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Review: Mortal Kombat

Posted by on November 1st, 2012 | 1 Comment | Tags:

I’m always a bit worried when a fighting game is brought to a portable platform. They quite often aren’t powerful enough to handle the game running at a full 60fps, and if they just skirt by, you end up with cases like Street Fighter 4 on 3DS with the backgrounds resembling a pop up book. Mortal Kombat on Vita may reduce its graphical flourishes by an often disconcerting degree, but the real triumph here is that the gameplay is completely without compromise. The game looks ok, but feels absolutely fantastic to play, with enough content in the game to keep you busy for quite some time.

Mortal Kombat’s story mode has often been spoken of in high regard, and it’s easy to see why, as it actually has one. This isn’t just a couple of animated videos stringing together a few fights, it’s a full fledged narrative, where you take control of a bunch of characters in order to try to save the world. If you’ve already played the console version’s story mode, you won’t see anything new in this version, but if you haven’t then you’re in for a treat. The story isn’t the only single player content here though, with the challenge tower making its return on the small screen. The challenges range from the silly to the insane, and the load times getting everywhere are swift enough that you can play a couple of challenges, and only have taken 5 minutes in doing so. NetherRealm didn’t stop there though, as the Vita version has an entirely separate challenge tower in addition to the already existing one, with tasks that use the system’s myriad of features to their absolute fullest. From matches where blood must be swiped off the screen, to an amusingly macabre fruit ninja clone, the game doesn’t stop throwing hilarious things to do at you. There are even a couple of surprises in there for fans of the series.

Once AI opponents get a bit dull, there’s always online for you to sink your teeth into. Every match I played was smooth and virtually lag free, and the options you have at your disposal make for a fun time. It’s a pity there arent’t that many people online to share them with, but that’s more the Vita’s problem than MK’s. Of course, there’s wifi battling, but i’ll be damned if I can find another person with a Vita in the middle of nowhere in the UK.

MK’s smooth gameplay has come at a cost, however. The game has looked far better on console platforms, and there are some saddening visual deficiencies as you go through the game’s modes. It becomes incredibly clear that the fighting itself doesn’t run at the native resolution of the handheld, and that itself holds the graphics back in a big way. Of course, even at native resolution, it would be clear that everything has been scaled back in order for the game to reach a locked 60. Character models are less detailed, and textures have been absolutely slaughtered in some places. Particular causes for hilarity come in the form of torsos on the male characters. Where there were once detailed muscles there are now things to the effect of spray painted abs. The Vita exclusive alternate costumes fare far better, however, but once you play the game for a while, you forget how ugly it can look close up and just come to enjoy the game for what it is.

A funhouse mirror reflection of its console counterpart, Mortal Kombat Vita is without a doubt the finest portable fighter I’ve ever played. All the modes from the console versions are here, all the downloadable characters and costumes are included, and there’s even stuff you’ll only find on the Vita for you to mess around with. If you loved it on consoles, you’ll love it here. If you’ve never played it before, you won’t regret picking it up at all.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.

General Info

    - Graphical compromises abound - Lack of touch control on menus

  • KosmoCrisis

    Better late than never. This is one of my personal favorite fighting games on Vita. Even after having added SFxT to my handheld. The challenges towers are a minefield of replayability.