It has been 5 years since the last M-rated Mortal Kombat game has graced consoles, and the franchise’s return is a welcome one. Mortal Kombat (or MK9), is a visceral return to form for the series. Featuring the return of gruesome fatalities, brand new “X-Ray” attacks and more blood than your local Red Cross clinic, the game is a raw and brutal experience which is a wonderful throwback back to the series’ earlier games. That’s not to say this game is solely relying on nostalgia to get by, however, as a brand new story mode and new match types are just what the doctor ordered to revive the series. The game’s cast of characters is a mix of classic “Kombatants” (such as Liu Kang and Scorpion), as well as a few new surprises. Add all of that up, combined with online modes and a multitude of unlockable bonus content and you have one of the best Mortal Kombat games in the series.
The story this time around is that just after the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Raiden (the God of Thunder and Earthrealm’s protector) is about to be killed by the evil emperor Shao Khan. Luckily, before Khan can deliver the killing blow, Raiden manages to send a message to himself prior to the events that took place in the first Mortal Kombat game. With strange visions and the words “He must win.” filing his mind, Raiden attempts to alter present events to ensure that armageddon does not take place. What follows is an interesting take on the MK mythos, which culminates in a massive battle for the fate of Earthrealm that takes place across many locations (one of which is a near recreation of downtown Chicago). The story mode in this game is one of the most detailed and intense stories in the franchise, and even some other fighting games.
In addition to a fantastic story the game also features tight, solid controls which are easy to learn, yet difficult to master. The tutorial modes will teach you everything from simple hits and blocking, to multiple hit combos and satisfying special moves. There’s also a separate fatality tutorial which teaches you how to use each character’s devastating finishing move. The only difficulty to be had with the controls, is trying to remember which combination of buttons execute the attack you’re trying to make. Still, this is a minor gripe against an otherwise flawless game.
Mortal Kombat has everything that a fan of the series and fans of fighting games in general could ask for. The game is stylish and brutal with tight controls and a story that is deep and engaging. Simply put, this is one of the best fighting games out there right now.