Injustice: Gods Among Us is the latest game from Warner Bros. and NetherRealm Studios, the developers behind the popular Mortal Kombat series. The game features twenty four characters from the DC Universe and all of your favorite superheroes and villains are available to play with. Batman News comic book reviewer Andrew will be helping out with this review. For my part, I’m going to focus on all the Batman related characters from the game. I spent the majority of my time playing as Batman, The Joker, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Bane, and Nightwing. Does Injustice: Gods Among Us do enough to make it feel like more than just a “Mortal Kombat skin”? Check out the full review to find out!

Graphics and Gameplay

Each character is highly detailed and looks like the comic book heroes and villains you’ve come to love. There are twenty four characters to choose from, twelve heroes and twelve villains, and many have alternate costumes that you can unlock by playing certain modes in the game or by using DLC codes from pre-orders. Don’t worry, all extra costumes are likely to be available for purchase in the coming months.

While the characters look great, the real stars of the show are the interactive arenas that you fight in. There are fifteen arenas in total and six of them are from the Batman world. These include the Batcave, Gotham City, Arkham Asylum, Joker’s Asylum, Wayne Manor, and Wayne Manor Night. Joker’s Asylum and Wayne Manor Night are just Arkham Asylum and Wayne Manor with different skins… but the change of scenery is nice. Each arena is highly interactive and features two areas. For example, my favorite arena to play on is Arkham Asylum. Each arena has a devastating transition to take you from one part of the arena to the next, and Arkham’s is by far the coolest. Fans of the Batman: Arkham video games will be happy to see cameos from some of their favorite villains here. Hugo Strange, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Penguin, Two-Face, and The Riddler all make an appearance. Check it out in the video below at the 3:16 mark or watch the whole thing to see every arena transition. They’re a lot of fun!

The overall gameplay is fun too but there’s definitely a learning curve, especially if you haven’t played a fighting game in a while. Thankfully there are in-depth tutorial and practice modes to help you get up to speed on the controls. Chaining several attacks together and creating combos are key in fighting games like this, and you can access your entire movelist by just pausing the game in the middle of a fight. With the press of a button you can “pin” moves to your screen so they’re always available during your fights. This is great for beginners who are trying to learn all the moves for their favorite characters. There aren’t fatalities, which the Mortal Kombat games made popular but each character does have a special move in its place. These moves are purposely over the top, but fit each character well. For example, Aquaman’s special move involves him summoning the ocean, stabbing his opponent with his trident and holding him/her up high as a shark comes by to eat them. It’s ridiculous but for some reason it never gets old. Batman’s special move is cool, and fans of Batman: Arkham Asylum will get a kick out of it. Batman throws a smoke bomb, a couple of batarangs, and then leaps out of the way as the Batmobile comes flying into the arena and crashes into his opponent. While Batman has some cool gadgets to fight with, I’d have to say that the Joker was my favorite character to play with. He has everything from his crowbar to his poisonous flower, bombs, guns, and even a bazooka. He also douces his opponent with gasoline, lights a match, delivers a “you’re fired” punchline before setting them on fire after a win. I only played the game with the six Batman characters, but NetherRealm Studios did a great job capturing the key elements of each of them and made them all feel unique.

Single Player

Andrew is going to talk about the story mode in great detail so I decided to cover the other aspects of the single player mode. If you’re new to fighting games, or like me haven’t played Mortal Kombat since the PlayStation 2 days, you’ll probably want to hop right into training. Training is split up into two modes, practice and tutorial. The tutorial mode walks you through all aspects of the fight. From basic moves to special moves and advanced combos, everything is covered here. Once you feel comfortable with all the controls you can head into the practice mode. Here you can select a fighter and an opponent and practice everything you learned from the tutorials. You opponent will have unlimited health and won’t fight back, so you can try out all of your combos and special moves. It’s a great way to get familiar with the game.

The S.T.A.R. Labs mode starts you off as Superman as you fight opponents to eventually get to Lois Lane, who needs your help. This mode includes regular fights but also has a few mini games to help keep things fresh. Once you beat the ten Superman missions you’re able to play as Batman. Fans of the Batman: Arkham video game series will be happy to see some of their favorite characters appear. You won’t fight them directly, but they’ll make appearances in the background and try to stop you from winning your missions. If you get tired of beating up people with combos, S.T.A.R. Labs is a great mode to slow things down a bit and mix up the fun.

