Mortal Kombat has finally returned to its 2D roots after all these years. Well, as close as it can get to the originals anyway. I was overwhelmed by memories from my youth as I launched Mortal Kombat on the Playstation 3 for the first time: the long lines at the arcade; the endless hours of combat; and performing fatalities and watching the crowd marvel at its gruesome splendor. Thanks to NetherRealm Studios, Mortal Kombat has returned to recapture its glory from the golden age of fighting games.
Playing the new Mortal Kombat today is like experiencing MKII for the first time: it feels fresh, innovative, and offers plenty of gore.
It’s a proven fact that 3D is not the cure-all for everything; some things are better off in 2D and MK is one such title. This is the first time in years that Mortal Kombat felt like Mortal Kombat. The roster of fighters is twenty-eight strong; fan favorites like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kabal, Sindel and Shang Tsung are among them. Furthermore, with rumors of downloadable content already in development, Mortal Kombat will surely have a long shelf life.
There has been many changes to MK, including a tag-team feature (with offline and online features) and practice/training modes for those who need the extra help with their combat skills. Additionally, there is a Fatality practice feature that allows you to practice the fatalities for every character. This is a great feature; you can see every fatality without ever playing the game.
NetherRealm Studios has also reintroduced, and slightly revised, the combo system from Mortal Kombat 3. The most innovative feature is the X-Ray ability; you can do a great deal of damage to your opponent if timed correctly. This happens via a gauge that fills during combat. But that’s not all; you can also use the energy from the gauge to execute stronger special moves.
Story mode has returned, and unlike previous versions, it takes you through every character involved in Mortal Kombat. In fact, it takes you through the complete MK story, beginning with the first tournament and leading to the last (i.e. MK 3). Being a fan of the series, I know the backstory to the characters and the tournament, but even I learned a few things while playing the new story mode. Story mode will also unlock trophies and must-have hidden characters.
Unlike previous versions of Mortal Kombat, you can now earn MK coins while playing in Arcade mode. These coins are used in the Krypt to unlock character costumes, sketches and additional fatality moves. While Story mode is fun, you no longer need to play it to gain currency.
There are numerous online features to dive into like Tag Team, Standard One-on One and King of the Hill, but due to the massive Playstation Network outage that has affected us all, I was unable to try most of the online features for this review.
Mortal Kombat’s graphics are incredible. The Courtyard (MK1), Dead Pool (MK2) and the city streets from MK3 return in 1080p splendor. No rock has been left unturned when it comes to the stages. Everything has been reconstructed from the ground up.
The in-game sound effects do not disappoint. The trademark voices from previous MK games are present, and the bone-crunching sound effects are very satisfying. Classic MK music is also present during combat. The iconic rap music during the subway stage is present and so is the ominous Dead Pool music. NetherRealm Studios didn’t leave anything out during development.
This is the most fun I have had with an MK game in years. The last time I had this much fun was when I played Mortal Kombat II. If you have been waiting for a Mortal Kombat game that returned the franchise to its former glory, Mortal Komat is that title. This is a strong nominee for fighting game of the year, hands down.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
ESRB: M (Mature)
Price: $59.99 ($39.99 currently at Toys R Us)
|Best graphics in a Mortal Kombat game.|
|Everything you expect and more.|
|The best around and online gameplay is a killer (for the time it could be tested).|
|Simply the best fighting game available. No game has ever captured the adrenaline rush of a Mortal Kombat match.|