The revival of “Mortal Kombat” has brought the series back to its original 2D fighting style roots in 3D form. Since the release of the previous Mortal Kombat titles, the newest version has brought in both old and the new; with the familiar cast of characters, game play (such as the finishing “Fatality” moves), the controls, and at the same time introducing new features that make itself a new welcome to the famous franchise.
The controls of the newest Mortal Kombat game bring about a sense of fluidity. The controls are particularly smooth and easy to use. They maintain a simplistic nature so that even new players to the game can adjust themselves to the two-player fighting genre. The classic move lists have all been revamped, yet for players who are used to the move sets of characters like “Liu Kang” and “Scorpion” may be disappointed with the shift from the classic move list to this “Neo Style” move set. As for fatalities, they appear to be more of a visual factor to the game – watching an opponent mercilessly being beaten to a pulp and become a crowd pleaser. However, to new and old players alike, they may find that the simplification of all character fatalities meet the needs of their satisfaction as all fatalities have a maximum of 5 key presses, with little directional confusion.
The combo and throw system in “Mortal Kombat” appears to have taken the newer throw system introduced in “Street fighter 3rd Strike”, its rival two-player fighter. “Mortal Kombat” seems to aim a lot more on the tournament scene, yet the combo system is very easy to pick up with no complication at all. This may be disappointing to hardcore players but overall provides a faster pace to the game. In addition, the overall controls are simplified to aim for the tournament scene so it may have a better representation and catch up to other two-player fighting games like “Street Fighter” and “BlazBlue”.
The game play in “Mortal Kombat” introduces a number of different modes never before seen in the previous titles. The game consists of a ladder-type style, or as older players would know it as the arcade ladder system, a new tag ladder match where you can do the arcade fights with a friend. This is a good classic throw back and has decent replay ability. Other modes include the following:
– The classic “Test Your Might” brings back the old button mashing mini-game from “Mortal Kombat 1”
– “Test Your Luck” – a new addition to “Mortal Kombat”, where a slot machine with various handicaps or bonuses will be applied to you and the opponent before the match, with some interesting twists. This style was originally seen in “Final Fantasy 7” during the Battle Arena at the Gold Saucer.
– “Test Your Sight” – if you like gambling with the “old ball under the cup” then this is for you, but can become monotonous or frustrating near the higher difficulty levels, depending on your eye movement skills
– “Test Your Strike” – This is a revamp of “Test Your Might” with a slight twist. Rather than button mashing to see if you can hit the maximum power of the bar, you need to maintain enough mashing at a point indicated on your bar to do a precision strike instead. This takes a bit more coordination and control with your fingers.
– Story Mode – a new take on the original story of “Mortal Kombat”. Raiden receives a premonition from his future self, and tries to “adjust” the story of Mortal Kombat as old players know it, taking you from the first Mortal Kombat tournament to the later invasion of Earth World and then beyond. However, Story Mode lacks the replayability of being able to go back, and choose the chapters you wish to replay upon completing story mode. One of the main reasons for this would be because of the trophies that are required to earn platinum.
– Challenge Tower – it is a “battle after battle”, where you are given conditions in order to complete the match. Some of them can be a bit strange, but this comes at later stages in the tower. This mode of play may be more suitable for advanced players, while newer players may find this difficult.
– Training Mode – ability to practice your moves and combos using the characters provided in “Mortal Kombat”
The game also features Extras: Krypt and Nekropolis. The Krypt is a shop where you can use your gold acquired while playing the game and doing challenges. Nekropolis provides you character models, music tracks, and biographies.
The visuals in “Mortal Kombat” take bloodshed to a whole new level. Every hit your character receives or gives will result in blood, displaying the familiar formula the previous titles hold. A new addition to the gory visuals include the ability for players to see the character’s skull or ribcage crack open through x-ray vision when the opponent throws a finishing move or a combo, bringing forth a new sense of shock and surprise to the game.
Although veteran “Mortal Kombat” players may miss some of the tracks from the stages they’ve seen over the years, Dan Forden brings forth a new fresh soundtrack to the table for the new installment. This would include crisp sound and good ambiance, and has the ability to give you the chills if you’re sitting in the dark by yourself! Voice-overs are quite decent, such as the famous “I’m Awesome” liner. The sound effects present the classic “Beat-em-up” sounds with the splatter of gory blood and the grinding of bones and smashing of heads. As well, the famous “Toasty!” catch phrase from Dan Forden is reintroduced.
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The amount of addiction to the newest release presents a new level of replay value with a number of additions. Babalities make another appearance with unique effects that offer a sense of good humour. In addition, the story mode presents a new alternate storyline that fans have known since the first Mortal Kombat, while new players will be immersed in a story that grips them through relentless battles and thrilling twists. Versus mode provides an aesthetic effect such as no heads, invisibility, shrunken players and other comedic features that would bring forth a new level of fun and humour mixed together intelligently.
The revamp of Mortal Kombat brings forth familiar and new additions to the series. Although the level of playability and difficulty may be either approachable or tedious depending on the amount of experience the player has, the game overall will bring forth joy and pleasure just from watching the opponent fall to his or her knees and face their ultimate defeat.