I’ve been a fan of the Mortal Kombat series since the original game back in the Arcades and even when it was ported over to the Super Nintendo. While the past few entries of this beloved classic franchise have been a let down, NetherRealm Studios has made sure that the latest installment will not only live up to the originals but also surpass them in every way.
NetherRealm Studios went all out creating a top-notch story mode; especially for a fighting game. The game opens up on the end of Armageddon, all of the kombatants lay slain across the battlefield with Shao Kahn and Raiden battling it out for the control of Earthrealm. Raiden, completely exhausted, is about to be finished off by Shao Kahn. Before the deceive blow, and the destruction of Earthrealm, Raiden sends visions back through time to himself prior to the events of the first Mortal Kombat. Raiden knowing that he needs to somehow alter the course of history tries to make sure that this time, Armageddon does not come to fruition.
All of the unlockables can be found within the Krypt. The unlockables range from kostumes, to alternate fatalities, to artwork. Sadly, the klassic kostumes are only pieces of artwork. Pre-order kodes (see what I did there?) is the only way for now (hint, hint) to unlock actually klassic kostumes. It truly is a shame as some of them also contain klassic fatalities. Speaking of downloadable content, we already know the first 2 kombatants that will be released, Skarlet and Kenshi. Kenshi is the fan favorite blind psychic warrior that debuted in Deadly Alliance, while Skarlet was originally a glitch that would change the color palette of the female warriors to red.
The Challenge Tower is another mode well worth spending countless hours in. It consists of quick matches with set parameters. One has the requirement of a fatality to be performed and another has the only way to attack is by lobbing body parts. It’s these challenges that come out of left field and make no sense that really make the challenge tower enjoyable. There are 300 different challenges to complete. If you have koins to spare you can skip challenges that give you too much trouble. If all you care about is getting to the 300th challenge this is an effective method, but why rush through and not enjoy the journey. The classic Test Your Might makes a triumphant return here in the challenge tower. Test your Luck is new to the series and sets options to the match that is chosen from a spinning wheel. I’ve had some completely work in my favor, but have also have been completely screwed over as well.
The game does include a pretty standard tutorial to help familiarize players of all skill levels with the gameplay of Mortal Kombat, but Nether Realm did not stop there, as they have also included a fatality tutorial. Using this allows fatalities to be practiced using any chosen character.
All of these new additions don’t mean anything if the gameplay isn’t up to snuff. I can say without a shadow of a doubt this game has the best gameplay of the series. Mortal Kombat has finally returned to its roots and plays on a 2D plane, and not a moment too soon. New to the series is the inclusion of a super meter with 3 different levels or tiers. Performing kombos or taking a pounding will quickly charge the meter. Enhanced special attacks, which are beefed up versions of the standard special attacks, can be used once the first level is filled. Breakers can be activated when 2 levels are filled. These are used to immediately stop a combo. Once all 3 levels are full, devastating x-ray attacks can be utilized. These are one of the best new additions to the series as they aren’t just powerful and deadly, but showcase all the new details that were put into the visuals. During these attacks the camera zooms in to show an inside view of the character who is being attacked showing in great detail, bones cracking, and organs being ruptured.
What is a Mortal Kombat game without fatalities, and NetherRealm does not disappoint in this game. The fatalities have the same amount as creatively as the series is accustomed to. As with being a revamp to the series there are a bunch of fatalities that pay homage to the klassic games. Instead of Kano just ripping his opponents heart out, he rips it out from the back and then crushes it in his massive paw. Another has him ripping the heart out and ripping his opponents head off followed by shoving the head into the chest cavity. Sadly, Friendships, and Brutalities do not make a return, but my personal favorite Babalities have been included.
For the first time ever Mortal Kombat has included a Tag Team mode. The partner can be called in at any time to perform a special attack.
Online consists of a few different game modes this time around. King of the Hill mode joins the standard public/private rooms that can be made. King of the Hill lobbies consists of up to 8 players. In this mode the winner keeps playing while the loser gets swapped out with the next person in line. After a match players can vote on the match by giving respect points to the winner. This is a great concept, but I could see it get abused by sore losers. On the PS3 version, players get to pick miniature Mortal Kombat characters to represent them on the King of the Hill screen, while 360 users get to use the avatars.
Mortal Kombat is without a doubt the best Mortal Kombat game to date, and it definitely has an argument for the best fighter of all time. NetherRealm is already planning a bunch of new kharacters and have hinted at possible new kostumes. As long as we don’t see a Super Mortal Kombat edition, I think Mortal Kombat is a sure fire must by for any fan of the series.Note: Mortal Kombat was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A physical copy of the game was purchased by SelectButton.