The original Mortal Kombat in 1992 is probably the first M rated game to be released on a console that stirred up controversy. The graphic violence of the 16bit fighter led in part to the creation of the ESRB. The last couple of games had seemed like the series wasn’t moving forward, especially with its release of Mortal Kombat vs DC which had been rated T for Teen. It’s almost 20 years since the original game and it has finally gotten a true sequel to the classics which dare I say might be the best one yet.
I had always personally been a fan of Mortal Kombat but one wouldn’t think so since I think the games after MK 2 had been somewhat of a wash. Going back to its roots co-created Ed Boon and newly formed developing company NetherRealm Studios have given fans what they’ve been waiting for.
For those who don’t know the story of Mortal Kombat need not worry. The Story Mode will let you play out the events from Mortal Kombat 1-3, so those who had forgotten like myself can feel right at home on what is going on. To give it to you in brief, the emperor of outworld Shao Kahn has invaded earth and is tearing everything apart. With the last of earth’s defenders, Raiden sends a message to himself in the past to change the foreseeing future, thus changing history.
I’ve found the story to do a good job of piecing everything together from good cutscenes and narrative. One of the biggest appeals to the Mortal Kombat franchise is the violence but past takes of the series had left all but desirable ways on capturing it, until now. The game returns to a 2D plane like the old days while it retains 3D environments and graphics as the past games. I think this style of gameplay suits it much better as we’ve seen from other fighting game revamps. The game engine has been revamped significantly and character movement feels much more natural while staying true to the old school games. If thats not enough there’s even damage over time. Characters will get cuts, bruises and pools of blood will even gush out with every hit.
One of the newest editions to the game is the super gauge bar that can easily make or break a match. It is divided into three sections but can be used in any order. One piece of the bar will allow you to do an EX type move like Street Fighter, it will enhance a special move when you use it. A block breaker can be enabled for two bars and it will stop any incoming move that is being thrown at you in the given moment. When the super gauge is filled then the use of X-Ray moves are enabled. These deal anywhere between 22%-40% of damage depending on player execution and can easily turn the tide of a match. The super gauge bar is a great addition to the game and X-Ray moves are just awesome to look at. Besides the 1on1 matches, tag matches are also in the game and offer different strategies along with them, especially when you take the super gauge bar into account.
What this game is not short on is unlockables and modes. Everything from alternate costumes, art, music and other fatalities, the game can keep you entertained for weeks on end. Modes include Ladder matches, Story, Challenge Tower and other goodies you can unlock. What I like is how everyone has a unique ending apart the Story mode which is really just the story for the Mortal Kombat tournaments.
If all of that wasn’t enough the game’s multiplayer is really a great experience. Local matches with your friends can get competitive and is good fun. While the online multiplayer is divided up in several categories. You can join huge rooms which resemble chat rooms with up to 100 players. You can even bring up a virtual keyboard to chat with people while your waiting or viewing the room. Players can be challenged into a 1on1, tag or even king of the Hill matches. It will keep track of your wins and losses and points repped from Kill of the Hill.
Not everything is perfect in the world of Mortal Kombat however. Some of the biggest problems lies with the games Story Mode. The sheer level of imbalanced difficulty from the Story Mode is somewhat crazy. While I won’t say that it is impossible, it is however excruciating what it can put you through and is even harder then the Challenge Tower. Whether it’s every third or fourth fight that’s 2on1 battles, the bosses that defy the games logic or bosses that you will need to fight with others that are 2on1, it had made me almost quit several times. There is an inability to skip cut-scenes or view them once completed. We had also come across some detection issues mostly involving jump attacks and sometimes how it determines who lands the first hit. At some point as an example I’ve had johnny cage hit me with his nut crusher when I jumped over him, at which point I was already behind him? But this doesn’t happen enough to really get upset about it, just some tweaking it can use. Online can also get a bit laggy to extremely laggy at times which can get frustrating.
Mortal Kombat has exceeded my expectations. It’s amongst one of my favorite fighters to date and it will definitely bring back the nostalgic nature of the originals. X-Rays almost never get old, Fatalities are gruesome, mini games, graphics are great and sound is very impressive. Hopefully a replay mode like we’ve seen in other fighters will make it in at least in the next version and maybe an eater egg of the original game. If this is the direction the series continues to go in they will undoubtfully find success and you can sign me up as well.
[starreviewmulti id=2 tpl=20]
Overall = 8.8