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Mortal Kombat Review

Mortal Kombat Review

If you were a fighting game fan back in the early 90's you belonged to one of two camps. For those that were precision based, technical fighters there was Street Fighter, and for those who were interested in pick up and play gore filled fun there was Mortal Kombat. Fast forward 19 years to now, Super Street Fighter IV dominates the fighting game market as one of the best, if not the best fighting game around. Whilst Street Fighter released successful games one after another Mortal Kombat went a very different way. They released some great games, Deadly Alliance and Deception for example but unfortunately, there were also some crap games too. The most recent being Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, its only real connection to Mortal Kombat being the characters. Here we are now though with the reboot to the series called simply, Mortal Kombat. A game which promises to return to its roots and do what it does best, gory brutal fun.


A claim that is achieved through a mixture of simple to use but difficult to master game mechanics, good variety of playable characters and the sheer amount of content on offer.
You get a lot for your money with Mortal Kombat, If I was to describe it all in depth, this review would never end so instead, I will give an overview of the main modes and major new bits of content.

First up is story mode, in this mode you have to fight your way through alternate versions of Mortal Kombat 1, 2 and 3's story-line's. The story from all three games has been merged into one which you play through in chapters. Each chapter has you playing through as a pre-allocated fighter, which can be a good thing as it allows you to experience new characters you may not of necessarily picked yourself but can also be a bad thing for the very same reason. Chapter one starts you off as Johnny Cage, a fighter I personally cannot stand so it was a chore using him.

A big downside to this mode is you play through as a single fighter but your enemy's are able to attack you as a tag team. This can make things frustratingly difficult, especially if you are playing as someone you don't normally use. I got stuck fighting Cyrax and Sektor using Scorpion, had I been able to use my regular characters (Kitana, Jade and Sindel) I would not have struggled but I had to pass my arcade stick to my partner in a fit of rage and he did it for me.

bicycle kick!

The difficulty curve throughout these chapters is nice though, it gradually increases throughout the story mode at a nice pace. Tag teams are the exception to this as they can get nasty but the difficulty reverts back to the nice curve afterwards for the 1v1 fights which are the most of encounters you see in this mode. The difficulty however takes a severe turn for the worst when you come across a series boss, the emperor of Outworld and host of the Mortal Kombat tournament Shao Kahn. This guy is evil in every single sense of the word. Even on beginner difficulty he will have you turning the air blue with all forms of colourful language as you come up against his pure brute strength, cat like reflexes and unblockable attacks. It is a really frustrating encounter as he seems to have a counter for pretty much everything you do and if he's feeling particularly nasty he can just hold you in stun lock and pound your face off with his hammer.  If you have a character which can lob projectiles then you are in luck as you can just constantly fire at him from range for the cheap win but if you do not, well...you're pretty much screwed.

I was amazed how hardcore this guy is, especially on beginner mode. This may be enough for the casual player to just throw his/her controller down and say f**k you and give in, it was nearly enough for a genre fanatic like me to do the same.

If you like a challenge however this is a great mode, the story is interesting and the fights are entertaining and whether you like the fixed character's or not, you cant deny the fact that it does allow you to get to grips with the basics of all the fighters, helping you when playing against friends and in other modes. With an impressive eight hours length depending on your skill level, Story mode will keep you entertained for quite some time.


So what is there to do with yourself once you have worked your way through the story you may be wondering. The arcade tower from earlier games makes a comeback, progressing your way through 10 fights until you reach the top and beat the boss, view the character endings and do it all over again.  This mode can be tackled solo on a 1v1 basis, you can do it as a tag tournament, 2v2 or you can bring a friend along as your tag partner and play through as a team. This gives you a bit of variation on an otherwise simple mode.

If your one who likes to be challenged then challenge mode is right up your street Offering a 10 hour, 300 challenge, single player experience, you are to work your way through a series of tasks which increase gradually in difficulty and have you doing all kinds of things. Combo practicing, fighting off waves of zombies, blocking tutorials, you name it there is a challenge for it. Completing tasks here unlocks new levels of the Test your Might, Test your Sight and Test your Strike mini games available to you in the challenge sub-menu.

If you want to take things even further you can head online and participate in a variety of different modes including your standard ranked matches, player matches and private matches. Each one comes with a chat room so you can challenge other players. Another online feature is King of the Hill where up to 8 players can enter, fighting two at a time. The winner is the king and gets to stay on and the looser gets to the back of the line and waits to take a shot at you again.


The online modes are fun, but they come at a price if you are playing a second hand copy of the game. With your brand new copy comes a code which allows you to enjoy the online features, however if you buy it second hand this code will have to be repurchased at a cost of 800 Microsoft Points or £9.99 on the Playstation Network, which in my opinion is pretty expensive and makes the developers look like money grabbers. You already pay to play online if you are using the Xbox 360 so why should we have to pay again? If you want a taste of the online game play, you are given the option of using a free 2 day pass so you can make your mind up if that purchase is worthwhile.

