PS3 Reviews: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Review

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Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Review

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Graphics:

 

8.4

Gameplay:

 

8.5

Sound:

 

7.5

Control:

 

8.5

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Online Gameplay:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       8.4

 

 

Publisher:

Midway

Developer:

Midway

Number Of Players:

1-2 (2 Online)

Genre:

Fighting

As a gamer, nothing makes me happier than to see old franchises getting revived either in the form of remakes, updates, or all new games that are infused with their old-school heritage. This generation has, so far, been about that. Street Fighter is getting two huge releases, in the form of a remake and a new entry, as is the case for Bionic Commando, and a few others. Mortal Kombat is one of those franchise, and while this particular MK may seem like a radical departure from its past games, the differences aren't as skin deep as you might assume.

What's immediately welcoming about MKDC is how much it feels like Mortal Kombat 3 at times, without question my favorite entry of the franchise. As you'd expect, special moves remain largely identical with each and every MK character, on top of gaining some new and very cool abilities. But even the DC characters are easy to get a grasp of once you fiddle around with them and familiarize yourself with their move-sets by checking out the in-game move list. More importantly, it's the combo system that makes the game feel more like MK3 than any other game in the series, and I took a liking to that.

You see, unlike the last few Mortal Kombat games, which were often confusing and clunky with their various fighting styles and weapon movesets, this MK game feels a lot smoother. But most importantly, it felt a lot more fun to play. It, like Street Fighter IV, reminded me of the good ol' days of dropping quarter after quarter into an MK cabinet. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe manages to recapture that old-school formula that made the franchise so extremely popular in the first place...and it's done it for the first time in a very long time.

Gameplay is very much pick-up-and-play, but at the same time, depth exists in the form of combos. Sub-Zero's combo in MKDC is reminiscent of his well known six-hit combo from MK3. With juggling also in place, it creates some additional room for a bit of extra damage while you're opponent approached the ground below. Speaking of the ground below, land a hard enough blow to your opponent in a stage with multiple levels, and you'll send your opponent flying. As your opponent descends, you have the ability to attack him in mid-air, building up a gauge that will allow you to unleash a final devastating attack. But if your opponent parries your attack he/she will take the reins and turn the tables on you.

In addition to falling hundreds of feet downwards, certain one-level stages, such as Gotham City and Metropolis, allow you to pummel your opponent through a plethora of walls as you run through a building until arriving at the opposite side - this is called "Test Your Might". In order to minimize damage from this, you simply have to mash your buttons as fast as possible. So the stages don't just boast upper and lower sections, but also additional sections on the same level.

As far as the DC characters, they've all been given the Mortal Kombat treatment, as each and every one of them boast the infamous MK uppercut, on top of a fatality. Yes, fatalities are still very much a part of the game, they cannot be done in the story mode for obvious reasons, but all bets are off when you're playing the game's arcade mode. In addition to uppercuts and fatalities, all of the DC fighters also boast their unique signature attacks straight out of the comic books, and while their fighting styles are more Mortal Kombat than anything else, it helps to seamlessly blend them with the MK fighters. Lastly, all fighters gain the ability to trigger "Rage Mode", a temporary state of invulnerability that can be activated when your Rage bars fill up.

After you're done practicing and playing the arcade mode, the story mode of the game is really what you should experience. It's a fun little romp that's complete with unique cut-scenes for both MK and DC characters. You have the choice of picking a side, and watch the game's story unravel through their eyes. Story mode will have you play through the chapters as a number of different characters, so you don't just stick to one here. Each journey is about two hours long, or so, and their are two separate endings to be seen (one for each side).

When you're done with the Story mode, head back to the arcade mode and you can stroll through the tournament in order to unlock the endings for each individual fighter. I will warn you, though, do not expect to see drawn-out cut-scenes. In classic MK fashion, the endings just have an image of your fighter and a narrator explaining your fighter's future, that's it. And even when you're done with that, you should still find some enjoyment out of the online mode.

Despite not being overly laden with unexplored depth, I appreciate this Mortal Kombat game for its simplicity and its back-to-basics approach. There may be some clever little grappling mechanics, but all of that is second to the overall experience, which is quite fun. I do have some complaints with the game, though; at times the controls can still feel a bit clunky, as I wish some combos flowed better. But I do like the ability to move two dimensionally and three dimensionally simply by switching between the D-pad and analog stick, or holding L2 with the D-pad. Second, I'd like to have seen better endings. Third, a slightly longer, more interactive story mode would've been nice too.

Visually, there's no question that the art-direction of this MK is leagues better than the last few. I quite liked the look of the fighters, even if the DC folk look a bit too Mortal Kombat-ish. The fighters were large and boasted solid texture details that are even more evident when seen through the cut-scenes. Large and solid fighters are definitely a good plus for the game's visuals. I also liked the stages, especially the multi-level stuff, and the backgrounds. But I would have liked to see something in those backgrounds besides the barren scenery. There are no framerate complaints, the resolution is 720p native with 1080i and 1080p upscaling, and the presence of a smooth picture makes MKDC a good looking game.

