There have been many successful fighting game franchises over years such as Street Fighter, Tekken, Virtua Fighter and Soul Caliber. However, there was one fighting game that managed to stand out from the rest. That game was called Mortal Kombat and it was released by Midway in 1992 and was created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. It was originally available for the arcades and later found itself on home consoles. The game was very popular despite receiving lots of criticism and controversy due to its high level of violence. The franchise has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years. Midway eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2009 so gamers wondered if they would ever see another Mortal Kombat title again. A new developer would take the helm by the name of NetherRealm Studios which is based in Chicago. They would release the 9th entry in the series Mortal Kombat for the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Does the latest iteration deliver a flawless victory? Read the review to find out!
The latest Mortal Kombat features a pretty good story especially for a fighting genre. The game starts off with all of Mortal Kombat’s combatants decimated at the hands of the evil Shao Kahn. Raiden is the only combatant left and is about to be destroyed by Shao Kahn when he sends a premonition to himself in order to prevent the merging of Earth Realm and Outworld which would end all life on the planet. Thus, starts the Mortal Kombat tournament. Throughout the story mode you take control of various fighters along the way. The game offers veterans and rookies a new perspective. The story mode takes about 5 hours to complete which is short. Staples in the series return such as Scorpion, Sub Zero and Raiden. Other characters such as Kitana, Sonya, Ermac and Jax find their way into this latest iteration. The PS3 version gets an exclusive fighter in Kratos. In all there are 27 combatants not including the 4 DLC fighters in Kenshi, Rain, Skarlet and Freddy Krueger.
The game features a solid control scheme. Combos can be performed. You can even juggle your opponent while in the air which is difficult but it is made a little easier thanks to the simpler controls. Four buttons are used to perform attacks. Each of the four attack buttons is tied to a certain body part. Some buttons allow you to throw while others allow you to block. It’s a solid control scheme that works well for veterans and rookies alike.
Mortal Kombat is a 2D fighting game with 3D graphics (2.5D). Speaking of graphics the game looks really impressive on a large 1080p display. The fighters feature a lot of detail from the skin to the clothing. The environments are very detailed as well. There are 30 areas in which you can compete in. Combatants accumulate damage throughout the course of a fight. Take a lot of punishment and clothing will tear. Flesh will get torn and it will reveal tissue and bone. Fighters will get covered in blood. Even the ground gets covered in blood. Fatalities return this time around and are absolutely brutal. Each character has specific fatalities some of which need to be unlocked. New to Mortal Kombat are X-ray moves which are awesome yet cringe inducing the first time they are executed. There is a bar on the bottom of the screen that is divided into the tiers. Fill up all 3 parts of the bar and you are given the chance to execute said X-ray move. It causes a lot of damage and can even change the course of a fight big time. Skulls will get crushed. Ribs will break. Spines will snap. Cutscenes are well done. It’s safe to say Mortal Kombat is one of the best looking fighting games that I have seen.
The audio aspect of the game is just as good as the graphics with one minor flaw. The voice acting is pretty good with some cheesy dialog. Though, it manages to fit well in Mortal Kombat. I really enjoyed the music which got me pumped up during the fights. Punches, kicks, fatalities and X-ray moves all sound really good. My advice is to turn up the volume which should give gamers a real treat during the game’s fighting sections.
The game doesn’t cut back on modes. You have a tutorial mode which gets you accustomed to the game’s controls, each fighter’s moves and a new addition to the series tag team fighting. Rookies will greatly benefit from this mode. Ladder mode has you face off against 10 fighters and then eventually you go up against Shao Kahan. Speaking of Shao Kahn the fight against him is very difficult because he fights really cheap. Somehow he can cancel a move and then start another. He even has moves that are unblockable which makes no sense at all. Then you have Challenge Tower which which has about 300 challenges and mini games that get increasingly difficult as you progress further. That mode by itself will take a great deal of time to beat. Mortal Kombat wouldn’t be complete without online multiplayer. You have your typical one on one versus mode. There is a tag team Ladder mode which features two teams of two. You have 10 fighters in each lobby. There is a mode called King of the Hill mode. You keep fighting until you are defeated. There are Ranked, Player and Private matches. There is even a leaderboard that keeps track of your performance. Of course you have the Krypt. This is where you can purchse artwork, alternate customes, fights and extra fatalities. It does take time to unlock everything and there are items that are hidden. It is well worth the time and effort.
Mortal Kombat is a great game. The voice acting is pretty good and although there is some cheesy dialog it works well nonetheless. The controls are solid. Performing combos and juggling enemies in the air is difficult but it is made easier thanks to the simpler control scheme. The game has a pretty good story. The graphics look really good with detailed fighters and environments. I really enjoyed performing the X-ray moves and fatalities. There is a lot of content besides the Story mode such as, Tutorial mode, Ladder mode, Challenge Tower and of course Online mode. You have the Krypt where you can unlock artwork, outfits, fights and extra fatalities. Having Tag Team mode for the first time in the series is a great addition. The story is mode is too short. Facing Shao Kahn is a major annoyance because he fights so cheap. Those are my only two gripes with the game. Mortal Kombat is a return to form for the franchise and is the best fighting game that I have played this year.