There is no fancy subtitle, no additional side information, and definitely no superheroes. Mortal Kombat is back, with a vengeance, and it's ready to rip your head off your body with the same vicousness that made our parents faint when it first came out in 1992.
Fighting games are my nemesis. Even FPS's, I can usually squeak by and be passable at them. But unless a fighting game holds my hand and has easy button combinations, I am lost and frustrated. Marvel vs Capcom 3 was the example of the one extreme, where it was pretty easy to get done what you wanted to get done. Mortal Kombat is the other extreme in many ways. And yet I still loved it.
Keep your children away from this one. There, I said it, and I mean it. This one should not be sold, or played by, anyone under 18. I'll go into a definitive reason later in the review (and the reason it only received 3 stars), but the disclaimer had to be there. WHen they say M for Mature, they mean it.
Let's go over the easy stuff first. Visually the game is stunning, even on the Xbox. Every bit of blood, the X-Ray moves, the smoothness of the animations, it all combines to make for a great experience to watch on screen, and it never leaves you guessing about what comes next. The audio is great as well, with the exception of Liu Kang. Such a high-pitch almost girlish sounding sounds when he does his moves, it is distracting. More then distracting, it's just awful. Everything else, though, seems to fit. (Although I stil hear Christopher Lambert in my head whenever Raiden speaks). The voice acting was great, and suprisingly in-depth for a fighting game.
Which leads me to the most suprising feature of the game, and the one I will focus on in this review. The story mode. Yes, you read that right. The best part of this game, for me at least, was the story mode.
I need to give kudo's to the team behind the story of this game. It played out like one long cinematic, with fights at the appropriate points (and for appropriate reasons). Not to mention the story, plot, and dialogue were leaps and bounds ahead of the MK movies.
Okay. If I were to review the game based on the Story Mode, Ladder, and even the XBox Live gameplay (hey, just because I suck doesn't mean it's a bad game), this would have been 5 stars. But, I cannot in good conscious give that to a game that glorifies torture in death the way this game does.
I'm not a prude, and i'm not talking about fatalities. Fatalities, etc, are part of Mortal Kombat. You fight your opponent, you get to do what you want to them. I'm fine with that. I'm talking about the "Krypt".
In the Krypt, you can spend the points you earn in the game on unlockable items, from new Fatalities and Babalities to concept art and music. Great goals for the game. But to unlock them, you have to navigate the realm and destroy items and people. The first area isn't too bad, it's just tombstones and crypts. But when you move beyond, things get creepy.
Creepy enough to knock the score down 2 stars.
Imagine all the old fashioned torture devices. Draw and Quartering machines. The iron maiden. THe Guillotine. The rack. If you want your unlockables, you pick a machine, that has a "live" person/soul/whatever on it, and you kill them. Graphically. Completely unnecessary in an otherwise flawless game, and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Mortal Kombat is not a game for children, but foradults who want to experience a clean and challenging fighting game, this is the one for you. The story mode is worth the play as well, and suprisngly in-depth. If it wasn't for the Krypt, this would be a perfect game.
3 bloody gore covered stars.