Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mortal Kombat 9

Mortal Kombat Review

Kid Safe: Very Low                     Game Quality: High

Genre: Fighter
-          This game features a number of different characters, most often with certain special powers, fighting back and forth against each other in an attempt to figure out who is more powerful and, in this particular case, most often to maim or kill their opponent.

Internet Requirements: Moderate
-          Mortal Kombat features a moderate amount of internet requirements due to the inclusion of two features. The first is an online multiplayer mode that allows players to engage in fighting matches against other players from around the world via the internet. The second is the future ability for players to purchase and download different characters and costumes for their existing characters via the internet.

Story Summary: Mortal Kombat follows the story of a collection of battle hardened warriors of "Earth
Realm", i.e. the Earth we all know and love, who have been called forth to compete in a "martial arts" tournament that will decide the fate of the world. If they lose the fight, the world will become merged with Outworld, a devastated alternate dimension that is ruled by the iron fist and blood thirsty will of Emperor Shao Kahn. Players will experience the story from a multitude of angles as it moves through a number of different characters as the fights unfold. Will you be strong enough to save Earth Realm from the twisted fate that Shao Kahn has in store for it?

Kid Safe: Very Low
-          Foul Language: Moderate
o   Mortal Kombat features a moderate amount of foul language. Occasionally the words "b*tch", "d*mn", and "f*ck" can be heard in cutscenes and dialogue, although they are not overbearing or common; instead used in instances of anger and frustration.

-          Violence and Gore: Very High - Not Recommended for Children
o   Mortal Kombat is incredibly gruesome, with a very high rating for both violence and gore, and probably easily falls into the top 10 of one of the most brutal games we have played. To begin, the entire purpose of the game is to have two or more opponents battle and fight each other; most often with the sole purpose of maiming or killing the loser. Players will use martial arts, swords, guns, grenades, shards of ice, fire, lightning, axes, arrows, spears, hammers, and grotesque attacks like biting, gnawing, and clawing to attack and kill their opponents. Almost all characters are human or humanoid in appearance.

o   Players, after defeating their opponent, are encouraged to murder them; presenting them with the ability to "Finish Him/Her" and perform different fatalities. The fatalities are, simply, brutal and graphic. Opponents are literally ripped in half, decapitated, mauled, scorched to a crisp, melted with acid, impaled on spikes, forced to swallow volatile liquids, electrocuted, shot in the head in an executioner fashion, torn limb from limb, blown up, have their organs torn from their bodies, and more. Each scene is extremely graphic and not played down at all.

o   To add to the graphic-ness, the development team designed the game in a fascinating way. Literally every character was built from the ground up: providing each person with a realistic skeletal structure, set of organs, muscles structure, and flesh. The purpose for this was to provide a realistic base for the game's prized "X-Ray" feature. The X-Ray feature is a special attack for each character that provides an X-Ray of their opponent as they fight, showing off the brutality of their attack. X-Ray attacks will demonstrate the shattering and breaking of a variety of bones, including but not limited to, legs, arms, necks, ribs, skulls, teeth, and more. X-Ray attacks will also demonstrate intense damage to vital internal organs.

o   Finally, the cutscenes and environments are just as violent and gory as the fights themselves. The background environments will demonstrate a wide variety of violent acts against others including an individual, kicking and screaming, being slowly lowered into a vat of acid, only to be pulled back up devoid of flesh and their muscle eaten away. Other examples also include a forest where several men slowly die kicking and thrashing as they are hung by nooses and a temple-like area where a man is performing some kind of surgery or ritual on a very live, awake, and screaming patient. Aside from that, cut scenes will feature the death and murder of a number of characters that players have gotten to know; examples of which include having their necks broken, electrocuted to death, eviscerated, impaled, and more.
-          Sexually-Related Content: Moderate
o   Mortal Kombat features a moderate amount of sexually-related content that takes place primarily through partial nudity and occasional sexual reference. ALL female characters are depicted in extremely revealing clothing that displays a large amount of cleavage, side/under breast, and buttocks. Most women are wearing little more than fancy lingerie and some are wearing little more than a single, well-placed strip of cloth. Several depictions throughout the game feature implications of female characters being fully nude, however do not display primary genitalia (nipples/vulva). One scene also features a female fighter who is only covered with a few strategically placed bandages.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: None
o   To the best of the reviewer's knowledge, Mortal Kombat does not contain any amount of drug or alcohol usage.

