“Fatality!” “Finish Him!” “Flawless Victory!” “Get Over Here!”. These are just some of the famous quotes from the infamous Mortal Kombat that everyone knows and remembers. Everyone remembers the fast-paced fighting that has been missed since 1995′s Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 - it’s been over 15 years since we got a game that possessed the characteristics of the Mortal Kombat games we love, but now it’s finally back in all its bloody glory. The game is in 3D, or rather what fighting fans like to call “2.5D”, and as soon as you start hammering away on those classic moves and combos, you feel the nostalgia seeping into your blood.
The most surprising part about the game isn’t the new level of gore, but the amazing story mode. Yes, Mortal Kombat actually has an awesome story – instead of some ridiculous adventure mode or scrolling text, we get a fully acted, scripted, and voiced story about the actual Mortal Kombat tournament, along with backstory on almost every classic character. The voice acting is good, and Netherealm Studios actually took the time to bring out each character’s personality, such as Johnny Cage’s Hollywood attitude, Liu-Kang’s eagerness, Kung Lao’s jealousy, and Sonya’s hotheadedness. The story is done beautifully, despite picking up where Armageddon left off, and there are plot twists and some seriously tense moments that are quite gripping. You can say it’s the best story mode in any fighting game ever made.
The Fight Still Lives
However, fans came for the fight, and this game seriously delivers. Not only are the animations smooth and great to look at, but the controls are as tight as ever. The game responds without any delay, and that’s what a fighting game is all about. The game packs a serious punch, and you can feel it. The hits transfer amazingly well into your hands, and that’s never been done in a Mortal Kombat game before. The newest addition to the series is the inclusion of X-Ray moves, first seen on the console version. Fill your super meter all the way and you can execute an extremely brutal move that shows your opponent in X-Ray vision – in this mode you can see bones crunch and snap, and organs burst. The anatomy is done well, with muscles, organs, and everything else in the right place, and each character has their own special skeletal structure. Thankfully, the controls are responsive and animations translate flawlessly on the Vita.
This super meter also concerns the executing of enhanced moves, which is enough to make you forget about Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe completely. When you fill one section of the meter (it fills up faster when you are getting your butt whipped), you can do the special move while holding down R, which will change the move a little bit, making it more powerful. For example, doing Jax’s normal “Gotcha Grab” will only do two hits, but if you enhance it, he’ll punch five or six times and do more damage. Another example is Scorpion’s Spear Throw, where he will throw two as opposed to one, for extra damage. These are great, and each special attack has its own unique enhancement. This is perfect for strategists who want to give their fight a little extra kick. The second thing you can do with the meter is the usual Breaker, but this requires two pieces to be filled. Breakers will stop your opponent in the middle of a combo, which is especially useful when your opponent is delivering a high-damage combo.
First Ever MK Tag Team
For the first time in Mortal Kombat history, tag-team mechanics have been put into the game, and they work great, making the game more intense and that much more fun. The single-player story mode will have you fighting against two people as a challenge, but it’s when you play online or with a friend that it’s an absolute blast. Thankfully, the team studied games like Marvel vs Capcom to learn how team mechanics should work, and they nailed it. Due to the Vita’s lack of buttons, the tag-out is now mapped to the right stick. This works well but isn’t as fast as the button press method on console versions.
Goriest Fatalities Yet
The fatalities are as gory as ever and each character has two, plus a stage fatality. Each character’s initial fatality can be viewed in the move list in the pause menu, but you have to unlock the second one in the Krypt. One thing to mention is that babalities are back, but only certain characters can pull them off. This is a nice addition considering that babalities haven’t been used since Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3! When it comes to fighters, there are no additional characters beyond the Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 roster. You won’t see Kira, Drahmin, Hsu Hao or any of those guys, but there are the four DLC characters included (Kenshi, Skarlet, Freddy Krueger, and Rain). Kratos is an exclusive character for the Vita and he plays just like he does on the consoles, complete with some quick-time events and moves from God of War III. He even has his own unique stage, with three different stage fatalities to choose from.
Lots Of Extras
Since Deadly Alliance the Mortal Kombat franchise has been known for adding a ton of content, and this time you’re going to like the extras. The Krypt is back, with just one type of currency this time around and five different sections for you to unlock, each one with uniquely animated item containers. Another new addition to the game is the Challenge Tower. This involves 150 challenges consisting of fights that have different parameters, such as using Johnny Cage’s special Energy Ball to kill zombies before they get to you. There are so many challenges it would take days explaining them, but they are great fun and you earn currency by doing them. Remember “Test your Might” and “Test your Sight”? Well, both are back and just as great as before. If that wasn’t enough, two new tests have been added. “Test Your Strike” is just like “Might” but you have to hold the meter inside a box for a few seconds before striking. “Test Your Luck” has you spinning a wheel that decides the fighter and fighting conditions for you to master.
The Vita has an exclusive Bonus Challenge Tower that use the console’s unique features in two new mini-games called “Test Your Slice” and “Test Your Balance”. “Test Your Slice” is like Fruit Ninja with fun modifiers like Sub-Zero’s head that freezes all body parts, and a piece of toast that launches dozens of parts on the screen. “Test Your Balance” utilizes the Vita’s tilt sensor, and in this test you have to keep your character balanced on a beam above a deadly pit. If you fail to keep your character balanced, they die and you fail the test. Other challenges utilize the tilt sensor and touch screen as well, but sadly, the rear touch pad is not used. Many of the challenges can get downright brutal, but the main reason to play through these is to unlock the Vita’s exclusive costumes.
Kombat Kodes Return
Finally, Kombat Kodes have been brought back. For people who don’t know, each character gets three boxes during the loading screen, and there are different codes such as headless combat, armless combat, dream combat, upside-down combat, X-Rays disabled, blocking disabled – the list goes on and on. These are used frequently in the challenge tower, but having them in versus mode is a blast. Online modes are a must-have for any fighter these days and Mortal Kombat has one of the best. The Vita uses Wifi mode for playing online, and it works well.
Overall, Mortal Kombat is an amazing package for the Playstation Vita. Though it isn’t a perfect port, there is plenty to appreciate, including all of the perks that went into the original console title as well as some Vita-exclusive content. “Test Your Balance” and “Test your Slice” are fun, and if you are into costumes, the Vita has a few to unlock that make the Bonus Challenge Tower worth playing through. Therefore, we highly recommend this title for your Playstation Vita.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation Vita version of Mortal Kombat by WB Games