Fans of the Mortal Kombat series will feel right at home in the Battles mode. Here you fight in an eight man tournament as you fight your way to the final opponent. To keep things fresh there are different battles you can participate in. “Poisoned” mode puts you into the tournament with poison in your veins, so your health will constantly drain as you fight. In “Survivor” mode your health carries over from fight to fight, but you can earn bonus health by pulling off spectacular moves. There are a lot more Battle modes to unlock to help each tournament feeling new.

Of course if you’re just looking to get into a one on one matchup there’s single fight mode. Here you select your fighter, your opponent, and the difficulty level of your choice. Put all your training and skills together and try to beat any opponent you wish, or try to create some memorable fight moments with the interactive arenas.

Online Multiplayer

Smooth online play is critical for a game like Injustice: Gods Among Us. The slightest bit of lag can throw of the timing of a big combo and cost you the fight. Unfortunately my experience with the game online was hit and miss. The first few fights were great, I was surprised at how smooth the game felt and I didn’t experience any lag. Then I asked Andrew if he wanted to play, and the lag was so bad that it was almost unplayable. Both of us have pretty big internet connections, so hopefully this is something that NetherRealm Studios can fix over time.

If you do play a fight that doesn’t lag, you’re able to head right into a rematch which means you can play for hours without having to worry about any hiccups. But if you’re jumping around from player to player, be prepared to run into some laggy match-ups.

Collector’s Edition

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Warner Bros. was nice enough to send me the collector’s edition of the game so I thought I’d talk a bit about what’s included.  For $99.99 you get the game, a 13″ statue featuring Batman and Wonder Woman, an Injustice: Gods Among Us comic book, a digital download of DC Universe animated film Justice League: Doom, and three exclusive skins for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman based on The New 52 comics.

That’s a lot of extra content, but is it worth the extra $40? The 13″ inch Batman and Wonder Woman statue is cool, but it’s made of plastic and feels cheap. It definitely wouldn’t warrant the bigger price tag by itself.  If you’re a big fan of comics and haven’t read the Injustice: Gods Among Us tie-in issue or haven’t seen Justice League: Doom, the collector’s edition might be for you. If you’re not a diehard comic book fan however, you’re better off skipping the collector’s edition just getting the $60 game.

And now I’m going to turn it over to Andrew Asberry, who will talk in great detail about the games story, each character, and the iOS app.

Overview

For my portion of the review I’d like to start off by addressing how much of the game I actually played. Something that’s always bugged me about video game reviews is that I’m never sure how long the reviewer actually played the game before writing their article. When you read a book review you can be confident that the entire novel was read or in the case of a film critic it’s safe to assume that they sat through the entire movie. But when a video game review pops up on the day of release for something as sprawling as Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto I get suspicious. As of right now I have beaten the main story, the Superman and Batman STAR Labs missions (3 stars each), completed 2 Battles/Towers (The Flash and Nightwing—And the leaderboard for this mode appears to be broken…unless there really are hundreds of people out there who can defeat 10 enemies in 42 seconds with Cyborg), played around 5 online matches (it lagged for me and I didn’t care for it), and around 50 or so versus matches against friends and family. In addition to this I have also become rather addicted to the iOS app and I have played it enough now to upgrade three characters to level 22 or higher. Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll let you know what I think about the things I’ve seen so far with a focus on Batman-related elements and the stuff Chris didn’t already cover.

Character Roster

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Probably the most important part of any fighting game is the roster. You don’t want to waste cash on a game where there are only one or two well-rounded characters that everyone fights over. Variety is key with this type of game. Thankfully, Injustice has a pretty good mix. Almost all of the characters can be mastered and turned into something quite formidable in the right gamer’s hands. And for the most part the developers assembled characters that people will be excited to see. They do this to a fault, really. With Batman being the most popular DC character (and one who has the best rogues gallery) they overloaded the bench with Gotham’s finest (and worst) while we miss out on many great heroes and villains from the rest of the DC Universe. Martian Manhunter isn’t playable, Black Manta would have been nice so Aquaman could’ve had an arch enemy, Ares had basically nothing to do in the story mode so Cheetah would’ve been a better fit for Wonder Woman, and I have no idea why Killer Frost was in the game. Why not Captain Cold?

