Gods Will Walk Among Us Soon
Injustice: Gods Among Us, the new DC universe fighting game from NetherRealm Studios, is set to release in about a month. With the game almost complete, the team at NetherRealm invited us to a behind-closed-doors demo in New York. Here’s what we saw.
Injustice’s story mode is truly astounding. In fact, it’s one of the best story modes we have ever seen in a fighting game. It takes cues from Mortal Kombat 9’s story mode, using in-game graphics to tell the story through cutscenes that then seamlessly transition into battles. Each fight has different parameters, sometimes asking you to take on multiple opponents or fight with certain restrictions in play. Also, you’re forced to control a different member of the game’s roster in each chapter, giving you a nifty overview of each character’s moves and abilities.
The whole story is incredibly dark, beginning with a jaw-dropping event that I won’t spoil for you, and it feels like the gritty DC comics that we read in the 90s. Not only that, but it all seems plausible to a hardcore DC comic geek like me. DC worked very closely with the Injustice team to make sure that the game made sense in the DC universe, and it shows.
S.T.A.R. Labs Trials
The S.T.A.R. Labs Trials mode is Injustice’s version of Mortal Kombat 9’s Tower of Might. It’s a series of matches with special restrictions and rules in place that alter the way the game works. For example, one trial was sort of like a game of hot potato. Whoever touched the opponent last transferred a virus to them that slowly ate away at their life. Another trial had Two Face in the stage background. Every so often he would flip a coin and shoot one of the combatants at random.
The trails are divided by character, and there are literally hundreds of them. In the demo, we saw about 300 different trials, and there are more on the way. Each trials category also spells out a small little side story for the character completing them. As you get closer to the story’s finale, the trials will slowly increase in difficulty. That being said, you aren’t forced to complete the trials in order. Instead, you can play them in whatever order you like, though certain trials are only unlocked once others have been completed.
Completing trials unlocks tons of aesthetic bonuses, including new costumes, artwork for the game’s gallery mode, and more. The team wouldn’t go into specifics about what unlocks are available, but we’ve been assured that they’d be as many and varied as Mortal Kombat 9’s.
The XP System
One of the coolest new features of Injustice: Gods Among Us is the XP system. When you do anything in the game, with any character, that character gains XP and levels up. Leveling up doesn’t give you any in-game advantage. (It’s a fighting game, so increasing the power of your characters would essentially break the game’s balance.) Instead, it gives you a bunch of out of game bonuses like costumes, artwork, and more. We were told that the XP awards would never grant you power, but there are “things that will show up in game” that you could acquire. My guess Is that you can unlock custom taunts or something.
Now, what’s really ingenious is that you also gain XP while in versus mode, and during each loading screen you are given a special XP boost challenge. These challenges are something like “land five specials,” “land two supers,” “clash with your opponent twice,” and so on. Not only does this give better players a goal to shoot for when playing opponents of lesser skill, but it opens up a whole new slew of tournament possibilities. Instead of holding simple double elimination tournaments, players can be ranked based on how much XP they earn in a sort of Swiss-system or round-robin format. This would keep each match feeling fresh and different, as the challenges would give you extra goals to shoot for.
Injustice is shaping up to be an amazing fighting game. It’s faster, smoother, and includes more interesting mechanics than Mortal Kombat 9, and its extra modes, like Story and the S.T.A.R. Labs Trials, bring alive the story elements that make the DC universe so interesting. It’s a game that is sure to appeal to both hardcore fighting game fans and serious comic book nerds.
Be on the lookout for Injustice when it launches in late April and keep your eyes peeled for more info about the game after PAX East next weekend.