Grizzly Gaming

Friday, May 3, 2013

Injustice: Gods Among Us Afterthoughts

I totally missed the Archives before writing my review. The Archives is where you can unlock new Battles, new character skins and other customizable/collectibles like Hero card items, backgrounds and music. To unlock these things, you need Access Cards Armory keys, which are earned by gaining levels. You get XP from doing anything in the game really, which goes toward your overall XP.

“Injustice” does a really terrible job of letting you know what the Archives are and why it’s important. If I were an uncurious gamer, I might not have even realized that there were items I could unlock.  Armory Keys seem to be the more useful of the unlockable currency, netting you new skins and special powerups for a set amount of matches, such as an XP multiplier.

Caution: Sudden difficulty spikes ahead
Really hate the sudden difficulty spikes. I’m not great at fighting games so if I put it on Medium, I don’t expect to steamroll my opponent but I expect to be able to hold my own. Only it seems, especially in Battles, that the game will suddenly kick up the difficulty without asking. You might feel like you’ve gotten into a rhythm. You just defeated a tough opponent and feel like you have a hang of your character’s special moves. Well “Injustice” will make sure that those good feelings stop immediately when it puts characters on God mode, unannounced, and proceeds to beat you senseless, air juggling you and pulling off combos on your lifeless body before you can even return to your feet.

Just today, in fact, I was in a Classic Battle as Lex Luthor. Five fights in, or so, I had just barely beaten Green Lantern and was next pitted against Aquaman. Though I got the first combo of moves off, Aquaman spent the next 20-30 seconds relentlessly pulling off combos, constantly landing unblockable moves and hitting me with attacks as my character was getting up but before I could input commands. Aquaman still had most of both bars of health while Luthor lay in an embarrassing heap on the ground as I rage quit, deciding that going to work would be more fun than getting owned over and over again. It seems that as you proceed against AI opponents, “Injustice” will kick up the difficulty and tends to routinely overdo it. If you get dominated continuously, it’ll ease the difficulty back down but once you clear that particular fight, the next will be just as hard all over again.

S.T.A.R. Labs? More like Blargh Labs AMIRITE?
Sometimes S.T.A.R. Labs is fun but mostly its annoying. A lot of the objectives are unrealistic and many stages are prone to the aforementioned sudden difficulty spikes.
One objective I keep running into tasks you with avoiding being hit by your opponent for 20 seconds (usually against a fast opponent, like Catwoman [who also has many ranged attacks]) while ALSO asking you to do ridiculous things like throw them a bunch of times and land an amount of combos. There isn’t much variation in these missions, so you’ll run into the same (annoying) objectives over and over.

For example, the last time I rage quit out of S.T.A.R. Labs was during the Red Son DLC bonus missions (that I got from preordering at GameStop). I was Soviet Superman versus American Superman, which would’ve been cool except there was a ridiculous stipulation. For the entire fight, there are beams of red sunlight that would heal USA Superman but hurt me. The beams would shine on him literally wherever he went, making him near impossible to beat, a lot of which is due to the fact that Superman is a pain in the ass to beat when there aren’t stupid stipulations.

But the best part (read: most insanely annoying) was how the fight ended. I finally managed to whittle down his first bar of health, which was a miracle because I only had a sliver of health left when it happened. The mid-health pause occurred and we were split up. Before the next round started, the red sunlight appeared on my character, killing him once the round began, instantly. Cheap doesn’t even begin to describe it. Infuriating comes close but still isn’t strong enough.

Taking my ball and going home
It seems like a lot of the achievements are tied to online play, which is unfortunate because I usually don’t play games online (of any kind) unless it’s with people I know. And generally, since I’m not great at fighting games, I take it as a rule of thumb that everyone who plays a fighter online is going to be better than me, so why frustrate myself?

But I did take “Injustice” online for a few bouts, and just as expected, I got owned. Hard. I took a few things away from it though. There isn’t much lag when playing online but even in the best of circumstances, there will be a split second or so of lag. And a fighting game is about the last place you want to deal with latency issues. Next, there are lobbies you enter and once in the lobby, you’ll be matched up against someone of similar experience and overall record. These online lobbies are one-on-one fights or King of the Hill, where the winner stays and the loser takes a hike. The final thing I noted from my brief time online was that when you’re matched with an opponent, it shows you their overall record as well as how many times they’ve disconnected during a fight, so you know right off the bat if you’re playing against a rage quitter.

Notes wrap up
-Kind of annoying how you can’t restart fights, mid-round. There’s no option in the start menu. So if you’re losing in embarrassing fashion (which happens a lot thanks to – this seems to be a recurring theme here – sudden difficulty spikes), your only options are quit out entirely or get beat down until you’re dead, then watch their victory screen, THEN you can restart.

-Would be cool if there was a tag mechanic. I know it wouldn’t make sense in terms of the story and there are already plenty of fighting games with tag mechanics (Marvel vs. Capcom series, Tekken Tag Tournament), but being able to switch between characters in a fight, I feel, would let me learn their move sets faster. And adding the ability to switch characters mid-fight might actually help turn the tide if the computer suddenly decides that you’ve been winning too much. But, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this to be added.

-The Classic Battle mode is the typical fighting game single player, where you select one fighter to battle through a predetermined list of foes and are rewarded with a short, unique movie about what your character does after banishing Superman. These movies can be viewed again in the Archive.

-Didn’t notice before but if your character gets beaten into their second bar of health, little bits and pieces of damage begin to appear on their character model. You really only get a brief chance to check this out at the end of a fight but it’s still a neat little touch.

- Neat little nods and bits of fan service all over this game. For instance, there are many DC characters scattered all over levels, hiding in the background, or in the case of the Martian Man Hunter, just kinda standing around watching the fight. Another example is a reference to the intergalactic bounty hunter and main man Lobo in Doomsday’s post-Classic Battle movie. Lobo, if you didn’t know, will also soon be appearing in “Injustice” as he’s the first announced piece of DLC for the game.
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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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