Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mortal Kombat First Impressions

Yes, we're still here. Since 2600 and Sarge are both in the middle of other stuff, I've been busy as well along with everything for Easter. I had the time to get the new Mortal Kombat and I've been playing it since Tuesday so I thought I'd share some of my first impressions about the new game.

It's been a long time since I've played a Mortal Kombat game. I rented Armageddon on the PS2 and skipped on MK Vs. DC for obvious reasons so when I had heard that Ed Boon and the team at NetherRealm Studios were taking the game back to it's 2D roots it had me very hopeful. Now I can say after playing it for the past two days that NetherRealm Studios has put in one hell of an amazing effort in bringing back Mortal Kombat to the way it was, and even better then before.

Right out of the box there is A LOT of stuff to do. You've got the Challenge Tower with 300 different events to complete, a classic arcade style ladder that you can play solo or in the game's new tag mode tons of online modes and an amazing new story mode. Now I've said before that story doesn't really matter in a fighting game, but the guys at NetherRealm have really shown off what a story mode in a fighting game should be. You play through the story as almost every character (Mostly the heroes) while it retells the story of the first three Mortal Kombat games. There's a lot of twists n' turns to keep you playing it all the way through till the end.

The gameplay portion of the game has been completely redone. The team at NetherRealm got together some tournament level players to help create the game's new fighting engine and it shows. While you can play the game like old school MK with a couple of tap combos and special moves, when you get into the heart of the game you can really open it up to pull off some sick combos. Right now I'm still at the level where I find a couple of easy four or five hit combos but I'm still trying to get a feel for the game. Of course the biggest thing they've added in is the new super bar, a first for the series. You can build it up to three levels. First will do a super version of a special attack, the second will do a combo breaker and if you get it built up all the way you can pull off the new X-Ray Attack. I like the way the guy's at Giant Bomb described it as "Mortal Kombat's R-Rated answer to Street Fighter IV's Ultra Combos." Some character's X-Ray's like Smoke and Sindel's are really brutal, yet really satisfying to watch.

What I like the most is that they've said they will be able to patch the game on the fly without having to issue any huge patches for the game, so if people find out any game breaking combo's they'll be able to fix it without any problems.

The music and sound is really good too. All of the classic tunes have been updated. I love rocking the Courtyard theme and the few songs from MK3 like the Rooftops and Subway. The sound effects are pretty damn grisly. Every time I do an X-Ray move I wonder if they broke chicken bones or something else to make it sound so damn real. The game itself looks really good. Your characters take damage throughout the fight so they get pretty banged up. I also love how they've done over almost all of the classic stages but with daytime, nighttime and when you go into Earthrealm you can play on the rooftop in the pre and post invasion of Shao Kahn.

Some of the negative side of things. The online as of right now is only so-so. The King of The Hill mode is awesome. It plays just like an arcade set up of what I like to call, "Winner stays, looser pays" so when you're not playing you can go into a MST3K style lobby and your avatars can interact with each other and at the end give "Respect Points" on how well the fight went. This sounds awesome, but get the room filled with a ton of players and it becomes lag city. When you're fighting one on one with another player it works alright, but still with some hiccups.

The other thing I didn't like is that almost everything is locked in the game. When you start the game up you have access to almost the whole roster, but you need to unlock two characters, not too bad. They really make you play through the whole game in order to unlock the rest of the extra costumes and other goodies. Just like the when MK came out in the arcades the game will only tell you one of your character's fatality. The rest are on your own to find out. You can find them in the Krypt, or get an FAQ online. I'm just glad you only need to remember one pit fatality, unlike the other games where you had to have a separate one for each stage. Then there's the whole issue of the "Classic Kostumes" for the ninjas. Depending on where you preordered the game from you get a download code for a classic costume, since I got mine from Amazon, I got Reptile. I had though you would be able to unlock the costumes through The Krypt but it's sounding more and more like you'll have to get the codes in order to get the costumes. Hopefully they will offer the whole set as one cheap download. I hate having to pay extra for items that are already on the disc. The final thing that gets my goat is the final ultimate reward for beating the Challenge Tower. They kept hinting that it would be something amazing when it turns out that it's just an extra costume for Millena where she's wrapped in ribbons. Woop-tee shit. A skimpy costume for a character I don't use.

Other then the gripes about the costumes, unlocking and the online, Netherrealm has done a fantastic job with this game. I'm really enjoying it and looking forward to unlocking more secrets. I really hope they'll continue to support the game with bug fixes, and extra goodies. They have already announced three extra DLC characters, one being Kenshi who was pretty much the only character I liked that was added after MK4.

So if you haven't played MK since the glory days of the 90's arcades, you should consider checking this game out. Everybody has been giving rave reviews of the game since it's come out and it shows. The team at NetherRealm have put together a complete package fighting game. You can tell a lot of love and care went into making this and they aren't trying to cash in on the Mortal Kombat name. So go check it out!

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