FINISH HIM! Possibly one of the most iconic video game captions tied to none other than the Mortal Kombat series, even one with limited knowledge of gaming will have come across this franchise before.
This latest instalment in the series makes an attempt to go back in time and try to revamp that which made Mortal Kombat what it was, pure Adult rated GORE. Let’s make it clear; this game is not for the queasy. If excessive amounts of bloodshed, that cannot possibly be realistic, oozing out of every punch, kick or wound makes you sick then do not purchase/play this game. If this sentence did not make you throw up or run to the bathroom then let’s continue with the review.
|What are you looking at?|
The story of the game is an altered retelling of the first 3 Mortal Kombat titles. The story begins at the end where all of the earth realm Kombatants have been defeated and Raiden is making a last attempt to stand up to Shao Kahn, Raiden realizes that he does not have the strength required and Shao Kahn is too powerful, he decides to entrust the task to himself, no kidding. He conveys a psychic message to himself in the past and warns his previous self of the future what awaits him unless the path of time is changed and the right decisions are made. He does this by showing his previous self, visions of what had occurred. In the Campaign mode, the player has to play through with all the characters in the roster in an attempt to change the future. Each character has a side story that contributes to the main plot of the game and it is effectively tied together.
The campaign mode is lengthy for a fighter but not ineffective, many fighters drive down the importance of the story and contribute to gameplay instead but NetherRealm have managed to balance plot with gameplay very nicely. There are lengthy cut scenes all in full HD and they tie together fighting sequences in between.
Unfortunately the player must concentrate throughout in order not to miss any crucial details towards the plot as vital moments can be missed if the player is not paying attention to the dialog.
Mortal Kombat is still a fighter at heart. Its controls are simple, the face buttons are mapped with 2 punches and 2 kicks, the shoulder buttons are mapped with the ability to switch stances, grab, block and finally the triggers combined pull out the X-ray move, which we will talk about later.
Mortal Kombat is very simple to play but complicated to master like any fighter. The fight takes place on lovingly detailed backgrounds in a 2D style similar to the older instalments of MK.
X-ray moves are also a marvel to look at, where the camera zooms in effortlessly and internal damage to the other play is shown usually in the form of a skull cracking, or organ piercing. Each character can perform up to 2 fatalities and a stage fatality and each are unique and destroy the opponent in a different gruesome way. X-ray moves are done when the meter on the bottom of the character is full, however it does not need to be full in order to be realized as players can use its sections to enhance their special attacks and create a new combo or get out of trouble when needed. With 2 bars the players can break the opponent’s combo by holding block and pushing forward as the second hit connects.
|Come on! That wouldn't hurt! Would it?|
The player can also use meter for tag team attacks for a less boring entry when switching out however no tag team x-ray can be used which is a disappointment.
Fatalities are of course back and are as gruesome as ever, possibly even more so as the game has had a graphical overhaul. Stage fatalities are also included and available for certain stages. Finally there is an inclusion of babality with the character Cyrax.
There are a great amount of short combo’s that the player can string together using special moves in order to create longer combo’s. With some practise players can add X-ray moves on to normal combos and do big damage.
|You know not to steal my cookies next time!|
The game modes in Mortal Kombat are vast and greatly enhance the replay ability factor of the game. There are various other modes, aside from arcade tower, playable in the game such as test your luck; where the player has spin slot reels to decide the opponent and other buffs or nerfs. Test your strike has you mashing face buttons to fill a meter within a certain range before striking an object. Test your might is similar to the last however there is no range, it just has to be above a certain point. There is also the inclusion of the online modes where the player can play through tournaments etc. as most other fighters. Tag team modes also include arcade tower and test your luck challenges and are suitable for up to 4 players at one time. There is also a practice room for nailing tag team combos and showing up friends.
Challenge tower has you playing as different characters in order to complete a set of 300 increasingly difficult challenges and finally the Krypt and Nekropolis are the games gallery features. The player earns currency (Koins) as he/she plays through any mode and uses the Koins to unlock artwork, fatalities and music. Rather than a list however the player navigates various environments in order to interactively unlock new content.
The graphics of Mortal Kombat are arguably the best of this generation as far as fighters go. With the game running at 1080p and at 60fps who can complain? Well I can because the frame rates can be inconsistent at times with the game slowing down for certain effects however this may be something that only the hardcore Mortal Kombat fan may pick up on. Problems with the frame rate are rare and certainly not bad enough to ruin the overall experience.
|Beautifully detailed and interactive backgrounds.|
As for visuals, from the busty bodies of the females to the crazy character animations there isn’t anything to fault here. The character Animations are fluid and seamlessly transition when performing one move to the next. There is also a damage engine integrated into the game, where the characters show damage judging from where they are hit. Cuts, rips and wounds show up on the body and clothing of the fighters which gives the game a more realistic sense. The backdrops that the characters fight on are also well created; they convey a sense of depth and are usually revamped classic backdrops that can be identified from previous games. The game also introduces new stages for the Kombatants to maim each other on but these stages really shine when it comes to interacting with it in the form of a Stage Fatality.
Finally the fatalities are certainly the highlight of the game in the field of visuals as they include very gruesome moments that are seamlessly pulled off (visually) at the end of the match providing the player enters the right command and at the right distance. They range from turning into a dragon to spitting in the opponents mouth but all of them include some kind of maiming or dismembering.
The audio of the game is true to its visuals and compliments the game overall. Voice acting is good throughout and each bone crunching thud can be heard. The music is dark as it should be but also provides tension when in a fight.
|Damage on the characters adds a good sense of realism.|
Stereoscopic 3D effects are well integrated and provide a good sense of depth. The font is especially noticeable as the fight starts. There are various integrations within gameplay that complement the support of 3D however due to the fight being on a 2D plane it is hard to notice the 3D on the characters. That does not mean the developers did not try, there are various effects that do tend to pop-out but it’s rather occasional and not something to worry about, the game looks great in both 2D and 3D.
Mortal Kombat is certainly a great step forward for the series. It has a vast set of content to balance replay ability and as a game should be, it is great fun to play. There are momentary frame rate drops however for the visuals provided it’s hardly something that causes great concern. The game modes provide an interesting challenge and the practise modes are a great addition.
It provides a great experience for those who are new to the franchise with its light tutorials and the fact that it forces a player to experiment with all characters allowing the player to choose what character suits him/her.
For hardcore fighting fans, this is certainly a recommendation as the fighting system has great depth to it, experience with the players will allow you to improvise combo’s that can deal great damage. Mortal Kombat certainly provides satisfactory gameplay and will be in my game library for a long time. Just be careful with it when the kids are about.
Story = 8/10
Gameplay = 9/10
Graphics = 9/10
Final We know gamers score = 8.6/10