Injustice: Gods Among Us – Preview (PS3)

NetherRealm Studios, the minds behind the much beloved Mortal Kombat games, showed PlayStation LifeStyle a behind the scenes look at their newest console based IP, Injustice: Gods Among Us at GDC 2013. Set to release on April 16th, players will have the ability to choose one of 22 characters to go in an all out fight across the DC Universe.

Being NetherRealm Studios’ first new IP on consoles, many fans will be wondering if it will have similarities to their flagship series, Mortal Kombat—a fighting game that was built on a modified version of the Unreal Engine 3. Injustice: Gods Among Us was built using the same SDK, so the visual similarities between the two will be a bit more than coincidental. Luckily, the feel and style of Injustice is a fair bit different, as effects like blood and gore are not centerpieces this time around. Each character looks like they were designed to be the best representation of their role within the DC Universe as possible, which helps it distinguish itself, as well as being one of its biggest selling points.

Having cherry picked key aspects from various adaptations, fans will notice the level of detail NetherRealm Studios has gone through to create the world of Injustice. Many of the voice-overs for characters should be very recognizable, as it has talent like Kevin Conroy (Batman) and George Newbern (Superman)—who are both very recognizable to fans the animated television shows. While not a major drawback, there are some iconic voices that I wish would have been possible, namely Mark Hamill as the Joker, but the person cast for the role still does a superb job.

Something that has been a trend in fighting games over the last few cycles has been the inclusion of destructible environments, and Injustice takes that to heart. Players are able to knock their opponent through the stage into new areas, but they are also able to use the environment in different ways depending on the level you choose. As you are able to pick up objects to throw or pull down pipes to cause an area effect, you are given the ability to tie the environment into your fighting style and potentially change the course of the fight. This was only shown briefly, so how much this will be a factor for more advanced fighters will need to be seen, but it does add a bit of variety to the matches – as each stage offers something unique.

The challenge mode, which contains 240 mini-story missions, should have a great deal of replay value for people who looking for something outside of the standard modes—think MK‘s challenge tower turned up a notch. Each mission has a ranking system that will allow the player to earn up to three stars by completing specific objectives. We were informed there is a special prize for unlocking all 720 stars, but what exactly it is was left unanswered, just that it was “very cool”.

Having not been a fan of the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game I was not sure what to expect out of another revisit to the Superhero world, but having seen Injustice in person, I must say I am sold. NetherRealm Studios seems to understand that by focusing on the DC franchise itself, they were able to create a game that can be more balanced, represent each character better, as well as play with more unique ideas. When the game finally launches later this month, I will be looking forward to it as well as the four new 4 new characters planned for DLC, and the upcoming iOS app.