Xbox 360 Review: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

November 26, 2008 by  

Ever wondered who would win in a fight between Superman and Sub Zero?

From the green blood in the SNES version to average 3D games, Mortal Kombat is a series that has had its fair share of problems over the years. Fatalities have always been its strong point, so what can adding the DC Universe do to revamp it?

Well, the story is fairly basic but impressive as it gives a good enough excuse why these two sets of characters have come together to fight, the story mode is actually quite long when compared to other fighters like DOA, Tekken or Soul Calibur. Essentially, the story plays out with you taking over a bunch of fighters depending on which side you choose through chapters that unveil more of the story. For example, you can play as Superman for one chapter and the next you could play as The Joker.

Fans of Mortal Kombat will be livid by a few things. The first being that the game has a rating of only 15+, which is disappointing considering every other game has always been an 18+. The other problem is that fatalities are now a complete joke and not the gore-fest they should be. When I heard about the crossover I was worried that might happen. I was hoping for some great finishes like biting the head of Batman “Ozzy Osbourne style” but alas they aren’t that good.

Fighting itself has returned to the standard Mortal Kombat 2D style with some new additions like Freefall Kombat and Klose Kombat which are like little mini-games which can inflict upto a good 30% damage for the victor. Also as you take damage or land successful combos, your Rage meter will fill and you can activate one bar to knock an enemy away or use two bars to turn Rage Mode on and inflict a lot of damage on your opponent while only taking minimal damage if he/she gets a few hits in. It makes the game a bit unbalanced as it can all come down to who has the meter filled first and that can determine the winner of that round.

It doesn’t always play out that way, sometimes you can avoid the attacks from someone in Rage Mode but for the most part, it does make the game a bit too easy. Combos themselves are easy to learn and you can access a full list of your moves in any match by pausing the game and checking them out. There are some pretty big unbalancing issues between fighters, sometimes it’s just never a fair fight because one character has a huge advantage over the other.

The arenas in the game are well designed and some even blend in two different ones, one from the MK universe and the other from the DC universe. The divide is a line down the middle and the advantage usually goes to the character who stays in their own side. It helps mix things up a little and is certainly a good way for you to think outside of just button-bashing the hell out of your controller.

Besides the story mode, there’s Arcade which is self-explanatory. Then there’s Practise and Multiplayer, which supports 2 players both online and offline. It would have been nice to have a lobby for people to go to for matches like in DOA 4, but it’s not a huge loss. If there’s one problem I have with the game, it’s that it seems a bit basic on modes…all it seems to have is a story mode, arcade mode and multiplayer. There’s no crazy mini-games or variations of modes, it’s very basic.

On the flipside, maybe that’s a good thing. Overloading the game with a bunch of bad modes may have dragged the game down further, I’m not saying that I hate it…I just found it a bit unimpressive. It’s a return to the roots of the series but the lack of good fatalities is a huge devastating blow for Mortal Kombat fans. If there’s one thing that does really impress me though, it’s that fighters show a lot of scars and cuts from the fights, so you can see that they’ve had a tough time. It looks very cool.

When it comes to the visuals, MK vs. DC Universe looks very good. Fighters are well detailed and show up damage from fights like I already mentioned. Cutscenes in the story mode are also well done and characters are well animated. Arenas are fantastic to look at also, there is blood in the game but it’s about the amount of your typical nose bleed. Voice-acting can be quite corny but fits the overall feel of the game.

The Verdict

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe had potential to return the series to its former glory. While its gone back to basics, it’s taken away the thing that distinguished it other fighters like Street Fighter/DOA/Tekken and that thing is gory fatalities. Besides that it’s a good fighter let down with a few unbalancing problems but well worth checking out if you are a DC fan.

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