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Mortal Kombat review

Reviews
11 May 2011

Nether Realm’s reboot of Mortal Kombat is a bold attempt to reclaim the huge popularity of the series’ earliest years, but the final product still falls far short of its rivals as our review explains.

The reinvention of Mortal Kombat isn’t a surprising one. The current climate of rebirths and remakes mean this backward-looking entry to the franchise fits right in with today’s trends. It also, quite simply, shows us that the Mortal Kombat of old isn’t the direction Ed Boon and NetherRealm Studios should be heading in. Just to skip to the end: Mortal Kombat does exactly what it sets out to do, but what it sets out to do really isn’t very good. And that’s a shame – it’s never nice when childhood heroes come back and show themselves to be bloated, with thinning hair and relying on the same tricks as always.

Mortal Kombat reviewLet’s start with the positives though, just to be nice. Mortal Kombat is a decent-looking game, full of interesting, active backgrounds and detailed – if almost cartoonish – characters. It’s not going to go down in memory the same way something like Crysis 2 will, but it stands its ground from an aesthetic perspective. Returning to the 2D plane of combat from yesteryear is a good decision on the part of the developer, as the 3D arenas of the past handful of MK titles routinely proved themselves to be wasted on this particular series, plus it makes projectile attacks viable once more – something they hadn’t been for a long time. There’s a wealth of content contained within, from straightforward one-to-four player fights we’re all accustomed to, through the daft little ‘test’ minigames that see button-bashing and memory tests to alleviate the stress of killing people violently, and on to the Tower Challenge, which… well, no, actually that’s just a bit of a waste and comes across as little more than a time-sink.

Get a group of friends in a suitably silly mood together and Mortal Kombat comes into its own. It’s not a technical title or one that will alienate newcomers, and as such can easily be put on for a good mess about in a social situation. That’s the ideal situation, really, because we’re honestly struggling to find other situations in which we would recommend playing the game.
It’s safe to say this isn’t one for the kids. On the other hand, it’s safe to say this is the least adult game that isn’t for kids you’re ever likely to see. The blood, guts, shattered bones and probably sputum is so charicatured that it’s hard to derive any sort of offense from it – though certain outlets are sure to try. This ‘adult’ content is backed up by more for the grown ups… in the shape of women who look like they were designed by a 13-year-old who has never actually felt the touch of a real woman. Though that’s just speculation. It’s not such a confusing mix and it is expected from what has been a consistently ridiculous series over the years – it’s adult, but it’s absolutely not mature in any way, shape or form.

Mortal Kombat reviewAnother way Mortal Kombat seems to hark back to the days of yore is in its AI. It’s never as punishing as the arcade-based logic of past computer opponents, but there are definitely strong whiffs of non-human opponents acting in particularly non-human ways – instantly reacting to strikes, countering before the player even has a chance to get their move off and generally being an irritant. In some ways it brings warmth to our heart, but it’s not exactly like it smacks of good design.

While promised a deeper fighting system, what we’ve actually been presented with is… well, NetherRealm isn’t lying. The system is deeper. Combos make up a far bigger part of the brawling than they did in past iterations, and it does feel more like a ‘proper’ fighting game than the Mortal Kombat of old. So it is deeper. But that’s not to say it’s actually deep, per se, especially not in comparison to its contemporaries.

Mortal Kombat reviewIt doesn’t help that the new, deeper combo system really isn’t all that much fun to play about with, either. It’s wooden, slow-moving and unintuitive. It seemingly punishes for making the slightest mistake at one point, before rewarding you with one or two extra hits the next time you press an identical combination of buttons. That may not be the case in a literal sense, but it certainly feels that way, such is the lack of flow or feedback from the engine. While fighting fans might be used to speedy, flowing combat (with a ‘c’), Mortal Kombat really only provides a stuttering, stilted experience and not one that feels little like it rewards true skill like something like BlazBlue or Super Street Fighter IV does.

