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> Mortal Kombat Review, PlayStation 3 Version
SsZERO
Posted: Apr 26 2011, 07:05 PM
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Mortal Kombat was never really about that stuff like balanced game mechanics or competitive play. It always was more show than anything else. I don't think anyone played MK in the arcades to flaunt their gaming skills, rather they just wanted to win matches for an opportunity to pull off the fatalities and with MK2 and MK3, they stage fatalities and other "hidden" moves.

So with this Mortal Kombat incarnation, is anything different?

Graphics and Visuals
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The graphics are great overall. The backgrounds are nicely detailed and there are a lot of them. I did not observe them to be interactive like they were in MK3, where you could knock players up to a higher level of the same stage (i.e. from subway to street level). I do have a gripe with the character design, however.

You basically have the "male" model and "female" model, which appear identical and only differ in terms of the "skin" that is applied. I think this is somewhat cheap, like an animator who pans a still image rather than actually animating a scene.

All of the female characters have huge tits and skimpy outfits - but I'm not complaining - it's just that I would like to see some variety in the actual shape of the bodies and I think they should have been more liberal with the boob physics. Is there a nudity code?? There should be...hell, even beach volley ball mode would be cool.

Raiden is fat. Really fat. I guess he hasn't been kombatting for the last decade because in the game it looks like he's about to summon and devour a tray of cheeseburgers from the netherworld instead of fighting. If you play story mode (which I recommend you do since it's actually entertaining), Raiden always looks like he's mouth-breathing and has moist lips...it's as if he can see a rump roast feast somewhere off camera and is drooling over it.

The x-ray attacks look cool. I like this addition as far as visuals go, but I fail to see how they can continue fighting after having most of their bones broken, their skull shattered and vital organs pierced. Maybe I'm over-thinking things here - just seems like they'd be better as finishing moves rather than in-combat moves.


Sound
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I didn't really notice any kind of music worth talking about. The sound effects are solid and appropriate most of the time. What I do want to comment on is the characters' battle cries. These are just ridiculous because they shout jibberish and it just makes it seem more like mortal komedy. Once again I'd say raiden is the top offender here; fighting as him or against him you will often here "abboooobababaraaayyy". Maybe he's trying to say "I'm flying your way" but it sounds all messed up because he's eating 3 burritos while shouting that. Kitana says some weird mumbo-jumbo when you do the fan lift move. Those are the notable ones. I wish they'd either just call out the name of the attack like Ken and Ryu did, or just shout without vocalizing anything. I need to set Raiden's shout as the sound for incoming text messages. lol


Game Controls
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The PS3 controller sucks ass for these types of games in general, but the game does have solid controls. They did away with high/low punch and kick and changed it to left/right...so you have 4 attack buttons and a block button. One thing I absolutely hate is a fighting game with a block button. BLOCK SHOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED BY PRESSING AWAY FROM THE ATTACKER. Having to push a button to block messes up an otherwise natural "flow" of attacking and defending. For example, when block is activated by pressing the "back" direction, you can attack and then immediately defend by stopping your attack and pressing away. If your opponent does not counter attack, you will move back and can start a new assault. In this game, as it has always been, you press a button to block which means you cannot smoothly transition from attacking to defending, nor can you make a defensive retreat.

I do not like the "combo on a rail" system that this game uses, as I prefer a more dynamic combo system along the lines of Killer Instinct (Remember that game). I like being able to make up my own sequence of attacks to pound on someone so that it's not the same every time, and so that I do not need to memorize a bunch of moves for each character. If you've ever played "One Must Fall 2097" (PC game) with re-hit mode turned on, I think that game did an excellent job of enabling a FUN combo system. With practice you can pull off some nasty moves, but you will need to practice quite a bit.

--- BOSS Fights ---

This is one of the major complaints I have about this game. The boss fights against characters like Goro, Kintaro or Shao Khan are terrible. They all have an ability to negate counterattacks, so you are penalized for "outplaying" these A.I. controlled characters. For example, I can evade Kintaro's fireball and hit him with an uppercut while he is still vulnerable, but the uppercut will be negated and he will just get a free attack on me. On top of their ability to negate attacks, they take about 50% less damage than all other characters in the game. Just plain fail.

