Review by Xenotros

"Flawless Victory? Quite Close!"

Ahh.. 1992, the year Mortal Kombat revolutionized the gaming market with its shocking value and gore. Fast forward to1998, the year Mortal Kombat started dwindling down into an empty shell of it's former self. What happened?

Before the days of 3D fighters, Mortal Kombat had that special touch. It was one of the first fighting games to provide grounds to new ideas, blood, gore, digitized characters, and most of all, the phrase that has gotten so famous. "FINISH HIM!". However, during it's transition into 3D something got lost in the process, it's own unique feel.

Almost 13 years later, we finally get the true successor of the MK franchise. Without a doubt in my mind this is the most polished, best looking MK to date. It sets things back to where it began, it combines everything that made the old 2D games great and then improves on it vastly adding back it's own ideas that made the first three games so great. Thus, giving you one of the best fighters in recent years.

GAMEPLAY (9.5/10):

Old-school MK fans will feel right at home. The game more closely resembles the classic MK games (than it's 3D brothers (MK4/MK:DA/D/A). The fast paced feel is back and you can definitely feel it when connecting combos. The old High/Low Punch/Kick has been slightly altered replacing it with a Front/Back Punch/Kick. A new addition is the X-Ray moves, each character has a unique X-Ray move can be deployed by pressing the shoulder buttons to cause some serious pain.

DIFFERENT MODES:
The game is jam packed with various modes.

Fight Mode: [Consists of several modes, Ladder, Tag Ladder, Luck, Might, Sight, Strike.]

Arcade Ladder -

As it name implies, this is the old-school ladder you saw in past MK games. The ladder consists of 10 opponents that you must defeat, doing so will earn you the ending for said character. What's nice about this is that while you also have Story mode, you also have arcade ladder to see how things would have shaped if the character you picked had won. This mode can be played 1v1 (Ladder) or 2v2 (Tag Ladder). You can also invite a friend as a tag partner to help you through the Tag Ladder. (Local only)

Test Your Luck / Might / Sight / Strike -

The old-school "Test Your..." are back along with two new ones. Luck & Strike.

Test Your Luck is a new game mode where you must spin a set number of slot-machine styled reels that determines the positive or negative effects that will affect the overall course of the fight. This is probably one of my favorite "Test Your..." games, because the effects are never the same. Letting you do some crazy funky things that make each fight unique.

Test your Strike is a slight modification of Test Your Might where instead of mashing the buttons like a maniac, you have to focus your attention and only strike in a specific section of the meter.

Story Mode:

The story returns back to the beginning before the first Mortal Kombat tournament. Raiden receives messages from his future self on how he can prevent Armageddon from happening again. From here you get to play as 16 different characters, each having his own chapter in the story. This mode does an nice job explaining the back stories behind characters and their motivation for entering the tournament. Not to mention it has a really nice cinematic feel to it, I honestly felt It was almost like I was watching a mini movie. My only real problem with this is that the first time playing through the game, you can't skip cutscenes. So if you quit and then decide to come back, you'll have to re-watch the whole cutscene again.

Challenge Tower:

Probably one of the most entertaining aspects of the game is the Challenge Tower, which consists of 300 challenges. The tower follows the 'ladder' style, where you have to climb your way up to the top. Challenges consists of handicap battles, specific conditions being met, test your might, test your sight, test your strike, and test your luck. If you cannot complete a challenge you can buy your way out of it and continue on, but due note that to acquire a special price you will have to do all of them. Without a doubt this is one of the best aspects of the game, providing some nice challenges along the way.

Training: [Consists of several modes, Tutorial, Fatality Tutorial, Practice, Tag Team Practice.]

These modes will help newcomers & experienced players alike,. Fatality Tutorial is probably one of the most useful ones, being the first time MK has added this feature. It helps players know exactly how much distance they should have from their opponent in order to perform the fatality.

