[Review] Mortal Kombat


Greetings kombatants, and welcome to my review of the latest sequel to Mortal Kombat. I have been playing a lot of this game; I wanted to experience as much as I could and soak up all the bloody goodness before writing this. I took some extensive notes as I played and was very attentive. I will break the review into a variety of sections: General, Gameplay, Story, Online, and so on, so sit back and enjoy an in-depth look into Mortal Kombat.

[tab:General]

So Lets just start from the beginning. After picking this up day one, I rushed home and practically threw the disc into my PS3. The startup screen features Scorpion and Sub-Zero about to face off. just looking at the title screen got me pumped for this game; the graphics were sharp and quite crisp.

This Mortal Kombat, much like your typical fighting Mortal Kombat game, contains a variety of game types to challenge your skills. You have a general fight menu, which is pretty straightforward, but has some extra goodies. There is a ‘Ladder’ game mode where you pick a character and climb the Mortal Kombat tree of characters, and try to reach the top and dominate your opponents to become the ultimate mortal kombatant. A second variation of the ‘Ladder’ game type is the ‘Tag Ladder’, which is the same as regular ladder but this lets you fight with a friend (or on your own)in a no holds barred tag team match against 2 computer opponents. There are also 4 ‘Test’ game types: luck, might, strength, and strike. Luck has you take a spin on a slot machine, where random rule changes and game modifiers can be applied, such as no ‘Special Moves’, or ‘Special Moves Only’. I tried it, and it was a lot of fun; the random modifiers add a neat twist to the game and rarely do you get the same fight twice. The other variations are pretty straight forward. Might is a classic fighting game mini-game, where you power up a meter to smash the crap out of a stack of something. Sight is just a simple keep your eye on the ball mini-game, which gets a tad ridiculous at times lol, but you better make the right choice…..or else mwahahahahaha….ahem sorry. Then, finally, there is “test your strike”; its a new spin on the test your might mini-game, in this instance you have to get your power meter to stay within a specified zone then strike, its more about being accurate on the meter rather than just smash the crap out of things.

Next on the list is the story mode, but for this particular section we will pass over it, since the story warrants it’s own section so we can talk about it there, so read on kombatant. Further down the list is the challenge tower. Now, I really liked this and played the crap out of it until I got frustrated and had to move online to take my frustrations out on real people :lol:. The challenge tower is a cool idea, where it takes the ladder fight, and tosses in a whole huge mixed bag of goodies….and baddies to make you want to toss your controller out the window. There are test mini-game events and specially modified fights with changed rules and restrictions. You start off with a collection of 6 training stages to help you learn your controls and some of the general moves for the character, then you move on and you never really know what will comes next, so it keeps you on your toes. It’s a fresh game type, which can provide a few hours of great entertainment.

And then lastly, to close out this section is the training section, which does not warrant much of an explanation, other than you can spend your time practicing your kombat skills. There is the option to just practice special moves, or any moves for that matter, on an opponent that never dies. There is also a mode that allows you to master your favorite fatalities on a stunned opponent. The cool thing about this mode is that you can select to practice on a normal timer, which is the exact time the stun lasts in the regular game, as well as an infinite timer, which allows you to practice and master the distance and button commands for the hidden fatalities (as well as regular ones). My only gripe with this is that you cannot practice Babalities; it’s understandable why you can’t. For those who don’t know why, to preform a Babality you must not preform a block in the winning round.

With offline, single player, and co-op, there is quite a lot of varied kontent. I was actually surprised. I wasn’t expecting this much stuff, but there is quite a bit of variety, which adds to the replayability, which is important, especially in times like when this article was written, as the PSN has been down for about a week. I’ve been playing MK pretty steadily throughout the downtime and still have fun.

[tab:Story]

Now, I’m not the kind of guy who likes to spoil storylines for other people, so I’ll just comment on the high and low points of the story, without dropping any major details. Right from the start, I knew the story was going to be unique to say the least; the opening cinematic was dark, gloomy and bloody…typical MK style, but still very sharp and pleasing to the eyes. The story takes off from the 2006 release of MK Armageddon; the opening scene finds most of the kombatants dead, except for one, Raiden, who is fighting Shao Kahn. Raiden is near death and before he is finished, he uses his remaining power to send a message to himself to the past that is three simple words, “He must win!” and with that, the story begins. The story isn’t Hemingway, but for an MK game, it’s not half bad. What I enjoyed about the story was that it wasn’t overly serious; there were a lot of tongue in cheek moments that are hilariously goofy, add in some cliche one liners, and you have the softer side of Mortal Kombat’s story line.

