvious that the cutscenes were just moved from one media to another without any polishing up of the video. While the characters in a battle are well defined and detailed, they become almost blurry and low quality in the cutscenes. The jerkiness and lack of fluidity in the cutscenes are a little rough on the eyes and if I wasn’t so interested in the story I would have quickly skipped them.
While the game wasn’t polished at all in the cutscenes, the characters themselves looked fantastic. These guys and gals looked almost lifelike, with a level to detail not found in any other fighting game I’ve ever seen. Comparing the characters to the PS3 version, there is an obvious difference and this version’s characters at least are ready for the next gen. The environments and backdrops are just as polished as the gang and the overall look of a battle is a definite improvement. It’s still a port and I wasn’t expecting game changing graphics, but the developer did a great job of taking the next step to improve the game visually. Well, at least with the gameplay. The cutscenes just look bad.
Gameplay is very similar to just about any Mortal Kombat game you’ve ever played, with a few changes that give the game a slightly different feel. Combos rule the arena, but learning to juggle an opponent is even more decisive. Kicking a guy in the crotch and launching him upwards, then keeping him there for a few more kicks and hits is a very rewarding experience, as long as you’re the one pulling it off. Each character has their very own super move, and I must say these moves are very fitting and unique for each character. These moves add to the overall style for each character, and learning how to use each one can take some time. Some are slow, but oh so powerful, while others are fast, but are only effective up close and personal.
Thus ultimate edition includes more one hundred completely custom character models, including the PS4 exclusive Black Adam New 52 skin, six previously released DLC characters including General Zod and Lobo, and 60 completely custom S.T.A.R. Labs Missions. These missions are similar to the Challenge Tower system of Mortal Kombat and add to the already insane 240 missions that were available in the PS3 release. This game could easily keep you occupied for days just on the story side of it.
Playing online was a pretty simple, and the servers connected without any issues. Matches were incredibly smooth, just as they are if you were playing local multiplayer. Online MP offers 1-on-1 ranked or unranked matches, King of the Hill, and Survivor modes. King of the Hill puts you and up to eight players into a ladder type match, where players constantly move higher up the ladder to try and take the King’s spot, or be knocked back down to the bottom. Anyone not fighting at the moment can spectate the match. Survivor is essentially the same thing, except the King can’t change characters and regain small amounts of health to keep them surviving. Either one is a fun addition and can be used to watch more skilled players and learn from their unique combos and juggles.
One of my favorite new features with the PS4 is remote play with the PS Vita. I’m a long time owner of Sony’s handheld devices and have used remote play since its inception with the PSP and the PS3 5 or 6 years ago. With the invent of the PS Vita, remote play was promised to be the next best thing since sliced bread but never lived up to the hype. With the release of the PS4, true remote play has finally arrived and Injustice: Gods Among Us fits perfectly on that awesome little handheld.
To be able to pause a battle, and take over on the Vita when someone decides they want to watch something on cable, is a great way to continue your battles without creating a battle in your living room. The combat controls transfer over nicely and the game still looks fantastic on that little screen. Those cutscenes are more watchable that way as well.
The question you have to ask yourself, if you already own this game for the PS3, is Injustice Gods Among us Ultimate Edition worth the price of repurchasing it? That question is best answered by your pocketbook. If you ponied up the cash for a PS4, and really enjoyed the game on the PS3, you’ll find the game to be more of the same, but a little prettier on the PS4. If you’ve never owned the game, and are a fan of this genre of games, it’s well worth the price tag and goes nicely with that brand new console.