by Smit Snyman
Let me start off by saying that I am not good at fighting games at all.
When it comes to games like Tekken, Virtua Fighter or Street Fighter I resort to button mashing and hoping for the best. So when I was given the opportunity to review MK vs DC I was a little hesitant at first but decided to give it a go, after all, I did enjoy Dragonball Z.
Has the Mortal Kombat franchise finally hit an all-time low or is this new offering a statement that says that the fun has only just begun?
So let’s start with the Single player. You have 3 single player modes to choose from: Arcade, Story Mode and Kombo Challenge. Arcade mode is … well, just that, Arcade mode. You pick a fighter and then start battling it out against a ladder of opponents and finally, if you make it, you will face some type of boss. In this mode each fighter gets his or her own ending when defeating the boss. In other words, classic Mortal Kombat.
The story mode let’s you pick a side, Mortal Kombat or DC Universe. After you have chosen your side your are thrown into the story mode which is basically the same as the Arcade mode but with cut scenes in between fights and without the ability to select your own character, thus forcing you to try out different characters. I must admit that I personally enjoyed this mode the most. Not being a hardcore fighting fan I welcomed the break in between fights. And that is all it was, a welcome break, seeing as the story is basically non-existent or equivalent to a badly written comic. The cut scenes even though badly written are well acted out by the voice actors and look good.
Moving onto the game play, the background graphics are a little disappointing and look a little dull. The character models on the other hand look great. Very detailed, nice textures and the animations look realistic in a Mortal Kombat sort of way. The game runs smooth with no noticeable frame rate drops and I didn’t notice any graphical glitches either. The control scheme is quite simple with movement handled via the left analogue stick or the D-pad. Fighting actions are mapped to the face buttons with throw, block and the new Rage system mapped to the shoulder buttons. Rage builds up as you fight and can then be released at later stage to power up your fighter.
The fighting system works well with only a few hiccups, like the blocking not being as responsive as I would like but it doesn’t take away from the overall experience. The AI on the other hand is not so great. Well, technically the AI is good but just a tad predictable and repetitive. Let me explain. While progressing through the story mode I noticed a trend where I would win the first match and then lose the second match 99% of the time because in the second round the AI seemed to take revenge on my first round victory by assaulting me with super move after super move. When my feet finally touched down in the third round the AI would return to it’s normal skill level.
Quicktime events have also been added to the fights and in my opinion improves the whole Mortal Kombat experience. The first of these are Freefall Kombat where you hit your opponent off the level and then continue attacking them all the way down. The defender can reverse this by pressing the same button the attacker used. The Second event is Test Your Might and happens when you shove your opponent into a wall after which you just keep on running through wall after wall. This is handled by furious pressing all the face buttons. The faster you press the more damage you do and the faster the opponent presses his buttons the less damage you do.
Even with the super AI I really enjoyed the story mode, it’s a nice change of pace from the normal fight, die, fight, die, fight, die, fight win! The game is simple enough to allow me to pull of cool moves while trying to win and I didn’t even have to resort to cheap tactics to beat anyone, including the bosses. However, this doesn’t mean that advanced players will be bored out of their minds. On the contrary, the more skilled you are the better the combo you can pull off ( ala Super AI ). And this is where the combo challenge comes in.
The Kombo Challenge pits you against an AI opponent which never moves or attacks so that you have time to pull off the required combos. These combos can be done in any order but are really difficult and I assume that they would only be appreciated by hardcore players. It is sort of an advanced sparring mode, but after trying and failing Superman’s first Kombo Challenge, I couldn’t be bothered.
The local multiplayer is fun as always. Nothing beats electrocuting your opponent and mocking him for being a little girl and knowing that any minute he could hit you because he is sitting right next to you. Though I tried I could not get the online multiplayer to work over PSN and I have no idea as to why. As soon as I started a match, I would get disconnected. My 4Mb line usually works with all games local and international so I don’t know why this didn’t work. If anyone has any impressions on the online multiplayer please feel free to add them in the comments.
So in closing, Hardcore MK fans might be disappointed due to the reduced gore and cartoonish blood. Even the fatalities are much tamer than any other Mortal Kombat but that’s what you get for a Teen rating. DC fans will be… well, I guess they will be satisfied, their heroes are in a cool competent fighting game. I think that with this title being aimed at a younger audience, the casual gamer might enjoy this more, but this is not to say that the hardcore gamers out there won’t find anything to enjoy here either. This is a casual fighter meant to have fun with, not a tournament fighter. So go get this and have some fun.
Gameplay : 7/10 (Solid gameplay with a few issues, nothing gamebreaking)
Presentation : 7/10 ( Nice character models, average backgrounds, a little bland)
Sound : 7/10 ( Good voice acting, Standard but cool MK voice â€œ Finish Himâ€)
Value : 6/10 ( Might not be enough to warrant a R700 purchase, but fans should get it)
Overall : 7/10 ( Solid gameplay, looks good and is lots of fun. Don’t take it so seriously)
Last Updated: December 1, 2008