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October 23, 2013
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Reposted from Game Informer Online:
www.gameinformer.com/blogs/mem…

For more reviews, blog posts, and rants:
www.gameinformer.com/members/pů

Injustice Gods Among Us is highly praised on consoles, but opinions on the mobile game have been more divisive. Considering it's the only real version I can play at the moment, I come to you with more than two cents worth on the free to play mobile game. I'll tell you what works, what doesn't, and fill my obligated Day 10 of my 31/31 despite being half-way asleep.

Injustice Mobile is a curious game. It's something of an Infinity Blade clone, yet in so many ways defies that core game's ideas that it becomes a different beast. It's like the difference between SOCOM and F.E.A.R., where while the games may have similar ideas, they do them in completely different ways. For instance, you do still swipe and tap to do blows, but instead of parrying and dodging, you merely block and are more dependent on analyzing your opponent's strategy instead of pattern recognition. Injustice also expects you to juggle three characters with up to three super power abilities that charge over time, charging faster with damage or due to a character's perk. This makes every battle a 3 v 3 affair, and adds a much needed dose of variety to the rather same-y main combat.

Some AI combatants behave differently, but usually the ones that stand out are the most pain in the arse, such as Wonder Woman and boss fight Sinestro. That said, all but one character from the main roster are present (apparently Aquaman kept fizzling the iPhone out by waterlogging it? I dunno), and they are even adding in the DLC characters a few weeks after they arrive on consoles. Batgirl just arrived with a set of challenges to unlock her, and Lobo's been on for a while now.

All of the new additions and biggest name heroes, however, are locked off in the Gold tier. What's wrong about that? They cost about 100x the regular cost for a Bronze tier character and easily 10x a Silver tier character. You can compensate for the bronze and silver characters being weaker by buying multiple versions and stacking them together to up their "rank". For instance, by combining two Harley Quinn cards, I got her to Elite Rank 1 and she does about as much damage as her Silver Tier variant, Harley Quinn Insurgency.

You can also upgrade heroes with support cards that up their core stats. Hearts give 10% health boost, Fists give 10% damage boosts, and Lightning Bolts give you faster character regen. And yes, they have included the ever hated "energy" system, although at least in this game, it's put to good use and is relatively fair. Every character has about 12-14 bars of energy, and the more risky the fight, the more bars per try it requires. The highest it goes is three bars, which can wipe out your characters in three fights, but thankfully you can progress on with new characters swapped in. If you can keep them all at relatively the same level, you can keep changing them around to suit your needs.

The more infuriating aspect tied to this is that every newly unlocked character will be at level 1. Unless you're using them to upgrade an already owned character, this means you'll be wasting energy bars on leveling that single character. At the very least, if you have to high level characters (say, level 20-22), you can just bring the new character along and bring them for bigger fights to level them but still... it'd be nice if they at least by default were at 50% the level you're normally at.

My other big complaint besides the fact this game is VERY GRINDY, remains in that your super powers require QTEs. Now, there are some fun ones, like Silver Tier Catwoman's secondary attack, and Green Arrow Insurgency's timing based ones, but heroes like Green Lantern, Sinestro ,and Nightwing all depend upon pounding the screen so fast you literally have no choice but to stress your wrist to get a percentage about 160% damage. And when 195% does -that- much more damage, it makes being better at the game seem more like a chore than anything else, and it shouldn't do that. The QTEs get progressively easier as you upgrade each power but that means even more grinding.

There is an early starter pack for five bucks with Harley Insurgency and two other random silver characters. After everything I've played, I gotta say -- GO FOR IT! I mean it, the only reason I invested as much time into the game was because I liked it and didn't have Infinity Blade II. I still play it now that I do but most people won't have the time for this to grind all the way. I've been strongly tempted, after everything, to just use some of my iTunes card dollars to boost myself ahead just enough to handle the next wave of combat rooms, but no game should require that. I'm still stuck in the second wave, waiting to have more than two Silver characters to even dare proceed into wave 3, let alone wave 4 where I expect plenty of Gold characters to show up.

The real argument for this is oddly similar to the console game. Do you want a good DC fighting-ish game that you can pick up and play but has some depth to it? Do you want a lengthy campaign (although the mobile edition drops any pretense of story and is pure fighting) with replayability?If you said yes to both, then this game may interest you, but even with all the personality, the full inclusion of the ultra-super moves from the console game, and the nice graphics, I'm left hesitant. This game demands a lot of time for what would seem to be somewhat menial rewards.

After everything, Injustice Mobile gets a 7.5/10. It's a good game, but it's held back by being nearly a grindy as an old-school JRPG -- possibly moreso in a few cases. It's free, but the five dollar starter pack is worth your notice if you are just starting out in the game.

Cheers,
Paradigm the Fallen

Next Up: RAGE (seriously, it takes longer to get through than you'd think, but I'm getting there)

  • Listening to: Too many to count.
  • Reading: Game of Thrones Graphic Novel Vol. 1
  • Watching: LoK, RvB
  • Playing: RAGE (PC)
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