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Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Review
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Nov 16, 08
|» All About Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe on ActionTrip|
If you think about what MK games so popular, there are only a few simple answers: cool characters and gore. The gore prevailed throughout the franchise's history, along with the trademark Fatality moves, which players could perform upon the end of each round. The moves were well-animated and exceedingly bloody. Before we go any further though, I think you should know that Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe tones down the violence in favor of its 'T' rating, which Midway slapped on the product in the hope of increasing sales and easing its current financial slump. Has this been a wise move for the popular beat-em-up license? Only time will tell I guess (so far, it's not telling a good story... at least not for Midway, seeing as didn't go too well).
As the title of the game indicates, players get to witness how the world of Mortal Kombat and DC Universe collided. When Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm was stopped by Raiden and the forces of light, Raiden fought Kahn and blasted him through a portal. Simultaneously, Superman got into battled Darkseid and made him enter a Boom tube. In a stunning chain of events neither Kahn nor Darkseid were killed. Instead they've merged into Dark Kahn. As a result, DC and Mortal Kombat universes connected, triggering a clash of heroes and warriors from both worlds.
As ridiculous as the plot sounds, it actually works fine if you're interested in checking out the game's Story Mode. How can anybody create an original story in which Wonder Woman and Shang Tsung? It's baffling to say the least. Somehow it still manages to lure you in. The only problem is, you won't get many exciting hours of play if you stick to the single-player and the story. Granted, there are two campaigns to choose from -- DC and MK -- although both can be completed quickly.
What I liked about MK vs. DC is that while playing, I felt a strong reminiscence of the old Mortal Kombat games. The game may not have the blood-filled finishing moves of earlier MK iterations, albeit there's still some solid entertainment to be found here. Oh yeah and you can forget about traditional Stage Fatalities, Brutalities or Animalities. Fatalities here are straightforward, with certain characters featuring rather simple finishing moves.
Overall, the improved combat makes it a decent challenge, particularly if you're playing against your friends online or offline. That's largely thanks to a few refreshing elements like the "Test Your Might" and "Free-fall Kombat." Free-fall, for instance, is triggered once you grab your opponent and toss him to a lower level. During the fall players continue to fight each other, until they drop to the ground, at which time the game displays how much damage the winner has dealt to the opponent. It's a mini-game of sorts and it's fun, I must say. Another mini-game is "Klose Kombat" where players are locked in a brief close-quarter match. MK vs. DC also features a rage gauge which is charge after receiving damage or pulling off specific moves. This system adds a bit more spark to the whole experience and makes the combat more interesting than the usual button-mashing contents.
Throughout the game, it's easy to discern that the strengths and weaknesses of some of the characters weren't balanced too well. The Flash, for instance, sports a variety of moves with which he can literarily be unstoppable, regardless of the skills of the other fighter.
The game looks and sounds pretty good, with the Unreal Engine 3 delivering on most of its capabilities. The characters are meticulously animated and all fitted with cool-looking details such as scratches and torn clothes (when the fighters are worn out from battle, that is). The voiceovers aren't memorable, but they befit each super-hero and MK fighter very well.
Like most fighting games nowadays, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is designed for at least two players. Its single-player lacks the tough aspect, which has long been a defining characteristic of Mortal Kombat. I remember spending weeks trying to complete the MK & MK 2. So, generally, it's not nearly as challenging as some of the earlier MK games, but it guarantees many moments of pure beat-em-up goodness when you're playing against someone.
To cut a long story short, this certainly won't be the game to help Midway get through its financial crisis. However, it's comforting to know that the developers behind MK won't be affected by the company's difficulties. So, here's looking at a better sequel, perhaps.
A decent brawler, plenty of fighters to choose, fluid character animation, try playing with friends for full effect;
Story mode's disappointing, balancing the fighters was obviously a bit of a problem for the developers, other than fighting against "live" opponents there's not much to return to.
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