Mortal Kombat 9 Review Roundup

The gory classic Mortal Kombat has gotten a complete reboot and may redeem itself since the franchise seemed to have lost its way over the years. Now with new publisher Warner Bros. on board, NetherRealm Studios has gone back to its roots and reinvented the latest Mortal Kombat with a welcome 2D-format that has all the modern graphics with the unapologetic carnage-fest of over-the-top fatalities that made Mortal Kombat great.

This ninth installment of Mortal Kombat still has graphics that appear three-dimensional, but the overall fighting format has returned to a more two-dimensional setup. Controls for the fighters have also changed such that each button corresponds to a particular limb, so that attacks are much more intuitive. The Xbox 360 version has a total roster of twenty-seven fighters including favorites such as Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, and Liu-Kang, while the PS3 version has one additional character, the God of War Kratos.

The fighting involves three segmented power meters that once filled up can unleash some incredible maneuvers including slow-motion X-ray bone-crushing moves and spectacularly cringe-inducing fatalities. Several modes of play are available, including story mode, that lets you play out the story behind several of the characters, and playing online.

Overall reviews for the game seem positive across the board. So here's a roundup of what some of the reviewers are saying:

Nick Chester of Destructoid is giving the game mad props saying it may be the best game in the Mortal Kombat series:

Mortal Kombat, the first game designed under the Warner Bros. NetherRealm Studios moniker, is that fatality. It's a glorious throwback to the things that made the series great, with a current-gen polish that makes it feel entirely fresh. In short, it's the best game in the Mortal Kombat series to date.

The reviewer at The Province, also had good things to say:

Well, Mortal Kombat is back, reinvented, retooled, and there's hardly a flap about it...

Master a couple of combos, learn how to use long and medium-range attacks, and you won't be able to put this game down. At least, not until your hands are begging for a couple of ice packs.

What's right: Wonderful story, great game mechanics, lots and lots of cheese.

What's wrong: Bosses are too cheap. (Aren't they always?)

Numb Thumb: Graphics A; Gameplay A; Value B; Control B. Overall a B+ on the Numb Thumb.

Some quotes from the Telegraph's Tom Hoggins review:

But underneath the bloody veneer lies a satisfying 2D brawler with a pervasive sense of fun. Mortal Kombat sees fit to never take itself too seriously; it's slightly scrappy and rather unrefined, but gets certain things so so right. Like the thumping gratification of a well placed uppercut sending an enemy flying...

While it captures that old-school feel, then, Mortal Kombat has smartly learned from its competition when it comes to the fighting engine. Taking damage or performing special moves builds up a power bar, similar to Street Fighter. Using a small chunk of juice can power up a special move, but fill the bar completely and you can perform an "X-Ray" attack by squeezing both triggers...

So there's a huge amount of content packed in here, and online is no slouch either. There's no tournaments to speak of yet, but you can join lobbies of up to 100 people, check out each of their stats and then issue a challenge. There is also a King of the Hill mode, which is a basic "winner-stays-on" setup. Players waiting for their shot at the throne can watch fights in the theatre, with the lovely touch of having your Xbox avatar cheer along and even mark the winner out of ten at the end of a bout. Unfortunately King of the Hill can suffer from appalling lag at times, reducing its quirky appeal in comparison to the smoother one-on-one fights.

With such generosity, however, it becomes easier to forgive Mortal Kombat for its frequent scrappiness. Besides, you get the feeling the odd rough edge serves the Kombat ethos well, providing a viscerally enjoyable video game not overly concerned with the pursuit of perfection. You wouldn't have it any other way.

And Garrett Martin at The Edge with the Boston Herald says:

"Mortal Kombat" might be the best installment of a historically absurd series. Still, after shedding enough blood, you'll eventually want to take a shower.