Comic-Con 2012 definitely has a lot of action going on this year. Yesterday alone, we ran into more celebrities in one day than we did our entire trip last year. (And big shout out to Orlando Jones – too awesome a dude.) But it’s also seen a huge boost in video game exposure, with THQ, Ubisoft, Capcom, and Nintendo really coming through with playable demos and bonus giveaways.
One company that’s always done something good for the show, however, is Warner Bros. Interactive. Last year, they dominated the show floor with a playable demo of the promising sequel Batman: Arkham City, and this year, they’ve done it again with the upcoming brawler Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game is the latest project from Netherrealm Studios, the team that handled last year’s reboot of the Mortal Kombat franchise, under the direction of veteran Ed Boon. They had a playable build of the game on the show floor, following up on the demo we took a peek at last month at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. And it delivered on all fronts.
The demo featured eight playable characters within the game, including the recently announced Cyborg and Nightwing, along with two stages taken straight out of the comic books – Batman’s iconic Batcave and Superman’s home turf, the Fortress of Solitude. Both stages feature a level of interactivity that was unheard of in the Mortal Kombat series, as you use objects within the environment to your advantage during each fight. The Fortress of Solitude, for instance, features those nifty crystal mirrors that you might have seen in the Superman films, which you can punch an opponent through to do major damage. And the Batcave has its own wonderful toys, between a missile-firing Batmobile and electrical wiring that can do damage from above.
What’s more, like in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, you can time a crucial hit on someone and make them bust through a new area. While Batman probably won’t be too thrilled over the damage you’re doing to the Batcave (c’mon, he can buy another one), it’s great busting out way into the lower depths of the hideout, with the Batboat floating on the water in the distance. For good measure, we knocked out opponent into an elevator, beating them up all the way up until returning to the main level of the Batcave.
The controls do have some similarities to Mortal Kombat, including basic punches and kicks and the option to set up a grab and throw (or strike) technique. However, there are things that stand out. For instance, with interactive environments, you can press the left bumper button to activate them, while still maintaining your strike attacks on the face buttons. You can also hold back and hit the A button (or X button on the PS3 pad) to launch a nasty strike, one that will knock your opponent through the aforementioned walls from before.
Best of all, you can build up a super attack. By attaining the right amount of energy, you’ll see your character’s logo glowing in the lower part of the screen. By hitting both trigger buttons at the same time (much simpler than the techniques found in most Capcom games), you can unleash an awesome cinematic attack where you do major damage to your enemy. Harley Quinn’s is by far the most hilarious, as she goes crazy on small attacks before sliding between your legs and dropping off an explosive that launches the opponent high in the air. The Flash’s is equally impressive, as he goes into a mad dash that strikes his enemy, then has him running all the way around the world at top speed, only to return and strike them again, but even harder this time around.
The cinematics also play a part in the introductions for each fight. Nightwing, for example, will ride in on his specially made motorcycle, before flipping off the bike and taunting his opponent. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, pays tribute to her fellow goddesses while unsheathing her sword. They all tie in to their respective characters, introducing a style that’s miles ahead of what Mortal Kombat delivered last year.
Though Injustice: Gods Among Us is still a ways off from release, Netherrealm Studios have done a bang-up job with the game thus far, making sure that it’s far more than just a Mortal Kombat wanna-be. In fact, the fighting couldn’t be more innovative, especially with the way you interact with items in the background. With superb graphics that really bring out the best in the comic book world and plenty of two player fun to be had both in off-line matches and through Xbox Live/PlayStation Network competition, Injustice could easily be one of 2013’s brightest releases. Now if it would just get here already…
Look for Injustice: Gods Among Us on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U.