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Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360) artwork

Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360) review

"Mortal Kombat seems now to be a good ol' friend of us gamers, having been splattering our screens with decapitated heads and ridiculously bloody limbs for nearly two decades, and whilst it's always nice to have a polished and sparkling new addition to an old saga, of course there's always that running risk of defacing a series which has set such a high bench mark for fans internationally. "

Mortal Kombat seems now to be a good ol' friend of us gamers, having been splattering our screens with decapitated heads and ridiculously bloody limbs for nearly two decades, and whilst it's always nice to have a polished and sparkling new addition to an old saga, of course there's always that running risk of defacing a series which has set such a high bench mark for fans internationally.

However, thankfully it appears that the 9th installment in the Mortal Kombat fighting genre, is pretty darn great, so we can all let out a sigh of relief on that front.

Firstly, the visuals are fantastic, especially when emphasising the, let's face it guys, stupidly macabre moves and (amazingly) only ALMOST fatal 'X-Rays', which show in glorious detail the fractures of each and every poor little bone that falls under a Kombatant's arsenal of weapons/destructive body parts. The fact that unfortunately each character can only pull off one of these special moves is overshadowed by the fantastic, (albeit unsettling) pleasure which can be derived from seeing such unfriendly behaviour in action.

Speaking of blood and all that, there's also the infamous Fatalities to enjoy, which, unlike the X-Rays, are supplied to each character in groups of three, two of which have to be unlocked, again appealing to the mentalists among you who want to see your opponent's death experienced in a way that might not even involve decapitation, (the idea!) Nevertheless... most of them do, to be honest.

The story, too, is surprisingly lengthy for a beat 'em up, with the player taking control of several of the game's characters to pursue fights which don't strictly follow the tournament battles, and in this sense the game adds a bit of freshness if you grow tired of the arcade-style ladder gameplay. Speaking of versatility, the Tower mode which is featured also offers a heap of challenges outside of simply killing everyone, and the extra's 'Krypt' gives people the chance to buy rewards such as concept art with money earned through play.

There's also the opportunity to beat the crap out of two of your mates, fighting side-by-side with another in multiplayer. The introduction of tag-battles is great fun, making the battles seem longer and in some cases much more intense. Tag Kombos are another factor which require mastering, and it has to be said that conquering (or being slaughtered) by Kombat Black Belts online with your partner is very amusing.

The game's an exemplar edition of Mortal Kombat, provided people can get over one or two slight hiccups which, whilst pretty minor, can prove annoying. One which struck me was that of the computer, when playing as certain characters, spamming quite often when you turn the difficulty up on the arcade ladder. Only a few seem to have done it, but still, being persistently charged through the air and smashed into the nearest wall by Raiden, whilst he screams what I can only assume is 'Naruto!' as he flies, can get tiresome. Also, there lacks in the story mode any signal of the game being saved, and seeing as the story is, as I said before, fairly long, this can result in you having to hope to God when you turn your console off that you won't have to fight the monstrous Goro again, who can't be grabbed as far as I'm aware. I can help here with my own tested theory that the checkpoints seem to be immediately before each new Chapter begins, though anyone with any sense has probably worked that one out already.

An element missing from Mortal Kombat, which I personally enjoy seeing in Fighting Games, is the task of unlocking characters. The majority of them are freely given to you when you first begin playing, and this seems to suck some of the sense of objective from the game. However, each to his own, and when looked at pragmatically, if one was restricted to say, six characters initially, there wouldn't be enough enemies for tag-ladder. Perhaps there should be more Kombatants in the game? All I'm saying is that, sometimes it can be a little wearing when you've stayed up into the early hours of the morning (as all hardcore Kombatants must) incessantly failing to beat the final boss (who again is regrettably a huge spammer), it seems silly to not be given a reward in the form of a new character to explore and master.

Ultimately, though, Mortal Kombat (9?... 2011? What are we calling it?) is very fun, with moderately efficient online play, lovely graphics, pretty diverse game modes and plenty to unlock earning a favourable 8.5/10. If you're a fan of the genre, it's a must; if you've never played it before but like beat 'em ups, you'll like it enough to be happy you bought it. If you're squeamish... just look away. Right now.


Elephant_Joe's avatar
Community review by Elephant_Joe (April 23, 2011)

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Sablicious posted May 19, 2011:

The '8' is about right... in light of key factors like atrocious online functionailty, the lies about mode completion prizes (Tower), the filler fraught offline content, the cookie cutter roster, the many MIA or locked out stalwart characters, the simplified gameplay (X-rays), were elided.

So in actuality, MK2011 is closer to a 6.5~7/10 game.

For casuals this might indeed bump up to an 8... but whatever. For hardcore fighting game enthusiast and long-time MK fans however, who were expecting the game to finally be taken seriously as a bone fide fighter along the lines of the Capcom and SNK offerings of the gaming world (not just a gore parade), and with the game's online play shot and its gameplay little more than passable, the game may even drop to a 5.5~6/10, once the new game sheen wears off.

*Story mode
*Background visuals
*Decent gameplay (for and MK title)

*Online useless
*Online pass (!)
*Same-y roster
*Missing fan favorites (bosses)
*Format biased guest character
*Content largely filler
*TC mode pointless
*Gameplay simplistic / casual orientated
*Very buggy / glitchy out-of-the-box
*Too many promises - not enough delivery

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