Online:

Most notable thing is that you can play 1v1, 2v2, and King of The Hill mode which basically acts like a "Spectator" mode but instead you can actively communicate with it by rating it at the end, approving, disapproving, and such.

Online is still a little bit rough though, even with a fast wired connection you may experience occasional lag which can mess up the flow of combat. Especially when trying to chain combos. However one good thing is that early quitters will now automatically loose & you will gain a win immediately, the downside to this is that even if you weren't the one to quit your stats will mark a "Disconnected" for you too. It is still to early to see what will become of this mode, but hopefully it will strive and become better overtime and not follow MK vs DCU's footsteps.

Extras:

The most notable extras are without a doubt Krypt & Nekropolis. Unlike past games (MK:DA/D/A). The krypt in this game has four different areas (Deadlands, Bloodmarsh, Meadow of Despair, Hollow of Infestation) each place has it's own bunch of tortured souls Hanging corpses, floating ones, you name it.

What's nice is that this time around you have full control, you aren't moved around by a 'grid'. In other words you are a little more free to explore around the krypt.

Nekropolis on the other hand is where you'll find all the characters, their bios, endings, along with a gallery of pictures that you have unlocked from the krypt.

GRAPHICS - (9.5/10)

Seriously some of the best graphics in a fighting game. From the Living Forest, to the Rooftops of the City. Everything looks amazing, it's all the small details that make it even more worthwhile. Cameos appear across various stages, and instead of repeating over and over. Different cameos appear the next time you play that same stage. Add this along with the highly detailed X-Ray moves allow you to literally feel the pain the first few times you see them in action.

Fatalities are brutal as ever in HD. Just wished some characters had some of their more noteworthy fatalities back instead. Many seem to do similar things. Most fatalities however are great and well deserving of the name. Each character has 2 fatalities (1 hidden.) and 1 babality.

MUSIC & SOUND - (9/10)

The music is what you'd find in a Mortal Kombat game, it definitely sets the mood. Old MK fans will be pleased to hear the many nostalgic songs present in the game.

Sound is what you'd expect, bone crunching sizzling bloody terrific. Crisp clear sound, deep bass when it comes to X-Ray's, or Special moves. Voice acting is great, characters are believable and not cheesy this time around.

REPLAY VALUE - (10/10)

Single player or online, this game has TON of content going for it. First you have Story mode which takes somewhere around 4 - 8 hours depending on the difficulty and how fast you beat opponents.

There is also Arcade Ladder, each character has his/her own ending. The game has 28 or 29 (if you have the PS3 version with Kratos) characters.

You then have Challenge Tower. Which again depends how fast you can beat your opponents, but let's say for the benefit of the doubt you finished each one in 2 minutes without failing a single challenge. That's already 10 hours total of more gameplay.

Oh! But don't forget you still need to unlock those alternative costumes/fatalities/etc!

If you are a completionist, this will definitely have you playing for QUITE sometime. In the end, I find that Mortal Kombat (2011) has surpassed it's own legacy, finally adding it's own unique touches back into the fray.

Pros:

- Fast paced gameplay
- Easy to understand even for newcomers
- Tons of content & replayability
- Great visuals/sound.
- Up to 4 players

Minor Cons:

- Skippable cutscenes

Cutscenes can actually be skipped AFTER completing Story mode, the only annoying part is that if you haven't completed story mode and you quit and later come back. You have to wait till the whole story bit unravels again even if you had watched the specific cutscene before. Beyond that, nothing else I have gripes about.

RENT OR BUY?
No question about it, BUY IT. If you do rent it, be prepared to know that you won't be able to play online past the two day trial. (You require a pass.)

Overall Score:

Gameplay: 9.5/10
Story: 9/10
Graphics: 9.5/10
Music & Sound: 9/10
Replay Value: 10/10

OVERALL: 9.4


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/21/11

Game Release: Mortal Kombat (US, 04/19/11)


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