RELEASED: April 19th 2011
DEVELOPED BY: NetherRealm Studios
PUBLISHED BY: Warner Bros.
DIRECTED BY: Ed Boon
WRITTEN BY: John Vogel, Brian Chard & Dominic Cianciolo
MUSIC BY: Todd Haberman, Chris Velasco & Sascha Dikiciyan
REVIEW: In anticipation of the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie, I’m taking a look at some of the more recent entries in the Mortal Kombat video-game series.
I had briefly played this game, Mortal Kombat (9), a few years ago, but after purchasing Mortal Kombat 11 and enjoying what I’ve played of it so far, I decided to go back and play through 9 properly as it’s the start of the trilogy of recent games that make up the Mortal Kombat reboot timeline.
Mortal Kombat is your standard fighting game fare, but the story that weaves these fights together seems more elaborate than most. After the events of Mortal Kombat 1 through 8, the thunder god Raiden send a cryptic message to his past self just prior to his death, in the hopes of averting the calamity that awaits Earth. Now, the younger Raiden (circa Mortal Kombat 1) and his fellow heroes must fight their way through the Mortal Kombat Tournaments and ensuing war between Earthrealm and Outworld as seen in the first three games, while he tries to change time for the better, despite being unsure of what it is he has to change.
So yeah, even though it is a reboot, and does retell the story of the original Mortal Kombat games, it does so in a way that is also very much geared to older players of the franchise. You’re thrown right into the deep end of the franchise’s rather substantial (and impressive) mythology, and the subsequent changes and character deaths are likely more impactful if you’ve played prior games and already have an attachment or understanding of the series and its characters.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the game. I did, but considering the story and the fact that it is now ten years old, I can conclude that it is perhaps not as strong a jumping-on point as I had hoped.
While good for the time, the visuals feel fairly outdated by modern standards, with the models lacking the nuance of their more modern counterparts.
This is even more clear in the designs, which sees characters basically divided up into muscular men and scantily clad women, to a ridiculous degree (would a government agency really send an operative like Sonya Blade out on a mission in such an exposing leather outfit as pictured below? I think not. And that’s pretty tame for this game).
But in a way, it fits in with the tone of the games, which is everything in excess. Excessive gore and brutality, excessive sex appeal and an excessively sprawling history.
There is also an excess of diverse characters, which is definitely a plus from the fighting point of view, as it offers up a range of different play styles and combos to master, but it also threatens to make things occasionally tedious when playing through the story mode.
Luckily that is somewhat offset by the fact there are also a decent array of alternate game modes, from your standard brawls and tag team matches, to the Tower of Challenges that throws in a variety of twists on the core concept and mini games to boot.
This game certainly has a lot going for it, especially, I imagine, if you were to play it at the time of release, and as such serves as a solid foundation on which NetherRealm could build up their (sort of) rebooted franchise.
However, with issues like the lack of mission select, or the fact that the controls didn’t always feel that receptive to what I was doing (although I admit, that could be due to the fact you have to stream the game on PS Now), the game could do with a bit more refining.
Plus, due to the fact it’s much harder to obtain nowadays (it’s been removed from both Steam and the PlayStation Store) and the servers have been taken down, its probably best to just start on one of the newer games, if you haven’t played them before.
All-in-all, going strictly by todays standards (which is a bit unfair, I know) I give Mortal Kombat a…
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