Nothing can prepare you. That’s the old tag line, and it’s true. It’s been a long time since Mortal Kombat delivered the type of fighting I’ve come to expect from the series. In 1995, Mortal Kombat 3 (along with Ultimate and Gold) would be the last title to let fans fight in a 2D plane until now.
The ninth installment, simply titled Mortal Kombat, goes back to its roots in a fury. It has highly detailed 3D character models and beautifully rendered environments in amazing 2.5D. Hardly a new concept, but NetherRealm Studios have built upon the idea with this ambitious sequel. It was announced on June 10th, 2010 and went on to win several awards at E3 2010.
The single player campaign called Story Mode is a re-telling of the tale that covers the first three games. It picks up right where Mortal Kombat: Armageddon left off. It starts off with a fight between Raiden and Shao Kahn on top of the Pyramid of Argus. Sensing his end is at hand, Raiden sends a message to his past self that says “He must win”. From this point on, it takes you back to just before the original Mortal Kombat. It’s filled with time travel and paradoxes. Over 16 chapters, you get to play 16 characters, from the impressive 28 character roster. It was very entertaining and worth the play through. Over all, the campaign clocked in at about 6 hours. My only complaint is that my battle with Shao Kahn was supremely frustrating, even on the Normal Difficulty setting. It was almost like he magically knew what I was going to do next. At some points, when I would do a move that would land a major hit, he would flash yellow and punish me for even trying at close range. Make a note: Stay as far away from Kahn as possible during the fight. Spam projectiles. You will thank me later.
The Arcade Mode is the classic Ladder format from the previous games. It can be played one on one or in a tag team format. One-on-one Kombat happens just as you would expect. If you’ve played any of the previous games, it’s set up exactly the same. Tag Team involves four fighters, and lots of carnage. This is easily my favorite mode in the game. You can start a combo with one fighter and then switch quickly to have your other fighter finish it. You will fight other Kombatants until you hit Shang Tsung followed by Goro, Kintaro and the mighty Shao Kahn.
While playing any of the modes in the game, you start accruing Koins. This is the currency within the game that you can spend in the Krypt. Like previous games, the Krypt contains renders, alternate costumes, alternate fatalities and Kombat Kodes (much like the ones entered in MK3). The Krypt is divided into four sections, the Deadlands, Meadow of Despair, Hollow of Infestation & Blood Marsh. When you purchase something in the Krypt, you’re treated to a horrific animation depending on where you are, from stomachs exploding to someone being killed in an Iron Maiden.
A new single player mode called the Challenge Tower is a welcome addition to the Mortal Kombat franchise. It’s broken down into 300 different levels. The levels are then sectioned off between the different fighters. It shows off some of the different things that can be unlocked via the Krypt (like Armless Kombat, Shadow Kombat or Headless Kombat kodes) & allows you to unlock mini-games (Test Your Might, Test Your Sight, Test Your Luck & Test Your Strike).
In order to access online capabilities, Warner Bros. has included an Online Pass that comes with new copies of the game. If you happen to buy it used, you can purchase this pass on the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PSN Store for $10 bucks.
The online multiplayer is what you’d expect from a top tier fighting title. The newest addition included is ‘King of the Hill’. This eight player mode allows you to import your Xbox 360 avatar, while PS3 owners must use the default character avatars supplied. When participating as an observer, you have the ability to make your avatar throw tomatoes at the screen or cheer. Kombatants fight to earn Respect Points, where observers at the end of the match will rate it from 0.0 to 10. This mode features drop in – drop out, where players can exit out of the mode or jump in at anytime.
The controls are tight, and the game play is just as I remembered it to be. At times I felt like I was transported back to the summer of 1993 playing Mortal Kombat II. The fatalities return in a big way. Every fighter has multiple finishing moves and each one is completely over the top. X-ray moves make their debut in this title, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the internal damage that you are inflicting on your opponent. Babalities make an appearance as well, and they are just as hilarious now as they were in Mortal Kombat II. All this fan service is welcome; it makes me wonder who exactly was pulling the strings of this franchise for so long. Was it Ed Boon and team trying to experiment? Or was it Midway being nervous about their impending doom, trying to milk profit out of whatever they could? With Warner Bros. now heading up the publishing and seeing what a great game this title is, I think it might have been the latter.
|Tight game play, Engaging story telling, Modes that encourage alot of replayability||AI can be frustrating, You'll need an Online Pass to play multiplayer|