Mortal Kombat Review (PS3)
For me Mortal Kombat has always been a series that had lost its way after Mortal Kombat 3 back in 1995. But with this newest instalment I can honestly say the Mortal Kombat is back and it’s ready to challenge Street fighter for the throne of best fighter.
Mortal Kombat is a 2D fighter with 3D character models in the same vein as the recently rebooted Street Fighter 4 series. Your main task is to beat your opponent to a defenceless state then perform a fatality on them, Mortal Kombat’s signature finishing move.
Along the way you can assault your opponent with character specific special moves and the newly introduced X-ray moves. The latter being some of the most brutal special moves to ever exist in a fighting game*.
Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘why should I care about another fighting game?’ Mortal Kombat is one of the most feature rich games that has came out in a long time regardless of genre. When you compare it to the features seen in the recent Marval vs. Capcom 3 it really makes it look like Capcom just weren’t trying.
Not only does it have a wealth of content to keep serious competitive players busy, it also has hours of single player content that any level of player can enjoy.
It has begun
Building on what they learned from Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe this game includes a full story mode which reboots the convoluted MK storyline and makes this a perfect starting point for anyone interested in this series.
Good story and fighting games aren’t usually used in the same sentence but boot up MK’s new story mode and I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Story mode plays like you’re watching a movie only you get to play out the fight scenes. Typically you’ll watch a cutscene then the game will transition seamlessly into the fight. This really helps the story keep flowing as you’re never left looking at a loading screen after an important plot point has just been dropped on you. Every fight awards you with MK’s currency dubbed ‘Koins’ the amount you get varies depending on how hard the fight was and also what difficulty you have the game set to.
An average playthrough on normal difficulty took me about 6-8 hours to complete and I was more than satisfied when the ending credits rolled.
After you’re done with story mode you’ve still got a lot of stuff left to do, you could spend your koins in the Krypt. A haunted graveyard that houses unlockable fatalities, alternate costumes for all the characters, concept art and music tracks.
You can play through the arcade ladder to see each characters non canonical ending and earn some extra koin while you’re there. Or you can take on the mammoth task that is the Challenge Tower.
Test your Perseverance
The Challenge Tower is a collection of 300 challenges ranging from laughably easy to controller smashingly hard. There are some really interesting challenges in there, you can be having an endurance match against three of the games bosses one minute then be dropped into a match where all you can do is throw your limbs at you opponent to do damage.
If these challenges get a bit too tough (and trust me they will) you can opt to bypass any challenge as long as you have the appropriate number of koins.
Unfortunately the challenge tower was where I experienced the most problems with the game. In some of the crazier challenges I experienced quite a lot of slow down, it seemed to be related to any kind of dismemberment that went on during the match such as when fighting off a horde of zombies. Also the game can sometimes slowdown during the X-ray attacks. Now this isn’t the biggest problem in the world but as it’s a fighting game where timing is key, you can see how it could put you off.
On my playthrough I did skip about 50 of the challenges as some were downright unfair and I didn’t have the skill to get through. I imagine if you persevere long enough you would eventually beat it but I didn’t think it was worth the stress.
You will never win
One of my biggest gripes with the game was the insane difficulty spikes specifically when it comes to the bosses. You can be making your way up the arcade tower having a good time fighting some challenging opponents and then BAM you hit the brick wall that is Goro/Kintaro and Shao Kahn.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t say a difficult boss was a bad point for a game but the bosses in Mortal Kombat are the cheapest I’ve ever came across.
There seems to be no consistency in the way they fight, sometimes they have super armour and cannot be hit out of their attack animation, sometimes a simple jump kick will make them fall to the ground. Sometimes you can block their attacks and other times they will just plough straight through you. The only way I found to consistently beat them was to spam projectiles the entire match which to me just isn’t fun. When Street Fighter 4 came out there were a lot of complaints about the boss in that game Seth, yes he was tough to beat but it always felt like a fair fight. In Mortal Kombat Shao Kahn never fights fair.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try out the online portion of the game as PSN has been shut down at the time of writing but if I feel it adds anything I’ll do a follow up once I get to play some online matches.
Add this all together and Mortal Kombat is an insanely good value proposition. As I mentioned you can get about 8 hours out the story mode and I’d say another 10+ out of the challenge tower depending on how much trouble you have. Add on to that the infinite amount of time you can spend playing verses matches with friends on and offline and it would be hard for me to find a reason not to recommend MK to you. This is one of those games that anyone can pick up and have fun with and a game I will be playing for months to come.
*For a more in depth look at the fighting mechanics check out the demo preview I wrote before the game came out: