MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! For those out there, like myself, that have played Mortal Kombat since the first one and have been disappointed by the degradation of the series as of late, uppercut those disappointments right into the pit. Mortal Kombat has come home. The latest release in the series has brought it full circle and returned itself to the 2D fighter that people used to line up to play. Everything about this game shines from the blood and polish that the team at Netherrelm Studios put into this game. The game runs at a silky smooth 60fps and the combat is back to basics with a deep but simple fighting system that will have you freezing people with iceballs, pulling off ridiculous combos and visibly breaking all sorts of bones with the new, and absolutely brutal, x-ray attacks. Also, Fatalities are back once again in their gory and disgusting glory, after the sad, T rated ones that were present in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. Besides bringing back all the usual stuff, like arcade ladder and the 10,000 ways to off your opponent, the game has brought an immense amount of content to keep you busy for a long time.
The content is just bursting at the seams in this game. Old fan favorites such as the Krypt, where you unlock many of the secrets of the game including alternate outfits and secret fatalities, and the other numerous secrets are present once again. However, the new content and features is where the game absolutely shines. For the first time ever, there is a real story mode in the game that is about 6 hours long and features over 2 hours of cut scenes. The story is a sequel/reboot of the series in which Raiden, at the conclusion of Armageddon, sends a message to his younger self in order to prevent the destruction and death in the wake of the worlds ending. This allows the game to retell the earlier games though there are glaring differences because of the fact that this transmission of knowledge has altered the timeline, so people may be dead that were alive in the old timeline or events may have occurred differently or not at all. All in all, it is one of the best stories I have ever seen in a fighting game and it sets the bar for story modes in future fighting games.
Another new amazing feature that Netherrelm has crafted is the aptly named Challenge Tower. It is a collection of 300 absurd and utterly fun missions that have you doing simple things like just winning a fight to fighting zombies with special moves or attacking by throwing your limbs at your opponent, leaving behind exposed bone and bloody stumps until they regenerate. The missions progressively get harder and more ridiculous until the final epic challenge and interesting unlockable for beating it.
Finally, online play deserves mention. It is absolutely awesome. It features the standard one on one match, along with the new two on two tag mode and the completely fulfilling King of The Hill mode, that all run smoothly as long as you have a decent connection. King of the Hill allows up to 8 people to be in a room and fight arcade style where winner stays on and loser moves to the back of the line. While you wait to fight, you watch the current match in real time and can use your Xbox avatar on the 360 or one of the included ones to cheer and jeer the match as it happens. This is the closest I have ever seen to the arcade experience brought home and I hope more games use this feature.
Now, there are a few faults with the game, though they do not really bring it down much. Like previous MK games, the AI can be really cheap, especially when played on higher difficulties and when you fight one of the bosses. Also, while the game is really balanced overall, some characters feel more useful than others or can be really cheap, like Noob Saibot, who can spam his shadow tackle that spans the length of the screen, though I am sure a patch or two will fix that in time. Finally, while the Krypt has a massive amount of unlockables, most are paintings or artwork that will be unlocked and never viewed again. I wish that there were more substantial unlocks like costumes or more secret characters, since there are only 2 and they are obtained from finishing the story mode, but what can you do?
Mortal Kombat is a fighting game that I see myself playing for a long long time due to the fact of the massive roster, including the Playstation 3 exclusive Kratos, of the God of War series, and the promise of DLC characters, along with the awesome online modes that give you plenty of people to bloodily rip in half. Even if you do not have or use online, the game provides a solid single player experience that will keep you busy for at least 20 hours between the story and challenge tower, plus of course local multiplayer. So please, run out to your nearest store and buy this game. Even if you just remotely like fighting games, it is worth every cent.
Graphics – 9
Story – 9
Gameplay – 10
Audio – 9
Content – 10
Replay Factor – 10
Final Score - 9.5