Mortal Kombat Review
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Mortal Kombat is one of the most enjoyable fighters on the market and a perfect throwback to the arcade glory days. With an extensive story mode, challenge tower, and massive online potential, MK is a bloody good time.
- A perfect throwback to the arcade days in both style and gameplay
- Tons of single and multiplayer content
- A proper challenge for hardcore fans
- Super meter and x-ray attacks need adjusting
- The boss battles haven't evolved like the rest of the game
- The unskippable cut scenes
(continued from previous page) ...matches works just fine, and luckily just about everything in the game is based on the core mechanics, which provide a near “flawless victory.” The face buttons are mapped to your attacks, while R1 acts as your throw, and R2 your block. Character movement is tight to the controls and it’s extremely easy to learn special abilities and the basic combos. If you have played the classic Mortal Kombat games, then you are likely already familiar with the idea of lobbing your opponent in the air, perhaps with a well-timed uppercut, then unloading a serious combo followed by a ranged special attack. Newcomers can learn this concept fairly easily, but if you play against a more experienced Mortal Kombat fighter, you’ll find yourself sweeping at every chance you get just to stop the bleeding.
Speaking of stopping the bleeding—characters take a massive beating, as you would imagine in a Mortal Kombat game, and the bloodshed looks fantastic. As the matches become more and more gory, blood cover the fighters, providing some truly brutal looking bouts. As ever, the fatalities are still a highlight. One small complaint however, is that the background goes completely black during these blood-drenched finishing moves. Personally I would rather have the background simply darkened so you still get a sense level location, not just some general cinematic that could take place anywhere. Small complaint, I’m aware, but it’s something I remember enjoying from the early games.
New to the series is the x-ray attack ability, which is based on a Super meter that is filled up throughout the match. As you land special moves, block certain attacks, or get thrashed around just right, your energy bar fills up. There are three different blocks of energy with in this bar. Each block may be spent to enhance special abilities, and a full energy bar allows you to unleash the fury of an x-ray attack. These are game changers and more than a bit overpowered. You simply press R2 and L2 at the same time to perform an x-ray attack, which are almost like mid-match fatality-style cut scenes. These are absolutely over-the-top and can draw their victim’s health down by 40 percent or so.
I sit in the corner opposing these attacks, or at least the overall Super meter system in its current form. It needs refining. For instance, the game intends for you to use your power throughout the match to land more powerful special moves, but there’s really little incentive to do so when you can easily save up that power (each round) and absolutely annihilate your opponent. They are also far too easy to execute. Perhaps if the counter system was improved the x-ray attacks wouldn’t feel so cheap. On the other hand, I played several matches against my girlfriend and these attacks kept her in competition—without it, I’d have to play with my eyes closed.
That’s not to say I’m really good at this game. Actually, I thought I was good until I took my skills online. Playing against human opponents is always the best bet, and online has some incredible potential. The King of the Hill mode is, as it sounds, a challenge to see who can beat the best fighter. Think back to those arcade days where you’d put your quarter down to signal you wanted to challenge the reigning champion. This mode allows you to watch the matches in real-time as you wait your turn. King of the Hill is where you’ll want to spend a lot of your time after you learned the basics and aren’t scared to take on the world—or at least a small group of strangers.
Elsewhere online you’ll find typical ranked matches and player matches, in both 1v1 and 2v2. It’s extremely easy to find a match and there are plenty of public lobbies to mingle and challenge other users. Online is not perfect, but it’s hard for me to say that’s because of servers or the system, or because of the recent issues with the PlayStation Network. I had quite a few matches simply drop due to connection issues, and noticed both lag and graphical issues pop up from time to time. Other matches, however, were perfectly executed, and I really got ... (continued on next page)