Game Reviews

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition

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Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition

The Vita isn't exactly short of great fighting games. Games like Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R, Street Fighter X Tekken Vita, and Mortal Kombat have made it the handheld of choice for fighting fans on the move.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition joins that venerable list and brings to the genre a captivating and intriguing single-player story set in an alternative DC Comics universe that fans will adore.

But it's also got a few of the persistent problems the current crop of fighting games have, and it's a marked visual step down from its home console counterparts.

Finish him

If you played last year's Mortal Kombat then you'll be right at home with the punching and kicking in Injustice. It's one on one, and you fight three rounds until you fall.

Square is a light strike, Triangle a medium hit, and Cross is a heavy attack. Adding direction buttons to these button presses can modify them: pressing Down and Cross produces a sweep that will knock your opponent off their feet. Pressing Square and Cross initiates a throw, and also counters your opponent's grapples.

Then there are the special moves, which involve combining a number of inputs, and usually result in you using your super powers or abilities. For instance: Down, Right, then Square fires Batman's grappling hook.

Injustice places a good deal of emphasis on combos and juggling opponents in the air, and after just a short period of time you'll be pulling off impressive looking short strings of hits.

Though they're a bit trickier to pull off, there are also a number of options to parry or deflect hits, dash quickly around the arena, recover from falls, and utilise the environment to your advantage.

For example: there's a lab with a power suit, and you can press the R shoulder button to leap off of it and distance yourself from your opponent, should you be in a tight squeeze.

Many of these manoeuvres use up a bar on your three-tier power meter, but if you play conservatively and max it out you can unleash a super special, which is an extravagant combination of strikes that removes a huge chunk from your opponent's life bar.

Infinite Earths

Play is fast moving and dynamic, and it's complemented by a single-player mode that moves from well-produced cut-scene to gameplay seamlessly.

Well, almost seamlessly.

You can tell when you're about to start playing, because the models change from detailed renders to far simpler characters models with washed out colours.

Characters move smoothly, punches land convincingly, and I totally accept that the Vita can't push as many polygons about as the home console editions. But the faded colouring is a real puzzler, and very disappointing. Thankfully, the epic soundtrack seems to be untouched.

What's also been left unaltered is the tutorial, which is adequate at best. It teaches you the basics of play and it's a thankfully hands-on affair, labelling each action you need to complete before being allowed to move on.

But it's not enough. You're never really told why a Tech Roll is useful, for example, and only once can you practise doing it in a combat scenario. Injustice isn't alone in its assumptions that only gamers with a knowledge of fighting games will want to experience it, but it's a pity it doesn't do more to welcome newbies in.

If it had, I'd be recommending that every DC fan play this immediately. The story is surprisingly dark, and uses heroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and more in some ways you hardly ever see in the comics and cartoons.

On top of this there's Ad-Hoc and wi-fi multiplayer options, all sorts of trinkets to unlock, and missions to work through that have special requirements for victory. And if you're wondering, this version has the moniker Ultimate Edition because it includes all previously released DLC from the consoles.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition is a strong fighter with lots of content to uncover and a well-written story. Though players unfamiliar with fighting games will have a tough time penetrating its depths, the brawling community will adore it.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition

It's not as pretty as the home console version, but Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition is nonetheless a tactically complex and rewarding fighting game