Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

Looking to keep a longstanding tradition of gaming alive, Mortal Kombat returns alongside your favorite DC characters in this new installment.

Genre: Fighting
Players: 1-2 (Online: 2)
ESRB: Teen (Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence)
Platform: PS3*/Xbox 360

For anyone who has played Mortal Kombat before, this is more of the same button-mashing fun, or not so much, depending on who you are. Personally, I’ve never much appreciated the skill to be great at a Mortal Kombat game, but my girlfriend, who grew up with an older brother, has a longstanding appreciation for it. It’s actually the only game she’ll play with me. And she wins.

The gameplay is kind of bulky. Movement doesn’t feel fluid at all. Combos can be difficult to pull off, but that’s the point of a Mortal Kombat game. The DC characters seam well into the Mortal Kombat universe, adapting well to the standard movesets that every character seems to have. A few new features you’ll see this go around are “Klose Kombat”, “Test Your Might”, and “Free Fall”.

“Klose Kombat” can be initiated by either player and opens up something that looks like a quick-time event, but is not so in actuality. The person who initiated the Klose Kombat pushes buttons (X, square, circle, triangle) and the other player must respond in order to counter. This includes timing, as the initiator can delay presses.

“Test Your Might” is when one player gets thrown through a wall and is tackled through several more by the initiator. Simply mash all the buttons you can as a meter hovers back and forth at the top of the screen determining how much damage will be done by who pushes more buttons faster. This is only available in a few stages.

“Free Fall” is when one player is tossed off the edge of the stage and the two players fall together to a lower floor. During this fall, a button-pressing sequence similar to that of “Klose Kombat” occurs, though timing is less of a factor. If the person being attacked manages to counter, the players flip sides and it begins again until you hit the bottom. Building up sequential hits allows players to hit R1 for a special move that will end the sequence by tossing the opponent the rest of the way down in some cool fashion.

Also, note that there is now 3D movement to some extent. The player can move back and forth in the third plane, a new feature to Mortal Kombat. This helps to avoid long-distance attacks, but isn’t generally anything that will become vital to your gameplay.

Players can also build up a Rage meter which can be used either to break a string of moves by the opponent or send your character into a fury. While your player will still take hits, it won’t interrupt moves and any hits on the opponent do considerably more damage. Also, your moves may break an opponents block.

The story mode is definitely not this game’s strong point, but I’m not sure anyone expected this to be the case. One can play both sides, Mortal Kombat or DC. In a nutshell, Darkseid of DC and Shao Kahn of Mortal Kombat have combined to make Dark Kahn, who feeds off of fights between characters over the course of the story while the two universes merge. Opponents show up pretty randomly, and while one would hope the other side of the story clears up where they’ve come from after playing through one side, it remains pretty vague. To be honest, it’s kind of garbage.

Where this game ought to shine is the arcade and multiplayer mode, or, to sum it up, general fighting. Whether it’s with your friends or against the computer, it’s Mortal Kombat mostly as you remember it. Fatalities have been tamed, so don’t expect all the blood and gore that you might’ve come to love, but that doesn’t take away from the fun. This is where the replay value is. Unfortunately, it can feel clunky and slow compared to other games of this genre. Online works fine in a lobby format in case you don’t have friends at home and are bored of arcade.

And finally, there are Kombo challenges for all characters, which give you a chance to see what sorts of awesome, button-mashing moves you can pull off if you dedicate the time. In my opinion, these are wicked hard. This doesn’t cover fatalities for each character, which you’ll have to figure out on your own or look up online.

The graphics leave something to be desired. The Mortal Kombat characters have, in some cases, been given makeovers since you last saw them, but they just don’t look up to snuff compared to other things we’ve seen in this generation of consoles. The voice acting is pretty bad. It’s cheesy, and the shouting that occurs during the execution of some moves is additionally obnoxious (“Get over here!”…again). I found myself wishing for Mark Hamill and whoever voiced Batman for “Arkham Asylum”. But especially Mark Hamill. C’mon. Really, the only thing to be appreciated is costume deterioration over the course of a battle. There are a few obvious areas for improvement. For example: In story mode, fatalities aren’t an option, so once a players health is depleted, they drop to the ground. Why not create an animation so that when a move that wouldn’t regularly knock a player to the ground depletes the last of their health, it knocks them down as opposed to the victim doing the traditional animation, standing straight up again as if to continue, and then falling over. Simply sloppy.

Sometimes the difficulty can be inconsistent. On Arcade set to very easy, you might get killed by an opponent, continue, and destroy the same opponent coming out using one button. This seemed quite odd to me.

So at it’s multiplayer heart, this game is most everything you remember, while cosmetically it’s quite poor, especially for this generation of systems. This doesn’t mean it isn’t fun or playable. It’s Mortal Kombat.

Bottom Line: 7.5/10

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