Review by sonofkorol
"The demise of the MK franchise (contains some spoilers!)"
In the beginning
When the world found out that there was going to be another Mortal Kombat game, we all waited for the first preview. Then we saw Batman looking at Sub Zero and got a little sketched out. Nonetheless we ran to stores and bought it, because, after all, it was MK, and there were input fatalities, not like the atrocious create-a-fatality of Armageddon. Then after about an hour of playing we began to realize the holes in this game that can only be described as a sell-out. So let us break down the parts of this game to get an idea of how it went so very wrong.
The story is quite vague indeed. Apparently Raiden's lightning turned Shao Kahn into a monster and that managed to start merging the realms of Mortal Kombat with the DC universe. Err Okay As for individual character stories, they don't really HAVE one. They get an ending, but there is no starting story or anything. Even the whole Dark Khan story isn't properly explained. In the end the story worked to a certain level, since story mode actually tells a story, but the story is choppy at best.
The graphics are one of the only high points in the game. The characters are animated brilliantly, the arenas are interactive and gorgeous, and the special moves look awesome. From chips of rock coming out of the pavement to Sub Zero's freeze to Joker's fatalities, they are all animated to perfection. However the problem lies in the fact that the graphics have been done on 360 many times before. So nothing really stands out. Great graphics are a must on 360 nowadays, so it's to be expected that they'd be good. But the fact that the arenas and special moves are just beautiful raises the bar graphics-wise.
It must be said that the sound effects are fairly good, especially for the Joker. The voice acting is not too shabby either. But then comes the music. And yes I know you can usually turn music off, but man, it seems like it's that same epic-ish DC superhero music EVERY fight you're in. Also, and I know many male players might enjoy it, the female characters always sound like they're moaning, not yelling or screaming in pain. Most of the punches and kicks make the same generic sounds, but at least the specials sound neat. But considering how much music is used, specially in story mode, you'd think they could make more songs.
Wow. It's amazing that they used so few characters, for starters, but then again they chose DC after all and there just isn't enough well-known characters to use. The fatalities in this game are redundant at times, some downright boring. However some are just priceless, such as Joker's gun fatality, Batman dropping his opponent, and all of the classic MK fatalities that we know and love. But really that's the only thing about this game I really love. There is no krypt or anything to unlock neat pictures, extra characters, costumes, movies, etc. Heck each character only HAS one costume. Not to mention the fact that the two secret characters don't even HAVE fatalities. Talk about lazy. They really needed to put some more effort into the extra things that could have made this game shine. The fatalities ARE excellent, for the most part, however. And the DC ones are very original, so at least this game has THAT going for it. My favourite moment while playing this game actually was failing to do Joker's fatality, so the opponent fell over and Joker strolls up and stomps on his crotch. That cracked me up. Just priceless.
Ahhhh gameplay, the one most of you are waiting for. Simply put, it plays like every other MK games except the combos are terrible and they introduce RAGE MODE which you earn by beating someone up and then pressing the two triggers to become invulnerable. The opponent can block but can't hit you or use breakers, so for a few seconds you're in trouble. The game mechanics are flawed at best. If you perform a slide and the opponent moves backwards you actually slide through them and to the other side without taking them out. Also stick in there the fact that the opponent always knows how to block, whether it be to jump, block, sidestep, or use a breaker, they just always know. Next comes the atrociously cheap special moves. From Superman's apparent mastery of every kind of special from stun to range to power moves to Dark Khan's wonderful moves that hit you no matter what, you'll find yourself ready to throw your controller through the wall. Not to mention stuff like Scorpion's teleport uppercut or the various slide moves. Wait did I mention Dark Khan? Probably the second worst boss fight in MK history next to old school Shao Khan. His moves consist of a ground stomp that is almost impossible to block, and various power combos that take almost one-third of your life away. Considering the depth of the kombat system in Deception and Armageddon, you'd think they could have stepped it up. But alas no. We're left with a broken kombat system that even falls in the shadow of Deadly Alliance.
Perhaps blaming the Mortal Kombat franchise for selling out isn't the best way to put it. We should have seen it coming from a mile away. The problem lies in the fact that the game was rushed and made into a relatively boring, frustrating, and unimaginative game. From the small roster to limited extras to cheap moves to poor fighting mechanics, this game is defiantly a step in the wrong direction. Defiantly rent the game, if nothing else to see the cool fatalities, but don't just run out and buy it. After playing the MK series since the original MK arcade game, all I can do is shake my head and wish with all my might that if they decide to do another MK spinoff game, they choose something like Street Fighter that might pull an otherwise awful game out of the gutter. It will be interesting to see what direction the series takes from here.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/09
Game Release: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (US, 11/16/08)
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