STAFF REVIEW of Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011.
by Brent Roberts

Mortal Kombat Box art Welcome elite warriors of the world to your ultimate test of Kourage, strength, and wisdom. You are about to embark on a perilous quest from which none have returned, yet where they have failed you must find a way to win. You have been selected to save mankind from obliteration by Kompeting in Warner Bros. Interactive latest resurrection of the deadliest tournament ever conceived, Mortal Kombat. Prepare yourself warrior for the challenges that lie ahead of you with this review from XboxAddict, for this information could hold the key to your very salvation.

As we spearhead our way into this latest installment of Mortal Kombat, NetheRealms Studios has heard the prayers, wishes, and dreams of their public who have been screaming for the Mortal Kombat series to get back to what it has always been known for, an intense and gory side scrolling fighting game. Thankfully NetheRealms Studios has granted every wish we could have ever hoped to ask for. Gone are the days of shallow fighting games as Mortal Kombat is packed with more innovation than any of us could have ever hoped for. This is a Komplete overhaul of everything that made Mortal Kombat great in the past Kombined with amazing new innovations that guarantee this Mortal Kombat a shot at the title as one of the best fighting games ever made.

The key to making a great fighting game is to ensure that your gamers get some amazing gameplay control, and in Mortal Kombat that is exactly what you will get. No longer will you have complex days of pressing 20 different buttons to perform a flashy combo or fatality, instead a more streamlined approach has been taken to appeal to a broader audience. This makes it very easy to pick up and play; however, there is more than what we see on the surface. There are basic three button Kombos that you can execute, however, the Mortal Kombat fans will rejoice at how Komplex and deep the fighting system really is. One of the most notable innovations is the inclusion of the character's special meter. Taking damage, executing special moves, and more all will fill parts of your special meter, however as you use these abilities your meter will drain. This is nothing really new; however this is one area where you will see the depth of innovation come to life.

Freezing for a moment we have to explain that your character's special meter acts in three different parts. The first part will add enhancements to your special attacks, so if normally you would shoot one fireball you now will shoot two. The second and third parts however can be Komplete game changers. The second tier of your special meter allows you to perform a Kombo breaker which is easily executed by pressing forward and RT after the first hit of a Kombo. This can quickly shift the momentum as now the roles are immediately reversed and your opponent will now be wide open for an attack. This makes every round feel like a game of both physical and mental chess as you try to outwit, focus, and find out when is the Korrect time to use your meter. The third and final tier of your special meter unlocks the infamous X-Ray mode. Konsider this to be the perfect example of the ultimate risk vs. ultimate reward. When you use your X-Ray mode you will launch an attack aimed to deal as much damage as humanly possible, however you will also be completely exposed should you miss. If you manage to Konnect with your X-Ray move, then you will be treated to a very brief and very brutal cut scene where you will see everything from your actual eyes being stabbed out, to your internal organs being ripped out, to even blades being slammed into your skull. Make your choices carefully, for they may be your last.

The graphics of Mortal Kombat is a mix of the good, and the great. Since Mortal Kombat is all about the actual Kombatants, then it is imperative to have a tremendous attention to detail of the character models. Mortal Kombat fans around the world will rejoice that NetheRealm Studios did a tremendous job at bringing your favorite characters to life like never before. One notable graphic innovation is how your characters will actually maintain the damage they receive throughout the duration of the fight. This is a nice touch because it lends itself to a more realistic approach to a fighting game. Not only will you see your own character's damage, but you will also see the blood of your opponents splatter upon you as you fracture jaw bones, explode stomachs, and rip limbs apart and more. The graphics of Mortal Kombat offers us such much more than amazing character models. The stages of Mortal Kombat have always been in iconic settings and in this latest rendition we are treated to not only new stages, but our favorite classics as well. Levels such as the Pit, The Living Forest, Goro's Lair and more have all been redone with such high caliber that when you are fighting on these stages, you will feel the spark of enjoyment reignite as you realize that this is the way Mortal Kombat should be.

Mortal Kombat has given us many great lines that all of us know by standard today. Phrases such as "Finish Him" and "Get over here" have become such an iconic tag of Mortal Kombat that you would expect the same attention to detail in the sound, unfortunately though you would be wrong. To start things off the voice overs go from tolerable to absolutely horrible at a very early stage. This could be somewhat forgiven however if the audio recordings of the voices were produced better, but they're not. In one scene you will be in the iconic monk stage of Shang Tsung's island and you will hear people talking just fine, however, when Shang Tsung speaks it sounds like he is literally thousands of miles away. I found myself having to turn up my surround sound just to hear what he has to say in the story, only to hear muffled horrible voice over. This was easily fixed however by lowering the volume to a normal level and just turning on subtitles. To be honest if it wasn't for subtitles you would have a next to impossible time trying to hear every line of dialogue. The sound effects are good, but nothing that can save the audio of the game entirely. This is one area that needs to be addressed if there is going to be a sequel.

A cornerstone factor of every great fighting game has always been a balanced and enjoyable multiplayer aspect, and NetheRealm Studios has gone to great lengths to deliver just that. Now instead of one generic lobby you have the option to create your own individual fighting lobby which you can make into a multitude of various multiplayer types from 1v1, King of the Hill, Tag Team, and more. The user interface is very simplistic and konnecting to matches could never be easier.

Some of the statistics you will find are your win/loss record, the number of times you have disconnected from a fight, konnection strength and more. This is a great filter because now if you get a challenge from an opponent who has a lot of disconnects, then you know ahead of time that this may not be the opponent for you. Having the ability to see the type of opponent you are going up against makes the multiplayer system of Mortal Kombat very stable.

Everything that has been talked about means nothing without innovation, and NetheRealm Studios has packed a tremendous amount of innovation into Mortal Kombat. Instead of just having a very long and deep single player campaign and a rock solid multiplayer system, NetheRealm Studios has graciously listened and brought back Test Your Might to Mortal Kombat. While this alone would be enough to make any Mortal Kombat fan smile, the innovations don't stop there. Now you will get to experience the thrills of Test Your Sight, Test Your Luck, and more. All of these mini games give you Koins that you can use to unlock the secrets of the crypt which will grant you things like new fatalities, costumes and more for your characters. Another innovation is the new Challenge Tower where you will have to face off in specific situations and succeed to progress onward. By Kompleting these challenges you will unlock more levels in the various mini games as well as earn Koins to spend unlocking more wonders of Mortal Kombat.

As your moment in the tournament draws closer, your fate becomes clearer with each passing moment. Mortal Kombat boasts an impressive depth fueled by massive innovations and is poised to take the crown of the undisputed champion of fighting games. Now is the time to bear witness to the resurrection of an iconic gaming series. Now is the time, to prepare yourself for Mortal Kombat!

Please work on the character voice overs and the overall sound of future releases.

Overall: 8.8 / 10
Gameplay: 8.8 / 10
Visuals: 9.5 / 10
Sound: 7.9 / 10


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