All in all, Mortal Kombat nails everything we were told it was aiming for: it very much brings to mind the MKs of old; it offers a deeper fighting system than previous games; it ratchets the gore up to ridiculous levels; it delivers some blatant fan-service. There’s no way to criticise it on that count. The fact that, in harking back to earlier days, the game feels stuck in the past, the fact the fighting system really isn’t deep compared to other modern-day brawlers, the fact the gore is little more than a sideshow and the fact that most of the fan service appeals to fans who have grown up a great deal since the Nineties throws up numerous reasons to criticise, however. There’s fun to be had and – obvious as it may sound – fans of the series will get a kick out of it (and a punch, and their head ripped off), but generally speaking there are far better fighters out there for your buck.

VERDICT 5 /10
Klassic kombat kan't kope with its kontemporaries
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  • Forpspimadehtisaccount

     jjajaj this page is a joke

  • TitsTits

     Lol! Site wants hits, teh hits!

  • Letsdothisnow_1986

    Pretty absurd review. But hey an “edgy” score will get your trashy site some hits so I guess mission accomplished.

  • Imnotgivingyoumyemail

    Dude…really. Get a life. LOL. What a cheap way to get page hits. Yep… you got me… now I know how the integrity of your site. barf!

  • Jamie Walton

    Shocking review.5/10 is a joke.I would give it 8/10 personally. 

  • kratos

    who tha fuck are you ignorant ape!!1

  • ryu hayabusa

     this site really sucks!!! 

  • ed boom

     games … what?? tm jajajajaja Teen Mother fuckers!!

  • TVippy

     Somebody found the courage! Yes, this game deserves 7/10 and less.

  • YOUDICK

    FUCK YOU

  • ALLAH

    Great review.

  • MK4e

     This review sounds like one from a 15 y/o streetfighter iv douchbag fan.. MK forever, this is the best mk since MK2.

  • SMACKTTALK

     WHOEVER REVIEWED THIS GAME IS AN ATTENTION-SEEKING CLOWN.

    THIS MORTAL KOMBAT GAME IS THE EXACT GAME FANS HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR.

    THANK YOU WB AND NETHERREALM AND ED BOON FOR DELIVERING. THIS GAME IS THE BEST FIGHTING GAME EVER IMO.  I LOVE IT, AND I HOPE YOU MAKE A LOT OF MONEY FROM THIS ENDEAVOR.

    THANKS,
    SIGNED,
    A HUGE MK FAN.

  • Marqueskm9

    Horrible review. 

  • ed boom

     if i find you i will kill you idiot

  • ed boom

     this is de most idiotic review i have ever seen in my life!!!!

  • MORTALKOCKFIGHT

    EAT KOCK

  • Diefool

    fucking asshat 

  • TvippySuxReviewersCock

    get the reviewers cock out of ur mouth u slagging sod 

  • LordTapir

    I also suck the reviewers Cock 

  • LordTapir

    u can find me on gamespot in mk9 forumz.

    I bee’z uh trollin mah nigguahhhz 

  • FUCKYOU

     wtf what are you smoking? dickweed?

  • BITCHASSNIGGA

     oh i see you were just desperate for views lol attention whore

  • tarbis

    Your negative points are a big joke. Just ‘coz you suck at MK and is good at BlazBlue and SSF4 does not automatically makes this game bad. You’re just a terrible player nothing more. biased review is biased

  • Killa

    hahahhaha you stupid idiots, your gave it a 5, but all the others gave it a perfect 10, you’re total idiots hahahha, MK FOREVER

  • TVippy

    LOL, don’t be mad, bro! 

  • TVippy

    Most honest review ever. 

  • NYCAccountant

    Please calm down, everybody. Are you saying that the reviewer is somehow NOT allowed to express his feeling on the game? There is no need for you to get personal or make groundless accusations. 

  • Wow

    Is this guy actually paid to review games? I think a foreigner who has never heard of MK could write a more applicable review.