But those are just minor nitpicks. For the most part it’s a very fine selection with 24 characters to choose from and more on the way thanks to some DLC (pre-developed content held for ransom is more like it, amiright?). What I did take major issue with was the awful character designs. Why does the Flash have armored plating all over his body? Everybody’s suit is overly busy with extra plating all over every inch of their body to create a clunky-looking mess instead of a clean, iconic presentation. It would’ve been best to keep it simple, especially with The Flash. I highly recommend signing up for WBID and getting the New 52 Flash design which actually looks like something the man could run in.

Fatalities are not a part of this series, but are instead replaced with Super Move cinematics that can occur during regular gameplay much like the X-ray attacks from MK9. It’s a cool feature, but can get tiresome when there’s only one possible move to be seen per character and it can’t be skipped. When the novelty wears off you just want the cutscene to end so you can get back to playing. Had the developers given each character 2-3 different super moves, this wouldn’t be anywhere near as bothersome. Or better yet, add a non-lethal equivalent of the fatality.

And for those of you wondering how the likes of say Harley Quinn can somehow inflict damage on Doomsday, well that’s because in the games story everyone took a Krypton-tech pill that gave them all super strength. Satisfied? Well, you shouldn’t be because that hardly explains how Joker can harm Superman by shooting him with a gun. It’s best just to ignore all of this and have fun—and the game is indeed very fun.

Anyway, here’s a brief breakdown of the playable characters put in spoiler tags because this section does run pretty long and won’t interest everyone.

Spoiler

Batman

Of course I’m going to talk about Batman first. I bring him up before anyone else not only because the name of our website is Batman News, but because he’s easily the most well written of the characters in the game. Since he’s such a popular figure I imagine the writers have been exposed to enough of the mythology that getting his portrayal right wasn’t a problem. The developers even cast Kevin Conroy to play the part and as you can imagine that worked out just fine. Other positive points about Batman are that he has one of the most fun Super Moves and the most highly detailed level designs such as the Batcave, Gotham, and Wayne Manor. If you want to have a good time, download the Knightfall Bane skin and pit him against the Dark Knight in Wayne Manor to act out a classic moment in Batman history! On the downside, like nearly all the characters in Injustice, Batman’s character design is atrocious. The suit itself has the look of Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which is cool but the cowl has some weird plating around the eyes that I didn’t care for at all. The alternate costumes aren’t much better. I was especially disappointed in the New 52 skin because its coloring was too light and, again, had too many lines on the cowl to look in any way similar to the comic book representation. But the most disappointing feature of all about Batman is that his character entrance and fighting moves are all very boring. Tumbling out of a cloud of poorly rendered bats isn’t the best entrance for Batman. Not when Dick Grayson gets the ultra cool entry of doing a back flip from a motorcycle.

Aquaman

Why in the hell did they cast Phil LaMarr to voice Aquaman? Didn’t they know how weird it would be to hear Jon Stewart’s voice coming out of Aquaman’s mouth? Yeah, I know he did the voice of Aquaman on Young Justice—I don’t care. He’s always going to be Jon Stewart to me. And speaking of which, where is Jon Stewart?! I’m getting side-tracked. Aquaman is one of the most fun characters in the game, period. He’s ultra quick, has a wide variety of moves including ranged attacks and easy to memorize combos, and his special move is extremely satisfying. Just like the New 52 Aquaman, Injustice’s King Arthur is a complete bad ass. My only complaint about him is that they didn’t give him a manlier beard in the alternate timeline skin. I would love to play as an Aquaman with long hair, hook, and scraggily 3ft long beard.

Ares

Ares has no major role to play in the game’s story and he felt incredibly out of place. He shows up to talk smack to Aquaman, gets his butt kicked, and then admits that “Yeah, I don’t have that much power anymore…that was kind of stupid of me, huh?” – not his exact words. However, his character design actually did fit him rather well, he’s an easy character to pick up, has some impressive moves, and delivers plenty of power. His super move is also one of my favorites so be ready to tell your friends to that they will fight in the shade. I still wish we would’ve gotten Cheetah in this instead. She would have been a better fit than Catwoman, but far less marketable.