The audio for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is largely driven by the voice acting in the Story mode. Surprisingly, the voice acting isn't that bad, it's rather passable, in fact. There may be some cheese in the dialogue here and there, but it's simply the nature of the beast. The soundtrack is very much true to the Mortal Kombat style, so there's nothing new to report here. Although, some might find the tunes a bit on the boring side; writing this review, I can't say I remember any of them - they're not bad, just forgettable. But my one big complaint is the awful narrator who does the endings; it sounds so amateurish and out of place. You've got this game that's all about blood, death, sorcery, and evil...and then instead of hearing this powerful baritone voice, you hear blandness with absolutely no emotion and a voice that is absolutely not fitting for the franchise.

All in all, I'm happy to say that this round of Mortal Kombat, while unconventional in concept, may be the best one we've had in over a decade. Don't let the DC Universe mash-up fool you, because at the core of this game is the very essence that made Mortal Kombat 3 so great over a decade ago.

11/17/2008 Arnold Katayev

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Comments (16 posts)

Fabi
Monday, November 17, 2008 @ 7:41:35 PM
Reply

I have some good MK memories, mostly getting beat down after school by my best friend all through elementary.

So I'm glad to see this score. I'll check it out sometime in the next few months.

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Aftab
Monday, November 17, 2008 @ 9:41:46 PM
Reply

I guess I'm not sorry for you, Arnold.

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Jed
Monday, November 17, 2008 @ 9:47:39 PM
Reply

I'm glad to hear that this is a good game. I heard about it and thought it sounded cool, but they wouldnt really pull it off. I will definitly check it out now.

So, how is that Killzone2 coming?

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Wage SLAVES
Monday, November 17, 2008 @ 11:11:19 PM
Reply

I thought it was too gimmicky for me...I want a fast-paced MK4 game. That was my absolute favorite!!! Damn. Batman never seemed cool to me 'til Dark Knight...Superman, to me, was never cool.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 17, 2008 @ 11:35:57 PM
Reply

Surprised at this high a score because I thought it would fall pretty far down, but even so I have to wonder about what's still missing. (If it's missing) Back to basics is defiantly the way to go but is there again just one fatality? And are the various The Pit stages intact? Those are what made MK2 the best installment. MK was always my fave back in the day, how about a remake of MK2 before the next full MK numbered installment? Along witht his I'd like to see Killer Instinct come into the 3D world, different company but THAT had some combos.

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Buckeyestar
Monday, November 17, 2008 @ 11:46:22 PM

2 fatalities/brutalities per character, but no pits. Kind of a shame, it'd be fun to throw someone into one of Darkseid's firepits on Apocalyps. :D

This is an immensely fun game. I'd love to see them split this into two more games. Continue with the MK characters and do a full on M rated game (real fatalities and maybe more skin in the costume ripping). Then do the T rated DC only game with many more DC characters. I'd also love to see them tackle a DC vs Marvel game, Catwoman vs Black Cat would be awesome. :D

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Wage SLAVES
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 1:13:51 AM

Hell Yeah!!! Killer Instinct was BRUTAL! Years ahead of its time...graphics were amazing for the time and being on a console.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 1:17:27 AM

Hey Wage, did you play it in the arcade?, it was absolutely SICK

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crapreviews
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 8:44:20 AM

Killer Instinct was created be RARE which MS bought many many years ago.

Actually word on the net is that there is a KI3 being worked on... not sure how true though. if it is true MS got a good game there, cuz KI was the best.

JAGO....

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Deleted User
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 12:17:17 AM
Reply

superheros are flamboyamt homos. rental.

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bearbobby
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 4:04:53 PM

Good... good... let the hate flow through you.

lol, why would you spend money to rent something that clearly offends you?

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 3:28:12 AM
Reply

Damn i really wsure if i can afford it tant this now, not though, maybe a christmas presnt

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crapreviews
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 8:41:37 AM
Reply

i must say this is actually a good game. thing is i find myself only really wanting to play the MK charas for the most part.

this game does take it back to the old MK days where you just fought. none of the 2 fighting styles and then also a weapon style.

i wish they would have made more MK charas. Sooo many of the ones i like from MK3 i wish were here.

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 2:16:55 PM
Reply

So it was pretty good then....
Thought it was going to be a BIG flop

Well I'm happy for MK, hope they make a great comeback.

And to do that they'll have to really go back and take everything that was good from MKII and add next-gen goodness to it.

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Nerull
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 @ 8:48:57 PM
Reply

Maybe I'll give this a rental then but the mashup just ruined its chances for me personally. Joker, Batman, and the Flash are kinda cool, mostly joker, but I want a roster like armageddon but that actually has more than like 3 combos for each character. Still though they need to bring back all 3 ninja robots, Kabal, and the centaur but with an actual centaur body.
I also think they need to simplify all the special moves. Not that I dislike them but I think they're a huge part of the clunkiness, referring or having an opponent refer to the movelist half a dozen times per round is pretty annoying and discourages trying out all the characters. They also need to put more effort into the fatalities, they've been seriously dull for the most part since deadly alliance, the hara-kiri were a good idea though I don't get why they got scrapped. They could take a page or two from shaolin monks, the best MK game imo.

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slayerkillemall
Saturday, November 22, 2008 @ 6:42:24 AM
Reply

hi guys
does this game have rayden?

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