A new year and new console generation means lofty expectations for what's to come from the development team at NetherRealm Studios.

Before 2014 reveals its secrets -- a Mortal Kombat sequel, perhaps? -- We turn a final glance to the successes of 2013, and the DC Comics superhero fighter: Injustice: Gods Among Us!

Released in April; Gods Among Us showed the powerful new influence of the tournament scene, and the sophisticated promotional resources available through Warner Brothers marketing. The impact of Injustice was so immediate -- it's staggering to think the game is still only 8 months old!

Familiarity meant Injustice received a flying start. The audience was already well initiated by the time lasers hit discs! Fans were intimately familiarized through the usual fare of trailers, conventions, and character reveals -- as well as a barrage of tie-in merchandise and new media. Battle Arena added celebrity endorsement and mainstream interaction to the cycle. A late induction into the controversial 2013 Evo Championship [full story] -- supported by grass roots endorsement in other tournaments -- sealed the deal for instant success.

Limited opposition in fighting game new releases helped Injustice stand-out in 2013. Likewise, pressures of a new console generation were reduced by rumor and innuendo -- alleviated, come confirmation, by the PlayStation 4 launch release of Injustice: Ultimate Edition.

In the end, all of these things helped make Injustice: Gods Among Us one of the most popular new titles of 2013! It's unsurprising, then, that Injustice would claim a swath of recognition from year-end reviews:

IGN: Best Fighting Game 2013
"Though there were certainly other fighting games worth playing, none brought the mix of strong single-player content and multiplayer depth that Injustice: Gods Among Us did. On paper, the concept of rounding up DC’s finest to duke it out under a modified Mortal Kombat engine sounded too ambitious to actually work, but the end result proved to be both more over-the-top and more mechanically nuanced than NetherRealm’s last outing. Mix in one of the most satisfying stories ever told in the genre, and the result is the best fighting game of 2013." [IGN readers also awarded Best Digital Comic Series to Injustice!]

Game Informer: Best Fighting Game 2013
"The Mortal Kombat vets at NetherRealm specialize in pitting super powerful fighters against one another, which is why it made so much sense to let the studio tackle the DC Comics license. From Superman knocking Batman into orbit to Doomsday driving Green Lantern into the Earth's core, Injustice nails the spectacle of the superhero brawl. This ultraviolent fighter shouldn't be missed by comic or fighting game fans." [Game Informer also included Injustice in their Best Superhero Games of All-Time!]

GamesRadar: Best Fighting Game 2013
"Injustice also furthers the concept put forth by the most recent Mortal Kombat: fighting games can have a great single-player story--one that doesn’t rely on text-heavy exchanges between still images of your character. The plot of Superman losing his cool and going full dictator is gripping, and every hero and villain gets a chance to shine during the campaign. As we mentioned in our review, with such a strong presentation for solo players and great netcode for the online warriors, Injustice is the fighting game that DC fans deserve."

PlayStation LifeStyle: Best Fighting Game 2013
"Utilizing a deep fighting mechanic built by the the studio behind the acclaimed Mortal Kombat series, NetherRealm Studios, Injustice is a great balance between being accessible to new fans and containing enough content to keep diehard fans happy for some time. Containing a campaign mode that not only logically justified most of the issues of certain superheroes fighting each other, or themselves, Injustice introduced a new storyline for the comic series as well."

Game Revolution: Best Fighting Game 2013
"NetherRealm’s highly successful Mortal Kombat reboot enjoyed this award back in 2011 for many of the same reasons Injustice: Gods Among Us earned this year’s nod: the combat is nearly flawless in its balancing, there are so many characters, special attacks, and combos to choose from, and the story mode reinvents how fighting game stories are told with its epic scale and presentation."

Just Push Start: Best Fighting Game 2013
"The combat is what you would expect from Netherrealm, but even more polished and balanced, which allowed for it to be more common in the tournament circuit throughout the last year than [Mortal Kombat (2011)]. Every character has a unique moveset and plays very differently, allowing you to extend the game’s playtime due to trying out every one. Injustice: Gods Among Us was also very well supported by the developer with DLC, including some free skins that were included with patches. Just last month an Ultimate Edition was released that included all six DLC characters and every single skin that were put up for download over time."

The Denver Post: Best of 2013 Video Games
"6. The characters of the DC Comics world finally received a proper 2D fighting game thanks to the NetherRealm, the studio behind the 2011 Mortal Kombat relaunch. Non-linear maps and dizzying fight combos ensure a different, often surprising experience with each match."

Kotaku: The 6 Best Games for PlayStation 4
"We've seen superhero fighting games before, but nothing nearly as ambitious as Injustice: Gods Among Us. Where other games fumble for clumsy excuses as to why Superman and Batman find themselves at odds, Injustice features an extensive, multi-character, alternate reality story mode supported by a 12-issue comic book series. The planet shakes as iconic DC Comics powerhouses do battle, all using a balanced fighting system crafted by the studio responsible for Mortal Kombat 9. With an extensive challenge mode, numerous arcade-style battles and an extensive online multiplayer mode, getting 100% completion in Injustice is a Herculean task. The PlayStation 4 gets the Ultimate Edition of the game, packed with all of the game's downloadable content. The graphics might not be "next-gen", but there's so much satisfying content packed into Injustice: Gods Among Us the visuals hardly matter." [Updated: January 14. 2014.]

For the Mortal Kombat perspective, check out our review of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Be sure to share your own thoughts about the games place in 2013 on the DC Universe Injustice forum! Like and share this article via @MK_Online and Facebook.