Mortal Kombat: Official Review
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
North American Release Date: April 19th 2011
European Release Date: April 21st 2011
Trophies: 1 1 13 26
19 years ago Mortal Kombat hit the arcades, and one year later released on home games consoles. In an era prominent with the likes of plumbers and hedgehogs, outcomes an ugly bloody brawler. Parents shivered in fear, as their children were tearing off limbs of opponents in a 'realistic' manner, as they followed the tale of Thunder Gods, Monks and sorcerers. The game was a hit, and so were the following two Mortal Kombats released, creating a trilogy of tremendously gory fighting games. The entries to the series from then onwards were a little lackluster, the shock of the original trilogys bloody style of fighting dominated by fatalities and special moves seemed to have worn off, and new features to the franchise were really not much, as of such the series seemed to deteriorate, but fans came back time and time again in hope of a return to those glory days of the original trilogy. Ladies and gentlemen, that day is today.
If I was to be asked to sum this up in one word, it'd be classic, as it truly is classic. If you'd been stuck in a cave since the days of Mortal Kombat on the arcades, then played this you'd be surprised at how little has changed. For those who HAVE played the games inbetween, you'll appreciate how nice it is to go back to a classic style. The fighting just feels re-born again (Helped by some great visuals which I'll discuss at the appropriate time) and is such good fun to be had for some time.
Klassic Kombat has returned!
The gameplay is rewarding, combos string well together, and when you hit one well it feels great and can really tear your opponent apart. One of the main features though is the special bar, similar to the one found in Street Fighter. It's made up of three sections, when the bar is full the player can attempt an X-Ray move (Which by the way are bad-ass, they're slow-mo special moves that take about 1/3 of your opponents health). The other alternatives for using the bar are to use 1/3 of the bar, these are stronger versions of your regular special moves and are pretty damn good. The whole combat system is pretty robust, it doesn't require crazy talent at the game for you to master the special moves and fatalities. But there's enough to keep most fans going.
The other main feature of the gameplay is the inclusion of tag-team matches. These are very fun especially with friends round at your place. As you probably guessed it's based on four characters, with two on screen. The player can quickly switch between their two characters, and tag-team combos are so very fun! The player can develop new styles of fighting to do with tagging in and out. And based on the large roster of characters there are some interesting combinations to be had. Overall it's a great achievement to have a Mortal Kombat game with a great combat system, classic gore and tons of fun.
One of the main features of the singleplayer is the story mode, and they've rather outdone themselves here in my eyes. *I've made this as spoiler free as possible, the things you read happen at the very start of the game, and it would take a lot out of the review if I wasn't to mentioned them* You start off where Mortal Kombat: Armageddon finishes, with the world in peril. Raiden uses the last of his magic to send messages back to his past self. Guess where the game pits you? With past Raiden, in the time zone of Mortal Kombat I. New time zone Raiden now sees messages from his future self, meaning that he can shape the future around him, making the correct decisions etc. Thus making an alternate history where Raiden is trying to make everything go to plan. This creates a very nostalgic feeling game which is great, and the story is full of enough cliche twists and turns to keep you going. What, you didn't come here for a gripping story did you?
The only real flaw I found is inevitable in a fighting game, and that is simply annoying sections due to the difficulty. When the game throws you into a handicap fight against two very strong opponents, you'll find yourself getting annoyed and cursing at the game more than you should be. You'll then find yourself using cheap tactics to beat your opponent which isn't the way the game is intended to be played. Of course I could just be terrible at the game!
In addition to the story mode there is a roughly 300+ challenge long challenge tower which will keep you entertained for some time. Challenge tower mixes up the gameplay to an extent, and will see you performing challenges that vary in both difficulty and style of fighting, with some hilarious challenges thrown in there (I won't ruin the surprises for you) Aswell as that there are the 'test your...' challenges, which are a barrel of laughs! Again these have featured in previous mortal kombats and re-create that nostalgic effect
In Mortal Kombat, as you've probably guessed there is both local and online multiplayer. The local multiplayer is as always fantastic fun with friends. Whether it's 1v1 or tag matches you're playing, there are hours of fun to be had especially when playing as a group, which is supported by the large selection of characters. In the online section it is split up into ranked,player and private matches. 1v1 or tag matches in ranked and player matches are basically the same, you're matched up with a random player and you fight in the regular manner, with ranked wins adding to your fight record. Private matches are simply an 'invite only' version of the ranked/player matches with a friend, in the same manner of local multiplayer matches.
Now, if you're one of those people who feel that Mortal Kombat was at it's strongest in the arcades, due to the arcade environment you'll love this. The new online feature is 'king of the hill mode' and it is literally great (When it works, more on that later). It is the same concept of being in a busy arcade, you'll join the end of the queue/crowd and spectate the current fight. You'll see a crowd of MK Characters, you chose your own character, one of which is you. As the fight goes on you get to show gestures that show your thoughts on the fight, then after the fate you can rate the fight, the more entertaining the fight or the less cheap the fighting style is, generally the higher the rating gets. It's in a winner stays on format, which gives it the king of the hill title, so you'll be watching your later opponents. Want to make it worth your time? Keep on winning!
Despite all of these positives, with my time on the game I had some severe problems with the online. On one night I managed to have loads of fun with a steady connection and minimal lag. This was on every game mode whilst I was trying it out. Fast-forward to the next night and it was hell, laggy hell. I counted 20 minutes without getting connected to a game, so I figured i'd try out another private match which admittedly did connect. But it was very temperamental and kicked us out more than a few times. Where the fault lies is not known, but this really does need fixing
Surprisingly the technical side of the game is quite pleasing, and everything seems quite well put together. In support of the large roster of characters, each character is visually pleasing to the eye. Each character looks like an individual, not copied and pasted from another (Im looking at you, MK I) The special moves looks good, the X-Ray moves are so satisfying to hit, and the fatalities are perhaps more brutal than ever. When fighting (Apart from in story) the in-game gore is phenomenal, by the end of the fight you'll be covered in what you can only hope to be your opponents blood, and missing a lot of skin. Ontop of that each arena looks great, and sets the mood fantastically.
The sound is equally as pleasing on Mortal Kombat, with some comical sound effects placed in there as we've grown to expect. That aswell as some good choices for both menu and story music, it again brings back this nostalgic feeling, and the whole thing just feels very 'Mortal Kombat'. The control scheme has been adjusted slightly and is VERY user friendly. In the mortal kombats of old you'd be listening to rumors and myths of special moves from family and friends, but now it's all in the menus. There isn't the complex button combinations of other fighting games, and the devastating X-Ray attacks are performed simply with a press of R2 and L2. After playing through the game for some time I've also found zero bugs or glitches, and have heard nothing of the sort, the whole game is incredibly well put together.
Lets face it, it's a fighting game, no-one is here for an easy . The game features some very time consuming trophies in all varieties My Kung Fu Is Stronger Gain Mastery of All Fighters and Wavenet...Win 100 total Online Matches. Aswell as some truly difficult ones in Ladder MasterComplete Arcade Ladder on max difficulty without using a continue. A truly hard platinum, but not too difficult to get a respectable %
One of the bloodiest, goriest entries to the series so far, it really captures the essence of Mortal Kombat, and rejuvenates the Mortal Kombat franchise for me
The best we may of ever seen from a Mortal Kombat game it's fairly well balanced and good fun all around
It's great to revisit the original story and change the path of the game, that ontop of great support from challenges will keep you coming back for more
Good fun, when it decides to work..
As mentioned before, this has truly re-captured the essence of Mortal Kombat for me
Overall: 8.5/10 Superb