Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection Review

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Mortal Kombat: HD Arcade Kollection

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A retro-fused bundle offering some of the most iconic 2D fighters ever conceived, the MK Arcade Kollection is ultimately let down by a shockingly bad online component and dodgy sound issues.

We like

  • The vast array of classic finishing moves
  • The satisfying old school combat
  • The chance to relive those glorious days of early-mid 90s brawling!

We dislike

  • The broken and laggy online mode
  • The various sound-related issues
  • The lack of extra content

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) probably helps that MK’s is hardly the most complicated of fighters out there in terms of command input.

Gameplay wise, the trio is faithful to the arcade originals. The eponymous original is here in all its uncut gory glory, though is admittedly pretty sluggish compared to the other games, and indeed modern iterations. Still, it’s worth a punt if you can get past the slower-paced battles, especially in two-player mode (this is where the real fun lies for all three titles), and the ‘Test Your Might; mini-game is always fun to do. MKII ups the ante in just about every conceivable aspect however, offering more characters, better moves, and nudges the battles into a more tactical playground. The improvements are palpable, and the additional Finishing Moves such as Friendships and Babalities are a good laugh to boot. Ultimate MKIII is unequivocally the best of the bunch however, offering some of the meatiest overhauls the series has seen to date.

Aside from a plethora of fresh faces (including four-armed freak Sheeva and masked-man Kabal), the core gameplay has been beefed up considerably, featuring a run button, the ability to show Mercy, and execute proximity-based chain combos. For example, Scorpion likes to hack his opponent up with an axe before booting them in the face with some fancy footwork, while Kabal whips out a couple of razor-sharp hooks. This combined with the series’ standard juggles makes for some satisfying, fast-paced bouts, adding a more strategic edge to the proceedings and greatly changing the overall dynamic of battle. Various aesthetical tweaks are also noticeable, including new actors portraying the characters, more animated backgrounds and improved particle effects, with the ubiquitous blood and gore now more pronounced than ever.

At the end of the day, all three MKs are barebones ports, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing; The PSN release also offers Trophies, encouraging you to try out some finishing moves and go for the double flawless victory among others, which is a nice incentive to better yourself. There’s also a few neat touches like being able to change the display to an arcade-style presentation. Having said that, the ports aren’t nearly as polished as they could have been; Ultimate MKIII for example isn’t a patch on the Sega Saturn version in my opinion, and suffers from some egregious sound issues to boot. For example, various voice snippets – such as Scorpion’s iconic “Get over here!” – are conspicuously and unceremoniously cut off mid-speech, and some stage music stops completely before starting up again. MKI & II aren’t as bad, though the original game is let down by some fuzzy effects and jittery background music.

More alarming however is the online component, which sadly, proves to be a botched affair for all three titles. Even if you’re lucky enough to find a match you’ll experience horrendous lag or get booted out of the bout altogether, putting a damper on what should be an enjoyable scrap. I did a couple of games online with Ultimate MKIII (I couldn’t even get into a match with MKI &II), and the lag was so appalling that it was virtually impossible time my attacks efficiently, forcing me to rely on sheer luck for the most part to do any damage. I poured scorn over Namco for Tekken 6’s poor online code when the game launched back in October 2009, but this is far worse than anything I experienced before. Hopefully the developers will see fit to offer a remedy in the form of a patch in the near future, because in all honesty these classic would prove great fun in the online space.

The set-up is rudimentary by today’s standards, but offers everything you need; there’s Ranked matches for those of you who want to flex your Kombat skills via the online leaderboards, or ‘Friendly Kombat’ for those who just want to get down and dirty as quickly as possible.  At the time of writing however, the online mode is almost a non-entity, and in my experience provided nothing but frustration. Unless you have a mate who loves a bit of classic MK, you’ll have to rely on the single-player battles for all three games to get your retro fix, which suffer from some hair-pulling difficulty spikes.

Overall, the Mortal Kombat ... (continued on next page)

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