FINISH HIM! Oh the joy that I felt when I finally heard those words spoken after much anticipation for the newest installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise. An even better word was FATALITY! Yes, the bloody, over the top fatalities are back and they are better than ever. The hype behind the game has well been worth it. Mortal Kombat is back in it’s true form. This installment has taken all the best elements of Mortal Kombat games past and incorporated them into this glorious offering.
To start things off, there is the story mode, which is a tad long, but very interesting. The inability to skip cutscenes forces you to take in the story, but it is well worth the watch. Kombat Koins are back as well. You earn these during story mode and the Challenge Tower, as well as in the mini games offered. The koins can be used in the Krypt to buy and unlock level and character renderings as well as alternate costumes and fatalities for use in-game.
The previously mentioned Challenge Tower is a beast. There are 300 levels of random mayhem and challenges to test your skill. These challenges range from easy to absurd and everything in between. Completing these challenges earns you koins as well as gives you a break from the norm of straight up fighting.
There are 4 mini games as well. Test Your Luck, Test Your Might, Test Your Sight, and Test Your Strike. Test Your Might is familiar to anyone that has played a Mortal Kombat game. As before, you must repeatedly press a button to bring the strength meter up and once over the required threshold, the press of another will break the object before you. Test Your Sight is the Mortal Kombat take on the shell game. Keep your eye on the skull with the object beneath it and choose the correct skull after they have been moved around. Test Your Strike is similiar to Test Your Might, but instead of breaking an object, you need to destroy a specific object in the pile. Test Your Luck presents you with reels of a slot machine that determine your opponent, perk(s), and/or handicap(s). Each minigame has various levels, but the levels do not become available until you have unlocked them in the challenge tower.
The normal Arcade Tower is present as well as the Tag Tower. Arcade tower is the single player arcade mode where you fight your way up the tower to defeat Shao Kahn. Tag tower is the same except that you get to choose 2 fighters that can tag team. Tag tower is also available as 2-player co-op or versus and is also offered in 4-player versus.
Also in use is the super meter. This is found at the bottom of the screen and fills up with your attacks or the damage you take. It has 3 bars max and once filled can be used to perform enhanced special attacks which use one bar of super. Alternatively, you can perform the new X-ray attack that will deplete all 3 bars of super. The X-ray attack is similiar to the Klose Kombat of MK vs. DC, but shows an internal view (hence the name x-ray) of the damage you are inflicting (or taking). Honestly though, once you see some of the damage you wonder how the match is not over then and there. I also like the fact that the damage you take during the match is evident on your character in the form of bruises, torn skin, and of course blood.
There are 25 fighters available off the bat and 2 that will be unlocked after you complete story mode. Additional characters will be made available via DLC in the coming months. Online play is set up like MK vs. DC with different rooms that are user created. Player and ranked matches are also available. I have found that the servers for the online play are down frequently and when up the gameplay is very laggy. This may be due to the huge volume of peeps looking for online action but I just hope that it is resolved quickly.
Graphically this is the best MK yet. The levels and characters are excellently rendered and player models move fluently across the levels. Character special moves are ‘basically’ done the same, but some of the familiar moves may have been tweaked here and there. There is a player move list in the pause menu that will tell you all combos, specials, and fatalities so that you may execute them flawlessly. It looks like each character has 3 fatalities, but only one is unlocked from the start and the others are bought in the krypt using the koin you earn. Each character has its own level fatality for Dead Pool and The Pit, again will be unlocked via the krypt or in the Challenge Tower.
All in all, the pros far outweigh the cons. Aside from the online play I have nothing negative to say about this offering. This is a must have to any MK fan or fan of fighting games. I triumphantly proclaim that the Mortal Kombat franchise has been ressurected. Ed Boon and company have mustered a FLAWLESS VICTORY!
Great graphics, numerous gameplay choices and the return of fatalities make this a must have for fighter fans.