Injustice: Gods Among Us is basically DC characters beating the snot out of each other, and as such, it’s a lot of fun. But for some reason, it was compelled to have a plot. A full single player campaign with a story, even!
It kinda shouldn’t have bothered.
OK, maybe not “Superman machine-gunning Hitler twins with his dying breath” goofy, but it’s still pretty goofy. True, Supes would probably not take being tricked into killing Lois and then his city being nuked off the map terribly well, but this Supes is a Superboy-Prime grade homicidal nutjob. It raises the question of why there are any humans left, and why absolutely everybody went along with it.
It’s Got Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Gameplay
In fact, it borders on the distracting, sometimes, how little it has to do with the gameplay. The plot, as you may have guessed, is essentially an extended collection of excuses for “let’s you and him fight”. It means that some characters are awkwardly shoehorned in; Ares, Hawkgirl, Nightwing, Raven and Shazam! pretty much exist in the single player campaign to get their asses kicked repeatedly.
It gets worse with the backgrounds. So, you’re on the Watchtower, beating ass, and Martian Manhunter is just idly going about his business, sucking down Chocos in the background? Jerk.
It’s So Obsessed With Backfilling Plot Holes It Creates New Ones
This is a game that goes out of its way to explain that Green Arrow, the Joker, and other mere mortals get a super pill (no, seriously, it’s called 5U93R) that makes them thousands of times more dense, so they can get knocked into orbit and take a punch from Superman. The game ends as you’d expect, with the bad guys beaten and the heroes headed back home.
With the Joker. Who now has super-strength and super-durability. Keep in mind, they’re fully capable of dumping the Joker in an alternate dimension’s Phantom Zone, but noooooooo, they bring him back.
Similarly, the alternate-universe plot explains how two of the same character can fight… but the character designs are sometimes too subtle to figure out who’s who.
It Really Highlights The Character Imbalances
The game is structured so there’s twelve chapters, four fights per chapter, focusing on a different single-player character, although Batman comes up twice. This is kind of a problem because, first of all, you don’t play as the entire roster, and secondly, it highlights weaknesses in the roster.
While there’s no absolute bulldozer in the single player campaign, and also no utter joke who sucks, some characters are better than others. Aquaman, for example, has killer reach, hits pretty hard, and is fairly agile, and that’s before his ridiculous status buff that makes it easier to block and parry. Or Luthor, who has the farthest reach of any heavy character in the game. It blows the pacing out of the water and kind of makes you wonder how they didn’t notice this.
All Of These Problems Were So Easily Solved It’s Kind Of Ridiculous
Reskin the bad guys as the Crime Syndicate Of America and maybe make Superman Superboy-Prime, throw in a few bubble-punching jokes. Really, that’s all it would have taken, and a lot of these problems would have been solved.
None of this is to say the game isn’t ridiculously fun, because it is. It’s over-the-top, it’s funny, and the control scheme is smooth and intuitive, if a little fussy when it comes to combo timing. It’s just that superheroes pummeling each other shouldn’t need an excuse.