Bane

You’d think that after The Dark Knight Rises came out that Bane would get more respect. Well, I’m sorry to say that we’ll have to wait a wee bit longer before Nolan’s movie wakes people up to the fact that Bane is not that Joel Schumacher oaf from Batman & Robin. Bane is slow, his moves are really boring (he charges at foes and that’s about it), and he lacks any real ambition in his characterization other than just being the muscle. And if you want a character design for him that actually looks like the Bane you know and love, you’ll have to rate the iOS app in order to download the Knightfall skin. At the very least, they remembered to make Bane Hispanic so that has to count for something.

Black Adam

I haven’t played as Black Adam much, but I like his voice and the presentation matches the comics. The variant skin could have been better. I didn’t like how they shaved his head for that. Like many of the characters in story mode, I don’t see Black Adam ever taking orders from Superman.

Catwoman

I like the variant costume best, but if you look at the initial designs for the character in the unlockables section you’ll see that both versions of the character they went with are a thousand times better than the earlier sketches. Wow. There were some really bad ideas early on. As for playing as Catwoman, she’s incredibly fast so it should be easy to string together combos and really tear enemies apart. I played Chris online once and he played as Catwoman. Totally whooped my ass.

Cyborg

Booyah! I never watched the Teen Titans TV series, but does Cyborg really say “Booyah!” this much? It’s a funny catchphrase and your friends will hate you every time you crush them and Cyborg exclaims it so it makes playing as him all the more enjoyable in my book. The voice actor from Teen Titans also returned to do the voice for Cyborg here and he’s made out to be just as formidable and intelligent as he is in the New 52 Justice League series. I liked playing as him, thought he was handled well in the story (except for being a lackey for Supes in the alternate timeline but that goes for just about everybody) especially during the very “buddy cop” segments between him and Deathstroke. They had surprisingly good chemistry together much like how Green Arrow and Harley mesh brilliantly in the comic book that ties into all of this.

Deathstroke

Go online and you’ll find a lot of folks playing as Deathstroke. He and Superman are two of the most overpowered characters in the game thanks to their extraordinary strength and ranged attacks. Deathstroke looks great, has a great voice actor, and he’s one of the coolest characters in the story mode. I wish there had been even more of him. Of all the characters in Injustice, Deathstroke is the one that mainstream audiences will have a greater appreciation for after beating the game.

Doomsday

Basically the same as Bane but more powerful and he actually has a dive attack that’s absolutely devastating. Still, it’s Doomsday. I wouldn’t play as him myself. There’s just nothing all that cool about the character to me. He and Bane came about in the comic world at around the same time as all-new ultimate baddies that would be the end of the two most iconic heroes in comics. However, Doomsday the rock monster never had much potential to grow a personality while Bane developed more and more over the years.

Flash

It goes without saying that the Flash has a lot of speed, but he’s also got one of my favorite super moves in the game. Just make sure to get the New 52 outfit because the regular suit is terrible and the variant suit from the alternate timeline is way, way worse. His portrayal in the storyline isn’t great either. Flash is a good man who shouldn’t have joined Superman’s regime. Ever. And while he does have a change of heart later in the game it’s too little too late. I wish that this guy had better special moves because you have to go into runner’s pose way too often to pull off anything really impressive as The Flash. I wanted tornado arms! Where are the tornado arms? …Speaking of tornados, Red Tornado would be a nice addition to the game.

Green Arrow

The only downside about Green Arrow is that he doesn’t shoot a punching bag arrow. Ollie is right up there with Batman and Deathstroke as one of the best characters in the game’s story mode, but he’s also one of the most unique and fun fighters to play as. Not only does he have a wide variety of moves (especially arrows) and a great special, but he is very well written. Just like in the comic book, you’ll laugh out loud at the things Green Arrow has to say. Most importantly though, he has the goatee again! After seeing Oliver in action you’ll wish DC would wise up and give the character his facial hair back. Maybe we should start a petition? I believe that a variant based on the TV show “Arrow” is also available.

