Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Review
Written : Sunday, November 23, 2008
By: Russ Bondi (GT: Tussell)
Ed Boon and Josh Tobias didn’t know what they were getting themselves into when they decided to make an arcade style fighting game way back in 1992. They had created one of the most influential games to date and that game is known as none other than Mortal Kombat; an all out blood fest of punches, kicks, specials, and the famous fatalities. Through the years the title has spawned over fifteen titles in the series and is easily one of the most popular fighting franchises that has ever graced the earth.
Traditionally, Mortal Kombat is always best played against a friend or human opponent. When you must, you will obviously play against a computer player in death match style, two round matches. No story needed for fun, so obviously, adding a story to the game does nothing more than bring another option to the table; that’s all it has ever been, and that’s all it will ever be. In Mortal Kombat VS DCU however, it deems even more embarrassing than ever to bring about a story mode. The single player story mode in this title is the furthest thing from grasping, and includes terrible transitions. They didn’t put much thought into how the two universes were brought together, nor did they put much thought into how they would end up dueling in the development of the so called ‘story’. The biggest downside to story mode is in some cases, your weapons will be taken away for a match or so, and you won’t be able to initiate fatalities or brutalities. All in all, aside from the little story it gives you, there’s nothing memorable about this aspect of the game.
Something new in the world of Mortal Kombat.
Possibly the most memorable aspect of this year's Mortal Kombat (as any other year), surely is the game's multiplayer. Playing this game with your friends is what Mortal Kombat is all about; it’s a brutal fighter with a heart ... It’s all about companionship and what better to signify that by ripping out their spine. Nothing has changed much in the Mortal Kombat universe when it comes to multiplayer; it’s still the beloved punch, kick, special, and finish him/her. Of course, you'll get the usual button mashers in the online mode, but that's part and parcel of the fighting genre.
The physics have basically stayed the same since Mortal Kombat has gone 3D and it’s nice to have consistency in physics and such, because Mortal Kombat has lacked enough in consistency in other areas of their titles. Bringing that uncertainty into the physics would just be a terrible idea.
The sound is most definitely the worst aspect of the game with terrible voice acting, the worst dialogue ever, and horrid sound effects. Partially due to the fact that it was rated T, they tried to still have the rude tone to the characters, but keeping it toned down for what the ESRB wants; it was just a mess; “You can’t keep this kitty in it’s cage!” – Catwoman.
The characters are brilliant and combining such an irrelevant cast of characters with Mortal Kombat, such as DC, they couldn't have chose a better set of comic groups out there. Having Green Lantern fight Scorpion is much more appealing to the mind and heart when compared to Spider Man fighting Scorpion. As for the Mortal Kombat side, they picked the core characters that were in the series throughout almost in its entirety. This helps to keep the game nostalgic and goes back to the game's roots. They didn’t go out of their way to introduce a handful of new characters or anything too confusing, which is a beautiful thing, because we don’t want new characters to stick with us when they came from MK VS DCU... what an odd development that would end up being.
And that's for stealing Batmans fame!
Another thing that is a bit upsetting to hardcore Mortal Kombat fans is the lack of over-the-top intensity when dealing with gore. Mortal Kombat was in part, responsible for the creation of ESRB due to its graphic depictions of insane death with Brutalities and Fatalities. The lack of interesting fatalities/brutalties, doubled up with the lack of highly intense and gory fatalities/brutalities is not a pretty sight. Luckily, they kept the high amounts of squirted blood when you fight the opponent but the graphics look a bit cartoonish and not so realistic. It could go as far as saying the graphics for Deadly Alliance were even more appealing to the eye than this.
The controls are something that anyone familiar with the Mortal Kombat series should be able to pick up in a heartbeat. In fact, they’re a bit easier than what has been presented to us in the past when it comes to combos and such. It seems as though this game has brought out a balance in ease with the controls, yet making it a bit challenging, thus eliminating the need for inexperienced players to button mash.
The different views on the battleground are very nice. There are different things that you can initiate that will be almost little mini-games throughout the fight, such as busting your enemy through a collection of walls or knocking them over the edge and beating them up as you both fall to the ground. When throwing the enemy through walls, you’ll notice the camera is changed to a cinematic view to the side, and it follows the action. As for the free fall cam, it’s more of a zoomed-out, over-the-shoulder cinematic view. Both, in the end, prove to be very nice and quite effective.
Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe is almost basic and fine in every aspect, but unfortunately, it's a bit glitchy in terms of imagery. After having initiated the cinematic sequence, a set of buttons will appear telling you what you need to press. After having completed the mini-sequences, the buttons should disappear. Unfortunately, in all cases, they won’t disappear, leaving the image of the button to stay on the screen for the rest of the battle.
Fire beats Ice!
The achievements for the game are split quite evenly and for such an odd game, they definitely picked a nice set of achievements. They’re almost split perfectly in thirds when dealing with difficulty. You’ve got your easy, medium, and hard to obtain achievements; it’s really a nice thing. Unfortunately, only time will tell how long this game will be popular on Xbox Live, meaning some of the harder achievements, which are online, might eventually require quite some boosting.
Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe is something that I never would have expected. If it were anything that I could have thought of, it would have been Mortal Kombat VS [insert name of another popular fighting game]. Luckily following the release of The Dark Knight, I think people just went overboard with the Joker hype, ; I mean, who doesn’t want to see their favorite fight battle the most popular villain of the decade? Overall it's a learning experience and a bit of a treat to us gamers. It's definitely an odd idea, but it works in some ways.
With a highly embarrassing array of dialogue, pathetic voice acting, and sound quality that doesn't exceed the norm/bare minimum, it's hard to say anything good things about this aspect.
The game lacks the intense violence and needless gore that the Mortal Kombat series has been relied on for years; I mean, Mortal Kombat just isn't the same without that trademark gore. As for the rest of the graphics ... they are a bit shoddy.
This game is definitely a lot easier control-wise than many of the other Mortal Kombats. The fatalities, brutalities, and combos don't seem as complex as they could have been which makes the title more accessible for newcomers.
For such an odd title, the game was nicely delivered. Aside from said lack of gore, it has the overall feel of a classic Mortal Kombat title.
Nicely dispersed achievement difficulty is a wonderful thing. Mortal Kombat VS DCU definitely had a great array of achievements with different achievement difficulties. The achievements themselves were great too, as they gave you points for completing tasks you'd expect from a Mortal Kombat title.
The game was definitely odd, but it wasn't a pathetic fail as some may have expected. It was different for sure, but it was still fun and still brought me back to the days I played Mortal Kombat on my Sega for hours on end.