Home > Video Games > LCG’s Mortal Kombat Review

LCG’s Mortal Kombat Review

Mortal Kombat is a household name gamers are well-acquainted with. It’s known for hard-hitting kombos and over-the-top violence. The game itself gave the folks at the ESRB a job to do; that’s how hardcore it is. So when Ed Boon and DC teamed up to bring folks a T-rated Mortal Kombat game, fans were puzzled as much as they were confused. The newest entry simply titled “Mortal Kombat” *ahem* Nine *aherm* is equally an apology and love letter sent in a bloody envelope. NetherRealm Studios has unleashed a fierce and highly competitive fighting title. Mortal Kombat is back.

There's nothing special happening here. I just needed a cool screenshot.

While the latest MK title is a direct continuation of Armageddon; it actually flashes back to the first few MK titles for a majority of the story. Confused? The intro cutscene opens up with the apocalyptic events that has claimed the lives of all the kombatants, leaving Raiden to fend for himself against Shao Kahn. Right before Raiden is killed, he sends a telepathic message to his past self warning of the calamity to come. Meanwhile, past Raiden receives the message before the events of the first game and must race to change the current course of events. So it’s a sequel.. but a reboot (shurgs). The setup isn’t very creative, but it’s an excuse to really flesh out the excellent story.

A story!? Yes, quite possibly the best story mode in ANY fighting game EVER.

MK’s story structure doesn’t have the typical arcade-style ladder. While that is in there, the story portion of the game gracefully rotates the fighters you’ll be playing as. This allows players to understand the game’s mechanics and each fighter’s moveset at their own pace. You’ll find yourself consistently fed new fighters to mess around with and inevitably engaged in the cutscenes between fights. Kudos to Netherrealm Studios for cleverly introducing more characters and challenges while elegantly touching upon key plot points within the lore. The timeline that is presented roughly stretches from the first MK to the Ultimate MK3 era. There are a few unforeseen twists and turns but it’s essentially a retelling. Mortal Kombat’s story mode is better than any of Hollywood’s interpretation of MK. It’s that good.

The story takes you across the earlier eras of MK. Complete with remade backgrounds.

Besides MK’s massive story mode, players can also participate in the typical 1v1 against a local opponent. On top of that, there’s also a 2v2 tag mode for up to four local players. Throwing down with 3 others players in the same room is a riot. Players can tag in their partner mid-combo and seamlessly continue their onslaught. There’s nothing quite like coming out on top of a close fight and then performing a fatality that punctuates throughout the entire room. Mortal Kombat has a wealth of modes that is sure to please solo and local players.

Two players can also go head to head with other tag team partners online.  The online mode allows players to join player created lobbies to test their mettle. There’s also an arcade-style King of the Hill mode that allows the winner to stay as spectators wait in line for their turn. It’s good to see Netherrealm trying to duplicate the arcade experience online, after all; it is where MK grew up. New copies of the game will include a “Kombat Pass” that gives you access to MK’s online features. This kind of rubs me the wrong way. The online is technically “free” to owners of a new copy, but purchasers of a used copy will have to throw down some dough to enjoy the game online. I understand the business behind this approach to selling more new copies, as developers don’t profit from used game sales; but it just seems like a dirty practice that punishes the consumer more than it rewards.

Tag-team is a welcome addition to Mortal Kombat

Regardless of the mode you’ll be playing in, the core fighting system is solid. Every character flows much easier than in past installments. Stiff animations or “dial-a-combos” are nonexistent here. The new combo system feels significantly more free-form. Most casual gamers can get away with simple 3-hit combos along with some specials and still cause veteran players grief. Hardcore MK players can still stream absurdly intricate combos that damages opponents upwards of 80% or so. The weekend and everyday gamer will both find something to enjoy in the combat system.

A new addition to the combat are X-Ray moves, basically Mortal Kombat’s answer to Street Fighter’s EX gauge. You’ll fill a bar at the bottom of the screen by taking and receiving damage. The first tier will allow you to do enhanced versions of a move. In Johnny Cage’s case, his Shadow Kick will instantly transition into a flying knee and Scorpion’s Spear would then shoot out in multiple directions. The second tier is a combo breaker that instantly makes heavy combo users think twice. The third tier is an X-Ray move that can be performed by pulling both triggers once the meter is filled. When it successfully lands, it displays a gruesome x-ray shot of your opponents bones and insides being shattered, torn, and/or impaled.

Every character has a unique X-Ray move and all of them have alot of personality. It’s also a great technique that allows you to even the odds and adds a new twist to the already hard-hitting MK formula. Some of them range from hilarious to downright wrong. Stryker comically blinds an opponent with his flashlight and follows up with his baton and taser. Sindel grabs a opponent’s leg with her hair only to kick them right in the gonads and then proceeds to break their legs inwards. Alot of the moves will make you wince and call out overkill; but hey that’s Mortal Kombat. That’s what you get when you enter a tournament full of kung-fu fighters, ninjas, sorcerers, robots, and evil demigods.

Crunch, squish, snap

The signature finishing moves of course find their place at the end of the match and now they’re easier to pull of and even more enjoyable to watch. Netherrealm Studios didn’t pull any punches with the fatalities this time around. They’re all gloriously bloody and have no qualms about showing you the bloody insides of your vanquished foes. Every character has 4 kinds of fatalities; one that is available by default, a hidden fatality, a background fatality, and a babality. While there are a good chunk of new fatalities, a fair amount of them are recycled from years past like Liu Kang’s Dragon Transformation or Jade’s Staff Impalement. Regardless of recycled fatalities, they’re still rewarding to watch as the developer has made them a cinematic experience with the use of slow-mo and varied camera angles. So you’re not just plainly watching the slaughter from the “side” like in the old-school MK titles.

"Meet me at the 3 feet wide walkway that's several stories above a sea of spikes."

As you play through various modes or execute fatalities you’ll be awarded Koins that you can spend in the Krypt to unlock new content. These items can range from more Koins to concept art or hidden fatalities altogether. You’ll even navigate the Krypt in first-person as you unlock items. It’s a pretty creepy experience when you hear things run around behind you as you trudge through rivers of blood in search of treasure. Netherrealm Studios could’ve simply made a boring menu, but they decided to take the production one step further and really reward their fans.

Players will also find an area called the Nekropolis which has in-depth bios and ways to further unlock alternate costumes. Players can also participate in Test Your Might, Test Your Strike, Test Your Sight, and Test Your Luck minigames to earn more Koins. Everything you do just furthers your progress to unlocking everything the game has to offer.

Mortal Kombat is filled to the brim with content. The excellent story mode provides a great jumping off point in terms of story and familiarizing players with the core fighting. With a roster of 27 characters on the 360 and 28 on the PS3 (PS3 gamers get Kratos), you’ll find yourself adept to several characters in no time. Fatalities are back and M-rated as ever. Unlike past MK games the fatalities aren’t what carries the game. Quite possibly the first time in a long while, the core fighting can stand on it’s own two feet and is easily competitive with other hardcore fighting games on the market. Online or offline, Mortal Kombat is loaded with things to do, discover, unlock, and mutilate. Long-time Mortal Kombat fans can finally come out of hiding and proudly lay down money on one of the best fighting games so far this year.

Kratos wants in

+ Great Roster
+ Combat is fluid and fun
+ M-rated Fatalities are back
+ Excellent story mode will occupy your time
+ Mountains and mountains of content waiting to be discovered
+ No DC characters
+ Fantastic audio

– Kombat Pass screws over people with pre-owned copies
– Boss characters can be cheap
– Boss characters aren’t playable


  1. Antony
    April 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    this game looks good

  1. June 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm

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