In this game review, we look at the newest installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise. Does it slay the competition, or is this the ultimate fatality of the series?
Mortal Kombat is not a new title to the gaming genre, but its latest release is anything but old. Why? The developers have taken every aspect of the series that its fans have loved and combined them with new tweaks to offer an outstanding fighting game.
On the surface, the controls for Mortal Kombat are fairly simple. The triangle, circle, x, and square buttons are designated for different attacks. Each of your attack buttons are associated with different limbs, so this really gives you control over the placement of your hits. It also allows you to create more focused strategies while fighting. R1 is your throw button, while R2 is used to block. Your fighter moves via the left analog stick. Using all of these buttons together gives you a solid arsenal of kicks, punches, and special moves. While the control setup is intuitive enough for beginners to jump in and begin fighting, it also has enough extendability to give veteran fighters more of what they are looking for. In addition to the simplicity of the controls, they are very responsive, which is an absolute plus in a fighting title.
Getting back on the topic of special moves, they are numerous in Mortal Kombat. This is no surprise, of course, and it makes Mortal Kombat one of the best fighting games on the market. Each fighter has their own distinct moves, and you can view these by pressing START and entering the Move List menu. From here, you can see the fighter's various enhanced attacks, as well as their special moves. You will also see how to pull each move off using your controller.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of Mortal Kombat's gameplay is the implementation of the Super Meter. This meter sits on-screen below your character, and it is split into three sections. Your meter's “juice” increases when your opponent blocks your attacks, you get hit by your opponent, or you execute a special move. Reaching the first bar of the Super Meter allows you to perform enhanced moves. Enhanced moves are basically amped up versions of your special moves. For example, if you throw one object regularly, the enhanced move will throw two, and so on. Pressing the block button while performing a special move will result in an enhanced move.
Reaching the second bar of the Super Meter grants you what are called breakers. Breakers are a defensive move that essentially interrupt your opponent's combo. This gives you a chance to recuperate. A breaker can be performed by pressing the towards and block buttons when your opponent is in the middle of a combo.
Last, but not least in the Super Meter's repertoire are X-ray attacks. These new attacks are what you will want to use to create the most devastating damage possible. Like the name suggests, an X-ray attack exposes your opponents interior in the form of their organs, bones, and muscles. Pulling off such a move is pretty gruesome, but that is nothing new to the Mortal Kombat series. You will need to reach the third bar of the Super Meter to do a X-ray attack. You can use the attacks in combos with certain characters. You can also juggle opponents after X-ray attacks in some instances. When you consider how disabling X-ray attacks are to opponents' health, it's almost not even worth performing enhanced moves or breakers. You might be better off concentrating on reaching the Super Meter's third bar to use X-ray attacks for a greater effect.
Not new to the Mortal Kombat line are fatalities. The game simply would not be Mortal Kombat without fatalities, and in this latest edition, these brutal finishing moves are on display in their highest form. You can learn how to perform fatalities by visiting the Moves List after pressing START. Each character has at least two fatalities, and they are easier to execute than in prior Mortal Kombat titles. Some examples of fatalities include ripping an opponent's skin completely off to expose their innards or splitting their bodies into parts. Yeah, this definitely is not a game for the young ones or the faint of heart. In addition to using just your character to inflict fatal humiliation, you can also use the environments to do so. The interactive nature of the environments is great, and you can use them as a backdrop to toss your opponent into a pool of acid, among other things.
While we are on the subject of environments of Mortal Kombat, let's discuss how great they are. The environments or arenas are a mix of old and new, and they vibrate with life. As you make your quest towards reaching fighting superiority, you will be dropped into over 20 different arenas. Be prepared to view everything from dragons, to rivers of blood, to hell-like imagery in arenas such as the Armory, the Dead Pool, the Wastelands of Outworld, Shang Tsung's Flesh Pits, and more. Each arena, as mentioned, is filled with movement and also carries interactive capabilities when it comes to some fatalities. The arenas are so engrossing, in fact, that they may distract you from the task at hand.
Besides the amazing arenas, Mortal Kombat's presentation also shines in its sound. The detailed sound effects match the on-screen gore perfectly, and they are so realistic you may find your self cringing when they become audible. Bones breaking, flesh ripping, you name it, this is a gore fest in the audio realm as well.
The list of playable characters in this edition of Mortal Kombat is extensive. There are plenty of classic characters to control, as well as newer additions. Each character has a nice amount of detail and looks impressive. Johnny Cage, Baraka, Sub Zero, Scorpion, and over 20 more characters will be at your disposal. Get ready for plenty of cameo appearances too.
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