- Title: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
- Publisher: Midway
- Developer: Midway
- ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
- Genre: Fighting
- Pros: Better gameplay than last couple of MKs; solid roster of MK and DC characters
- Cons: Goofy story; neutered Fatalities thanks to “T” rating; still doesn’t match up favorably with real fighters; not enough content to keep you interested for long
Honestly, a game like this doesn’t really need a story to tie it together. A bunch of super powered weirdoes get together and battle it out. It happens in videogames all the time. All you really need is this –
Flash – “Hey, blue ninja guy. Wanna fight?”
Sub-Zero – “Them’s fightin’ words! Lets fight!”
Random passer by – “MORTAL KOMBAT!”
But, since this is based on not just Mortal Kombat (super serious) but DC Comics (super duper special serious) as well, a story had to be put in place. The basic story is that a huge inter-dimensional explosion made a rift between the planes and caused the DC and MK worlds to merge. Characters swap places between the worlds, their powers change, and a phenomenon called “Rage” turns friends on each other and people fight and don’t really know why. You choose to play through either the MK or DC side of the story, and as you progress through the game you play as a number of different characters and basically get a taste of everything the game has to offer.
If the gameplay is solid, who needs all that extra junk as motivation, right? Unfortunately, the gameplay isn’t so solid. At its core it is basically the same as the last couple of MK games, so if you weren’t a fan of the dial-a-combo (just tap tap tap in commands and your characters fight like robots) and special move spam from the last games, there isn’t much here to change your mind. I do have to say that the game flows together a lot better than before and feels a lot more natural and is better overall than Deception or Armageddon, but the core gameplay problems of those games remain and it just isn’t all that fun anymore. Normal 3D fighting games give you tons of moves and you can string them together however you like to find your own style. In MK, the moveset is much more limited so everyone ends up playing each character the same way.
One final gameplay aspect I want to talk about is Fatalities. Sadly, they are all pretty lame, at least in the U.S. version which was censored. The “T for Teen” rating means everything has been toned down and the blood and guts and violence that was a lot of the appeal of MK is all twisted up. The DC heroes don’t actually even do “fatalities” since they are heroes and don’t kill people. Instead they just pound on their opponent a lot in “Heroic Brutalities”. Super weak.
Graphically, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a fairly nice looking game. The characters look great and are very detailed and the special attacks are awesome. The animation is also quite good overall. Another nice touch is that fighters get cuts and bruises on them and clothes rip a little bit during battle. Nothing major, but a cool extra little detail.
The music and sound effects are classic MK and sound great. The dialogue isn’t spectacular, but considering the source material you can’t really complain. It should be expected that everything is corny and way too serious.
Ultimately, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe comes down to how much of a fan you are of the licenses and whether you are sick of the current MK formula or not. As cool as seeing Scorpion and Green Lantern battling it out is (and believe me, it is amazingly cool), that doesn’t change the fact that the gameplay just plain isn’t very good. It plays fine as just a quick thrill or multiplayer, but it doesn’t have the depth to keep you entertained for very long. That, combined with the lack of unlockables in the single-player modes to keep you motivated, makes it pretty hard to recommend MK vs. DC for anything more than a rental.