Mortal Kombat Story Mode Impressions

Posted by Hailinel (24381 posts) -

I bought Mortal Kombat yesterday at the local Fred Meyer, where, instead of getting an unlockable retro character skin, I ended up getting a Mortal Kombat T-shirt with my purchase.  Okay, then.  Not going to argue with that, but whatever.

I haven't tooled around with anything more than the story mode and Krypt so far.  Now, as utterly ridiculous and fucked as the MK story became in the later games (I've always considered Armageddon a sign that the writers just didn't care anymore), the story mode in this game is fantastic.  I've always been a fan of stories in games; yes, even fighting games.  Even if I'm not the sort of guy that's willing to put in the ten thousand hours required to become a god of the tournament scene, I at least like knowing the character backgrounds and narratives of games that take the time to put effort into them.  And while Mortal Kombat is certainly not the first game in the genre with a story mode like this, it does a really good job, at least to the point I've played, of cleaning up the mess, revisiting past events, reinterpreting them so that they make sense, or altering them so that the plot doesn't stumble along into the same painful direction as before.

For reference, I'm somewhere past the halfway point in story mode, toward the end of the Mortal Kombat II tournament in Kung Lao's chapter.  It's been really neat seeing how the characters physically change and evolve over the course of the story, what with being able to play as Cyrax before he becomes a cyborg, or the way that the roles of certain characters feel more defined, even if the vast majority of them feel like very stock comic book characters.  Which is fine; the MK story and characters were always pretty goofy to one degree or another, and while the narrative takes itself seriously, it's never to an extent that would be undermined by the ridiculous violence and the more absurd character moments.  Which pretty much entails anything involving Johnny Cage.

It is, dare I say it, about on par with the characters and story of BlazBlue (and I enjoy me some BlazBlue), though the ways that each franchise delivers their stories is vastly different.

So that's all really cool.  Then the game throws a 2-on-1 fight at me where I have to win against a tag team of two opponents twice, and I end up retrying the match six or seven times until I find whatever magical cheese combo will let me wear them down by abusing it over and over again.  It's less skill and more "mash these buttons until my opponent falls over."  Though when I fought Goro near the end of the MK1 tournament, I found it almost quaint that the same tactic that worked so well back in the day (jump-kick Goro in the face over and over and over again) is pretty much the way to take him out this time, too.

Though, I never did beat Motaro or Kintaro back in the day.  This could get ugly.

#1 Posted by Hailinel (24381 posts) -

I bought Mortal Kombat yesterday at the local Fred Meyer, where, instead of getting an unlockable retro character skin, I ended up getting a Mortal Kombat T-shirt with my purchase.  Okay, then.  Not going to argue with that, but whatever.

I haven't tooled around with anything more than the story mode and Krypt so far.  Now, as utterly ridiculous and fucked as the MK story became in the later games (I've always considered Armageddon a sign that the writers just didn't care anymore), the story mode in this game is fantastic.  I've always been a fan of stories in games; yes, even fighting games.  Even if I'm not the sort of guy that's willing to put in the ten thousand hours required to become a god of the tournament scene, I at least like knowing the character backgrounds and narratives of games that take the time to put effort into them.  And while Mortal Kombat is certainly not the first game in the genre with a story mode like this, it does a really good job, at least to the point I've played, of cleaning up the mess, revisiting past events, reinterpreting them so that they make sense, or altering them so that the plot doesn't stumble along into the same painful direction as before.

For reference, I'm somewhere past the halfway point in story mode, toward the end of the Mortal Kombat II tournament in Kung Lao's chapter.  It's been really neat seeing how the characters physically change and evolve over the course of the story, what with being able to play as Cyrax before he becomes a cyborg, or the way that the roles of certain characters feel more defined, even if the vast majority of them feel like very stock comic book characters.  Which is fine; the MK story and characters were always pretty goofy to one degree or another, and while the narrative takes itself seriously, it's never to an extent that would be undermined by the ridiculous violence and the more absurd character moments.  Which pretty much entails anything involving Johnny Cage.

It is, dare I say it, about on par with the characters and story of BlazBlue (and I enjoy me some BlazBlue), though the ways that each franchise delivers their stories is vastly different.

