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Mortal Kombat (PlayStation 3) artwork

Mortal Kombat (PlayStation 3) review

"This game doesn’t just retell events, but remakes the gameplay into something better than ever. The game literally feels like NetherRealm studios took every good piece of Mortal Kombat that ever existed, threw it in a blender, then added their own unqiue umbrella to stir it up with. The results is a bigger, badder, better, Mortal Kombat game. TASTY!!! "

Mortal Kombat likes to shout “Come Here!“ and pulls you back into the mid 1990’s where Mortal Kombat reigned supreme among other fighting games (at least in the U.S.) In fact, that is what the game is about as the storyline tells the story of Mortal Kombat 1, 2, & 3, with a new approach and a new direction.

SPOILER ALERT! After the events of Armageddon, Raiden who is about die at the hands of Shao Kahn sends visions to his past self in order to change the future. He, along with others, must relive Mortal Kombat 1-3 while changing events in the past in order to keep the future events in Armageddon from occurring.

This game doesn’t just retell events, but remakes the gameplay into something better than ever. The game literally feels like NetherRealm studios took every good piece of Mortal Kombat that ever existed, threw it in a blender, then added their own unqiue umbrella to stir it up with. The results is a bigger, badder, better, Mortal Kombat game. TASTY!!!

The gameplay once again takes place on a 2D plane, but the animation still feels fluid as it did in Deception and Armageddon with characters flying towards or away from the camera at time based upon a move. The moves feel like a cross between 2D MK and 3D MK with less foward, foward, and away, away moves, and less down-to-forward moves as well. I suppose it feels a bit like MK4/Gold with far better animations and much more creative and useful moves.

It’s difficult to adjust at first to the gameplay because you want to dodge instead of block and once you get use to playing on a 2D plane, you want to revert back to the old button combinations such as pressing forward, forward, high kick to deliver Lui Kang’s Flying Kick. Enough gameplay, however, and you’ll nail the new button combinations so easily, they’ll become automatic to you.

Each move in Mortal Kombat is really useful, such as Lui Kang’s bicycle kick which slowly takes out damage even if an opponent blocks, Sonya’s Arc Kick which sends her flying across the screen while htting the opponent, and Smoke’s Teleport which instantly hits an opponent in the backside.

Unfortunately, the characters themselves do not seem so balanced. My two worst MK characters, Sonya Blade and Kitana are now my best MK characters thanks to their cheap repetitive moves. Sonya’s Arc Kick will nail an opponent 90% of the time and even when the Arc Kick is blocked, it’s difficult to nail her with another move. Trying to counter that move is also difficult as she moves so quickly and in such an arc, you have to pick a move that will hit her at the exact same place she will be in the air. In other words, you have guess when to fire a project or time an uppercut.

With Kitana, she throws multiple fans now and faster than she use to throw. She also recovers faster from the move, so it’s difficult to retlatie without going airborne which will just get you shot down thanks to her Square Wave Punch. Up close, it’s far too easy to repeatedly combo someone with your fans and keep them from being able to counter whatsoever.

Other characters have been modified so they aren’t so cheap any more. Cyrax use to be cheap for his ability to launch bombs, then shoot out a capture net and opponents moving forward, but the bombs seem a bit delayed now and the capture net doesn’t seem as effective. The best way to use Cyrax now is to use weapon combos and use the Buzz Saw move and keep your opponent directly in front of you.

One new feature that may been considered cheap is a new bar that allows you to perform counters, powered up attacks, and X-Ray moves has been added. The counter attacka and powered up attacks aren’t all that effective, but the X-Ray move is a bit overpowered. It takes out 33% of the opponent’s health bar, so tides can easily be turned in this MK.

Some characters have a hard time using the move, such as Johnny Cage who has to use the move before a opponent strikes in order to catch the attack and reverse it. Other characters simply need to pull the move off when an opponent isn’t blocking, but it’s easier for others. Scorpion, for example, can save his X-Ray move by throwing his Spear until he finally catches an opponent, then use the move before the opponent is no longer stunned. With methods like this, having a move that takes out 33% or so of a life bar is pretty darn cheap.