Other than the aforementioned, the story is a pretty serious plot, at times a bit overly serious, but all in all, it’s not unbearable. I found the story to be quite involving; it was no Heavy Rain, but it was pretty good as far as plot lines goes. My biggest gripe with the story was that you don’t stick with just one character. The story arc, through a multitude of characters, often jumps around to the point of confusion, leaving you with a sense of “What is going to happen next?” and not in the good way. It is, however, forgivable and I would rate it to be the better of the MK stories of the series.

[tab:Gameplay]

Wow, where do I start? Well, why not get the bad stuff out of the way, since there’s not much bad stuff to go over, so I’ll get the sour taste off my tongue. My first and biggest qualm is the Kombo system; it is really klunky. You enter the sequence of buttons, and if done too fast, it will not execute. Let’s face it, during the heat of the fight, it’s pretty common to hammer them kombos out really fast. I feel that the kombo system could benefit from a patch, adjusting the speeds at which the kombo keypresses may be entered at. The big damage sequences relies on the ‘pop-up’, then to a devastating kombo, which, at most times, is difficult to do at best, even for some seasoned players. Also, just for my sake, I’ve had this gripe since 1992 when MK made its debut on the standup arcade, and that gripe is that Johnny Cage does WAY TOO MANY NUT SHOTS :lol:. But other than, that I didn’t find too much wrong with the gameplay.

The gameplay pros? Well, I’ll only focus on the best of the points, as I’m sure this is running on pretty long as it is. There is a ‘Super bar’ which adds some game make-or-break moments. The Super Bar has 3 stages: breaker, enhanced, and X-Ray. Breaker is the only way you can counter kombos with a brutal counter attack, enhanced turns your special moves up a notch, and finally X-Ray (which I LOVE); an X-Ray attack is a special super combo which has its own cut scene where, if any hit lands in the startup sequence, it will lead into a special cutscene where the screen goes to black and white, and you preform a series of attacks where 2-3 attacks will cut to an X-ray view and reveal crushed and broken bones as they happen. It’s very cool and a pleasure to watch. All in all, it’s hard to find a notable fault in the gameplay, and there are way too many high points to note. Gameplay is just solid!!!

[tab:Online]

Online is where you go once you have mastered the character of your choice. I don’t recommend it for new players, or players out of practice. It’s a brutal beat-down fest. I’m a pretty accomplished MK player, and still find myself losing a decent amount of matches; there are some real pros out there. Online is pretty straight forward with many of the singleplayer modes translated to online. There is also a king of the hill game mode, which happens to be my favorite mode. It’s pretty straightforward. The room fills up with 8 players; 2 players fight head to head, and the winner is dubbed ‘King of the Hill’, then the remaining players try to dethrone him to become the next king of the hill. At the end of each match, spectators and the losing opponent are prompted to rate the fight, or as the game calls it “Show your respect”.

The points accumulate and are also persistent throughout new games. The cool thing about king of the hill is that you may either watch the matches via fullscreen until it’s your turn, or choose an avatar and watch the match in a movie theatre-style view. think of it as a 3rd person movie. You can preform various actions while watching the match; you can “BOO”, “Dissaprove”, and “Cheer”, as well as a few hidden actions, like my favorite where you throw a tomato at the screen and it splats. There are your typical online goodies, such as leaderboards and rankings; online is pretty crisp and smooth for the most part, a bit of lag here and there, which is to be expected.

[tab:Conclusion]

Review

ProsCons
Fantastic story for the genre
Sharp and vibrant
Graphics
Loads of content
Great Online
X-Ray system is awesome
Klunky kombo system
No survival mode
Johnny Cage still does too many Nut shots
Rating
98.8%

Well that’s about all I can publish to the site; I had to edit the review down due to length. I ended up removing some not so key topics, such as talking about the krypt and the necropolis, the lack of a survival mode, and a few high points, but I think I made my point…I hope. In closing, this Mortal Kombat is definitely the breath of life the series needed, and will set the bar for upcoming fighting games. It is well put together, loaded with content, and with DLC on the way, which will see 2 new characters added, can only get better. Team that up with continuing DLC support, I think that Mortal Kombat will have a renewed vigor, and we can expect to see a new addition to the series within a year or 2.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed my review of Mortal Kombat.

