by Jeff Gates
reviewed on PS3
The history surrounding Mortal Kombat is in the bloodlines of gaming culture. It takes just one word to get our blood pumping: “Fatality”. From replacing every “C” with a “K” to ripping out spines Mortal Kombat is an icon among gamers. When the original game hit home consoles, the gore and violence depicted outraged parents and senators alike. They quickly demanded a video game ratings system and the the Electronic Software Ratings Board was born.
Sadly though, the last decade hasn’t been especially kind to the franchise with each game averaging mediocre review scores. These failures helped to force Mortal Kombat developer Midway Games into bankruptcy. That is until Warner Bros. Interactive bought the intellectual property and formed NetherRealm Studios out of the former company. Is it possible that this rebirth of the franchise allows the game to return the fighting series back to its superior roots?
Setting the Stage
Much to the fans’ delight, Mortal Kombat takes the series back to its origins with a 2D fighting experience utilizing 3D graphics which are some of the best in the genre. Seemingly every punch and kick produces blood, guts and broken armor on the wonderfully crafted characters. Running in very clear 1080p Mortal Kombat exceeds expectations in the visual department. The game also boasts 3D support for those seeking more immersive Kombat.
The graphics are not perfect, however, mainly due to the X-Ray animations. X-Ray attacks are the most damaging blow any fighter can deal. During the animation for the X-Ray attacks you can witness bones shattering, livers exploding and hearts rupturing. Unfortunately, there is a lot of graphical collision. This is a reasonable issue, however, because creating the many layers of the X-Rays is obviously difficult and while it does look great it is nearly impossible to make perfect. The oddest part might be that you can visually witness a character’s spine shattering, followed by them standing up and continuing the fight. The ridiculous notion that this is even possible can be swept under the rug because it is Mortal Kombat, after all. We aren’t exactly expecting a simulation here.
Mortal Kombat boasts 30 stages, with only three of them being slight variations of one another and eight professing special stage Fatalities. Along with 27 characters out of the box (28 on PS3 thanks to Kratos) this is easily one of the most stacked fighting games around. Each stage is wonderfully crafted to set a mood. While the environment doesn’t often come into play during combat, it is without a doubt alive. Characters perform slave-like duties in the background, bubbling fire pits await the victim of a Fatality, and smoke billows from decimated structures. In between having your skull cracked we recommend inspecting the exhaustive detail that went into the arenas.
The Challenge Tower and Campaign present nearly 20 hours of diverse gameplay and strong storytelling.
Not as precise as its competitors, too similar fighting styles, a few tacked on mini-games.