Mortal Kombat (2011) Review - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Mortal Kombat (2011) Review

Anyone who has ever played video games in the past ten years has heard the Mortal Kombat name, and most gamers know that this series hasn't been living up to its past legacy with its last few titles. When NetherRealm Studios announced a new Mortal Kombat was on the horizon many fans were skeptical (have you played MK vs. DCU?), but the decision to throw the series back to its classic 2D roots helped soothe the difficult waiting period. Well the wait is over and I must say that this title does more than just give gamers a nostalgic feeling. The new Mortal Kombat succeeds with its impressive 2.5D visuals and backgrounds, tight controls and distinctive move set for each character, a set of unique and bloody fatalities for every combatant, a roster full of old and new favorites free of filler and palette swaps, and some new features that are guaranteed to keep you playing long after you complete story mode.

The new entry in the series takes place directly after the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Shao Khan has annihilated almost everyone, and now Raiden is the only one left standing. On the brink of death, the thunder god sends a message to his past self in order to change the events and save Earthrealm. The story takes place across the first three Mortal Kombat games, but the story has changed slightly due to Raiden's interference (because we all play Mortal Kombat for its tightly woven story). Story Mode is laid out in chapters where each one lets you control a different character. It's a perfect tutorial for learning the controls of several characters and will be beneficial whether you are new to the series or just haven't played a Mortal Kombat game in awhile.

The controls work out nicely and the different stances have been done away with to insure minimal confusion when working with a specific character. Each character has their own particular move set with unique combos and special attacks. The combos flow together nicely and the special attacks can complement your individual play style and offer an abundance of choices for special combos.  You are guaranteed a different experience with each character you tackle. Keeping the fighting on a 2D plane is also a nice touch. It keeps the controls from becoming too convoluted and adds a nice nostalgic, yet rewarding, effect.

However, this is not the extent of the move set for each character. NetherRealm Studios implemented a very intriguing new addition to the fighting formula with X-Ray attacks. After filling a special bar up a certain amount from blocking and attacking, you are able to unleash a deadly, bone shattering (literally) combo with the push of both shoulder buttons. This results in a grisly combo that shows the bones of your opponent breaking and their insides rupturing before your very eyes. This attack does quite the large amount of damage and can turn the tide in a losing battle. These new moves combined with the redesigned and exclusive fatalities makes for a good display of brutality and remind us what Mortal Kombat is all about: the over the top gore and the utter destruction you can wreak on an opponent.

The good time doesn't end when you complete Story or Arcade Mode. Mortal Kombat has added a solid amount of extra content; some familiar like the Test Your Might mini-game and the Krypt, an area of unlockable content; some new like the Test Your Strike mini-game, a fresh take on an old idea, and the special Tower Mode. In this mode you fight in several unique matches with a specific character. Each match has its own special stipulations. This stipulations range from simple single and tag matches to a shooting gallery with Jax shooting energy blasts at Tarkatans, Johnny Cage fighting his director, or Stryker fighting three Shao Khans in a row while only having a single health bar. With up to 300 stages in the tower, you are sure to be playing for hours.

The place where Mortal Kombat falls short is where most fighting games stumble. At times, the opponents seem far too smart to be fair and the bosses (especially Shao Khan) are just cheap, being able to shake of most combos without even flinching and doing insurmountable amounts of damage. I realize that bosses are meant to be harder than other fights, but I think there is a line that should be drawn. These complaints, however, are just nit-picking at a very solid presentation.

Mortal Kombat fans will rejoice at their series' return to glory and newcomers will love the content included in this title. Though some of the matches may become frustrating, the enjoyment of the game itself, as well as the great roster and well rendered visuals, should be enough to push you past the few rough patches and won't stop you from loving a solid title in this classic series that gives you hours upon hours of extra game modes to keep you satisfied.

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