Green Lantern

He sounds kind of like Bruce Campbell, which is nice, but he’s portrayed with little to no willpower whatsoever and that goes against what Hal Jordan is all about. The Hal Jordan in this game is not only bent to the will of Superman but Sinestro as well and even when things are at their worst he is too afraid to stand up for what is right. Green Lantern’s moves are also not as fun as Sinestro’s, everything is plane/missile related except for a throw move that involves a brick wall. I think I was the most disappointed in Hal both in story and gameplay. (Amendment: I played with him more today and flying across the stage on the turbine is a pretty sweet move. I’m starting to come around on this guy.)

Harley Quinn

Didn’t play as her much, but the voice actress did a fine job and Harley proved to be more heroic than most of the Justice League all while displaying far more will power than Hal Jordan. I do wonder when we will finally get a voice actress who doesn’t model her performance after Arleen Sorkin—what exactly would a new voice to the character even sound like and would fans accept it?

Hawkgirl

Hawkgirl was woefully underused in the game. She and Raven had hardly any lines and were totally forgettable characters. I played as her once or twice. She could float around the stage and had the ability to dive at an enemy Raiden-style, but other than that I don’t recall much. Not a go-to character for me right now, but I think she has potential.

Joker

Joker gets a lot of screen time in the game and he also has one of the best intros, the easiest and most fun special moves, a great super move, and the voice actor did an alright job channeling Mark Hamill and Ceasar Romero, although the voice always kept the same temperament which made it all the more apparent how one dimensional Joker can be. There are a lot of really great nods to the comics like the mention of “Death in the Family” and we even see Joker wielding a crowbar. The developers knew that people love Joker so they really put a lot of effort into making him one of the most enjoyable to fighters to watch.

Killer Frost

I’m not sure why the Firestorm villain was used in this game. She, like Hawkgirl and Raven, is severely underdeveloped in story mode and since she’s probably the most esoteric fighter in the game I never bothered playing as her more than once. I would’ve preferred Captain Cold so that Flash could have another baddie besides Solomon Grundy who shows up in several DC titles. Captain Cold would’ve been Flash’s rogue alone.

Lex Luthor

Giant-Robot-Suit Luthor is the least interesting incarnation of the character in my opinion. The fact that Lex can pose so much of a threat to the Man of Steel without matching him physically is what I enjoy the most, but it is a fighting game and this is the best version of Luthor for fisticuffs…although, it would have been nice to have gone the All-Star Superman route instead. Mecha-Luthor has very powerful moves, but he’s rather slow. Still, as far as the big, slow-moving fighters go I would rather play with the more versatile Luthor than Bane, Grundy, or Doomsday.

Lobo

Lobo will be the first DLC character and I can’t wait. This over-the-top character should make a very fine addition to the cast of characters.

Nightwing

One of the best characters to play as and one of the most interesting characters in the story. Dick Grayson has incredible speed and agility and his ability to switch from eskrima sticks to a staff makes him a very versatile fighter who keeps opponents on their toes. He’s also got a really cool intro and super move. Even though I thought I would never say this, I would rather play as Dick than Bruce any day. And when it comes to skins, it’s actually the New 52 suit that looks the best. Like the Flash, Nightwing is all about mobility and doesn’t need the clunky plating. Of course, I still wish his emblem was blue instead of red… Oh, and the regime version with the long hair—that’s probably the ugliest character in the game.

Raven

As far as magic females go, I would’ve much preferred Zatanna. I’m bitter about it enough that I only played as Raven once. Didn’t care for it. She’s also one of the most underdeveloped and unnecessary characters in story mode. Crank up the difficulty enough though in your single player campaign and Raven is one of the hardest fighters to beat thanks to some ranged moves that crumple you in the air with purple energy. I’ve cursed Raven’s name quite a bit but refuse to ever play as her again.

Shazam

Billy deserved better. In story mode that is! In combat, Shazam is one of my favorites. Not only does he have a great look but he has cool moves and great cinematics that go along with them. I just wish he would take the hood down from time to time. In story mode, Shazam has hardly any lines at all. In fact, most of our heroes are underdeveloped to an insulting degree.

