Review by Unholy_Nny
The Good, The Bad, and The Awful.
For this review I shall use a method I refer to as "The Good, The Bad, and The Awful". I've finished story mode and about half of the challenge tower, completed ladder mode a few times, unlocked about 2/3rds of the kyrpt, and played a bunch of local matches (completely ignored online)
Oh. My. Gosh. Story Mode in this is effing amazing. Seriously, the structure they use to tell the story makes it the single greatest story mode in any fighting game ever. This is not hyperbole. I am serious. Best ever. It's an alternate retelling of the first three games spread across 16 chapters. Each chapter you play as a single character and have anywhere between 4-6 fights. Despite switching perspectives it still tells a single overarching cohesive story. A good 1/3rd of story mode is cinematics and it lasts a few hours. This seriously needs to be the new standard. Still, if you like non-canon character specific endings, those are obtained through beating the game in arcade/ladder mode.
As far as gameplay goes, this is probably the most balanced and well done fighting system in the MK series. Every character feels unique and the super-meter-like-thing is rather awesome, allowing for enhanced attacks, combo breakers, and brutal x-ray moves that do about 30% damage. (Saving up for these is helpful against poorer players, but against someone better it's far more effective to use it for enhanced attacks and combo breakers)
Then the multitude of game modes will keep you playing for hours. Test Your Luck is one of the greatest things to ever happen to MK. It's just random goofy fun. The Challenge Tower is epic, with most of the challenges taking some skill. A few of them are rather goofy, but nearly all of them are fun. A quick example of a challenging and unique challenge would be the one where you play as Cyrax as you're slowly losing power. Your speed decreases by 1% ever second, so if you don't win quickly it will soon feel like you're stuck in molasses. Local multiplayer is also great, and tag-team battles (including tag-team ladder for one or two players) is awesome. You can get up to four people on one console for 2v2 tagteam.
Then, finally, all of the content. The krypt is great this time around, not only loaded with all of the concept art but also alternate outfits (also obtainable from beating arcade) and alternate fatalities. There are only two unlockable characters in the game (both gotten through story mode), but they're still quite awesome. There are also hidden babalities and several hidden boss battles in arcade mode.
The story in story mode is kinda ehhh. It's decent enough but kind-of falls apart during the last third. The worst part of the mode in general is that you cannot pause during or skip cutscenes. The only way to exit to the main menu is when you're in the middle of a fight, and when you come back to story mode you have to re-watch every cutscene leading up to that fight. This can get really annoying really fast.
And gameplay? Being the most balanced and well-done MK game is like being the best smelling turd in a toilet. Tourney level players have already found 80%+ damage combos and the only reliable way to beat most of the bosses is standing on one side of the screen and spamming projectiles. Most battles against the AI fall down to block+uppercut matches or waiting for them to drop their block and spamming a special. Probably the worst part of the gameplay is the multitude of 1v2 fights in the story mode, pretty much insuring the use of cheap tactics in order to win. It's a little more balanced when fighting against a human, but some characters still seem to be rather broken. Especially characters that can temporarily stun the enemy or disable their block. Sure, X-Rays can easily be blocked, but fighting against a Scorpion, Cyrax, Sub-Zero, or Noob you're basically helpless if they hit you with a specific special before executing the X-Ray.
And for pretty much every fun challenge in challenge tower there's one annoying-as-hell one to go with it. And the prize for beating challenge 300? If you don't already know it, I'll just say you'll be disappointed if you're A) Not a Mileena fan and/or B) Don't care about videogame T&A
And the Krpyt? Awful layout. It's quite honestly terrible and annoying to navigate.
On-Disc DLC. Granted, when Ed Boon said there was no On-Disc DLC, he said there were no CHARACTERS, but... Basically, all of the pre-order exclusives are on the disc. That's something like, jeez, 6-8 costumes on-disc? They'll definitely release them in the future as "DLC", but I doubt it will be free.
Not to mention the stupid whatever-the-heck it's called Online Pass thing. I don't play online but it's quite annoying knowing that I can only play on one of my PSN accounts.
Thirdly in Awful, it's really not that big of a deal that the PS3 got an exclusive character and arena. What IS a big deal is that they continuously hinted up until a few days before release that the 360 would also have exclusive content, which it doesn't.
Overall, it's a fun game. The story mode is really unique and totally unseen, it's nice to see MK go back to it's 2D roots and the fatalities are all great. Overall the Challenge Tower is awesome and Test Your Luck is amazing. But it has as many flaws as it has good qualities.
But don't get me wrong, I'm having a large amount of fun with it, so I have to give MK a "Good" out of 10.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Mortal Kombat (US, 04/19/11)
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