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Mortal Kombat provided by NetherRealm Studios.


Written by: Baba0Booey - News Contributor


  1. #1 by kennygk on April 29th, 2011 [ 25138 Points ]

    Nice review, my friend is picking this up soon so hopefully it’s as good as the demo

  2. #2 by EdEN on April 29th, 2011 [ 136063 Points ]

    Great review! I was at one point considering getting the CE for the game but forgot to pre-order and then a chain of events eventually meant I wouldn’t buy the game… yet. Will probably pick it up in couple of months.

  3. #3 by Jason on April 29th, 2011 [ 27516 Points ]

    The game is deeply flawed. fun but flawed. A patch could fix quite a bit of it but with dlc icons in the demo I feel they are looking at $ not the perfect entry. Graphically I think its suffering big time. No thanks to 3d support as that seems to be the culprit in motorstorm as well. For die hard fans its a disappointment. Just my opinion. Rent it Eden.

  4. #4 by dave on April 29th, 2011

    This game is great, I really like it its like MK2 on steroids, it looks great plays great but their are some little glitches like the game will freeze up, it only did it 2 times with me and the subtitles are black sometimes and I always use subtitles on my games and blues, I thank most people that liked the MK games will love this game its the best MK in 11 years.

  5. #5 by dave on April 29th, 2011

    @jason,

    no what, graphically its suffering big time uhh ok, what you thank MK2 looks better? the game is graphically great lol its seems you were never were a MK fan, and yes has some flaws in it, but deeply flawed uh jezzz, and the game has 3D support man jezz have you played the game? do you know were to look for 3D support? I mean its right their in front on the game box 3D supported.

  6. #6 by sam on April 29th, 2011

    i think the graphics are great too. beat the hell out of any other fighter in my opinion. i love this games and great review BTW, i do disagree with the story though.

    I love how it retold the first three mortal kombat games and brought to light the deep and interesting story that most people have never payed attention to. it hits most of the important character arcs such as the death of sub zero and the cyber initiative of the lin kau.

  7. #7 by Baba0Booey on April 29th, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    Thanks for the read guys, and don’t mind jason, he likes to pretend he knows more than he actually does, hes really clueless ;) (I love you j lol)

    For me the graphics were really good, on my 52inch high def with a fat arse HDMI cable they definatly are amazing.

  8. #8 by Oly on April 29th, 2011 [ 131925 Points ]

    WOW.. i’m not much into fighting games, but after that review I might have to check it out!
    Great Job

  9. #9 by dave on April 29th, 2011

    well I just dont thank Jason knows what hes talking about, I mean he just made the game sound very very bad only people that doesnt like MK would have said that in the first place, but he did say something that makes the most since out of his comment (rent it first), but I do that with all my games, but with MK 2011 people would rent and take right back and buy it that same day or week ,its that fun and that nice looking and super bloody lol and the controls are very responsive, and if you are like me and been with them from the first day they came out, I thank the very first MK came out in 89 maybe 90 and if you liked MK, MK2, MK3 (SNES) and Deadly Alliance (PS2) you will like this if you didnt then dont get it.

  10. #10 by dave on April 29th, 2011

    no hard feelings Jason, I mean you thank what you will.

  11. #11 by Baba0Booey on April 29th, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    @Oly

    You definatley have to check it out, its a well put together game and has been tuned to accomodate even casual players, this installment is less about the hardcore players and more about everyone having a good time!

  12. #12 by Markus on April 30th, 2011 [ 4322 Points ]

    I own this game and I’m loving it too… I completed the Story Mode. I’m roughly 175/300 tower challenges completed and they just seem to be getting harder and harder.

    Since the PSN is down I’m working on some of the trophies and working on unlocking as much as I can. All in all it’s an excellent game with tons of replay value.

    The graphics are pretty damn good… The other fighters on the market make me feel like I’m in an episode of Dragon Ball Z or something…

  13. #13 by Jcmdaddy on May 1st, 2011 [ 59258 Points ]

    Great review. I’ve yet to pick up the game, but I’ll probably buy it when I buy Brink. Taking my birthday (12th May) and the Friday off, so I’ll have a long gaming weekend =3

  14. #14 by Sakinah on May 1st, 2011 [ 26489 Points ]

    I’m no MK fan but this game sounds like it’s the best 3D fighter out there right now. The “King of the Hill” mode sounds nice. I hope more fighting games implement something similar.