Game Quality: High
-          Graphics / Visuals: Moderate
o   Mortal Kombat features a moderate level of graphic and visual quality. Some of the game's strongest points include its overall character design and background environments whereas it's problem areas are just about everything else. So, starting with the good, the development team deserves special praise for their character model design. While the purpose for which they did it was disgusting, the fact that the team literally built each character with a fully articulated skeletal, organ, and muscle structure is very impressive. Likewise, the background, while generally grotesque and violent, are still very well done. Not only did the team recreate a variety of vintage levels from the previous games, but there are literally dozens of background environments that players will get to enjoy; each with its own personality and most with a variety of things going on aside from the fight itself.

o   On the contrary, most everything else in the game tends to have some issues. To start, you can actually see where the development team decided against actually animating a full scene; instead placing a fully articulated character in front of an existing background they had already designed for a cutscene. The effect is cheap looking, like a bad blue-screen effect in a movie, and really retracts from the overall experience. Another issue that the game faces is concerning the facial animation. It seems strange that despite the work that was put into the skeletal and muscle structure of each character that more work was not put into the facial animations. I can understand if they didn't put much effort into it for the original games, but with a 7 hour long story mode that features an incredible amount of dialogue, one would think they would have tried to make their characters' faces not look like a ventriloquist's dummy.
-          Audio: High
o   Mortal Kombat features a high level of audio quality. The game's strong points lay in its ambient noise and sound effects as well as its music; on the contrary, its major problem area is, simply put, voice acting. So, again starting with the good, the ambient noise and sound effects in this title really add to the gameplay in some of the best ways possible. Being a fighting game, the player wants to feel a sense of accomplishment, even if they aren't necessarily winning; the sounds add that. The solid thuds of impact, the soft cracking of bone and knuckle, the clink of metal and blade, the echoing ringing of gunshots, the crash of lightning, and so much more really help to immerse you into the fight and make you feel like you are making a difference with each hit. Likewise, the music, with absolutely dozens of songs and a nice hard beat really help to add to the action of the game, keeping a constant high tone that contributes to the speed and strength of the fight.

o   Vice versa, one of the major audio problems is the voice acting. While you wouldn't usually consider this to be an issue in a fighting game, the fact that the game has over 7 hours of single player story alone, it can get distracting. While I cannot and will not deny that there are a couple of talented voice actors who worked on this title, they are sadly few and far between. The majority of the actors seem amateurish at best with poorly written lines and a generally failed attempt at proper emotion. Overall, they're not bad, they just aren't all that good.

-          Gameplay / Playability: High
o   Mortal Kombat features a high level of both overall gameplay and playability. As always, starting with playability, this game does an excellent job in catering to both the amateur and expert alike. To start off, the game features a full tutorial and training mode that will help teach players everything from moving to how to perform the difficult-to-master Fatalities. This title also provides a secondary training mode as part of the early part of the game's "Challenge Tower" mode that will actually reward players with virtual currency for the completion of said training. Finally, the single-player story actually goes through the process of introducing a large majority of the characters that are available in game while, at the same time, allowing players to ride a slow but steady learning curve that progressively pits players against harder and harder missions.

o   Playability aside, the actual gameplay is just as solid. The controls are quick, clean, and responsive. Every character moves with a controlled precision that would be expected of this franchise's big name history. Likewise, every character has their own feel to their design; with every person handling differently. No two characters are the same. Some are quick and lethal, others slow and methodic, but each of them is well designed and well balanced to fit perfectly into the gameplay. And, if you ever get lost on how to handle them, there is always a simple guide available right in the pause menu that will allow you to look up how to do any attack from the basic punches and kicks up to every special move there is available.
-          Dollar-Value: Very High
o   Mortal Kombat actually has a very high dollar-value attached to it. For starters, as we mentioned earlier in the review, this game actually has a solid 7 hours of regular single player story; that's actually on par with a majority of the games coming out today including Portal 2 and Call of Duty. The difference, however, is that Mortal Kombat is a fighting game, which are recognized for generally having no story at all! Not only that, but players will also have access to the "Challenge Tower" mode which could easily triple the available gameplay that features over 300 separate tasks that players must complete. These tasks range anywhere from defeating an opponent to performing a certain move to tests of skill and sight. Each of these unlock virtual currency that players can use to a wide variety of extra content including extra music, character costumes, and even extra Fatalities. Finally, if they get bored of playing alone, players are able to battle others both online via the internet or in person in 1 on 1 battles. So long as you are ok with the gruesome content this game has to offer, you can get an incredible amount out of this game.

-          The majority of the fighter games on the market tend to been Teen rated rather than Mature rated. Therefore, if you are looking for a game that features a bit less blood, death, and destruction, we would like to recommend Super Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, or Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

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