Mortal Kombat Review

mkvitareview
What we liked:
+ New challenge tower is amazing
+ Controls are fantastic
+ Massive amounts of content
+ Touch screen fatalities
What we didn't like:
- Visuals take a hit
- Some online hiccups
Rating
9.5
Excellent
DEVELOPER: NetherRealm Studios   |   PUBLISHER: Warner Bros. Interactive   |   RELEASE: 05/01/2012

Review
You’ve got red on you.

When NetherRealm Studios rebooted the Mortal Kombat franchise last year, fans really couldn’t have asked for more. They not only re-invigorated the series, but really set the bar for fighting games, especially on the single player side. When Sony announced the Vita, it was only a matter of time before we heard about a portable version of the brutal fighting series. Mortal Kombat Vita is an amazing package that feels underpriced when you consider how much content is here. Oh, and it plays pretty well, too.

Probably the most amazing thing about this version is that everything included in console release is here. This includes the challenge tower, story mode and, of course, the krypt. This version also has all of the DLC characters and costumes as well as Kratos from the PS3 version. Seriously, if that were it, this package would still be worth the price of admission to have all that content on the go, but they have also added some new, unique material.

The most prominent addition is the new challenge tower. This new series of challenges takes advantage of the Vita’s specific control schemes and features. You will be balancing characters in the air by tapping rockets, wiping blood off the screen to regain health and, of course, slicing decapitated heads in the most blatant rip-off of Fruit Ninja I have ever seen. It is all wonderfully addictive and perfectly suited for portable gaming. This new challenge tower is packed with tons of content and, again, makes the price point just seem a bit unfair.

In addition to challenges that utilize the Vita’s features, the team has also added in new ones featuring the exclusive characters. You will have to escape Freddy’s nightmare and deal with Kenshi’s blindness. It really rounds out an already awesome addition. This new mode is also home to some Vita exclusive costumes for the male and female ninjas from previous MK games. There is seriously so much fan service in this game that MK fans would be insane not to purchase it; in fact it is likely a system seller to that particular crowd.

So, there is plenty of content, but does it play well? These are always the important questions when considering a portable game. Translating to fewer and smaller buttons is always a concern, especially with something as precise as fighting games. You can rest assured that MK Vita is just as impressive in this area as the rest of the package. Standard fighting feels just right, and certain things have been mapped appropriately. For example tagging in and out is now done with the right analog stick. It takes a second to adjust, but once you do, it becomes second nature. Fatality inputs have also been given the touch screen treatment. You can now simply perform the motions on the screen without having to press any buttons. This actually makes them much simpler to remember and perform.

If you never played the original console version of Mortal Kombat, it really is a sight to behold as far as content is concerned. You have your standard ladder matches that let you fight a tier of opponents finalized by a boss fight with Shao Kahn. You also have the complete story mode here, which is massive in terms of fighting game story modes. This is really what set this game apart from the competition. It relives the original MK Trilogy from a new perspective with solid voice acting and some truly interesting plot lines. I loved playing through it again on the Vita.

The graphics take a small hit, but that is it.


You also have the original challenge tower which, by itself, was massive. The new challenge tower, the krypt, online and local multi-player and a massive roster of characters, most of which are really fun to play as, all combine to create enough content to keep this game running on your Vita for months to come.

Visually, the game is also solid. It is definitely a noticeable scale back on the polygon count when you first get into the game, but the trade off in frame rate is worth it. The only time the game really chugs is during some of the X-ray moves. The rest of the time we are presented with a slick look, tons of stages and a variety of characters. This is easily one of the most impressive looking games on the system when you consider the assortment of content. Sound is equally impressive with tons of remixed tunes of the original games and some rather solid voice performances. The story mode is fully voiced and still amazes me that it is presented in its entirety on the portable version.

Mortal Kombat for the PS Vita is truly a wonderful package that outweighs its price tag. There is so much content here it is impossible not to recommend. If you are not a fan of the series or its reboot, this is certainly not going to change your mind, but even if you dropped double-digit hours on the original, the Vita version is worth a go. This will literally be locked in my system for months to come, and I look forward to unlocking everything all over again.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Screenshots

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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