Mortal Kombat on the PS Vita. Like its bigger brother, it also got a massive RC stamp, and a boot on the backside from the Classification Board -- but what's it like? Regular reviewer Blue Maxima braved it, and came back unscathed with this reader review!
Banned in Australia twice, Mortal Kombat is the returned form of the original arcade classic from the 80s with a fresh coat of paint, and the Vita version claims to be identical to the home console experience. Does the portable dish out the pain or get kicked in the face?
Smooth as the Edge of a Sword: While the graphics aren’t exactly console level, the small drop is more than made up for from the smoothness of the frame rate. Everything is always silky and you will never notice a frame rate drop, ever. For a fighting game this is absolutely vital, and the developers have done a great job here. There’s nothing wrong with the graphics themselves anyway – the models are a little tacky but it’s not like your eyes will burst out of their sockets.
Gore, Blood, Explosions!: No censoring, no attempt at holding back the gore. Fatalities are gruesome, jaw-dropping and always awesome. Each character has an X-ray attack which will show you bones breaking and smashing in the middle of a fight. One challenge in one of the towers has you fighting as Johnny Cage with NO SKIN. It’s uncensored glory in its best form.
Precise and Easy Controls: Every character shares the same control set or principles: the same D-Pad movements will induce special moves in a lot of characters, and most combos for most characters are three or four buttons. It’s (usually) easy to pick up and play any particular character…if you’re on a lower difficulty… but I’ll talk about that later.
Lots and Lots of Content: A lengthy story mode. 32 characters, each with individual solo and tag-team ladders. Half a dozen different mini games with multiple levels. Two challenge towers with 450 challenges between them. Top it off with fighting over the PSN and you’ve got a game that can last for weeks.
Definition of Fake Difficulty: The AI in this game is absolutely brutal, and it almost ruins the game on its own. It will spam unblockable attacks and launch attacks at you that can only be dodged if you have superhuman reflexes. Plenty of your attempts to hit them will be blocked or countered faster than you can possibly hit them. Challenge Tower missions often give you a slow or underpowered character and expect you to overcome it while going up against someone who’s physically faster and stronger than you. Every mission with Freddy Kruger is pure hell, as he is capable of smashing you into a combo where half your health is gone before you can blink. And don’t even get me started on Shao Kahn and Kitano at the end of the typical fight ladders. Most of the hard fights will have you either skipping them or attempting to find your own spammy or “cheap” methods to beat the challenges (especially the throw, as it’s unblockable normally and the AI seems incapable of breaking out of throws). The game is almost Vita-throwingly difficult.
Man, Mortal Kombat is almost the definition of a truly great fighting game. So much content, smooth graphics, great controls and enough gore to satisfy even the most truly insane, but the soul-sucking, truly incredible high level of difficulty leaves me only able to recommend this game to either die-hard fighting game fans or people who really want a challenge, no matter how unfair it is.