I have to admit that I have not always been as in to fighting games as I have first person shooters or sports games, but when I saw that a new Mortal Kombat game was coming out, it immediately brought me back to when I was younger and we used to go to a restaurant called Fiori's in Denver. I remember I ate as fast as I could because the only thought on my mind was wanting to borrow a few quarters from my parents to play Mortal Kombat.
Now almost two decades later, the popular fighting game is still holding strong in this new installment for the Xbox 360 filled with bone crushing moves and brutal fatalities.
The first thing I noticed about Mortal Kombat was how Warner Brothers Interactive is still able to make the game feel fresh and new. Let's be honest, it's a pretty simple formula on the surface. You pick your character and battle it out against another character.
When you dig deeper in to the game however, you not only realize how much strategy and time must go into learning character's distict moves, but you also must figure out how to counter your opponents onslaughts of uppercuts, flying kicks and special moves. This is what makes the latest Mortal Kombat such a blast. Never have I been so excited to get on XBox Live and challenge my friends to a fight.
Gameplay (5 out of 5)
Mortal Kombat has three main game modes to choose from when playing offline. The Fight category gives you six different game modes to play through. These game modes feel more like mini games, and they are similar to each other with slightly different goals to achieve, but they are unique enough to remain enetertaining for the player.
Ladder Modes Keep the Tradition Going
The first is the traditional Mortal Kombat ladder. You fight through opponent after opponent leading up to Shao Kahn at the end. This was the original game mode in Mortal Kombat and it is still fun to play through. The beginner to medium skill levels aren't too bad, but once you step up to the hard and expert skill levels, you really have to take in to account defensive moves, special moves and when to use them; as well as understanding which moves your opponents have to attack you with.
The next game mode under the fight mode is called tag ladder in which you choose two characters to fight with as you take on two other characters. As you win, you move up the ladder through ten fights until you defeat all opponents. It's basically like the ladder mode but it's two versus two.
Test Your Mortal Kombat Skills in Fun Mini Games
The test your luck mode is one of my favorites in the game. You spin a wheel before a fight and it will pick from four different spinning categories. In one match I had, both fighters had to fight without their arms. It's a fun mode that gives some variety to the standard fighting mode.
Similar to test your luck is the test your might mode. Here you must complete challenges that include breaking through a variety of objects. You unlock more and more of these challenges as you scale up the challenge tower. It's not as fun as test your luck mode, but still a fun alternative to fighting.
In the test your sight game mode, you must see how sharp your sight is in mini games where a ball is under one of three skulls and they are shuffled around. You must choose the correct one to earn the reward. They, like the others start out simple and gradually increase in difficulty.
Finally there is the test your strike game mode. Again you must power up your meter to break through objects to successfully pass the test. It's very similar to the test your might mode.
All of these mini game modes are a nice get away when you are frustrated from losing to an opponent in ladder mode or when you're just tired of fighting opponents in the game. They're fun and challenging and a nice addition to the game.
Watch the Mortal Kombat Story Unfold
Story mode in Mortal Kombat is actually a fun attempt at engaging the gamer into a story with the various characters. The story opens with all of the characters but Raiden dead and he is being severly beaten. Just before he is finished off, he has a vision and must go back in time to the start of the Mortal Kombat tournament in order to help the combatants defeat Shao Kahn and prevent the future he just came back from.
What's cool about the story is that you go through the story and during each confrontation, a standard two round fight takes place, but it never feels forced. The fights help push the story along, and it's a pretty fun way to get an inside look into the background stories of a variety of characters.
Don’t Plan On Finishing the Challenge Tower In A Few Days
The most difficult mode in the game falls under the challenge tower. There are over one hundred different challenges to partake in, and each will challenge you using different characters and different tasks. Like the other ladder modes, the first stages are easiest, and they get tougher and tougher as you move up with each task completed. When you complete tasks in the challenge tower, then you will eventually unlock other challenges in other game modes that were previously locked. It's a nice tie in to keep gamers dipping into all of the different game modes instead of just one single mode.
All of these game modes will ultimately earn you things called Kurrency, which you can use to unlock concept art pieces, background items and a ton of other cool collectibles. Unlocking all of these bonus items will take you some time, and will force you to succeed in the tasks and challenges throughout the game. It's also something hardcore fans of the Mortal Kombat series will really appreciate when they unlock them. It gives Mortal Kombat a ton of replay value.
Multiplayer (5 out of 5)
Mortal Kombat's multiplayer mode requires a thing called a Kombat pass which comes free with the game. This code allows you to basically play online, however if you are renting the game or buying it used, you may have to fork over 800 Microsoft points to obtain one. This feature is becoming more and more frequent in games, especially EA Sports titles such as Madden to access features online.
What's cool about Mortal Kombat is that they offer you a free two day trial of the Kombat pass to see if it's something you really want to purchase. Again, if you are buying the game brand new, the Kombat pass comes included with the game. This is just for those who may buy it used or rent it from a service like Gamefly.
Let Your Friends See Your True Skills
The multiplayer in Mortal Kombat is actually very neat, and for a reason you may not expect right off the bat. besides taking on friends or strangers over XBox Live, those who aren't fighting you can still sit in on your fights and watch. After the fight, they can score you on how well they think you performed. It's a cool feature that lets those who just want to hangout and watch still participate in some form. You must have the game to do this of course, but it's a cool feature to share some of your favorite moves or earn bragging rights by winning in front of your friends.
Graphics (4 out of 5)
The graphics in Mortal Kombat have come a long way and match the graphic capabilities on the Xbox 360. Though the presentation of the fights are technically the same as they were back when the game was first released, the three dimensional element to the characters are awfully pretty to look at.
All of the special moves and fatalities are gruesomely gorgeous. The new special moves that show the x-ray damage will make you cringe and laugh all at the same time. It makes pulling off special moves and fatalities all that more rewarding.
The only gripe i have with the graphics falls in the story mode. It's not that the graphics are bad, but they just don't seem as sharp as they could have been. The player models seem a little too jagged, but it doesn't hurt the story experience at all. I love the background environments in each fight. It gives each fight a bit of visual candy in a way.
Sound (4 out of 5)
The sound in Mortal Kombat is pretty well done for the most part. My only gripe in the sound department comes in the category of voice acting in the story mode. A few of the voices in the story mode seem a little cheesy and don't seem to completely fit that character's personality. On the plus side, there is a noticeable amount of effort into going into the voice acting, but there are just a few that feel a little off. Outside of voice acting all of the classic sounds of Mortal Kombat are here, and the bone crunching sounds that happen during the x-ray attacks, really give even more life to the already graphic and brutal moves.
Controls (5 out of 5)
If you have played any of the old Mortal Kombat games, then you're going to have no problem picking up this one and feeling completely comftorable. When I'm fighting I actually prefer to use the control pad over control sticks when trying to pull off moves. The use of the left and right triggers adds even more depth to the deep controls.
All of the controls feel responsive and natural, and even if you're a total newbie to the Mortal Kombat series, you can dive in to the tutorial and feel pretty comftorable after a few minutes. At the very least, you can always button mash your way through fights.
Final Score (5 out of 5)
Mortal Kombat is truly a treat to play. Those who are fans of the series will fall in love with this one without a doubt. With all of the unlockables and game modes, it will take quite some time to really accomplish all there is to do in this game. With the addition of party members being able to watch your matches, this makes Mortal Kombat fun online and off. Mortal Kombat is definitely a buy for anybody who are fans of the fighting game genre or the Mortal Kombat series itself.
Mortal Kombat is available for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and is rated M for Mature.