So that's all really cool.  Then the game throws a 2-on-1 fight at me where I have to win against a tag team of two opponents twice, and I end up retrying the match six or seven times until I find whatever magical cheese combo will let me wear them down by abusing it over and over again.  It's less skill and more "mash these buttons until my opponent falls over."  Though when I fought Goro near the end of the MK1 tournament, I found it almost quaint that the same tactic that worked so well back in the day (jump-kick Goro in the face over and over and over again) is pretty much the way to take him out this time, too.

Though, I never did beat Motaro or Kintaro back in the day.  This could get ugly.

#2 Posted by Bestostero (2758 posts) -

I think Challenge Tower is where people should start in the game seeing how it basically teaches and preps you for a lot of the things that you encountered in the other game modes, but like you, i opted for Story Mode.

Story Mode was awesome, I didn't think anything was too unreasonable until I did the Endurance rounds near the end, but even then it wasn't too bad, i'm pretty sure it would've been a ton easier if i started at Challenge Tower since it sets up a lot of endurance rounds and tag team matches with some hints... some times lol and i probably wouldn't have to learn a character so quickly either.  But all in all, it was enjoyable and challenging, i think i would've been more upset if i was able to beat it easily without bumps in the road.

#3 Posted by Cincaid (2956 posts) -
@Hailinel:
As I posted here I'm mostly picking up MK for the single player stuff (and whenever friends visit for some couch-vs-play). Great to hear that part of the game holds up!
#4 Posted by Mento (2505 posts) -

It sounds promising. I have to say I love the story stuff a lot too, but I usually find that playing through the arcade game's dozen or so fights to unlock each ending a chore. At that point, I generally realize I'm playing the wrong game for me.

It seems like they're setting up the bonus stuff to be more like Smash Bros or Dissidia: Riding the nostalgia train for the games those characters appeared in previously (and in Mortal Kombat's case, the series itself) by supplying plenty of unlockable bonus material. Works for me. Not that I could play Dissidia for more than a few hours, mind, but the bonus stuff kept me around at least for a little while longer.

Moderator
#5 Posted by Noct (306 posts) -


I just have to chime in to agree with you 100%. It's hands down the single best story mode in any fighting game, ever. I just can't say enough good things about the game. I honestly dont remember the last time I smiled this much playing something. The way they tied all the bizarre MK mythos into a cohesive story was brilliant, and getting to see the characters origins outside of a text field was worth the price of admission alone. I don't want to give anything away to anyone, so I'll be vague, but I can't even count how many times a guy would walk on screen that looked wierdly familiar to me, and then I'd realize he was X, they just hadn't set him on fire or ripped off his arms yet, etc.. Heh, and then they'd show that...

 

They just did such an outstanding job on the story, this is true fan service at its best. I bow to Boon.

#6 Posted by DonChipotle (2716 posts) -

What I like about Story Mode is that it let me play as characters I had no real interest in, like Smoke. Now I think Smoke is pretty fun to play as, so thanks, Story Mode.

#7 Posted by phantomzxro (1571 posts) -

@Hailinel:
Yes i agree with you all the way. It funny because i did not know how much into fighting games a was until i realized i own a good amount of them. I not a tournament guy but it fun to play with friends and hold your own. But i have always given props to fighting games with a decent story mode and unlockables. I often spend way more time playing the game when i can see back story on the fighters and unlock things as i play. I don't know why more fighter don't work on this department because it's the only reason i spend as much time playing them when they have these modes in place.

 

Take street fighter 4 and MvsC3 which are really great games but i put maybe 5  hours into them and i'm moving on to other games. But blazblue i played the crapped out of it  and got 20 + hours into it. I find it more enjoyable to learn the ropes of the game when you have more of a reason to do so. Playing story mode gives you a reason to play most of all the characters learn about them and learn their moves.

#8 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3065 posts) -

As someone who plays fighting games almost exclusively for the stories and characters, I'm pretty excited about this new MK game possibly inspiring some other franchises to put more effort into their story modes.  Probably not going to happen, but hey, I can dream.

Online
#9 Posted by Chokobo (1228 posts) -

It's really good.  However...

#10 Edited by Make_Me_Mad (3065 posts) -
@Chokobo said:

" It's really good.  However...

"
I've already come up with a crazy theory on that front.  I'm betting that Earthrealm and Outworld are going to have to ally with each other in order to stop the Netherrealm.
Online
#11 Posted by Kill (298 posts) -

I sat through the whole Story Mode on Youtube because I'm too poor to buy the game. I really enjoyed it and it never bored me, even if I wasn't playing. I'll definitely pick up MK once the price drops.

