GDC 2013: Hands-on with ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us,’ and a first look at the iOS version we can’t talk about

Injustice-Gods-Among-UsIn the world of gaming, there are rules we agree to abide by when it comes to certain types of coverage. These are generally more annoying than nefarious, and they tend to come down to blanket business decisions that go unnoticed 99 percent of the time – right up until they don’t. Such is the case with the iOS version of Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Due to legal constraints stemming from Apple’s standard business practices, I can’t go into detail about the mobile game; I can’t talk about how the game looks or plays; I can only tell you that it exists, it’s due out around the same time that the console game is, and that it will be free to download. Even that may be pushing it. Everything else will have to wait until the game is closer to release.

Don’t read too much into this though. The secrecy is fairly common with iOS games – you just don’t hear about it that often as most games on Apple’s ecosystem aren’t that highly publicized until after they’re proven as successes. So, with regret, I am forced to not tell you how cool the game looks. I can, however, talk about Injustice for the consoles.

Injustice Cyborg vs Wonder WomanWith a scheduled release date of April 16, the development is complete, and the game should already be on the way for final packaging. All that’s left is to wait for the release of the final product. From what’s been shown so far, both fans of fighting games and DC Comics will have reason to be excited.

The game will follow the path taken by 2011’s Mortal Kombat and feature a healthy dose of single player content in the form of a story. Some of this story has already been revealed. The game begins after the Joker destroys Metropolis and tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child in the process. Supes doesn’t take this very well and he goes on to form a new world order, pitting him against Batman and his allies.

That’s the general plot of the story, but there’s still a lot more to know, including how characters like Superman and Black Adam can fight someone like Nightwing or Green Lantern without turning them into gelatin with one punch. According to NetherRealm, there is a reason for this … we just don’t know what it is yet.

There will also be a collection of side missions under the “S.T.A.R. Labs” category, which feature 10 fights for each character with a loose story designed specifically for each of them. In the demo shown starring Superman, Lex Luther kidnaps Lois Lane and Superman fights several opponents – including allies like the Flash who are trying to get Superman to calm down – as well as enemies like an alternative version of the Man of Steel. In each mission, there will be dialogue to explain the encounters. Thousands of lines of banter were recorded to offer character specific quips. For example, Batman and Bane will trade lines that are specific to their personal history.

There will also be stories inspired by specific DC storylines. Injustice is offering one mission pack specifically to GameStop pre-orderers, which is based on the “Red Son” Superman storyline that theorized what would happen if Superman had landed as a baby in Mother Russia instead of Kansas. Although for now it has only been announced as a pre-order bonus, it will eventually be available for sale via DLC. 

Speaking of downloadable content, NetherRealms is playing it safe with the DLC and will wait to see how the game fairs. Still, the developer already has ideas for DLC. The DC universe has plenty of characters, and the possibilities of new playable fighters as well as new DC-based storylines is intriguing. 

injustice-gods-among-us-flIn the side missions, you will be given a list of objectives. Completing these goals earn you stars, with each mission offering up to three stars. These stars help you level up, and each profile – not individual character – will earn experience points to unlock things like new skins. Earning three stars in every mission, however, will earn you a special bonus that NetherRealms is keeping quiet about for now.

As for the gameplay, it retains the Mortal Kombat DNA throughout. Moves are based on the same movement style, and, much like the X-ray attacks in the last Mortal Kombat, each character has a unique special move that can be triggered once a bar fills up. There is also a huge emphasis on using the environment, and you can interact with items with the touch of a button – some may let you throw a weapon, and others might allow a quick escape. Most levels also have multiple sections that you’ll need to find by beating your opponent in just the right way.

The wait is nearly over, and soon enough we’ll have all the info we need on the game. In general though, fans of DC lore and fans of the gameplay style of Mortal Kombat should be happy to know that both properties are properly represented here. There is plenty of reason to be excited for the AAA game, as well as that other version we can’t talk about yet. 

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