It’s time to don a Ninja suit again, and front-flip into the Mortal Kombat tournament. Netherrealm is bringing the series back to its roots, in a remake of the very first game. It would be an understatement to say that Mortal Kombat isn’t a popular franchise. With 9 iterations of the series, two movies, and now its very own web based series. It’s clear that the spotlight is bright, on the blood drenched saga. Let’s find out if the series has returned to its former glory.
• Story mode is where other fighting games should take note.
Mortal Kombat opens up like a movie, with bodies strewn about the area from both Earthrealm and Netherealm. Raiden is the last one able to battle Shao Khan, and he’s not doing a very good job of it. Just before the thunder god is defeated, he chants a spell that returns time to the very first Mortal Kombat tournament.
Unlike most fighting games, Mortal Kombat puts you on a linear pathway. You’ll step into the shoes of iconic Earthrealm characters in each chapter. It starts with an introduction to the tournament, with Johnny Cage acting out his best douchebag role. The storyline advances through some impressive cut-scenes; you’ll see characters interact before and after a fight. As the major sequences combine action with well placed dialogue.
Take this exclamation to heart; Mortal Kombat 9 has the best story mode of any fighting game. It makes seamless transitions from combat to dialogue; you will never see a loading screen during the tournament. You’ll face all sorts of different challenges, as you’re placed on the front-lines as a variety of characters. This puts MK in league with many action and FPS games, and that’s an amazing advancement for the fighter genre.
• The 2.5D combat brings back the essence of Mortal Kombat.
The mechanics of Mortal Kombat are nothing to trifle with. If you’re not willing to sit down and study the move list, your character is going to stumble about like a fool. This is something fantastic if you’re a fan of the genre. You’ll actually have to study move sets, and practice combos with your favorite characters. The combo system is quick and precise, and special abilities activate without a hitch.
Button smashing will rarely win you a match in Mortal Kombat. Using special moves like a madman will leave your fighter open to retaliation. You have to come to grasps that strategy plays a big time role, learning when to go for the combo, or throw that frost bolt is pivotal. A simple mistake could give your A simple mistake could give your opponent a devastating advantage. As a wide array of dangerous new skills have been added to the blend.
New to MK 9 is the tag team system, where players can swap in a second fighter at key moments. Learning how to use this in combat is essential, as it can turn a simple combination into a brutal air juggle. Especially when combined with the new super attacks, that lets players choose from three different combat triggers. The first rank will enhance your special moves, usually giving them a more elaborate flourish and increased damage.
The second rank uses up two points of the special bar to initiate a combo breaker. The big move on the special bar is the X-Ray vision attacks. This attack can be a tide turner or lead to complete domination in a round. Each of these moves adds another layer to the already complicated fighting system. The wealth of depth in MK is astounding; it’s easily the best of the entire series.
• The visuals go beyond just showing intricate gory details. There is a variety of imagery that compliment the battles. In play are some slick effects like frost flowing off of Subzero, or the bone crunching maneuvers of each individual X-Ray ability. The stages each have their own life to them. With the return of many classics, and some hectic backdrops full of cataclysmic events. The character models are well done, even if most of the women have manly faces. It is as gorgeous as a game about eviscerating your foes can be.
• There are so many modes in MK 9 that it’ll make your head spin. Placing the story mode aside, there are many different ways to play Mortal Kombat. The newest and most appealing would be the Challenge Tower. It allows players to complete different tasks to earn Kombat currency. It constantly throws mini-games and puzzle elements at the player. While choosing certain handicaps for most fights, and randomly selecting your fighter for you.
The other selections like Ladder and Tag Ladder bring back the old arcade feeling. The rest of the modes consist of mini-games. You can play a good majority of them with 1 – 4 players on or offline. Speaking of online, players can engage in an extra special King of the Hill tournament. Where a series of fighters line up as spectators and wait for the next battle. The only other modes available are 1v1 and Tag team. It’s no joke that this game could last you until the next Mortal Kombat comes out.
• The CPU comeback has returned in full effect.
Remember when games used to create that last ditch effort for the computer? When they become all knowing and powerful, and block every possible move with only a sliver of health? Yeah, Mortal Kombat 9 brings the old cheesy computer back to the surface. It burns even more when you’re fighting bosses like Shao Khan or Goro, who are invulnerable to most attacks. It just makes things extremely frustrating in single player modes.
• Online multiplayer is a big time mess at this stage of the game.
Trying to get into any match can take almost 2 to 3 minutes. When you finally do get into whatever match, you’ll lose connection if the wind even blows the wrong way. It’s extremely annoying, and it’s better to face off against people on the couch for now. I’m sure it will be improved after a couple of patches, and the release date impact wears off.
• Mortal Kombat 9 takes the biggest leap for the series. It’s almost funny that to take this leap, the series had to go back to its roots. With the best storyline ever included in a fighting game, and a robust fighting system to keep you playing. Mortal Kombat 9 receives an A from Half-Ass Gaming; it is currently the best fighting game of the year. Capcom better watch out, the competition is back in full effect.