Last week, MyLifeIsAnRPG and I were invited to play a preview build of Injustice: Gods Among Us. The point was to get a feel for the game to see how it plays, and if you know me, I was scouting the combo possibilities. Along with my partner, I got a chance to dig deep into the game and explore some of its features. Aside from the obvious Versus mode, Injustice has a few new things that aren’t common to the average fighting game, including an extensive Story Mode, an XP system, and a mission-like adventure called S.T.A.R. Labs.
Story mode kicks off with one hell of a cutscene, something that will leave your jaw wide open. You may have been spoiled elsewhere, but I’m not going to do that here. After the cinematic, you get to play as Batman to start things off. With your first opponent being Lex Luthor, you initiate a small mini-game before the actual match. However, this is not a pew-pew, Galaga type mini-game. This determines how your match is going to start. Let me explain. Lex is your opponent, but before the match starts, you get these simple commands (press B or Y, etc…) that flash pretty quickly at the bottom-right corner of the screen. If done correctly, you throw a batarang to keep Lex from approaching you. I failed this exercise because of how excited I was, but the point is, if you win the game, Lex starts the real match with a chunk of his life missing. If you lose, Lex will keep his life heading into the match. The matches from here on out vary, and you get a chance to play as most of the characters throughout story mode.
If you’re familiar with the trial/challenge/mission modes in most fighting games, then you will absolutely love S.T.A.R. Labs. There are tons of missions to do in this mode, and sometimes even missions within missions. The copy I got to play had over 200 and it still wasn’t the complete build of the game. Every character has a few objectives to complete. As far as the mission within the mission idea, they’ll ask you to do something simple like defeat Black Adam. However, within the same challenge, they’ll ask you to do something like throw Black Adam 10 times, land 8 special moves and perform 2 supers, all before defeating him. All of this, as well as story mode, help you gain XP and level up, which we will discuss later. Remember the Lex Luthor mini-game I mentioned earlier? Well, S.T.A.R. Labs has some surprises of its own. One of the missions I did had a simple task: defeat Harley Quinn. What made this match random was that Two-Face is part of the mission, standing in the background tossing his coin and yelling out heads or tails, correspond to the first and second players respectively. As the sides are called out, he takes pot shots at the fighter whose side is called out. Here I am pulling off one of my sexy combos on Harley and it stops, only to see that Two-Face isn’t there to look cute in the background. I found this to be an extremely cool addition to the mission, and it’s things like these that help set S.T.A.R. Labs apart and keep it interesting.
After spending any amount of time in either the story or S.T.A.R. Labs modes, you’ll have a bit of racked up XP. This currency can be used to unlock things like icons, achievements, skins, and badges. It also helps you level up within the game, which unlocks further tiers with bigger and better rewards, similar to the Krypt in Mortal Kombat.
My time with the game made me very impressed with the way its turning out. While the combat mechanics are on point, the game also offers a story mode unlike anything seen in fighting games before, as well as a few fun diversions in the S.T.A.R. Labs when you want to check out what else the game has to offer.
Be sure to visit this article’s companion for a sneak peek at what new fighters Black Adam and Raven are capable of, as well as our thoughts on Injustice’s system mechanics.