Review: Injustice / Developer: NetherRealm Studios / Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / Platforms: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch / Release Date: Out Now
Eager to unleash a stupidly dressed team of DC Universe superheroes and villains upon one another, but unwilling to wait for Injustice: Gods Among Us? Well have no fear, Injustice is already here, and it's free. Sort of.
An iPad version of the game has been released, and is free to play from the app store now. It works on the iPhone too, after a lengthy install, but lags slightly and is somewhat buggy. It's still very playable though. Opening with a tutorial in which you use Sinestro, The Flash and Solomon Grundy to beat up on Superman (one at a time, in a Tag Team sort of way) it works as a nice appetiser for Injustice itself. The costumes still look daft, but if the combat works as well on consoles, it should be playable enough.
The gameplay is a cross between Marvel War of Heroes and Arkham City Lockdown. You collect and build a roster of superheroes through winning battles and earning points, and fight by swiping and tapping at the screen. It's unlikely that Superman – in whatever universe – would just take a beating from Flash as he does in the tutorial, but there are some nice touches. Solomon Grundy fighting with the blades buried in his back is pretty nifty, as is Deathstroke's new design. Green Lantern looks a little too much like his Ryan Reynolds for our liking, though. You'll take great pleasure in using Sinestro to give him a good kicking. The combat works well enough for an iPad game, although it does get repetitive quite quickly. Nightwing and The Flash are all fine and well, but it's Batman and Superman that people are really clamouring to play as. Be prepared to put in the hours before you get to unlock yourself a full Justice League of superheroes. It'll cost you 182,000 (in game) dollars for Batman, 220,000 for Supes. You'll need a Bruce Wayne or Ollie Queen sized bank balance if you want the full set without any of the hard work.
As with most free smartphone game purchases, the shop is its bread and butter. £1.49 will get you 12,000 and a bag of goodies, while £69.99 will net you 1,500,000. What was that saying, again, about the fool and his money? A part of me suspects that these in-game purchases will extend to Gods Among Us on consoles. Hate those horrible costumes your favourite heroes have been lumbered with? I'm sure NeatherRelm will be eager to sell you something more to your tastes. If only we could pay off Jim Lee and DC Comics so easily.
As a freebie, Injustice is fine. It offers briefly gratifying violence, nice graphics and, above all, a nice way to kill time until you can play the real thing. The real injustice is in not being able to pick up and kick arse as the Dark Knight straight away. Most will have given up long before the opportunity Rises.
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