- Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: NetherRealm Studios
- ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
- Genre: Fighting
- Pros: Tons of content; great visuals and sound; neat story mode; fun, bloody gameplay
- Cons: Cheap bosses; laggy online
The story and characters and mythology have always been one of the most interesting parts of Mortal Kombat, and this new game does all of that justice better than any previous MK game before it. It starts out with the Thunder God Raiden having visions of a horrible future where the Outworld realm manages to take over Earth. The game takes place during the events of Mortal Kombat 1, 2, and 3 where Raiden and other Earth realm warriors try to change fate so that horrible future doesn't happen.
In simpler terms for MK fans, this means that we finally get a real story for what happened in the first three games. These games were made back before stories were all that important in fighting games. They had a definite story progression from one to the next, but outside of piecing together info from character profiles you never really had the full picture. Now we do. All of the characters from the first three games, and all of the memorable levels we got to fight in, are all present and accounted for and better than ever. More than 25 characters. Tons of levels including several that include stage fatalities. Hidden characters. Hidden fights. Overpowering boss characters. It is a MK fan's dream game.
In addition to the story mode, there is also a traditional arcade ladder mode where you fight through 8 opponents before fighting boss characters Goro or Kintaro and finally Shao Kahn. MK also features tag team fighting for the first time, and there is a separate arcade ladder for tag team fights.
Other modes include some fun variations. Test Your Luck determines your opponent and any special rules via a slot machine so every fight is completely random and different. Test Your Might has you mashing buttons to power up a strike to break objects. And Test Your Sight is a Three Card Monte-style game where a ball is placed under one of three skulls and you have to keep track of where the ball is as the skulls are shuffled around.
There is also a Challenge Tower that asks you to do specific things in each fight in order to advance. There are 300 challenges in total, some of which are very difficult.
All of the modes earn you Koins that you can use in the Krypt to unlock outfits, artwork, and Fatalities.
Multiplayer is available both locally and online. Online play has been pretty laggy so far, however, with either lag visibly slowing things down or strange input lag that throws your timing off even when the gameplay appears smooth and fast. The dev is working on making it better. The lobby system is awesome, at least.
At a novice level, the game feels exactly like Mortal Kombat II did. Lots of special move spam and sort of pecking strikes to do damage. Add in the special meter and some real strategy comes into play. Using your enhanced moves and X-Ray wisely can really turn the tide in a fight.
Played by skilled players, however, Mortal Kombat suddenly gets really deep. Combos and special moves can be linked, but exact timing and movement precision is required. You can also juggle opponents in the air for super long crazy combos that demoralize your opponents. MK is still fun even if you're just tossing special moves at each other, but high level play is like a different game entirely.
Graphically, Mortal Kombat looks really nice. The characters look great and actually show cuts and bruises as fights go on and their clothes get ripped. The animation is excellent, and all of the brutal moves look great. It also has to be said that this is the bloodiest and goriest and most brutal MK game yet. Some of the fatalities are pretty disgusting, really. The levels look great as well, and it is nice to see modern remakes of classic levels.
The sound is solid all around. Great music and sound effects really pump the fights up. The dialogue is cheesy, but intentionally so, so you can't really complain about the voice acting.
In the end, this new Mortal Kombat is easily the best game in the series. It updates the oldschool gameplay into something much more advanced and interesting while still retaining the characters, atmosphere, and bloody brutality that made the series famous in the first place. Even if you only play at a novice level and don't get into the crazy combos and juggling chains, there is still plenty here to keep you entertained between the single and tag-team fights. The fatalities are easier to pull off than ever before. There are tons of characters. Tons of modes. There is just a lot to do here, and if the online play gets fixed up so it isn't so laggy the replay value is through the roof. If you loved oldschool MK, you'll love the new Mortal Kombat. We highly recommend it for a purchase.