Review: Mortal Kombat (PS3/360)

Mortal Kombat is back and there is more eviscerating than ever. This game is miles ahead of all of its predecessors, and with a story mode, great fatalities, and new X-ray attacks, this Mortal Kombat is the best fighting game released this year. You heard me.

Mortal Kombat has a GOOD Story? WHAT?

Never has there been a Mortal Kombat story as good as this one. Each chapter features a new character and their motivation behind fighting in the tournament. Every chapter and character are intertwined with each other, making it feel a lot like a bloody, death-filled version of the movie Vantage Point, and it actually brought a new meaning to the Mortal Kombat story. A bloody one. With blood. Seriously. There’s an achievement you unlock for spilling 10,000 pints of blood. This game is a blood spectacle if I’ve ever seen one.

The story mode isn’t perfect however; some of the design choices made baffle the mind. The most frustrating of these is the two-on-one match. Mortal Kombat frequently puts you in competition by yourself with two different people. Liu Kang vs Scorpion and Quan Chi, Kitana vs Smoke and Johnny Cage, and so on. You only get one bar of health, and you’ll find yourself throwing the controller in rage over and over again when these fights are forced on you. They are by far the most frustrating part of the story mode, and an unnecessary additional challenge. Also, I don’t know why there isn’t a “retry” button in fights, but it adds insult to injury that they make you complete the match instead of being able to start over.

There are also a lot more opportunities for co-op that could have been used throughout the story mode. In story mode matches, if you have a friend, you could have been allowed to face him, instead of making the entire story mode one player. Or even with the aforementioned matches, it could have been two on two, instead of two on one. These frustrations are a single broken limb on the story’s body however, and are never reason enough to stop playing.

Speaking of co-op, the co-op team ladder is a welcome addition. Tag team Mortal Kombat gives this sense of mutual badassery that is rarely found elsewhere. Fighting with a partner is the pinnacle of entertainment. However it must be said that while the one player is fighting, it would be nice if the partner was doing something, a special sub-mode that allowed the second fighter to distract the enemy would be hilariously entertaining.

OH MY GOD HIS EYES! THOSE KNIVES ARE IN HIS EYES!

When it comes right down to the fighting, it honestly has never been better. Entry-level combos are easy enough to pull off, but don’t cause too much damage, while the harder ones take time to memorize and a bit of luck to pull off at the right moment. X-ray attacks are the stars of the show, sometimes being more brutal and more useful than fatalities. You will always want to use your X-ray attacks, not only because they do a lot of damage, but also because they are absolutely gorgeous and beautiful in a sick and twisted way.

For the first time ever in a Mortal Kombat game, enemies show real damage, meaning that at the end of the match, there is a good chance your character will win covered in blood, and with bruises and missing several important characteristics of their face, like an eyeball. Also, some of the weapons that certain characters have can stay with you most of the match, so prepare to be fighting a lot with Nightwolf’s arrows in your chest.

Krypt: Where You Torture People for Concept Art and Other Pretty Pictures

In the Extras section, there is the Krypt, which redeems your Koins for things like concept art, stage fatalities, and much more. Since it’s an entire land full of graves and tortured souls you have to browse through and select to unlock your content, you never really know what you get, which is both a blessing and a curse. It does dramatically increase the replayability of the matches however, because you will spend days unlocking all the content and extra fatalities in the Kyrpt.

The Final Verdict

Remember when all the other Mortal Kombats (Deception, Annihilation, etc) came out and you longed for the days where you could return to playing the original Mortal Kombat, the way you used to love it? Well this isn’t that. It’s much, much better. Not only does it raise the bar for fighting games in general, but it takes those other Mortal Kombat games, rips their arms off, and beats them to death with them. And then sets them on fire in a blaze of glory.

One last thing: If you have any choice at all, do NOT buy the game for the Xbox 360. While it’s still passable, you won’t have access to Kratos, and playing the game is a lot harder, even with the silver controller’s new D-Pad. The 360 controller is just not meant for this (or any) kind of fighting game.


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