The lights are on
I am new to Mortal Kombat, and fighting games for that matter. It was the gameplay videos that originally caught my eye on this and, boy, it looked like it had some polish. I heard the buzz after it came out and had a buddy let me borrow it for a few hours in my dorm room. Wow, as complicated as the controls seem at first, it introduces you to the basics fairly well as well as force you into learning new moves in the challenge ladder scenarios.
Gameplay-wise, the game is perfect. While some controls seem complicated, there's a reason for it. There are so many different Kombos to perform that matches are not the same every time. I'm constantly learning how to play my favorite character, Kitana, better. You can always go into practice mode to master new moves before you hop back online, which I will explain in another 2 paragraphs. Beyond the fight, the Fatalities give the game it's flair. While some are downright disturbing, some are hilariously funny to watch. There are so many in game that you can perform, with each character able to do two as well as bonus stage fatalities. I haven't witnessed all fatalities yet, but it's always fun to watch a new one. It mixes things up and keeps the game fresh.
The other fighting game I played before this was Soul Calibur IV. I got it used cheap one day and thought it was worth a pick up for a few bucks. The story was very shallow, but Mortal Kombat's story was amazing for a fighting game. Lovely cinematics, beautifully rendered environments, and interesting characters. Knowing none of these characters before playing this game, I grew into them quick and fell in love with the playing style.
While it only takes a few hours to get through the story mode and then another few to get through all the challenges total (which I haven't finished yet), that's not all that this game has left to offer. On Xbox Live (my version), it has an outstanding multiplayer community. The one thing that stood out for me was the "King of the Hill" rooms. I wondered how that works in a fighting game and tried that out. Man, oh man, is this game great for a party. You can gather with friends in your own room, private or public, and watch each other play trying to take down the king. You win the match, you become the new king and new people step up to the plate to try to beat you. This is a multiplayer experience that has been well-thought-out and very enjoyable. Each character is so different and great in their own playstyle, there isn't one character that I've seen ignored in the game. Depending who you fight, it forces you to fight them differently and develop new strategies depending how they are playing with that fighter. There are so many possibilities.
Overall, this game is spectacular, near-perfect in every way. If you want a fun multiplayer experience that isn't the typical shooter, Mortal Kombat is a fresh experience that all gamers can enjoy. If you want just a single-player experience, it is a great game for that too, but you may run out of things to do within a few days. If that's the case, I'd wait for a price decrease to get your money's worth when the time comes. But at all costs, never keep this game off of your list.