(Ed – This post is not by Gareth Newnham but a good friend of Laser Lemming – Chris Patton. Enjoy!)
As a DC fan boy, I have no shame in admitting that I was initially mesmerized by the premise of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Considering the contingency of being able to use Doomsday to repeatedly pummel Robin, I mean, Nightwing, through the Earth’s crust and into the mantle, and then back up again through the crust was phenomenal to me. If I had had a frustrating day, then abusing Dick would be a great release.
My mesmerized state blossomed further with the recent announcement that the second DLC character to be released for the game would be Batgirl. Is it my birthday, DC and NeatherRealm’s? I can’t stand the bat-siblings, or whatever one wants to call them. I care nothing for them. Thus, after abusing Dick, I would love to have the opportunity to, as Solomon Grundy, use my Cleaver Spin to cut Oracle down to size.
In fact, I am so enthralled with DC lore that the ladder bantering about a cleaver and cutting size doesn’t even make me blink. Its horribly contrived delivery is right up the alley of the iOS version of Injustice. It also all fits into my self-created reality, which I have been molding in my brain while tap-raping my iPad Mini for the past week. In short, the IOS version links with the popular platform fighter, and expands the options for your brawling experience. New costumes, a card-based fighting system, and leveling options for most of the heroes and gods in DC/NeatherRealm’s creation can give one a more varied adventure. However, the iOS version is also similar to two very “bad” game types.
Let’s begin. “Shazam!”
Riddle me this, how is Pokemon: Yellow and Yu-Gi-Oh like the iOS Injustice: Gods Among Us?
The iOS fighting system, unlike the console version, requires one to have three fighters. From the beginning, one is assigned three character cards, which is very much like getting no choice in starting with Pikachu in Pokemon: Yellow. It’s horrible when far superior characters, like Charmander or Black Adam, are out there, but the player cannot access them. The starting character cards I was assigned were Harley Quinn, Green Arrow, and Nightwing. Yes, Nightwing!
It was daunting for me to have to, at times, fight as a bat-brat while the computer could use my favorite baddies whenever. Thus, my wanting reality where Doomsday, Solomon Grundy, and Black Adam are out to repeatedly bully any and all bat-family members was only possible after a huge amount of gameplay. Since character cards, support cards and booster pack sets can all be purchased via the experience point you earn while fighting, like a Yu-Gi-Oh game, the game makers would like you to purchase as many cards as possible. I can hear the theme music now: Injustice! Gotta catch ‘em all! Yu-DC-Oh!
Finally, after collecting 51,000 experience points I was able to purchase the Doomsday (Regime Character) card. This reduced my experience total to 750. Black Adam (Normal Character) also cost 51,000, and the weakest Solomon Grundy card, his Regime version, cost 10,000. One can get 250 experience points for completing the iOS training level. Getting Doomsday or Black Adam would require you to do that level 204 times. Are you in that league?
What further complicates this process is that each time you enter a fight it costs each character card you are using a portion of its energy bars. Each card has 10 energy bars. Therefore, after fighting the first 10 matches, your character cards will have no energy. You will not be able to fight unless you have bought other character cards to replace them with. The energy does slowly refill, and if one has no support cards activated, then this process will take about 30 to 45 minutes. Break times are great, but this may drive away less inspired, stand alone, or unfamiliar DC fans.
If you are a fan boy or a fan girl, then you may enjoy having multiple versions of one character. The DC comics have always given us a variety of crises on infinite Earths, and even the recently finished Young Justice animated series took place on Earth-16. As I was battling through the iOS version, I came across one team that had the New 52 version of Green Lantern, the Regime version of Green Lantern, and the “normal” version of the Green Lantern. This is, indeed, what it is like when worlds collide.
Regardless, the combination of fighters and tastes is for us fans alone. The team-ups are all as logically far-fetched as Mewtwo teaming up with Pikachu. Also, like any Pokemon in the Yellow, Red, Blue, or Crystal versions, each DC character only gets 4 attack options. All of the heroes have 3 special moves that can be activated as their power bars fill, and each character also has 1 hand-to-hand combo that is activated whenever ones fingers tap the screen. Like the Pokemon of yore, the fighting style is incredibly simple. Obviously, the Injustice graphics are more in-depth and kinetic than any Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh game, but the repetitive stress disorder induced from fighting hundreds of matches to level up ones team very slowly is prevalent in all those gaming styles. The special moves must also be powered up via purchases with experience points. Level 1 special moves cost 1,000 points per bar, Level 2 special moves cost 2,000-3,000 per bar, and Level 3 moves, which are both unblockable and can only be unlocked when a character card is advanced to level 20, are at least 3,000 points or more depending on the character.