Shao Kahn is a total joke. I don't know why, in 2011, the developers thought they need to make the bosses MASSIVELY overpowered to be a challenge. Maybe when MK was in arcades this made sense, because it meant more quarters to kontinue...but it was NEVER fun. Now if you try to fight Shao Khan head on, you will lose almost every time. His attacks do a shit ton of damage, always knock you far back and he has a hammer throw attack that you cannot block. If the hammer attack hits you, it dazes you so he can follow up and pound you even more. His charge attacks will daze you if you block them, and they still deal a fair amount of damage! He also has the same ability to resist attacks which makes initiating combos or counters against him nearly impossible.

*** PROTIP ***
The most reliable way to beat Shao Kahn is actually to NOT attack. Instead, try walking backwards and if he uses ranged attacks, just duck or jump. You can duck the spear, but you have to jump the hammer. Doing this will cause him to taunt you, and the basic strat is to jump in, uppercut him while he's taunting you, then back off and wait for him to do that again. It's incredibly cheap, it's not fun but it's really the only way to beat him without getting lucky.

--- Super Cheap A.I. ---
Playing against computer opponents in this game is tedious at best. Most of the time they just stand there, block and counter attack. In a good game each character will have a distinct "style" which could also be called an "attack pattern". Some are aggressive, others are defensive. Not so in Mortal Kombat. Every character gets the same exact AI, so each fight is the same as the last, save for different special moves. This makes the game very one-dimensional and when you consider this in combination with the overpowered bosses, the replay value of 1P mode wanes.

--- Xray Attacks ---
The x-ray attacks are easy to do, but it can get annoying to watch them over and over without a way to skip them. They seem to last about 5-10 sec, which is can add up if you are seeing them once per round from both fighters. There is also no variety in them; it's the same attack over and over. The normal x-ray attack damage is between 33-40%, however the boss' x-ray attacks deal about 53%...so you better not let a boss hit you with an x-ray attack!

--- Teleports ---

Another very irritating aspect of this game are the teleport attacks that MANY of the characters possess. While they can easily be countered by blocking or doing a backwards jumpkick, the frequency at which they can be done makes them very "disruptive" to the flow of the game. Why? Almost all of the special moves and combos in the game are dependent on the direction your character is facing. The instant the enemy teleports, you must redo any directional input for the move you wanted to do. What happens is you either pull the move off, miss and get hit by the teleport attack OR your move fails because the relative direction changed and you need to counter the teleport attack.

I think that there should have been a 1.5 sec delay on the frequency at which any teleport attack can be initiated...it's not game-breaking but it is very annoying.


Extras
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I have not unlocked many of the extras but it seems like most of it is either hidden characters or stuff like alternate costumes. I don't know if the game can hold my interest long enough to want to unlock all that crap.


Enjoyment Level
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Did I enjoy this game? Yes and no. I think that there are definitely improvements here over the original and earlier installations of this series, but some of the really annoying elements remain.

Story Mode was a lot of fun, but I don't think it has a high replay value. Story Mode plays out like a movie, with each chapter progressing the tale of a particular character. It's not like you can choose a character you like and experience something different each time. The biggest pitfall with Story Mode was the 1 vs 2 battles, where you (the player) had to defeat a tag team of opponents. You get no buffs or bonuses for defeating one of the two, and generally left with a feeling of "wow, I had to beat 2 opponents and all I got was this lousy cut scene".

UNREWARDING GAMEPLAY DOES NOT EQUAL FUN AND CHALLENGING GAMEPLAY.

Due to the boss characters being overpowered and not competitive, it really puts a damper on 1P mode replay value. Do you really want a game that does nothing but frustrate you or pigeon-hole you into playing cheaply? A good game will reward you as a player for learning the game and moves. This game, like the preceding versions of it, still follow that fail methodology that "challenging" the player means putting them at huge handicap. Maybe some people enjoy that masochistic gameplay, but I for one do not, especially when the best solution to winning (playing cheap and hardly using special moves or combos) is not an elegant solution.


Final Thoughts
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Hey, I really cannot say if YOU will enjoy this game or not, but I highly recommend trying out the free demo. I know you can get on PS Network (if their network is ever up again), and maybe you can find it on Xbox Live. There are no boss fights in the demo so you will not get to experience a lot of what I feel is crippling an otherwise fun fighting game. If you were a pro with the original MK games then you should feel right at home with this one...the combo system is a lot better than it was in any of the other versions of this game, so 2P play may be more appealing. I have yet to try out 2P on this game but I may update this review if warranted after trying 2P mode out.


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-= SsZERO =-
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