Review by BeefieCheesie

Reviewed: 10/22/04

Mortal Kombat Deception: Oh the Irony of a Title

Mortal Kombat has long been a up and down series. With MK and MK2 being brilliant then MK3 totally dashing all of it in favor of dial a combos and obscure stupid new characters, and the loss of great characters (Scorpion anyone). With Deadly Alliance reaffirming everyone's faith in the series, Ed Boon decided that was too much of a good thing and decide to hamstring the series yet again with Mortal Kombat: Deceptions.

That's not to say the game isn't playable, it's great. There's just too many new minuses added to the game that make you love it on one hand, and hate it on the other. The fighting system seems shallower than in Deadly Alliance, not that MK is known for its deep fighting engine, but DA seemed to give the tired "Punch Punch Kick" combo routine a little jazz with the fighting styles. All the fightings styles have been changed around, since the last MK most of the returning fighters have learned different techniques...some for the better (Subzero) and some for the worse (Scorpion) although there is proof that the developers did notice some uneveness, in the case of Scorpion he lost a lot of his power, but gained a far more powerful weapon stance.

The new combo breaker is a hit and miss sort of addition. It gives those who block constantly a little more advantage, but it can only be used 3 times during the entire match. Used effectively it is a great addtion and give an extar layer to the Kombat, this is only however, after learning how to fight. Mediocre players and newbies will certainly be all up on blocking the entire fight, and the breaker will be a much loathed item to fight against.

The combos themselves took a severe shortening and because of the new combo breaker, seem useles to learn in Konquest mode. What's the point of learning a nine hit combo when your opponent is going to be riding the block button ready to stop it after maybe 4 hits. The style branches also seemed to be shortened, it seems as if the developers realized what they were doing and shortened them knowing the breaker would effectively stop it. It's these small observations that add only to the minuses of the game. Short of re-hauling the entire engine, the fighting seems off.

The character roster boggles the mind in its size, and it's redundancy. Every character has some specific moves, to be sure, but there is too much repeat. Ermac, Kenshi and Kabal all have "telekentic" moves and throws. With each one have an exclusive "telekentic" move, but regardless they are pulled off and do the same thing. Raiden and Ashrah share an almost identical move list! The list goes on and on. The deeper you play this game the more you realize how shallow it is on some fronts. The unique thing about DA was the fact that every character had a unique set of moves, and stances. With this you have many character sharing moves, combos and similar stances. Weapons are shuffled a bit for the new characters. But that doesnt give it any more depth.

The new characters are some of the weakest of any MK series, save MK4. Did anyone miss Kabal, Sindel or Liu Kang? No. That was the greatest part of Liu Kang! He's back and cheaper than ever in Deceptions. He is given Johnny Cages nunchuks and a whole lot of simple to do/ton of damage moves. For continuity's sake, I can understand the loss of some characters (Kano, Sonya, Johhny Cage, Jax...etc) but some just disappear for no reason, and are given no explanation why they are gone (Vamp, Mavado...etc). In one of the "videos" Ed Boon discusses how this is a return for some of the fan favorites and older un-used characters (Baraka, Mileena, Sindel, Kabal), that's great and all, if they were given justice, like Baraka and Mileena, but a lot of these "fan favorites" are useless, and, in my opinion just hamstring the entire roster and series. No one needed to see Nightwolf, Kabal, or Sindel again. Why noit bring back all 8 ninjas! Or Stryker, the list could go on.

Perhaps if the new and returning characters were actually given some Kontent instead of being almost carbon copies of other fighters, Deceptions would beat Deadly Alliance, but the rehashed Kontent and lacking fight engine just won't let it rise above.

Konquest returns with a more linear, rpg feel. While I Komend it's ambition it is a ridiculous ploy to get you to play the damned thing. In order to unlock a bulk of the games hidden fighters, and have to play through Konquest. It is broken up in to realms where you wonder finding Komigodu to help the Elder Gods on a mission. Through Konquest you encounter just about every character in the MK Mythos and learn from characters that are in the game how to fight as that character...blah blah blah. You definately do learn how to fight as a bulk of the characters, sadly, it's a lot of the ones you have no desire to play (Bo Rai Cho comes to mind). Konquest breaks down in to Gofer Fest and little else. Only play to unlock things...

Puzzle Fighter and Chess Kombat are added. Needless to say they are weak, ambitious, but weak.

MK Deceptions had a lot to live up to. Deadly Alliance was a giant leap for the MK series. It's too bad Ed Boon has a problem with anything going smoothly and constantly tries to kill the series by adding bogus things to the mix. If you loved Alliance, you will find very nice upgrades, but they are surrounded by a lot of downgradage. If you are new to the series, welcome, this game is a great learning tool for a lot of modern fighters, not the best, and certainly not applicalbe to any Namco series, but definite fodder for the burgeoning fighter.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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