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Game Review: Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is back with its ninth major title in the series and the second on a next generation console. The series burst onto the scene in 1992, and it quickly became known for its portrayals of extreme violence and gore. In fact, Mortal Kombat is the primary reason for the ESRB video game rating system we have today. Over the years, the series has had its share of up and down moments in popularity, but it has consistently held onto a hardcore fan base. However, the new Mortal Kombat is looking to strengthen that fan base with one of the best Mortal Kombat titles to ever be released.

Mortal Kombat is a nice trip down memory lane for fans of the franchise and a good way to catch up on the series so far for others. The game contains 27 different fighters, including 3 unlockable characters and two new characters – Cyber Sub-Zero and Kratos for Playstation 3 owners. The stages and music in the game are mostly reboots from other titles in the series. Of course, there are plenty of blood, guts and fatalities in the game as well. Each character has two unique fatalities, one babality and stage fatalities on certain stages. The game has a nice mixture of combos, throws and special moves, and there is a special meter at the bottom of the screen as well. The special meter charges with damage taken and successful hits landed, and it can be used to enhance special attacks, break out an opponent’s combo or unleash a deadly X-ray attack. There are also a variety of ways to play the game.

Story Mode in Mortal Kombat reimagines the storyline from the first three titles in the franchise. The evil emperor Shao Khan has managed to defeat and kill nearly every protector of Earthrealm. Only the thunder god Raiden still lives. As he about to be defeated by Shao Khan, his magical medallion is shattered, and a horrific vision of the current circumstances are sent back in time to Raiden’s former self. Raiden recognizes the significance of the visions immediately, and he realizes he must do everything in his power to change the future. The remainder of the storyline is played out through various characters in the Mortal Kombat universe up until the end of Mortal Kombat 3. However, many things the thunder god attempts to change have disastrous effects and end up completely changing the future for the worse. Mortal Kombat doesn’t offer the best story you’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty good, and it’s far better than any story the franchise has ever featured.

There is also Ladder (Arcade) mode, which plays like your classic Mortal Kombat story i.e. you start at the bottom of a column of predetermined fighters and consecutively work your way up the ladder with each victory. You are awarded a brief ending upon completing Ladder mode just like you would in the classic games. Tag Ladder mode is similar to Ladder mode, but you will primarily fight in 2 vs. 2 fights instead. There are also 4 mini games to play in Mortal Kombat: Test Your Luck, Test Your Might, Test Your Sight and Test Your Strike. There’s also a Challenge Tower with 300 different challenges for you to complete and a Training mode if you need to learn the game’s controls or master a new combo.

The game awards you koins for nearly everything you do in the game such as completing challenges, winning fights or performing fatalities. Once you’ve unlocked enough koins, you can visit the Krypt and purchase some new unlockables. There are 300 different items to unlock in the Krypt including alternate outfits, fatalities and artwork. The Krypt will keep you coming back until you unlock everything in the game, and it makes the game fun for longer amounts of time. Just watch out for the creepy demon that lives in the Krypt!

If you get tired of playing with AI or you just want to play with other people, Mortal Kombat offers a variety of multiplayer options. For starters, many of the game modes described above can be played with up to 4 different players on the same console. You can also take your fighting skills online and challenge anyone across the world. Online modes include 1 on 1 and tag matches, but there is another game mode to play called King of the Hill. King of the Hill places many combatants in a theater where they can watch matches as they progress. Each winner in King of the Hill is proclaimed the king, and other players will compete against the king in order to take the title and become new king.

Mortal Kombat is a great game that finally seems to have a grasp on an awesome game formula. It is easily the best fighting game of the year, and it makes its case for game of the year. There is so much to do and see in the game that you’ll continue to have fun with it long after most games would’ve became boring. The online aspect helps; it’s always nice to play with friends even when they can’t come over to your house to play. If you get one fighting game this year, make sure it’s Mortal Kombat.

Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Genre: Fighting
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360

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