A lot of new features have been implemented with this reboot including a meter that allows you to build up bars by attacking, defending and taking damage. This meter is split into three bars, one bar allows you to enhance one of your characters special moves, for example if you enhance Nightwolf's bow and arrow special you can shoot three arrows instead of one. If you continue to build the meter you can use a two bar breaker effect which when deployed at the right time will break you out of a combo your opponent is unleashing upon you. These can be difficult to use as they have to be used at exactly the right moment but they can get you out of some really tight spots. If you continue to build up the meter to level three you are then able to use your characters X-Ray move.

Not quite content with the pints of blood spilling out of your opponents beaten and broken body? Want to go one step further and really screw them over? Well my friend, X-Ray moves are going to appeal to you.

Activated by pressing both trigger buttons when you have three bars full, you can watch your opponent get annihilated in new and disgusting ways. The X-Ray moves do exactly what the name suggests they are going to do, give you a front row seat to the internal smashing and breaking you are inflicting upon your victim. Here you will see bones being stomped on and breaking, organs being ripped out and rendered useless in a variety of ways and various other acts of gratuitous violence.

These moves are really easy to execute, hugely satisfying to watch and do an enormous amount of damage and can really help turn the tables in your favour if you are loosing, or just completely overkill an opponent if you are sadistic like that.

As mentioned above, these attacks are activated easily which is consistent to the rest of the controls, the face buttons control a limb each, Stick or D-pad is your movement, Block and Tag in a friend are on the bumper buttons. If you are an arcade stick user like myself, the buttons are easily configured to match your particular set up.

Fans will be pleased to learn that fatalities make a pleasant return here. Performed after giving your opponent a thrashing in the second round via a button press combo watch on in amazement as you see limbs be removed in imaginative ways, people being split in half and tonnes of blood and gore being spilt. Although these are pretty easy to pull off now (the button inputs are now in the characters move page, you used to have to rely on memory to remember the inputs) you still get that sense of achievement as you totally obliterate your friend/ partner / random person online.

Possibly the biggest new feature in the game is the Tag team system. You can now play with up-to four players, through various modes or against friends with a team of your choice. Think of Marvel vs Capcom 3 and your pretty much there. You are able to tag characters freely and easily with the press of a button, this allows you to pull off some interesting combos with assistance from your team mate. It also adds a bit of strategy to the game as you have to consider when is best time to tag your team mate in and retire your character, an interesting addition which is executed well.

tag team

As with previous installments to the series, the Krypt makes a return. Throughout the game you earn Koins for victory's or doing challenges. These Koins are spent in the Krypt, where you can unlock tonnes of new stuff such as new fatalities for characters, new costumes, art and music and other bits and pieces. The Krypt map is split into four different segments which have tombs and bodies around, you pick one and you get your rewards. Each tomb/ body is unmarked however so you have no idea what you are going to get when you spend the necessary points. I personally could spend hours spending points and seeing what I get, a novel way of unlocking new content for the game.

Mortal Kombat does a good job of rebooting the series, it is fun to play although lacking the depth and precision that players of titles such as Street Fighter may be accustomed too, but fans of the Mortal Kombat series will feel right at home. Playing it reminds me personally of Mortal Kombat 3 and that is no bad thing, it feels very familiar to the older games but a more refined experience. Graphically it is superb looking, with some really nice looking arenas and great character designs, even if some of them are wearing ever so slightly revealing costumes (If your a fan of ogling digital boobies, I suggest you go find a picture of Mileena.)


This game, although not without its faults, is definitely the best installment in the series for a very long time. It has a lot to keep fans and newcomers to the series happy and has an unmatched level of content for you to wade through. Fighting games don't usually have much of a story but that is certainly untrue of the Mortal Kombat universe, which sets it apart from games of the same genre. If you are a genre fan you will find a lot to love here, if you are a newcomer, the pick up and play ease of it may be a good starting point if the complexity of other games puts you off.

8.00/10 8

Mortal Kombat (Reviewed on Xbox 360)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

This game, although not without its faults, is definitely the best installment in the series for a very long time. It has a lot to keep fans and newcomers to the series happy and has an unmatched level of content for you to wade through.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Sarah Nicole Collings

Sarah Nicole Collings


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fazer - 11:43pm, 3rd April 2015

Nice review AFA. Myself and Oli are just working our way through this, been great fun so far, looking forward to doing the Tower Challenge soon, but sadly dont think we will be playing online with micrograbbers gaybox charges to play online. But overall really enjoying it. ;u11

djd4ws0n - 11:43pm, 3rd April 2015

Just had a good blast on this myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. :D