#12 Posted by Hailinel (24381 posts) -

I finished off story mode tonight, and had to turn the difficulty down to beginner at the first Shao Kahn fight and just went from there.  The second Shao Kahn battle at the end was a nightmare.  After at least an hour, I finally beat him by jumping him, jumping away, kicking him again, and just barely, barely holding out until the time ran out.  He is just ridiculous, and if the next game has nothing to do with him I'll be happier for it.

As for the large body count, I don't really see that being a problem for the next game.  Just because characters are dead doesn't mean that they can't come back in some form and fight (see: Scorpion, Noob Saibot).  The main thing is that while the plot is obviously set up for the timeframe of Mortal Kombat 4, things are sure to be strikingly different next time around.  Heck, I'm just having a hard time keeping track of both the Earthrealm and Outworld characters that are still alive.

One other thing I should say regarding the body count:


So yeah.  An entertaining story mode all around, but Shao Kahn was far too insanely hard for it, I think.
#13 Posted by Bloodgraiv3 (2712 posts) -


I'm also really enjoying it, its stupid and silly but the good kind.

 

#14 Posted by Chokobo (1228 posts) -
#15 Posted by Hailinel (24381 posts) -
@Chokobo:  They had actually previously established that in Deception, so it isn't a new twist.
#16 Posted by Slaker117 (4837 posts) -

It was a small thing, so I'm not sure why I liked it so much, but a also appreciated the use of alt costumes in the story. It adds a nice bit of visual flavor.

Online
#17 Posted by Floppypants (798 posts) -

The story mode has no business being of the length and quality that it is.  It's not only a great story for a fighting game, but it holds up to the entire general video game market.  MK10 is going to sell plenty of copies to people who just want to experience the next chapter of the story.

#18 Posted by BulletproofMonk (2720 posts) -

Wait, people are actually agreeing with Hailinel on something? Madness!


But seriously though, glad to hear that the story mode's great. I'll have to buy this game as soon as I finish Portal 2.
#19 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

I loved the story mode except for the cheap-ass fights, mainly Shao Khan in his last appearance.  FUCK that dude is ridiculous.  It was really a good story, and I must agree with Jeff that it's the best story mode of any fighting game I've ever experienced.  The one thing that this game lacks is a simple Player vs. CPU match or tag team Player+Player vs CPU+CPU.  Bums me out, but I still LOVE this game.

#20 Posted by vidiot (2737 posts) -

Everything I read and see about MK's story mode, seems like the entire game is tailored made to go after every complaint I've had with single player components in fighting games.
A story mode, that actually has a story. Who would have thunk it?
It's such a basic concept, it's kinda infuriating a little bit that it took this long to get something like this. No, an arcade style ladder crawl with a single piece of artwork, juxtaposed beneath a wall of text after you beat the final boss isn't a story. Well, I guess it could have been a story...If we were living still in 1993.

Defiantly going to be checking this out after Portal 2.

#21 Posted by Bestostero (2758 posts) -

Yeah, a lot of people are already going crazy and coming up with all sorts of theories for the next game when the game just release like a day ago ...self included...lol

#22 Edited by HistoryInRust (6292 posts) -
@vidiot: It's worth it. Like people say, you have to be willing to accept Mortal Kombat's brand of cheese. But if you're into the lore, this is certainly its best treatment in the franchise's history. In any medium. 
#23 Posted by Underachiever007 (2468 posts) -
@Slaker117 said:
" It was a small thing, so I'm not sure why I liked it so much, but a also appreciated the use of alt costumes in the story. It adds a nice bit of visual flavor. "
Yeah, I thought that was a really neat touch.
#24 Posted by Chokobo (1228 posts) -
@Hailinel:  Oh, well it was news to me.  I was pretty fucking stoked, tbh.  :D
#25 Posted by big_jon (5723 posts) -

It was pretty awesome, but the final boss was dumb.

#26 Posted by fox01313 (5069 posts) -

Story mode, after finishing it recently, is incredibly satisfying I thought & well worth the trip through it all. Just fyi though, if you go into the options there is the difficulty for the story mode hiding in there, some of the later boss fights are somewhat infurating so it helped getting through the story for me by turning it down to an easier setting.

 

Also if you go through the story mode again you will get a small % of koins (less than 100 per fight where the first time through the story gives 1k+ koins on almost all the fights). GLHB

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