  15. #15 by John on May 1st, 2011

    This should be good, sounds better than the other mortal kombat games that have been released recently.

  16. #16 by Pedro on May 1st, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    It took me a while to get this, but I’m certainly pleased with it!

    I’ve always been a MK fan, it’s the only fighting game I like really. And this give SFIV a whooping easily, way better.

    I’ll have to agree, combos are a bit quirky, I thought they were a bit too fast however, not too slow, on the average DS3 I thought it was difficult to hit all the buttons as fast as I needed, maybe that’s just me.

    I am certainly pleased with it, I got it but was unsure if I would like it, but what I can say is I’m having a great time right now. Still ways to go, but I can’t wait to get back to it!

  17. #17 by Baba0Booey on May 1st, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    The king of the hill mode is lots of fun, and i really enjoy the avatar system and the theater style view

    glad everyone is enjoying the review

  18. #18 by Jonaskin on May 1st, 2011

    I used to be a missive MK fan back in the day but my interest dwindled after MK4 (MK3 is one of my favourite games of all time). I did play a little of Deadly Alliance, but none of them since then…until now.

    This game is AWESOME. Best fighting game I’ve played in a long time, even better than SF4 I reckon. After the huge letdown of Tekken 6, it’s good to see another of my favourite franchises back on top of the game.

  19. #19 by Pedro on May 1st, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Has anyone had problem with the story mode?

    My game locks on me every time I beat reptile with stryker. It just locks up on a loading screen…. can’t get past it, it sucks.

  20. #20 by Baba0Booey on May 1st, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    nope everything went fine for me

  21. #21 by Pedro on May 1st, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    It sucks. I can’t get past that ):

    Looked on the official forums and only one person had that kind of problem (meaning: I’m not sure if they’ll be looking into it). Right now I’m very very bummed I can’t finish story mode.

    Is there an option to install the game on the HDD? I’ve seen on the box it says 4gb required space but it didn’t ask for any install.

    I hope this problem was corrected with the 1.01 patch, which I can’t download with the PSN off…

  22. #22 by Baba0Booey on May 1st, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    no there is no install option, the 4gb is just for game data and various save files.

    Also games will still update even though the PSN is down, patch servers are run the the developers of the games and is not linked through PSN. Try uninstalling the game data, reinstall and patch, that might work.

  23. #23 by dave on May 2nd, 2011

    I didnt have any problems with the story mode worked fine for me.

  24. #24 by Pedro on May 2nd, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    I tried patching it yesterday but I couldn’t, i’ll try it again.

    And also uninstalling game data. I’ve read on the forum some problems are being pointed out as defective media, hope this isn’t the case.

  25. #25 by Markus on May 2nd, 2011 [ 4322 Points ]

    I’m stuck on Challenge Tower #167 atm… Not sure why, I think it’s mainly because I don’t like playing as Cyrax ><

  26. #26 by Pedro on May 2nd, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Just FYI: Clearing game data worked fine for me!

    No more loading screens freezes.

  27. #27 by Baba0Booey on May 2nd, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    yeah im not a big cyrax fan either

  28. #28 by Luke on May 2nd, 2011

    Awesome review man, Sounds like a most definite selection for a good collection!

  29. #29 by Baba0Booey on May 2nd, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    Thanks Luke,

    It is a definate must have for anyones collection!

  30. #30 by Darklurkr23 on May 3rd, 2011 [ 20326 Points ]

    Agree. Legendary Game. I am SOOO glad that Boon and Co. FINALLY gave us what we were asking for. MK could always be a gem on each system, and I feel sorry it took this long to get back in the mix. Fighting Leagues around the globe give it respect, and it has growing popularity. I cant WAIT to see it at Evo this year and in the future. 13,000 viewers the other day on Justin.tv!! Buy this game (PS3 Kratos!) and love it so much. And buy it NEW. Give the series a much needed sale it’s totally worth it.

  31. #31 by Baba0Booey on May 3rd, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    It will definatly be a fighter to contend with, give it a few months and a few DLC packs and you can expect MK to become an immovable force in the genre!

  32. #32 by IvanTheGent on May 13th, 2011 [ 380 Points ]

    Been loving MK ever since launch, its nice to play a fighter that truly requires skill to master. I played too much of MvC3 and with all the spamming and lack of skill, it was great to re-learn MK and actually be pretty damn good. My top 3 fighters are: Sonya, Nightwolf, Kung Lao, PSN tag is LDub86, hit me up once PSN is back and running.


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