Mortal Kombat Review (PS3/360)

April 28, 2011

PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Mortal Kombat is the ninth installment in the MK fighting game franchise. It is developed by NetherRealm Studios and published under Warner Bros. for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Story: 5/5

The story begins following the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Most of the fighters have been killed in battle, leaving only Raiden and Shao Kahn to finish the tournament once and for all. Seemingly defeated, Raiden creates one last spell using his amulet to go back in time to alter the events of MK history. The game follows the events between the original Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat 3, however, the timeline becomes altered as certain decisions are made in order to change the course of history. Story Mode is a lengthy and entertaining way to play Mortal Kombat, as you progress through the events of the story using various MK characters. The game is split into 16 chapters, with each chapter focusing on a different fighter. Many back stories that were mentioned in previous games are more deeply explored this time around, giving us an inside look behind how Cyrax and Sektor became cyborgs, to the creation of Mileena, and much more. Story Mode definitely gives its fans plenty of nostalgic moments with many surprises as you fight your way to the shocking cliffhanger ending. The question on my mind now is where the creator, Ed Boon, decides to take the story next, as it leaves little room for continuation. Without spoiling many key moments from the Story Mode, I have to leave this section vague in its details, but Mortal Kombat does a great job of using the previous history of MK in a brand new direction.

Gameplay: 5/5

Mortal Kombat returns to its roots in this re-imagining of the MK series. Gone are the confusing 3D environments and tedious fighting styles from the last-gen era, with a re-introduction to the improved fighting system from the MK vs. DC game that was recently released. 26 of the most popular MK fighters are playable (as well as the PS3 exclusive Kratos) and many stages return in updated forms. Mortal Kombat can be played in various ways, including the standard Ladder (with a Tag-Team option), Story Mode, Online play, and Challenge Tower. Story Mode was already explained in our Story section of the review, but the basic premise is having you play through 16 chapters while using different characters along the way. It was a great way to experience other fighting styles of characters you might not normally choose, and gives you a deep and fantastic story of the Mortal Kombat universe. The difficulty ramps up however, as you progress further along, with some unfair fights against two contestants at the same time, to a powerful, yet sometimes cheap, final boss. They can eventually be beat, but with much trial-and-error and practice. Ladder (and Tag-Team Ladder) is the essential Mortal Kombat tower that has you fighting multiple characters on your way to the top. The characters are interchanged with each play-through, with the exception of the last three challengers (Shang Tsung, Goro or Kintaro, and Shao Kahn). Tag-Team makes the game more interesting with the use of two-on-two fighting. During this mode, you choose two characters to play as while you battle your way to the top of the tower, giving you special Tag-Team moves that you can perform with the two fighters. It’s a fun extension to the Ladder Mode that definitely enhances the gameplay. The Challenge Tower are 300 mini-games that you play through in order to show off your skills. Challenges include variations on fights (no blocking, specials only, etc.) to 2D style “gunplay” (shooting zombies before they reach you, etc.) to the return of Test Your Might, along with the introduction of Test Your Sight and Test Your Luck. The challenges are anywhere from very easy to extremely brutal. Completing all challenges will net you Koins (MK’s currency system for beating challenges and fights that can be uses in the Krypt) and an alternate Mileena outfit if you beat challenge 300. As previously mentioned, the Krypt also makes a return, as you are able to use Koins to unlock special features such as concept art, alternate costumes, music, additional fatalities and much more. Finally, no Mortal Kombat game would be complete without its Fatalities, and does this game deliver on the gore. Each character has 2-3 different fatalities that are more brutal than the next. Along with Fatalities, Babalities make a return, as well as a new special move known as X-Ray. This move allows your character to perform a bone-crunching special that shows the damage being done to the inside of your opponents body, leaving them badly bruised as it takes away much of your players health bar. Online Mode uses many of the details I have already provided, and is another great way to test your skills against other human players (with either single or tag-team play), as you make your way to becoming the ultimate Mortal Kombat champion.  Mortal Kombat has plenty of replay value and enough content to keep this game in your console for many weeks to come.

Graphics: 4/5

While the game looks fantastic and is an improvement over previous MK games, I noticed that there are still some rough graphical spots. Facial animations are not as smooth or detailed as they could be, and clothing seems “stuck” on the players at times, rather than having that fluid realistic movement. Lighting and atmosphere are cleverly added to the game, along with nice looking special effects and ample amounts of blood. Seeing the characters bruised the more you damage them is a nicely added touch, and the X-Ray moves look brutal (although some of those are not as smooth either). All in all, graphics look great for this latest MK game, but not perfect.

Sound: 4/5

Mortal Kombat has some of the best sound effects in a game, as you can “feel” every hit, slice, and bone-crunching move. The effects are so good in fact, that they take away from the music a little. For some reason, the game was designed with a low music volume that is “hidden” underneath the sound effects and dialogue. It doesn’t detract from the experience, but it is a little difficult to hear the music even when you raise your television volume. While not a big deal, balancing the sound between the music and sound effects would have been a more enjoyable experience during gameplay. Music is well done, and while it’s not as memorable as the earlier MK games, the stage music are solid entries to the Mortal Kombat world.

Overall: 18/20 = 9/10

Mortal Kombat is a solid fighter with a great storyline and tight gameplay. There is enough content that will last for weeks, or even months, as players will try to conquer all that the game has to offer. One of the best Mortal Kombat games ever made.

PROS:

+ Great game play

+ Continuing story line from previous MK games

+ “Bone-crunching” sound

+ An ample amount of content to unlock

CONS:

– Some unbalanced fights

– Sound effects overpower music

– Some rough graphics

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mortal Kombat Review (PS Vita) | Gamers XTREME - May 3, 2012

    […] hit consoles last April, it struck to much critical praise, including from us (our console review here). One year later, NetherRealm Studios has brought their game to the portable audience, aiming to […]

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