E3: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman battle in 'Injustice: Gods Among Us'
The Game: For reasons as yet unclear, the heroes and villains of the DC Comics universe — including Superman, Batman, the Flash, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and Solomon Grundy — are brawling one-on-one Mortal Kombat-style in this new twist on the superhero mythos from the makers of, whaddaya know, Mortal Kombat. (Out 2013, for PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U)
What We Played: I battled Wonder Woman as Batman, and lost; Solomon Grundy as Harley Quinn, and lost; Solomon Grundy as the Flash, and won; and Harley Quinn as Superman, and won. Those were the only six characters available for my demo, and we played on the only two arenas available: The Batcave and the Fortress of Solitude. The arenas, in fact, are part of what makes Injustice stand out from other fighting games. There are two to three distinctive parts to each arena — wallop your opponent in just the right way, and you can blast him or her into the bottom of the Batcave, or the alien menagerie within the Fortress of Solitude. And you can use parts of the arena to your advantage by, say, remotely firing the rockets on the Batmobile right when your opponent happens to be standing in front of it.
The Good: The kick from watching these iconic comic book characters thwack the crap out of each other is undeniable. Each character has a distinct super-duper punch that manages to be just over-the-top enough to evoke a happy laugh — the Flash races around the world to build up momentum for a massive pummeling; Superman’s uppercut lifts you straight up into space. And the levels themselves have such rich depth to them that you risk ignoring your fight in favor of just taking in the scenery.
The Not-So-Good: Playing the game, I got the distinct feeling I was barely scratching the surface of what it will ultimately have to offer, what with just a fraction of all the characters and arenas available for my enjoyment. The steep learning curve with fighting games — i.e. understanding just which buttons to mash to make the really cool stuff happen — meant that my battles didn’t quite unfold at the (literal) breakneck speed with which you’d expect superheroes to fight.
Excitement Level (on a scale from 1 to 10): While I’ve only seen a tiny bit so far, I’m quite keen to see much more: 8.