Sinestro

A faster Hal Jordan with more imaginative moves.

Solomon Grundy

It’s pretty hard to mess up Grundy. If the creators of any movie, game, or TV series show him grunting, growling, and smashing stuff then they did their job well. He’s not a complicated guy and they did a great job with his character design. All of his costumes look good and for such a large, lumbering fellow he actually has some good ranged attacks.

Superman

As I said earlier when discussing Deathstroke, Superman is overpowered. I guess its deserved since he’s written so poorly in the actual game. The same voice actor from the Justice League Animated Series was used and there are a variety of costumes to choose from including the Red Son suit or New 52 depending on where you preordered the game.

Wonder Woman

I love fighting as Wonder Woman. She’s the only female character in this game besides Harley who gets any lines in story mode, but the way she’s characterized is anything but heroic. One terrible tragedy and suddenly Wonder Woman transforms into Lady Macbeth? I don’t think so. I really do hate how all of these heroes in the alternate timeline would suddenly lose all their virtue because of a single crisis rather than pull together. As for Wonder Woman’s moves, she has a lot of power and the ability to switch between lasso and shield which makes for a really versatile performance that will keep your opponents guessing. Her super move could have been better though. Wonder Woman is strong enough as is, but in her super move she calls for a couple of Amazon gal pals to hold the other combatant down while she delivers a sucker punch or two. This act makes even less sense when you deliver it in story mode when all other Amazons in the alternate timeline would be against the good Wonder Woman.

Story Mode

People play fighting games for the story?

NetherRealm’s previous game, the rebooted Mortal Kombat had a phenomenal story mode. Not only did I find the cutscenes to be highly entertaining, but the fights and mini-games were an incredible challenge that took my friend and I weeks to complete. The story mode of Injustice: Gods Among Us, however, never posed a significant challenge. I think that I might have struggled on one or two fights where it took two or three attempts to beat my AI opponent. It didn’t take weeks, but only two evenings to beat Injustice and with no major obstacles along the way I never got that feeling of accomplishment you want after taking down a game’s final boss. The real challenge of Injustice comes from earning 3 stars on all the STAR Labs missions and raising the difficulty on Battle mode. One really great thing about story mode though is that the developers gave you the ability to skip or pause cutscenes! Every game should have this. There’s nothing worse than needing to use the facilities but you can’t leave the room because important story development is happening on screen.

As for the actual tale being told, I’m divided. Yes the story is entertaining and it will keep you invested, but the characterizations are questionable and the use of a multi-verse robbed the narrative of much of its impact.

Injustice is written by Brian Chard, Dominic Cianciola, John Vogel, and Jon Greenberg with input by DC writing team Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti of comics All-Star Western and Batwing. After a terrible tragedy, Superman has decided that it is his responsibility to no longer be an inspiration to the world but to instead act as its leader. All other heroes except for Batman fall in line and our story picks up 5 years later where small resistance groups rebel against the mighty banner of Superman. It’s a pretty bold idea except for the fact that before we get into any of it the game opens with a quote from Lex Luthor about the multi-verse. This basically neutered the story for me because it means that none of the shocking events that I praised in the comic book tie-in ever really happened. There’s no true consequence because what I saw was not the “real” universe. It plays it too safe when I wanted something daring like what we saw in the final moments of Arkham City. That game created a new mythology and developed a world all its own where anything was possible while Injustice takes the easier path (I’m quite bummed that the next Arkham game isn’t going to pursue the narrative threads left hanging by Arkham City). But not only that, the story is truly a complete rip-off of the Justice League: The Animated Series episode “A Better World” by Stan Berkowitz.

The major differences between Injustice and “A Better World” are that in Injustice Superman is angered over the loss of Lois Lane and Metropolis but in “A Better World” events are set in motion by the death of The Flash. Here I have to give points to Injustice. They really put him through the wringer in this and it’s easy to empathize and see why a man would totally lose his mind in such a situation. The problem, however, is that we’re not talking about a man. We’re talking about Superman. He’s the very personification of hope and forgiveness and even if your idea of the character can permit him to lash out in a brief moment of blind rage, well, that doesn’t account for the countless murders he commits throughout the next five years. Reader Sergio Amorim had a great post about this in my review of the 3rd issue of the comic series when I was starting to accept Superman’s turn to the dark side too easily. You can read that by clicking HERE.

