Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition makes the fighting game genre highly accessible. This DC Comics-themed brawler may be covered in Mortal Kombat’s blood, but that basis means that it’s built around a solid combative core, some classic input commands, and a surprisingly engrossing storyline. Granted, the differences between this PlayStation 4 port and its current generation counterpart are minor, but they’re enough to provide newcomers with the opportunity to experience the definitive version of an already solid fighting title.
Indeed, this re-release is right on the money. It features all of the balancing patches that were added to the vanilla version following its launch in April, alongside DLC characters Lobo, Batgirl, Scorpion, General Zod, Martian Manhunter, and Zattana. Rounding out the comprehensive package are an abundance of additional costumes, as well as some new S.T.A.R. Labs Missions. Of course, all of the original content is included, too – meaning that there’s enough here to keep even the most dedicated player occupied for weeks. If you’ve already had your fill of the PlayStation 3 edition, then you may not find the extras especially alluring – but as already alluded, this is a great entry point for those who didn’t get around to the original.
The meat of the game sits in Story Mode, which sees you jump between characters as you explore a narrative depicting a tyrannical Superman and a well-intentioned Batman. It offers some solid comic book storytelling that’s brought to life thanks to a terrific cast of voice actors who have all played their respective roles in other forms of media. Although you’re likely to conquer the tale in six or so hours, the pacing is excellent, throwing you into the boots of both heroes and villains as you attempt to beat down your opponents.
A handful of mini-game challenges are thrown in to keep things varied, and many of these can now be controlled using the DualShock 4’s touchpad. This new control method offers an excellent alternative when tossing objects such as Batarangs, and the sensitive surface actually feels very responsive. However, it’s a very minor improvement in a list of tweaks that’s actually rather slender. The only other major difference – aside from the abovementioned added content – are some very minor overhauls to the character models, which look a little crisper than before. This is particularly noticeable when you transition between cut-scenes and fights, as the difference in quality is not quite as evident as it was on the PS3. It certainly adds an extra layer of sheen to the already attractive brawler, but it’s not a gigantic difference.
While you’ll see out the plot in a day or two, it’s the Arcade mode and previously referenced S.T.A.R. Lab Missions that will significantly bolster your playtime. The former follows the traditional route of clearing out a ladder of combatants, with unique endings for each character. Meanwhile, the challenge mode offers 240 quirky little mini-games to test your skills, such as survival matches where your moves are impeded or restricted. It’s essentially the Challenge Tower from Mortal Kombat repurposed to include bouts based on the DC Universe and its most famous characters.
The gameplay itself is easy to get to grips with, making mastering each character’s abilities a fairly simple and intuitive process. The Training mode does a great job of teaching you every aspect of combat, from basic combos right through to special moves and everything in between. The environments play a huge part in each battle, as kicking a foe towards the back of one of the beautifully designed arenas – such as the Batcave – sees your adversaries bouncing off an object with bone-crushing force. Sometimes, there’ll even be objects that you can interact with in more interesting ways, forcing your opponents to be sucked into the Phantom Zone and spat back out again. You can even punch your enemies into an entirely different environment in some locations.
Meanwhile, the special moves are simple to pull off and can be strengthened by spending a segment of your super meter that builds up during combat. Alternatively, you can invest all of these in one go for the cost of all of your segments. Lastly, a Clash move acts as a risky combo breaker that grants health or takes it away depending on the outcome of an in-game wager. It all sounds extremely complicated on paper, but it flows wonderfully in combat, and you’ll be dishing out some serious damage within hours of starting the game.
Once you’ve thoroughly thrashed the artificial intelligence, of course, you can take the fight online in one-off Versus, King of the Hill, and Survivor matches. The latter two options allow up to eight players to spectate, which adds a nice community flavour to the action. We didn’t have any major issues with the netcode during our time with the title either, meaning that this is a solid option if you’re eager for some multiplayer fisticuffs on your next generation format.
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition is packed to the brim with content, and subsequently earns its name with ease. While there’s plenty for hardcore fighting fans to etch out of the release, it’s still not quite as deep as the likes of Street Fighter – but anything that it lacks in depth, it more than makes up for in accessibility. It doesn’t make as much use of the PS4’s added horsepower as it probably should, but if you missed out on the original – or really enjoyed the title first time around – then this will prove a heroic addition to your new console’s collection.