Should Green Arrow have hired Natas?
The superheroes, when reduced to brawlers, are only as good as their powers. A huge complaint against the last DC fighting bid, DC vs. Mortal Kombat, was that the DC characters had just been retrofitted into Mortal Kombat skins. The console version of Injustice has addressed that problem well, but the iOS version does revert back to overlapping skins and moves. For example, Bane’s level 2 special attack allows him to shoulder bash an opponent as he leaps into the air, and, as he is landing, he drop-kicks the opponent. Similarly, when I was facing off against him with Doomsday, I realized that he, Bane, was using Doomsday’s level 2 special attack. Doomsday’s level 2 attack is called Supernova. If you flip over his card in the game, then it describes the Supernova thusly: A powerful skyward jump ends with Doomsday slamming into his opponent. Yes, it is very similar. After abusing my poor little fingers for a week I wanted some uniqueness to my special moves. In addition, whoever uses their power bars more wisely will always be victorious. Both Doomsday and Bane deal huge amounts of damage with leaping and bashing attacks, but the character that delivers 3 special attacks instead of 2 special attacks will win 99.9% of the matches.
Similarly, both Nightwing and Green Arrow will use their respective weapons, a pole and a bow, in twirling attacks. Now, let’s imagine that 2 intelligent brawlers are going toe-to-toe. They both have the capability to use 3 special attacks each. Who will have the edge? This is where support cards play a huge role. If Green Arrow users have purchased the Natas card, then Green Arrow will get a 10% increase to his health. The Black Canary card will give him a 10% increase to energy regeneration, so that one doesn’t have to wait around 30 minutes to use the card again after all the energy bars have been used in fights. Last, the Trick Arrows card, which costs 4,000 experience points, will give Green Arrow a 10% damage increase. All of the characters have the option to purchase one card for each of those traits: damage, health, energy restoration. A Green Arrow card without those support features will not do well. Bashing a god-like opponent such as Wonder Woman with a feeble bow will do virtually no damage. It would be like attacking Ash’s Blastoise with a level 1 Magikarp.
What does the future hold?
The fans have been loud and fair with their complaints. Martian Manhunter, Captain Atom, Captain Cold and other beloved characters were desired, and the creators have instead given us Batgirl, and rumors of General Zod, to promote the upcoming Man of Steel film, and Scorpion from the Mortal Kombat series. On the brighter side, a variety of the support cards offer hope to the possibility for a larger number of additions to future platform sequels or expansions. The following characters all appear as purchasable support cards in the IOS version: Natas (he trained Death Stroke and Green Arrow, and is a psychotic killer), the Guardians, the Sinestro Corps, Poison Ivy, the Green Lantern Corps, Black Canary, Zeus, Isis, Joker’s Gang, Lois Lane, Alfred, Power Girl, Bizarro, Arkham Asylum, the Amazons, Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, the Riddler, Brainiac, Darkseid, Ra’s Al Ghul, Gorilla Grodd, and Doctor Fate.
In my opinion, any of the super-powered characters from that list, especially Brainiac, the Riddler, Doctor Fate and Darkseid, would have been a more welcome and intriguing DLC addition than Batgirl. The biggest question everyone should pose and push for is when and if there will ever be a good roleplaying game with all of the DC Universe characters involved? DC Universe Online was hyped, but it fell stillborn from the console for its poor development. Get on that, DC!
Overall, the iOS version of Injustice is free to download. The controls are a simplistic welcome, and they will not alienate users as quickly as the fiasco of joystick and button combos that have done in other iOS games such as Marvel vs. Capcom and Megaman. The small variety of characters can be fun in certain match-ups. For instance, in the real comic-book world, Harley Quinn could never kill Superman, but here she can do in the Boy Scout with a series of special attacks. Also, the power bar levels do require one to use special moves and techniques wisely. If one blows his or her bars too soon, then the other team will surely take you out.
However, the repetitive game play is a drag, as is the limited Pokemon-like move options. Some will be intrigued that certain accomplishments can unlock new uniforms for the console version. The Batman Beyond suit looks very nice, but it requires one to unlock a Batman character card. Each character card for the Bat costs 182,000 experience points. That would require you to complete the training level 728 times. If you want that suit, or other suit options to impress your friends with, such as the Jail Superman suit, then have at it. Such Yu-Gi-Oh card styling mixed with Pokemon fighting options may be refreshing to those seeking revamps of old Gameboy memories. But, the grueling tap party demands copious amounts of time, which may require you to create weird realities in your head, as I did, to help pass the playing time. It can be fun at first, but the long-run is a chore. In the end, abusing Dick can only get one so much satisfaction in the iOS life.