Embracing its past Mortal Kombat rises out of the grave to prove that it doesn't need the hero's of DC fandom to carry the franchise into the future.

The history of Mortal Kombat needs no explanation. If you're a gamer, then you know Mortal Kombat. You know the famous tone of the words “finish him,” and you likely know the gory fatalities that propelled the series into the spotlight. Quarter to quarter, Mortal Kombat used to hold its own with the undisputed king of fighters. However, things have been rough over the years and despite the strong showing with 'Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe,' the fantasy based brawler has lost its step along the way. Well, I am happy to report that MK has found its groove again. Thanks to 'NetherRealm Studios,' Mortal Kombat is cutting em' up like nobody's business.

Faded, but not forgotten, this new Mortal Kombat makes us remember what was so captivating about the series in the first place. Firmly grounded in a 2D base with 3D graphics, NetherRealms' algorithm is spiritually closer to the original than the MK games of the yesteryear. While Mortal Kombat doesn't have the visual flair of something like 'Marvel vs. Capcom 3,' it looks the part and is 100% Mortal Kombat. No other series disburses the barbarous violence like Mortal Kombat, and even if some countries are banning the gaming puncher, we are glad MK has broken the “T”een barrier and has returned to its basics, stiff combat and a good dose of the ultra-violence.

Into the action, Mortal Kombat has a hefty amount of content. The extra development time for the project shows as MK has rediscovered the core base that makes the series tick. Even though its enormous popularity, Mortal Kombat has always been on the outside when it comes to fighters, partially due to its inability to focus on the combat without experimenting with new gameplay elements. I understand the whole fiction/odd charm that surrounds Mortal Kombat, but it doesn't need to be exploited in an adventure mode or some other silly offshoot. Really, what NetherRealm has done with this year edition works.

Beginning with overly dramatized intro, Raiden will set-up what is to be another battle of super-fighters, the Mortal Kombat tournament to determine the fate of our world. Interestingly enough the set-up is a little different from what you might expect with its narrative heavy cut-scenes and character jumping chapters. The whole earth realm/outworld craziness is totally absurd, but MK players it up as it is an acceptable vehicle to progress the action. From character to character, you will likely eat up most of this tale as you look to save the earth realm from destruction. Surprisingly, I was really into the single-player campaign as it provided all the right elements to keep you interested while giving fans something to bite into. The conflicts NetherRealm chose to exploit were always interesting providing an entertaining run from start to finish.

The roster is your typical Mortal Kombat assortment of rag-tag freaks and geeks, or covering all types of human and inhuman bases. From traditional kung-fu fighters to robot-men special forces to busty fighters and magical assassins. For those who know Mortal Kombat, a good chuck of fighters has made the 2011 cut, and more than making the cut, they have been slightly re-designed with new moves, new fatalities (including stage fatalities,) and alternative looks. Additionally, the PS3 gets the exclusive character of Kratos from 'God of War' who perfectly fits Kombat's roster. Sorry Xbox 360, I see some favouritism, maybe DLC will bring some special presents your way.

Expanding on the roster is a few unlockables rewards that gives some alternative forms for a few of the characters, which I won't spoil, and some alternative costumes. Even if they are only minor modifications on their normal outfit, so many fighters miss the boat when it comes to giving the obvious perks, so its more than welcomed here. These unlockables are found in the Krypt and are unlocked with Koins your earn through normal playtime. Like expected there are some treasures buried deep within the game that rewards players who really dive into the experience.

Moving on, let's get to the reason we're all here, the fighting. Mortal Kombat has always felt a little stiff, and yes, it still does. However, it's more fluent that its been in years. The moves are easy to execute, again, seemingly easier than before. This should make Mortal Kombat feel more welcomed to both newcomers and veterans. The typical selection of attacks, teleporting and projectile moves are mixed in with each characters unique special moves. Most of the combos are the same once you start looking across the board, although specialization with a couple of characters is key if you're going to be heading online.

Adding some more spice to the puncher is a new meter based combo that is highlighted with the ability to pull off moves called “X-Ray.” X-Ray power attacks (activated when your meter is full) are carnal moves string together an impressive combo of attacks that are unique to each character. More than being simply cool to watch, these moves are close to guaranteed hits, which is great, but a little unbalanced because of their difficulty to avoid. This gage can also be used to enhance your characters special attacks or to break out of a combo, but we both know, it's hard to resist the joy of watching bones crack. Despite is additional defensive quality, most of you will simply use this meter as an extra attack, which really, isn't that bad.

Outside the single-player escapades are also bountiful. This includes one-on-one battles and tag-matches, which can also be enjoyed online. You also have a series of unlockable “challenges” that are played out like little mini-games. This is on top of the normal arcade bouts that are a set up as a tour of challenges. The difficulty level can always be adjusted, so no one should be left out wanting more of a challenge. Mortal Kombat can be pretty tough at times, newbies step with trepidation.

Returning to give fans the proper dose of Fatality driven action, Mortal Kombat regains its passion. Slightly returning to its roots, Mortal Kombat is a fun and often ridiculous fighter that has no problem exploiting itself. Without hesitation, Mortal Kombat should be a must have purchase for fighting fans, while others who aren't familiar with the franchise (if that's even possible) might want to hold off for a rental. Either way, Mortal Kombat is worth checking out. It's not the ultimate fighter, but it's a major leap in the right direction. Let's hope NetherRealm can keep up the momentum, we would love to see Mortal Kombat reclaim its place as one of the top fighting franchises in the world.

  • the gore is back baby, let those heads fly!
  • back to the basics2D/3D balance works well
  • enter the Krypt, lots of extras
  • production is at its peak for the series
  • single-player campaign is surprisingly entertaining
  • even though its fairly solid, the controls could be smoother
  • fighting engine doesn't have the depth of some other fighters
  • graphical quality could be improved
Quote: "Returning to give fans the proper dose of Fatality driven action, Mortal Kombat regains its passion."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 05.02.11

Similar Games: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (6.8) | Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (8.6) | Ultimate MVC3 (8.7)


Mortal Kombat

Warner Bros.

NetherRealm Studios


US Release
April 2011


PS3, X360

Players 1-4
Co-op 2
Online MP 2-8
HD 1080p
Fight Stick Support
5.1 surround
D/L Content
Spectator Mode