Mortal Kombat is back in brutal bloody style
It seems like it's been forever since theres been a Mortal Kombat (MK) game that has been so well received by the diehard fans, press and new comers to the MK franchise and up until this game I wouldn't have blamed them.
Unless you happened to be big into DC comics and MK its likely the last MK game would have been a distant bleep on your gaming radar. The franchise even outside of the DC crossover had been becoming stale with a massively convoluted story line and excesive amount of battle commands. This definitely wasn't helped by the previous vs. type game which was a really good idea to pit DC characters and MK characters against each other but the game was gimped by its Teen rating. The title just lacked that special something. That something in this case was tons of blood & over the top fatality's to humiliate your opponent.
With this in mind, its so clear how this latest edition to the MK franchise is what every gamer has been waiting for. Let me stop the review for those of you with a short attention span and tell you straight right now.
If you've ever had a passing interest in the series or remember having great times with MK back in the very begining with MK1 and MK2 then you need to get this game.
You can tell from the very first time you boot up the game that the bar has been raised noticeably. When you get into ladder for straight up punching dudes in the face you'll be greeted by one of the best character rosters available from the get go. Scorpion, Subzero, Liu Kang(Alive) and tons of other fan favourites all make a appearance. A lot of characters being justified through the new story which runs in a alternate time line but I will explain more about that later. Shao Khan and Goro are the bosses in this game and still remain cheap and massively overpowered but are not playable characters which calls back to the old arcade style that the Nether Realm guys are going for this time round. All the characters fighting styles have been simplified back to the Klassic style and rides on the wave of bringing back 2D fighting in a 3D space like Street Fighter IV. The fact you cant side step projectiles now makes this title feel more balanced and running has been changed to dashing.
I'm glad to say that in edition to these changes each character has had the fighting styles unified. In previous MK deception and Deadly Alliance games trying to learn just 1 characters fighting moves meant staring for hours at multiple lengthy pages of button codes. I felt this alienated newbs completely and was even hard for the standard MK fan to take in. Now you just have to worry about 2 pages with one for your combos and one for your special moves and fatality's. The commands are a lot shorter as well making it easy to get to grips with any character you happen to choose if you just want to jump in and start breaking bones.
The controls feel responsive and snappy in a way that I've not felt in a fighting game for a while. If you have a friend round whose never played before they should be able to get to grips with it quickly. If you are buying a MK game for the first time then the Nether Realm guys have got your back with a in depth training mode teaching you everything you could want to know about the basics of kombat and even guides you through your first fatality.
Once you've gotten your hands bloody in training or in the ladder id seriously recommend getting stuck into the story mode. You may have already heard this for countless other sites but I will say it just the same. The story mode has probably the best story in any fighting game. Without spoiling any of the plot the story runs in a alternate new timeline which tries to avoid the massive mess that was MK Armageddon. All the cut scenes are in the game engine as well which is incredibly detailed. You can be watching a cut scene and suddenly something is said and before you know it your fighting a dude or dudet. The story mode goes through every character in the roster so you really get a feel for all of them. The only downside is that you will inevitably get stuck with a character that you don't like and cannot progress forward. But in these times you can just adjust the difficulty if you need to cheese parts of it to progress.
In edition to polished characters, a engrossing story and beautifully detailed stages there is the much loved return of gruesome fatality's and the start of X ray moves. X ray moves are activated by charging up your meter on the bottom of the screen by either taking damage or by performing combos. These are basically a super move that does a ton of damage to your opponent. They normally consist of breaking your opponents bones with your characters skin peeling back so you can see bones break, rib cages crack , skulls crunch and teeth literally fly at you. These moments never fail to put a grin on my face. They provide excellent entertainment and also provide someone who may be getting their ass kicked some crucial breathing space to compose themselves to make a comeback.
The fatality's are some of the best seen in the franchises long standing history. Some are better than others but the ones that are good are REALLY good.
*updated* Ive only been able to get online for a little as the PSN had been down but the time I have had online has been great fun. The match making is still broken but its easy enough to join user rooms much in the same way you join a chat room and then just select the dude you wanna fight. Win/Loss, Tag win/loss and Disconnect stats are all displayed so you can get a visual heads up if the person your about to ask to fight is prone to rageing or is a absoulte badass.
This is probably the best looking MK to date. All characters and stages have been lovingly redesigned to look modern while still keeping hold of what made them special in the first place. The krypt is also back with Alternate costumes, extra fatality's, Concept Art and music to unlock. PLUS you have a Test your Might, Sight, Strike and Luck which offer a variety of mini games and a chance to twist a round in various different ways. AND you also have a challange ladder with enough tasks there to keep you coming back for weeks if not months.
This truly feels like a return to form for MK. A balanced fighting roster (that is updated) , crisp visuals and a kick ass story all come together to make this a great fighting experience for MK newbs and die hard fans. If your lucky enough to have a 3D TV as well then this game has got you covered. There is certainly a ton of content here to keep you going offline and online. Rarely has there been a fighting game I've recommended so much since Marvel vs. Capcom 2.
Get MK in your life you wont regret it.
(Please rate positive if you liked this review thanks :)