Friday, October 7, 2011

Mortal Kombat Review

God, that looks painful.

Alright, let's get this out of the way, out of our system:



Now we can proceed.

Mortal Kombat is the reason we have a video game ratings system, since it was the first popular game to break the bounds of decency. For whatever reason parents decided to give up a little more responsibility and demanded the the government decide what was decent. While the rant on the stupidity of some parents is something that may come down the road I should probably stay on topic. We're here to talk about Mortal Kombat, not socialism. Anyway, Mortal Kombat is known for (and is thus rated by) three things: Violence, Gameplay, and Story.

Violence
Let's be honest with ourselves, this is the reason why Mortal Kombat is so well-loved: the ridiculous, over-the-top violence. If anyone says that they're playing the game strictly for the gameplay I'd reply that people look at porn for the articles and stories.

The violence in this game is extremely satisfying and not only fun to watch but hear. Honestly, this is some of the best sound production for a game I've heard in a long time. All the sounds are so well-designed that I could probably play the game on sound alone. Which is not to say that the visuals are bad. The figures are well-animated and the amount of blood is absurdly awesome. And the fatalities... well....

Gruesome enough for you?

Gameplay
While the Mortal Kombat franchise is known for it's blood, its gameplay is something commonly derided by the fighting community for being, well... not very good. And to a certain extent that's understandable. With the emphasis on presentation, not gameplay, you would think a game like this wouldn't have a good fighting mechanic. I can honestly say that most of Mortal Kombat's 3D excursions were too slow and bulky to really be fun. 
That's not the case here. The fighting engine is extremely good, with combos that can be cannibalized and put into your own ideas and imaginings. The game rewards creative thought in a way that reminds me very much of Smash Bros (the best fighting game ever made, in my humble opinion). However, if you're a beginner and don't want to spend a lot of time putting together your own custom combos the game has presets that work very well. That being said, Mortal Kombat is at its best when you're doing creative thinking about how the regular and special moves work together. When a game rewards ingenuity I think it's more than worth the time to play. 

That being said, the boss fights in this game are truly absurd, filled with bosses that truly break game physics and common sense, as well as many TV sets. Seriously, how are you supposed to fight these guys beyond medium difficulty? I still haven't found a way, and while I acknowledge I'm not the best player in the world I'm pretty decent in my own right, and I STILL play the game's story mode on beginner. The ending boss fight in the story mode is ridiculous even for the game, and after 30 tries I gave up in sheer frustration and downgraded the difficulty to beginner. It took an additional five tries before I got it. That's a total of 35 times, people, with cheating. That's wrong.  Most of this can be circumvented by playing as much multiplayer as possible, which is the point of the game anyway.

Story
This might come as a shock to most people, but almost all Mortal Kombat players I've met are in love with the plot of the games. The game's known for an intricate and dark storyline where the good guys barely win, and that's assuming nothing goes wrong. The story of this game is essentially a reboot back to the original Mortal Kombats 1-3. To be honest, I don't like the story all that much. It feels unnecessarily dark and dismal, to the point where I ask "why even bother?" Also, the matching up of the fights make little to no sense, particularly if you know the game's history. While it's true that people don't play fighting games for the plot the ruining of this element of Mortal Kombat is a travesty.
Conclusion
Amazing presentation and overall great gameplay trump a crappy story and ridiculous boss fights. If you're into fighting games I definitely recommend picking this game up!