Monday, April 08, 2013

Injustice: Gods Among Us (Xbox 360) Demo Impressions

Last week, the demo for Injustice: Gods Among Us released to consoles, and unlike Mortal Kombat, who's demo is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, Xbox 360 gamers also get a chance to take this demo for a spin.  I spent a little bit of time with it, and I must say the demo's structure is very reminiscent of what the Mortal Kombat demo offered two years prior (which isn't a bad thing).

The Injustice: Gods Among Us demo features three playable fighters, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Lex Luthor, and a single stage, Gotham City.  There are no alternate costumes for the fighters in the demo, and there are only two modes of play, Single Player Battles (Arcade Ladder) or Multiplayer Versus (offline only).  Battles ends in a match against Doomsday as the boss character.

I did three separate Battles runs to try out each character, starting with Wonder Woman on Very Easy, then Batman on Normal, and finally Lex Luthor on Hard.  Now, one thing I've always been particular about in fighting games is the controls and Controller layout, and I am disappointed that Injustice: Gods Among Us does not mimic Mortal Kombat's more.  The primary differences are that there are three attack buttons ("X" and "Y" are punches of sorts, and "A" is a kick of sorts), "B" switches styles or uses a Character Power (For Wonder Woman, she switches from using her Lasso, which is offensive, to using her Sword and Shield, which is defensive, while for Batman this releases Mechanical Bats that he can use), and there is no Block button.  In order to Block, like many other fighters, you simply hold away from your opponent, however I've always been a Block button fan and still found myself hitting Right Trigger by default.

The actual matches against the AI are fast and fluid, very much like Mortal Kombat.  You can tell that game really inspired Injustice: God Among Us' style by feel alone, which I highly approve of.  Juggle combos are executed in the same manner, and of the demo characters I found I really enjoyed playing as Batman, and I was able to pull of some good 5-hit combos without even trying, while Lex Luthor was my least favourite, as he appears to be a slower, stronger character type, which has never been a match for me.

As we've seen in preview videos, stages are interactive, and I was able to grab signs and such and toss them at my opponent by pressing Right Bumper (Throw is now on Left Bumper), and I was knocked to the stage's different area once, which featured a cool transition.  I also had a few Super Moves performed against me and they were very flashy, and the head-to-head sequences seemed cool, though I didn't perfectly work out how they functioned, be it how to trigger them or exactly how to counter them.  I lost most attempts at them, but that's alright as this is only a demo.

When you Pause the game you instantly have access to a mini-moves list for your character, which is quite handy, followed by the more detailed list you can select similar to what we've seen in Mortal Kombat, save that now frame data is also displayed which is a huge plus for those who take fighting games quite seriously.

Visually the demo looks great, and menus and backgrounds feature the same high level of polish I've come to expect from NetherRealm Studios.  Character models also looked very well done, but I honestly found they looked slightly lesser than the detailed models we have in Mortal Kombat, though that could also have simply been a result of the Gotham City stage's dimmer lighting.  The audio, both voice acting, music, and effects, were also extremely well done.

I tinkered around with the demo for about an hour overall, and the only Battles run I didn't complete was with Lex Luthor, as I couldn't defeat Doomsday with him on Hard.  Overall though I found the difficulties balanced similar to that of Mortal Kombat, where they're not that difficult, even on Hard, provided you have a good understanding of the game mechanics and your fighter.

For those excited for the game, provided you also enjoyed what you saw in Mortal Kombat, I don't think you'll be disappointed in Injustice: Gods Among Us when it releases.  The demo is very high polished and fans of Mortal Kombat should pretty much fit right in.  For me though, I'm still less interested in the DC universe itself, as it doesn't hold nostalgia for me like a Mortal Kombat reboot did.  I'm also far from finished with Mortal Kombat, and don't quite need a new fighter at this time.  I figure I will pick the game up down the road, but likely after a "Komplete Edition" hits store shelves.

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