Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Partial Review: Mortal Kombat

So I've spent some time now with the new game, one for which I've been looking forward to for some time now.

Today, I'll go through the basics of what the game offers, only touching upon what I've looked at first and subsequent updates will add to this. 

First, lets look at the intangibles of the Kollector's Set I picked up. Collected with the game came a set of very detailed statuettes fashioned to be bookends. The extreme detail on these is nothing short of incredible. These hand sculpted items will look great on any man's shelf or in a man cave. Practicality is nil, of course.
What grown man or woman will have blood soaked ninja statues on their mantlepiece of a family room? Not many.

The thought is there, however, and this is a nice addon to the set, and truly makes this worthy of the extra $25 or so dollars one will dish out.

Next up comes the in game content, which comprised of two alternate skins for fan favorite characters and an extra fatality. To me, this is the stuff that makes collectors editions worthwhile almost every time. Added content for a game is something that will make your experience stand apart for the standard gaming fare. Sure, a statue or two is nice, but they all end up in landfills eventually. The in game addons truly make the
experience unique for the person who wishes to pay the extra money for it. The idea here is actually a great
one. You get two classic ninjas in Ermac and Scorpion. Scorpion comes with a classic fatality as well. I, for
one, would LOVE to see DLC for this game being more fatalities. This is what made Mortal Kombat stand apart from it's Street Fighter and Clones competition back in the day.

Also in DLC we see avatar items for your Xbox Live avatar. Nice enough, but will only appeal to a certain type of gamer, like me. :) It's a detailed costume of Scorpion to show off to your friends. Pointless, really. I'll
have it on my guy for a week and then back to big boy cloths.

Finally we have the 100+ page artbook that usually comes with Collectors Editions. This is truly worthless,
and compounded more so in this game, as all the artwork in the book is part of unlockable content in the game itself. Glance at it once, and pass on it again until you finally sell it in a yard sale or toss it to the proverbial landfill. Not to take away from the artwork, it is all very nice and even a little informative, but
it really does nothing to add to your gaming experience as a book.

Now, onto the game itself. In the time I played last night, I managed to finish a run through on the tournament mode (I believe it was called Tower Mode) with Scorpion. First and foremost, over the past few MK's, the fatalities were frustratingly hard to pull off, most notably in MK vs. DCU. So far, this game makes that frustration go away delightfully. You only get one fatality starting off, with two more for each character unlockable as you play through the game. The bosses in most MK games are fairly "cheesy", and Shao Kahn in this game is no different, as even on beginner difficulty I found him somewhat hard to beat. In general the game was easy to play, as I was pulling off major combos with little concentration. In gameplay videos, the more complicated combos were present, but I was able to compete with my basic skills right out of the gate. Even the X-ray hits, a major addition to the game, are easy and fun to pull off.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good. Character models are good, but faces in general look terrible and dated. Many of the male characters who were shirtless looked ridiculous, with gigantic shoulders that just didn't look right. This is something that seems to be common in games in general, however. Perhaps technically it just cannot be done correctly yet. The female bodies were similarly rediculous, with gigantic, bigger than "Dead or Alive" breasts that just didn't look right. Make a sexy fighter character, yes. This just doesn't look right though. It looks as if some models were pulled right out of the MK vs DCU game though, a little lazy design to fill a game up never hurts, but does hurt this experience somewhat. Cybernetic and fantastical character in general look amazing, as do all backgrounds and arenas. Musically, the game is very mortal kombat. Dark, mood setting music for all stages really enhances the experience.

I ran through the first 7 or 8 chapters of the story mode, which gives a retelling of the stories of MK's 1 thru 3. It's a time travel tale, as in present time, Shao Kahn has finally beaten all comers and is about to destroy erathrealm, and Raiden sends a message back in time to his younger self during the start of the first Mortal Kombat, warning him of things to come. This story, while a little convoluted, does a good job of making the story a little easier to follow than the one that was presented to us in the first go around.It adds details and characters, and modifies the timelines somewhat, but so far is a fun experience and easy to pick up and go with.

Is it fair to recommend this title yet? Sure. For fans of a series gone far to the wayside, it's a great reboot and a fun game in general. It's a far better "pick up and play" game than many who actually advertise this sort of thing as a game feature (shame on you, WWE Allstars!). It looks good enough in action and it's simply fun to play. There's lots of material for one to go through, as this partial review can atest to as I haven't actually gone through much of it yet. A complete score can't be given as I do need to go through said material. It gets a "worthwhile to play, go get it" though.


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