Developer(s) – NetherRealm Studios
Publisher(s) – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Director(s) – Ed Boon, Steven Beran & Alan Villani
Producer(s) – Hans Lo, Adam Urbano & Shaun Himmerick
Released in 2011 as an extremely successful revival of the widely acclaimed fighting game series, Mortal Kombat went on to win three gaming awards in the year of its launch, and was later re-released with additional content, as well as there being a sequel coming out soon for next-gen consoles. As far as fighting games go, whilst I don’t indulge in them as much as I do in other genres of gaming, this is most definitely one of the best entries in the series, and had made me particularly excited about it’s future.
Graphics – 8/10
Conceptually, a lot of the different stages are re-master versions of previous ones found in many of the classic games; and in my opinion, they’ve never looked better. From a technical standpoint in particular, the game has a great deal of textural detail, which depending on what stance players may take on graphic violence, can be seen as either impressive or disturbing. The fatalities were made to be more violent than ever before, and in my opinion, is one of the most violent games ever developed behind Abadox.
Gameplay – 7/10
A traditional fighting game, what I was most glad at was the fact that the developers strayed away from the concept of fighting in full 3D environments, and reverted back to 2D stages, but kept the 3D graphics intact. To me, the previous style of fighting from Mortal Kombat 4 to Mortal Kombat Armageddon didn’t work anywhere near as well as the system in the original trilogy, and many other fighting games of the time. But aside from this, there is also a vast range of different ay modes in this game, as well as a plethora of different unlockables aside from what can be downloaded as DLC.
Aside from the developers reverting back to the layout of a traditional fighting game, the control scheme works extremely well, since not only does it work well to re-immerse long-time fans of the series, but it also works well for newcomers in the form of the practice mode and move lists. I also like how much time is given to players to perform fatalities, since personally, I’ve never been able to execute one in any of the three original games.
Lifespan – N/A (10/10)
Though fighting games have an infinite lifespan by default, there’s still a great deal present in this game than many others of it’s kind to keep players immersed in many different ways. Not only is a story mode, and the added bonus of using points earned in battle to acquire things such as alternative costumes and conceptual art, but there is also an online multiplayer mode, that can become quite addictive. The developers are working to enhance this aspect for the next game, but it’s still extremely satisfying in this case too.
Storyline – 7/10
The overall story arc of this game is also handled in an extremely unique way for a fighting game. It acts as a revival to the series, and at the same time re-tells the events of the first three games, whilst simultaneously carrying on the story from where it left off after the latest game to have come before it; Mortal Kombat Armageddon. The basic premise is that fighters from all the different realms of the universe convene to complete in the Mortal Kombat tournament. But there does end up being a great deal of twists and turns before the end.
Originality – 6/10
In terms of uniqueness, this game does have a fair bit of originality about it, in the structure of its story, and how incentive is earned whilst playing through it. But to an extent, the developers had to keep things as simple as possible in order to revive the series, which beforehand, has been losing commercial momentum. I suspect the developers are saving more unique aspects of the series for the next game, Mortal Kombat X, judging by what I’ve seen so far, since new policies are being explored within the online multiplayer facility, and it also looks as if the developers are branching out more from a conceptual standpoint, in a similar fashion to how they did it with Mortal Kombat III.
In summation, Mortal Kombat is an exceptional fighting game, and I would recommend it to veteran fans that may not have tried it, as well as newcomers. The next game looks to be even better, but this title still serves as an ideal starting point to anyone curious about the series.
8/10 (Very Good)