E3 2012: Injustice: Gods Among Us First Look Preview – We Could Be Heroes
Written Saturday, June 16, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
If there's one thing that Mortal Kombat dev NetherRealm Studios knows how to do, it's build a fighting game where every punch packs bone-crunching impact. Each and every uppercut, kick and jab in Mortal Kombat brought with it a wince-inducing wallop, and the same rule applies for Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm's latest foray into the fighting genre. While it shares roots with MK and MK vs. DC Universe, Injustice is ramping things up to a higher level, and our first look demo is an exciting, gloriously OTT glimpse of what to expect.
Like Marvel vs. Capcom and its forebears, the rules simply don't apply in Injustice. Every single conceivable aspect of it is brilliantly overblown, throwing subtlety out of the window to indulge in the extremities that super heroes and villains knocking the living crap out of one another allows. After all, when Superman smacks an opponent in the face, they're sure as hell going to feel it. Hovering inches above the ground, we find Superman facing off against The Flash in the Batcave during the first portion of our demo, watching dust and chunks of rock fall from the ceiling, which is just a tiny example of the kind of environmental interactivity at work in Injustice. There'll be 15 environments in all - including the Fortress of Solitude - each with their own array of interactive bells and whistles.
As Supes and Flash duke it out, the lighting rig attached to Batman's bat computer shakes, sparks then shatters before dropping and smashing completely as the fight goes on. Other instances see Superman hurling Flash in to a glass case housing one of Bats' outfits, ejecting a couple of grenades that can be picked up – one in each hand – and thrown at your rival. Flash retaliates by hitting a big red button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen – almost out of reach – firing missiles from the front of the Batmobile. In response, Superman grabs hold of The Flash and flings him through the console, sending both characters down into the bowels of the Bat cave, where the brawl continues.
In this lower level, there's a whole new batch of opportunities for interaction, with a hanging generator that Supes snatches from above him and throws, exposing dangerous electrical cables ideal for uppercutting foes into. There's also the Batwing, which gets upturned, a Bat cycle that gets knocked over and a mech that Superman doesn't hesitate to cut through with his laser vision. There's all sorts to chuck, press and pick up, and some fantastic interludes, such as the moment Superman piles into The Flash knocking him into an elevator that leads back to the main area of the Bat cave. As it rises up the shaft, huge dents form on the outside as the two heroes rumble inside. There are loads of neat comic book touches like these.
Two fighters can also clash, hitting each other simultaneously causing massive environmental damage that rocks the entire stage almost to its very foundations. It's complete and utter carnage. We see a similar level of destruction in another fight, this time between Batman and undead titan, Solomon Grundy, who tear up Future City (which we assume is in Metropolis). We get to see both character's stylish entries as the Dark Knight appears from out of a swarm of the winged critters and Grundy emerges from out of the ground in a gooey slime puddle, before the pair start tearing strips of one another. Each fighter has their own elaborate victory animations too, like Superman swooping into space, hearing a cry for help and dashing back down to Earth, or Batman moodily perching on a statue above Gotham City.
Batman opens the fight by smashing Grundy's head into a car, and the hulking villain replies by lifting the same vehicle, casually batting the caped crusader across the screen with it. A similar exchange repeats itself as Bats pelts a hover car with batarangs, dazing Grundy with small explosions. He smashes Batman by grabbing the car out of mid-air and slinging it at his rival, before following up with a powerful uppercut that sends a dazed Dark Knight spiralling through the air and through several walls of a tower block, blasting out of the brick in a shower of debris and shattered masonry, concussed but still in fighting shape on the other side.
Again, there's a whole other arena – this time a large rooftop – to exploit, and after playing around with Batman's gadgets, including small protective batarang drones, Bats uses his grapnel gun to catapult Grundy through the rooftop floor, smashing through several storeys with a hugely gratifying cross-section showing off every floor the giant busts through, before both characters land in a subterranean area. They don't hang around here for long though, as Solomon Grundy smacks Bats clean through another wall, sending him pinging off several underground pipes like a bat-eared pinball before emerging back where the fight began on the Future City street.
Grundy executes his finisher, pulling a tombstone out of his guts, breaking it in two over the Dark Knight's head, who responds in kind by stringing his huge opponent up from a lamppost with his grapnel gun. These are two surprisingly low-key finishers compared to what Superman and The Flash are capable of, with Supes uppercutting Flash into space before hammering him back down to Earth, and The Flash running around the world's equator to power up an explosive straight punch giving the hero a headache that'll make him feel like he's been at the Kryptonite cocktails.
Our first look at Injustice is not only incredibly encouraging then, with a jaw-dropping attention to character detail in both their models and unique animations, but it's also a remarkably entertaining and wholly gratifying initial insight into what looks to be one of the most exciting superhero fighters since Marvel vs. Capcom 3. As befits the DC licence, Injustice: Gods Among Us is darker and grittier than its Marvel counterpart, but it's no less crazy. And it's for that reason that we simply can't wait to get our hands on it as soon as humanly possible.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is slated for release sometime in 2013.