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Mortal Kombat 9 Review

Mortal Kombat had been on a bit of a down streak, what with the end of Midway and arguably the travesty that was Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, Netherrealm studios had a lot to live up to. Did they live up to it? Yes.

 

Every inhibition about  another kid-friendly Mortal Kombat game is thrown out the window as soon as Scorpion hangs you from a Netherworld portal. Brutal is an understatement. To those who grew up with the “klassic” spine rips and hat slices, you’ll feel right at home. Even the X-ray attacks(similar to the ultra/super art in Street Fighter) with their bone breaking visuals are a cut above.

But of course, none of this would matter if the controls sucked. Fortunately, they’re fast,responsive, and forgiving. Each button is assigned a limb a la tekken, but still with the classic Mortal Kombat inputs(down forward, back forward, etc), so its new enough to be fresh, but still not changing anything for the purists.

Once you jump in,  you’ll feel right at home canceling your combos into special and enhanced attacks. Thankfully, they’re a lot easier to pull off than the “promoves” of MK VS DC. So with enough practice, anyone can be a force to be reckon with.

The story mode is definitely one of the higher points. It’s rare to find such a fighting game with a relevant story. It picks up right after Armageddon, with Shao Kahn defeating Blaze and the rest of earth’s defenders. Before he finishes Raiden however, the Thunder God is able to send a message back to himself at the very beginning, where the story then rewinds to Mortal Kombat 1. It surprisingly titillating, but also a great place for new players to begin, as each chapter you play as a different character, you can play through and find the one that fits you best.

Another, more hefty time consumer is the challenge Tower. Contained are 300, yes THREE HUNDRED challenges, each more varied than the last. some are simple, such as defeat the enemy; some are restrictive, like win without special attacks; some are mind-numbingly painful, like defeat 3 Shao Kahn’s with Stryker; and some are absurd, like playing with your screen upside-down. The ones that stood out the most were 4 or 5 challenges that essentially let you play through the plot of Shaolin Monks.

Of course, the online is where the real action. It succeeds for the most part,using the online format of previous games. The lag that can occasionally pop up can be a problem when your combos begin to require hairpin timing. There are few things worse than losing because of unnoticed input.

The other problem that has been for the most part corrected is balance. Noob Saibot is a terribly cheap character with his clone tackle, causing a spike in clone spam. DLC Skarlet took a heavy nerf last year, but now its time to focus on Kenshi and Rain, especially Kenshi and his screen-controlling Telekinesis attacks. Sheeva users can also be a pain with their damn-near-unavoidable  stomping teleport. Expect a few cheap losses when you jump online.

But when you look at the overall package, it more than satisfies the appetites left wanting by the last entry in the series. I thought long and hard about whether or not this game deserves a ten. But the fact of the matter is, this game is bloody good, pun intended. If you love fighting games, Mortal Kombat in general…hell, if you own a system it was released on, there is no reason you should not own this game.

10 broken hearts out of 10

NOTe; You may have noticed I did NOT mention Kratos. This review is for the Xbox 360 version. If I play the PS3 version and notice any differences, I’ll record them here. If not, this is the definitive score.

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