Mortal Kombat the Komplete edition was recently released in Australia at the beginning of May and what I can say about it for starters, is that it is very much welcome and I hope to see more games of its rating category (R18+) in the future. I think what makes it appealing is that that this is a game that was previously banned, but in playing it, I don’t really understand why, or maybe a bit.
Due to the game being banned, I imagine because of “high impact violence, blood and gore” by the classifications board in a time where there were no ratings category to fit it, I had a strange perception of the game. Having not played this version of Mortal Kombat but having played others (mostly all in the whole series) I knew the series to be violent already. But having this one banned I thought it would be leagues above the rest. I imagined the most violent realistic, gore based fatalities were shown. But in actuality, it’s pretty much the same as Mortal Kombat always was.
On first impression in my first hour playing I also felt that the graphics felt old, you know that feeling when you get a game out of the bargain bin, two years after its released? It’s new isn’t it? But it’s no longer the latest. It’s not the same feeling initially as say when you get a game day one and it’s cutting edge for its time. What also happened because of this, and the perception I had about the games expected violence was that, well, it had no effect on me. Imy friend saying that I didn’t get why it was banned, everything looks almost cartoon. I didn’t get what was so real about it. But all this has nothing to do with the quality of the game. It was just my own initial perception of what I expected the game to be, based on what I heard and all the hype around its banning.
So was Mortal Kombat the Komplete edition any good?
The short answer is YES!
Mortal Kombat as a game in its genre is absolutely superb on so many levels from it’s fighting styles and combinations, it’s special moves, it’s finishing moves (fatalities), it’s story mode and it’s now famous series returning characters. Mortal Kombat is likely the most famous franchise in the genre and I believe it is most deserving of this honour.
What Mortal Kombat should be reviewed on and talked about first is the Kombat. I have completely finished the game on all difficulty settings, including expert! Might I tell you Shao Khan is quite difficult at the expert level, but beatable once you actually master the Kombat of your selected fighter.
Kombat is quite dynamic in the game, but I found characters to be broken up into three main specialities There were those who were good at throwing punches (Kitana, Jax), those that were better at kicking (weak at punching) (Liu kang) and those that focused on movement/teleporting (Noob Saibot/Raiden) or projectiles (Reptile). Each character should play to their strengths and I found that the easiest way to secure victory. Mix this with good combo’s and victory can be secured. But there is also the element of blocking or dodging opponents who specialties counter yours. Noob Saibot’s ability to teleport around and jump you during a battle causes trouble for Sub Zero who is much slower in Kombat in comparison. Balancing careful defence and capitalising when you can attack and exploit your opponent is essential to winning. This is what makes Mortal Kombat good, and particularly this game in the series. No longer do you just simply spam buttons to a quick victory, that won’t work here. You must play to your strengths and exploit opponents weaknesses.
The game also has quite an extensive and long story mode to it as well. There are many fights and sequences contained. But for a game focused on violence, gore, and fights. The characters are very cheesy and the dialogue isn’t much for one to admire. The characters in game are not really very serious at all. Which is a shame I think because I thought the way the story was structured provided an excellent opportunity to develop and add realism to these Mortal Kombat characters made famous through their constant appearances in the game. The only down point I think in this game is that the story focuses so heavy on characters, but once I finish with one and move to the next character story; I don’t miss them. I’m not connected to the characters and it doesn’t really bother me what their fate is a result. For example if someone (I won’t say who) is killed or slain during the story mode. I don’t feel for them, because their character was not developed in a realistic way enough for me to be attached. While their death is violent and gore levels are high, it all loses it’s impact and seriousness because the characters are not serious and believable. For this reason I wonder why it was banned?
Another thing the game is very good at though is difficulty. But I don’t know how successful it is with it. The series used to be very punishing in terms of difficulty. I remember in Mortal Kombat trilogy you really had to master your character to win on the hardest settings. But in this game I finished on expert within a week, and wanted more! I think some however will find it quite difficult, depends on your abilities. The flaw I found with the difficulty levelling in the game is that standard characters like Reptile, Sub Zero or any non boss characters were not so hard to best in a battle (using your best character of course, using one your not so good at? That’s hard). Even if you had to repeat the fight I got through them after about 10 minutes. But the bosses particularly Shao Khan are massively more difficult than the champions before them. But as I said once you understand the Kombat in the game, you can win. Shao Khan for example is weak after he attacks, if you dodge well or block him, he will be open to strike. Be careful though! He’s quick! Quicker than most! I just would have liked the standard characters leading up to him to be as difficult as he was. It took me hours to beat him the first time on expert (I used Kitana) and only minutes to beat everyone before him in the lead up. While I do want expert to be hard, it’s frustrating the way it is scaled. It needs another tier, master level or something. What makes Mortal Kombat good, is when there is a challenge.
Facing Shao Khan on expert was not only one of the hardest boss fights I have ever had, but it’s also the most satisfying when you win against him. This is what I think Mortal Kombat does well. Other games especially most modern games let you beat a boss so easily, they leave no impression. But in Mortal Kombat when you best a character that constantly knocks you down, constantly counters your moves. There is a greater sense of satisfaction (or frustration depending if you gave up) when you actually finish them off, and even more when you do with a fatality. One character I had some trouble with on expert in one ladder I had was Kabal, he was to quick for me at the time. But I go back to the game? Why? It’s a challenge, and winning challenges in a game, the thrill of the victory is something I think games need.
Mortal Kombat also does it’s sounds and music incredibly well. I had recoginised some tunes even from games of past in the series and was happy to hear them once again in game. The sound of the punches, the special effects and of course the screams is all superbly done. I can find no flaw in the games sound and music design.
The only thing I was unable to test was the online mode, it did not appear to be working while I was playing the game this week. I will check back with this soon. But from what I gather it’s a mixture of ranked and unranked fights, similar to ladder mode in single player. I don’t imagine it to be much different from the single player experience.
What did I think could be done better? My only complaint is that it doesn’t let you unlock characters like Goro or Shao Khan or any other of the boss characters I saw in the game. It’s slightly disappointing because I would like to try them out and use them, or win Mortal Kombat with them. But it seems to be unavailable at this time.
Overall this game after a week of playing had me hooked. Not because of the story, but because of the Kombat, the challenge, the thrill of the win, the disappointment after a loss. That’s what this game is good at, that’s what this series is good at and that’s why I think people keep returning to it. If only I could have had the game when it was brand new, who knows how skilled I could have been by now. Instead I am enjoying a masterpiece in the fighting game genre years after it was made. Mortal Kombat is well worth the purchase for any fan of the series or those who don’t mind a bit of violence in their games and are interested in in the genre.