Lucky and patient attendees of the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle could take their turn beating up on each other via NetherRealm's (Mortal Kombat) upcoming DC Comics themed 2D fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us.
The custom demo version of the game featured eight of the rumored 24 player characters: Superman, Batman, Nightwing, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, The Flash and Cyborg. The recently announced Catwoman was sadly not available. What was most striking among the characters that were accessible was the unique depth that NetherRealm has placed into each of them.Interactive stages will also make an impact in battles and even though only two (of the suspected 15) were available for the demo, The Batcave and The Fortress of Solitude, there were plenty of opportunities to show the kinds of surprises each area can hold. The most noticeable feature is that background objects can be activated on cue via button press when you are in the right place and have multiple uses depending on which character you are playing. For example, the rocket that took baby Kal-El to Earth can be used as a springboard for a agile character like Nightwing or Harley Quinn to leap out of the corner of the area, while Grundy (or an apparently nostalgia-proof Superman) can fling the rocket as a single use projectile. Each stage looks to be multi-tiered as well, from the main room of The Fortress of Solitude foes can be knocked painfully though a crystal wall, down into Superman's menagerie and, most satisfyingly, back though a portal to the Phantom Zone where beasties will gnaw on your enemy until he or she pops out the other side of the portal.
It should be noted that it was made clear by NetherRealm staff present that even though storyline details have not yet been revealed, there will be a explanation as to why a non-powered character can survive being punched into the ionosphere by the Man of Steel. This partial revelation goes hand in hand with the lack of flesh-ripping gore seen in the demos played, signaling that the squeamishness that prevented the DC characters from performing fatalities on screen in Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe has returned.
In hand, Injustice: Gods Among Us, feels comfortable to veteran MK players, the depths of the movesets and powers that are impressive without feeling ridiculous should have fans of technical fighters patiently picking it apart looking for combos and exploits. Fans of the heroes are going to have to wait a bit longer to discover why they are all beating on each other (and again why Superman can't just wipe the floor with all of them), and if their DC-approved altered costumes, including Flash's impressive armored suit, imply we are dealing with an Earth altered an any way other than the unspecified disaster hinted at in the “A New Regime” video.
Though each match in Injustice ends when one character's second lifebar is drained, it was announced that a concision decision was made not to frame each fight in the classic fashion of 'rounds.' Fights start right away after the characters make their entrances and save for a slight moment of peace whenever an initial lifebar is drained the fights resume immediately. This breaking of convention seems to have been made to fit better with the idea that these battles are not structured contests taking place in a dojo but are more like street fights, and this foray into brawler territory works as players won't even miss hearing a disembodied voice yelling “FIGHT!”
Sadly no new fighters, stages or details about the game's story were released at PAX Prime, NetherRealm staffers on site could only say the game is constantly going through fine tuning for balance in anticipation for release to the major consoles next year.