NetherRealm Studios is no stranger to the arcade style fighter. They are the driving force behind the classic Mortal Kombat series, and that game’s DNA is all over this brawler that takes place in the DC Comic universe. Because of this game’s pedigree, there was some skepticism as to whether or not it would be accessible to gamers with disabilities. Previous Mortal Kombat games have taken the already difficult to access arcade fighter and made it unplayable for those with disabilities, because of lack of customization or major spikes in difficulty between levels. However, this is not the case for Injustice: Gods among Us. This game almost perfectly defines what it means to have an accessible arcade fighter.
First, those with visual disabilities will be happy to know that there are no hidden barriers in Injustice. It is very much a classic arcade style fighter. There are twenty-four distinct heroes and villains from the DC Comics universe, all of which are unique and easy to distinguish. You are never going to confuse Nightwing with Bane. The only possible area where players might struggle is in the classic mirror match when both fighters are the same character. Often times, only subtle differences distinguish which one you are and which one is your opponent. But this is not always the case. When I played the standard classic battle mode, which allows you to take any one of the twenty-four fighters through a group of ten randomly selected opponents, I had a mirror match with the Batman villain Bane. Both versions of Bane were identical, so I had to rely on recognizing the moves that I was doing in order to tell which Bane was mine. Similarly, in the story mode, there are two mirror matches, and both were either identical or so similar that trying to look for minute differences between the characters’ costumes didn’t help. Thankfully, the combat is forgiving enough to allow players to compensate quickly for any damage they may have taken while trying to figure out which side of the screen they are on.
Second, players with fine motor disabilities will be happy to know that even though this game does rely on rapid button taps, it is forgiving enough that anybody who has played Mortal Kombat or any other game like it will be able to enjoy this game thoroughly. This is because, unlike previous NetherRealm games, there are no massive spikes in difficulty in the story mode. For this review, it was even possible to beat the entire single-player campaign on medium, the middle of five adjustable difficulties. Even more impressive is the fact that the game features three controller setups, each of which is completely customizable. And while it is true that we reviewed the game using the fight stick that came with the Battle Edition, anyone who can access a regular controller should have no problem designing some controller layout that works for them and allows them to enjoy this game to the fullest. Admittedly, not every mode in the game is equally accessible. Some of the challenges in the game’s S.T.A.R. Lab mode are less accessible than others. But there is so much content in this game that even if a player has major fine motor limitations, they should still be able to enjoy enough of this game to make it worth the purchase. The one disappointment is that there are a few quick time events in story mode in which characters engage in special ways and accrue damage before the match actually begins. But even if a player fails at these, whenever they have to retry a math, they will start with full health and will completely skip the QTE.
Finally, those with auditory disabilities have absolutely no excuse not to play this game and enjoy it to its fullest. Nothing in Injustice’s polished gameplay relies on sound alone, and sound is hardly ever used to communicate anything. Beyond that, a conservative estimate of the game’s story subtitles would say that 95% of the story driven dialogue is subtitled in clear, readable text. The one exception is some of the in-match taunts that are swapped between opponents as they tear each other apart.
On the whole, Injustice: God’s among Us is a great game that everybody should be able to enjoy. There are a few barriers within this game which are common among arcade style fighters, but NetherRealm studios does a good job compensating for these and giving enough content that any fan of DC or Mortal Kombat would enjoy. Even the fight stick included with the Battle Edition is an example of accessible hardware. It is smaller than other comparable controllers, and fits easily on a desk or lap tray. And the fact that it is included in the Battle Edition of the game means that NetherRealm Studios has inadvertently given disabled players all the help they need to enjoy this game.
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The Bottom Line for Disabled Gamers: Injustice: Gods among Us
– Nothing is color-coded.
– Nothing in the majority of the game relies on fine detail.
|– Occasionally players will run into a mirror match, in which both the player and the opponent are the same character. This means that players may have to rely on the fine detail of character design to distinguish between the player and their opponent.|
– Gameplay is fairly forgiving.
– Players will have to be able to execute rapid button taps.
– All story driven dialogue is subtitled.