As far as we know, the only difference between the real DC world and the Alternate DC world is that in the alternate timeline the Metropolis incident happened and in the other it did not. Of course with it being an alternate dimension you could always make up your own reasons for why the evil Superman was so weak willed. These points are never addressed so whatever you need to do to better suspend your disbelief—do it.

Batman is written really well. He’s one of the few true heroes in the story who, when faced with this devastating event, sides with the people. This is kind of funny when you consider that Batman, the personification of vengeance, probably has the greatest capacity to lose faith in society. As for all the others? They totally fall in line and desert their original cause for truth and justice in exchange for absolute control. Flash, Green Lantern, even Shazam. It’s kind of disgusting to see them all turn into Superman’s lackeys. While I can see casual viewers accepting this and having a great time, I think that any die-hard fans of these heroes would be rather disappointed to see that Batman was the only rational hero among the Justice League. Great for us though, right? Batman’s #1!

iOS App

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You might be wondering what this is. I know that while I was playing the game and kept receiving updates about how I had unlocked “Harley’s Mallet” or something that I wasn’t quite sure what good that would do. As it turns out, there is a completely free app available for iOS devices that gets certain characters, items, and upgrades unlocked for it by playing the console version. Who cares, right? Well it turns out that these improvements go both ways. If you play the iOS app, you end up unlocking things for the console game and I have to say that it is worth it. Is it a terrible shame for people who can’t access the app? Absolutely. That sucks. And does it set a dangerous precedent for game companies to eventually release pay-to-play apps the coordinate with your console game? I shudder at the thought. But as of this moment it’s free, I have an iPhone, and I’m really loving the game.

I’m not much for apps so I don’t have a great deal of experience with them. I use my phone as a phone, to text, check email, and Google things that confound me in everyday life (a wandering albatross flies for up to 10 years without landing?!). So I’ve been taken aback by how closely the graphics on my iPhone 5 resemble those of the Xbox 360 game. As for the controls, it’s pretty simple. I passed the phone to my 6 year old nephew and he picked it up just as quickly. All you do is tap or swipe the screen wherever your opponent is standing (that happens to be on the right side, the bad guy never jumps to the other side of you). That might not sound like a whole lot of fun, and it really isn’t. What is fun, however, is the leveling up system. I’m sucker for games that reward me with points that allow me to make a character more powerful and unlock hidden items and characters. After each match you get experience points and use those to buy new characters and abilities and that’s been a blast. Of course, I am really only playing this to get all the unlockables for the console version and once I have that I’ll likely delete this game never to play it again, but whatever—it’s free.

What will you desperately be hoping to unlock with the iOS app? How about Batman Beyond Batman? It’s the one Batman skin that, to me, doesn’t look terrible. And then there’s also Arkham City’s Harley Quinn and Knightfall Bane. By connecting your app to WBID (it’s free and only takes an email, I used a junk account for nonsense like this so I’m not spammed all the time) the apps sends your progress to the console so you can start playing with a Bane that actually looks like Bane!

You can download it at the App Store here.

Final Thoughts

Injustice: Gods Among Us is essentially a re-skinned Mortal Kombat 9 made with an easier difficulty to appeal to more casual gamers. That’s not a bad thing though, Mortal Kombat 9 is awesome in every way! If you want the same level of challenge that you got from MK, however, you won’t find it in the story mode and will instead need to crank up the difficulty in battles or shoot for 3 stars in S.T.A.R. Labs missions. There are enough challenges and unlockables to keep you busy for a long time, plenty of Easter eggs to thrill comic fans, and if you like online play or have friends who love playing fighting games over at your place the game won’t get old too quickly.  I think it’s a heck of a lot of fun (could’ve used more Super Moves for variety’s sake and added a non lethal equivalent to the fatality), especially when played in tandem with the iOS app. I plan on unlocking EVERYTHING.

SCORE: 8/10

Video Review

If you’ve made it through the massive Batman News review and are still looking for another opinion, check out Arris Quinones’ review from the latest episode of Variant!