Yo, Mortal Kombat is actually good again.
Finish him. Two words that if your a child of the late 80’s early 90’s almost always triggers visions of Mortal Kombat. Now nearly 19 years and 8 games later the 9th game in the series simply titled “Mortal Kombat” has hit store shelves in an attempt to bring us all back to Outworld.
Like Street Fighter 4 Mortal Kombat returns to its roots in this game. No more 3D movement or funky weapon switching. The classic combat from past games finally returns in all its glory.
One of the big features in Mortal Kombat is its story mode. Now, most fighting games have story modes but they are little more than a progression ladder with a character ending. Mortal Kombat decided to throw this formula out the window. While you still get the Arcade style ladder progression mode you also get the amazing story mode.
Your most likely wondering at this point why I would ever put amazing and story mode in the same sentence of a fighting game review. Mortal Kombat steps up its game in story mode. You will go from character to character over 15 chapters seeing how each character plays his or her role in the story. Cut scenes load seamlessly into fights and right back out into the next cut scene. Once you hit the start button there are no load screens at all.
While the story in itself is well... cheesy to say the least it at least provides an earnest enough effort to make it genuinely engaging enough to make it entertaining. The story mode should take most players around 4-5hrs depending on the players speed of progression.
Netherealm studios managed to pack quite a lot of content on the disc as in addition to the story mode there is also the Challenge Tower mode. This is a single player mode where you must complete a myriad of challenges. No matter if it is fighting a trio of Goro’s or playing a match where you quite literally throw your limbs at your opponent the game keeps things interesting and challenging.
In true Mortal Kombat fashion the Krypt and Nekropolis house the games many unlockable secrets. You earn coins from playing single player modes and in return you can unlock concept art, music, extra fatalities and costumes.
Once you go online the game keeps throwing wholesale awesomeness at you like it was a monkey flinging poo. The variety of standard modes like 1v1 are there in addition to the newly added “Tag” match for some 2v2 action. The King of the Hill mode is what really stands out from among the crowd. Up to 8 competitors join a single room and watch in sort of a “theater” style backdrop as the two chosen competitors fight. The winner stays and is ranked by his peers on his victory on a 10 point scale. On the Xbox 360 version this mode makes use of the Xbox Avatars.
The visual flair of Mortal Kombat is a delight to behold. No matter if its a haunted forest an abandoned subway station or hell itself. Almost all the classic backdrops from the first three Mortal Kombat games make an appearance. The roster fills out nicely spanning the entirety of the MK-MK3 rosters with a few hidden surprises. On the playstation 3 version the former God of War Kratos makes an appearance and is unlocked from the get go. The “Kombat” itself will be very familiar to series veterans. While the existence of the “Dial-A-combo” system that was ever present in past games is still present the game opens its self and the combat up to be played around with in a very almost Tekken like combos where juggles are the name of the game. Fatalities make a return to the gruesome and severely “M” rated after the “T” rated affair that was Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. Giving you a nice flashy way to rub your victory in the face of the losing combatant.
It is not all rainbows and entrails in the world of Mortal Kombat 9 however. On the Xbox 360 version I have experienced a few random freezes in the Challenge Tower and King of the Hill modes which I’ve confirmed multiple people with the same issue. The actual netcode on the 360 version (Author’s note:Was unable to play PS3 version online due to PSN outage) is hit and miss even on 1v1 games with a full connection bar enough lag to throw off your timing can occur on a fairly regular basis. Its far from making it unplayable and Netherealm Studios says that a patch is indeed on the way.
If you have limited money and need a game that has lasting value Mortal Kombat might just be your ticket. Even if you don’t enjoy playing other people online there is a wealth of offline content to keep you busy for at least a few weeks. If your an old school fan of Mortal Kombat or even just a casual fighting game fan Mortal Kombat will be well worth the time and money spent.