Mortal Kombat is one of those fighting games that is instantly recognised as something special, something different which strives and continues to do so in its own way. We’ve had a couple of shaky titles here and there over the years granted but this new bloody chapter of Mortal Kombat will have you desperate to pull of fatalities, plunder secrets and unlock hidden characters all over again.
When you get to the title screen you just know you’re in for some insane violence when Scorpion plants an awesome upper-cut on Sub-Zeros gob, that’s when you hear that bone crunching, flesh ripping squelch that you’ve heard before but in glorious high definition quality. The game looks rich as soon as you start a round, blood is portrayed brilliantly and looks wet and gooey especially when it’s been splattered everywhere in the typical MK fashion, character detailing looks cared for and the maps themselves are great to go back over and revisit as they’ve been resurrected in 3D loveliness.
The combat has been simplified to create more speed and fluidity to MK’s overall 2D fighting experience which is good news for newcomers but there’s still a heap of features to get stuck into though if you’re a fan. There are various fatalities for all characters and the simplified control scheme means there are more combos to pull off or defend from which balances matches well online or off. The combat configuration is leaning more to what side or limb you want to attack with like Tekken and fighting is 2D also. Front punch, Back punch, Front kick and Back kick are your four main attacks and quick fingers are still sometimes needed to pull of some of the moves even with the added changes MKs fighting experience.
One of the games new added combat features is the power bar at the bottom left of the screen which leads to some great opportunities to cause creative harm to your foe. First tier of the bar once filled allows you to use Enhanced moves which are your characters special attacks but an extra kick is added by holding the right trigger when executing the move, making it just that bit harder for your foe to dodge or block. The second tier opens up Breakers which are used midway through your opponents combo to break it and comeback with a counter attack, these are always good to practice as they can easily help you change the tide of a match. The third tier unlocks X-ray moves, these beauties show off some splendid images of bones and skulls being broken in an X-ray type vision, internal organs getting mushed and much more in a high visual display of violence. You pull of X-ray moves using the two trigger buttons but to pull off correctly some need your opponents guard to be down or to be performed after a combo as they can be blocked. There are some down right crazy and flamboyant moves to be had from all characters but some just go the extra mile like Johnny Cage’s nut cracker.
You can get straight into the action by selecting fight mode which will take you to some of Mortal Kombats offerings in the form of Ladder mode which is the Arcade mode, Tag ladder and some of the challenges you’ll encounter first in the games new Challenge Tower mode. Ladder is arcade mode where you’ll take on 10 opponents and get a short ending for your character after completion though these aren’t anything to applaud. However the creators of Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios have stepped up and adopted more storytelling quality’s and adaptations that are not normally associated with fighting games. These are mostly discovered in Story Mode where you initially play as Johnny Cage and then go onto play as other characters and find out the other fighters motivations into taking part in the tournament though a manner of staged fights and cut scenes.
Another new part of MK is the Challenge Tower and this will have you spending hours going through these towered mini fights and enjoying a bit more of MK’s strange side. Some challenges involve just taking out opponents with special rules to the match, some are tests of strength and sight and some use a characters ability to complete certain requirements. After you have completed one you get rewarded with Kombat tokens, you get rewarded these tokens after completing fights and numerous other things throughout the game and are spent in the bonus Krypt section which you can get to in the Extras menu.
The Extra menu section holds a host of unlockable content to gouge your eyes on, the Krypt section unlocks a variety of things with your Kombat tokens from cheats to extra fatalities and is rather addictive once you get going. You can view character bios and 3D models in the suitably designed Necropolis section which displays all the characters one after another around the room, the centre of the room holds a portal which is your gallery where you can view all of MKs character and level concept art.
If you have Xbox Live connected you can also explore MKs online experience and give your Xbox Live friends or strangers some grief with its 1 v 1, TAG and King Of The Hill modes. 1 v 1 and TAG modes are self-explanatory, King Of The Hill is a nice little addition to these two modes and allows players to take part in a tournament online where the winner stays on. Though sometimes games can take a while to set up if you have a good connection there aren’t any serious problems with lag in fights and after joining a lobby full of players you don’t really need to go searching for another one as players can be taking part in different game modes in the same lobby which leaves you more time to crack skulls.
It’s bloody, violent and in tune with its former self, Mortal Kombat is a surprisingly well thought out game and takes its past and mixes it with the present to create a game which many gamers can get to grip with. Though after a couple of days play some of the actions and fatalities can give the game a bit of a samey feel to the combat after a while but there’s plenty to chip away at and online play to keep you interested. If you’re a fan of the genre or just looking for some insane gore then Mortal Kombat is for you, everyone else I suggest just keeping your eyes and ears shut as Mortal Kombat isn’t for the squeamish.
|Developer: NetherRealm Studios|
|Publisher: Warner Bros.|