Besides retaining most of their old moves as well as receiving some new ones, some classic Fatalities make a comeback as well as MKII & 3’s Babalities. Stage Fataltiies also return are seem more numerant than ever thanks to the return of every classic stage as well as new ones. You can uppercut your opponent into a pit of acid, off the of the Pit into spikes, throw them in the path of an oncoming vehicle, into a man-eating tree… Well, it’s pretty gruesome and I think you get the picture of what to expect in the new Mortal Kombat.

If the game doesn’t give you enough gameplay with its traditional ladder mode with various difficulties, you can unlock more fataltiies and other goodies via the Krypt which returns with all new items. In order to earn koins for the Krypt, you can earn them through the traditional Ladder mode which won’t earn you much, or through Story Mode which lets you fight as most of the game’s characters in battles that highlight the MK saga, or through the 300 level Tower mode which gives you multiple tasks to do in order to earn coins and even more unlockables.

You’ll see a bit of training in the Tower mode, but none like in Deadly Alliance or Deception or no roaming around freely like in Deception and Armageddon. The tower will have you do things like throw your limbs around, tilt the stage, finish an opponent, and fight while poisoned. You can skip frustrating levels, but it will cost you Koins, so think wisely before you choose to skip a level. Also, remember, you must complete all of the levels to earn the Tower Master trophy as well as Mileena’s Flesh Pit Costume which may or not be worth it according to you.

When you’re tired of fighting, you can always play some of the mini-games such as the classic, Test Your Might, as well as Test Your Strike (a more accurate chopping game), and Test Your Sight (find the hidden object under the cups or heads).

There is no Puzzle Kombat this time around, but you can play as the cute SD avatars in a viewing room of sorts so you can chat online while watching people rip each other’s spines out. The Xbox 360 edition features your actual Xbox 360 Avatars instead.

As far as online Kombat goes, I was unable to test this as I own a PS3 copy of the game and the PSN will not be online until May 31, 2011, so I may have to re-edit this review at a later time.

As far as the overall look of this game goes, it is absolutely stunning. No detail has been overlooked (except possibly modeling private parts on the characters for the X-Ray moves which of course would make the game 18+). The look of the game looks very familiar as it does use the famous Unreal Engine, but it gives MK a very fresh coat of paint at the same time.

During X-Ray moves, human anatomy looks properly modeled as does semi-human anatomy- and Tartakan anatomy. Characters received realistic bruises and cuts based upon where they are hit and how hard they are hit. Blood stains characters based upon how much they bleed and how much their opponent bleeds. Its’ both gruesome and beautiful at the same time.

Soundwise, not much as changed. The sounds effects are very standard, but the voice acting has vastly improved since MK Vs DC Universe and seems like the Elder Gods have blessed these voice actors since the days of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.

NetherRealms certainly took the choice cuts of mortal meat and mixed it up well, but not to put in a steamy pile of stew, but into a new, tasty, spice dish of Mortal Kombat stir fry. This game is sizzling and if you are new to MK or a veteran, you absolutely MUST pick up a copy of this game.

Also note that DLC is available to Xbox 360 owners as of now and will be available to PS3 owners no later than May 31, so the game will only get bigger… and remember… GameStop carries a classic Scorpion costume with classic Fatality, Best Buy carries a classic Sub-Zero costume with classic Fatality, and Toys R Us carries a classic Kitana costume with sadly, no new fatalities.

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Community review by japanaman (May 21, 2011)

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radicaldreamer posted May 22, 2011:

I haven't played Mortal Kombat, but I'm subscribed to to Youtube channels for competitive fighting game videos - primarily for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Super Street Fighter IV, but I've checked out some Mortal Kombat videos. From what I have observed, and along with the commentary in the videos, the "counters" (or breakers, as they are more commonly referred to) and powered up attacks are not useless at all, and are actually more useful than the X-Rays. Many characters are capable of doing 30% to 50% combos with non-X-Ray juggle combos, making X-Rays a bit less useful, while making breakers a bit more useful so you can avoid this damage. Also, powered up moves aren't always just increased damage. They have special properties. For example, Kabal's powered up Flash cannot be stopped by projectiles, which is a huge difference. I think some others, like Reptile's run, allows him to get a combo instead of just a single hit.
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goatx3 posted May 22, 2011:

if you had told a sixteen year old goatx3 that the mortal kombat franchise would still be discussed over a decade later, he would've laughed.

i'm still laughing. FATALITY!

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