  • Tg5r

     really? 5 perfect reviews and u give it a 5. you probably dont have the game and just watched clips on youtube to figure out the score

  • Cal

    It upsets me that someone with such a biased opinion reviewed this game. On other sites it is noted that the flow is different, especially for those who are used to the SF mechanics, and it is clear that this reviewed is a SF player and possible fanatic.

    What an immaturely written petty article. I can appreciate SF and why people prefer it over MK or Tekken, but I much prefer the latter two. The dialogue of SF is too cheesy for me to bear, although I understand that some may find it endearing.

    Anyway, I just discovered this site, but out of principal, I won’t be visiting it again.

  • Subjugator

    I will stop dishing out CAD$14.50 for your (otherwise great) magazine every month on the merits of this one crappy review! I could barely handle games(tm) giving 9/10 to Gran Turismo 5 which is a shameless money grab, and a little more than HD re-release of GT4 (not even in the same league as Forza 3), but to give MK this undeservedly abyssmal score cements your reputation as clueless, biased joke of a critic. The game is amazing, and the best Mortal Kombat since MK2 hit the arcades in 1993. Thank you Ed Boon.

  • Iluspook

       The issue with giving this game a 5, and people therefore being upset with the review, is not that the reviewer is not entitled to his/her opinions and feelings about the game, but that this review site is supposed to be a professional, non-biased site offering an honest look into the game.  A 5 is NOT an honest look at this game, and even the text will state this.  A gamer who may have had a LOT of fun with this game may look at this review and be discouraged.  If enough people were to be equally put-off with the game by reading this review, it could hinder future games of this caliber, which would be a sad prospect indeed!

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it needs to be grounded in non-biased honesty.  A 5 in the video game world relates to a game that is broken, meaning it has lots of consistent bugs, certain modes are unplayable or unbearable, there is little to no replay value or content, the menus and interface are buggy, poorly developed, or difficult to understand, or any other such accolades of a coaster of a game.  This is not such a game.  If the reviewer had declared this game to be a 7/10, I would not have agreed with that decision, but I would have respected it.  It would have been honest, and would have befitted an honest review.  However, his/her consistent comparisons of this game with the mechanics of other similar games is juvenile at best, and lends no merit to review credibility.  It is the equivalent of granting a new FPS game terrible marks because the guns used feel different than those used in Call of Duty.

       Games are supposed to be different from each other…it’s kind of the point in being different.  It doesn’t make one game more terrible than another on that merit alone.  If I was told not to play Risk because a reviewer told me the battle and strategy system was not as deep as chess, then I would be missing out on a great game; one that plays differently, yet still has plenty of depth and strategy to keep me entertained for years!

       This review is a shame to the gaming industry because it does not welcome creative progression, but rather encourages biased repetition.

  • Niggerman

    you are a fucking douche

  • gamesTM are douchebags

    fuck you all at gamesTM, you give good games bad scores, i am not buying your mags anymore, go fuck yourselves.

    P.S. Iluspook, the reviewer of mags like these are supposed to help you find the right game to buy so their opinion doesn’t matter, therefore if a reviewer gives a game a lower score than it should get, it influences people not to get that game, even though the game is good (or even a great game). So i’d advise you to stop buying thier mag as they give games the wrong score.

  • Killman

    Moron central in the comments.

  • gamesTM are douchebags

    suck my dick! you fucking noob. you give MK9 a bad score just because you cant play it and you think SSF4 is better, biased cunts, MK9 is what the fans wanted so they got it. stop reviewing games and rename your shitty mag “filmsTM”, i hope you all die you wankers.

  • tom

    Finally, an honest review of this game!
    There really is no depth to the fighting in this game, it might be fun for the casual gamer, but serious 2D fighter fans will not find anything here.

    But then again, the MK series was never the best designed, so criticising it for not being something that it never was is a bit hard to take for some people.

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