Mortal Kombat Review
The original Rated-M fighting game returns to its roots.
Over the years we’ve seen many incarnations of the Mortal Kombat series, and those games have tried to go in many different directions. NetherRealm Studios take the ninth entry in the series back to its roots on the 2-D plane for some simplified carnage and good old fashioned fun.
Mortal Kombat confusingly drops an entry number or subtitle, so just to clear that up, this is a re-make not a re-issue of the original arcade game. This entry is truly a return to the roots of Mortal Kombat. You fight along a 2-D plane, as in the first few entries. The combos and special moves have been simplified, you won’t have multiple fighting styles and fifteen button combos, but a few extra features have been added to keep the gameplay fresh.
NetherRealm has added in the Super Gauge which fills up as you take damage and use special moves. The Super Gauge has three bars and when each one fills you unlock a different super ability. The first bar upgrades your special moves so with the addition of a right trigger press your special move is executed with a little extra something. The second offers you a powerful combo-breaker ability that’s great for turning the tide and the third bar offers the new ultra-ridiculous (in a good way) X-Ray attack. Executing an X-Ray attack will put you into a series of quick cut-scenes where you will get an X-Ray view of your character obliterating the bones of your opponent. X-Ray attacks offer an interesting trade off, as you may save up your Super Gauge to execute one only to have your opponent block it. When they do land, they do big damage in typical, gory, Mortal Kombat fashion. The Super Gauge coupled with tag team modes and X-Ray attacks really help keep the old-school gameplay fresh.
Single player offers a bunch of modes including an old school arcade ladder with many of its own different options, a challenge tower that gives you specific targets to complete in each fight, and Story Mode. Story Mode is an interesting addition as it uses cut scenes to actually bring you through the whole story of the Mortal Kombat tournament. The story plays out as a series of fight for which you are assigned a fighter. An annoying side point, you can’t skip any cut-scenes here, if you leave Story Mode and come back be prepared to watch the last cut-scene again.
The character models look good, if a little cartoony, and the environments are fantastic. The game plays very smoothly and I had little trouble executing some of the larger 5-button combos. If you are into fighting games, there is a lot of fun to be had with Mortal Kombat. To go along with the large amount of modes on offer here, you are always earning points that can unlock a number of different things in the Krypt. These range from artwork to costumes. There is plenty to keep you interested.
I truly feel like the online portion of Mortal Kombat missed an opportunity. You are assigned a Trueskill rank and have a win loss record, but other than being able to pick tag matches or 1v1, there isn’t anything going on here. You are only playing for your win/loss record and to the hard-core or competitive fighting gamer, that’s probably enough. The casual fighter will likely not feel much reason to stick around. Still the online is usually lag free and you can have private matches with friends, online or offline, and isn’t this what Mortal Kombat is really about.
You’ll only be getting all 1000 points if you’re a real hardcore online fighter. Some others are offered for story mode and single player, but Win 10 Consecutive Ranked Matches? Come on. Prepare to spend a lot of time online.
Though, I feel, the online could have been deeper, Mortal Kombat successfully brings the series full circle and delivers a great fighting game experience. You may not spend hours and hours on this one, but you will keep it around to play when friends are over.