NetherRealm Studios (formerly Midway) went back to form their latest title in their brutal fighting game series. Mortal Kombat (MK) is everything that I was not expecting in terms of a fighter on the Vita when I managed to get my hands on it. At first I entered with major skepticism in terms of how it would play; memories of how bad I was burned by the 3D titles released since MK4, and just the feel of how out of touch MK felt with what it used to be. Gladly I can say that MK’s ninth title is without a doubt one of the best in the series, if not the best fighter on Vita in general.
With the release of the Vita version of the game, it’s more like a complete offering of the experience. Actually, Warner Bros. did release a “Komplete Edition” for home consoles as well that bundled all of the DLC together and the first movie as an extra. Unfortunately, you will find no movie here, but you will find all the DLC characters as well as a new bonus challenge tower that uses the various functions of the Vita.
One of the biggest questions is if this game is fun. Hell yes! One thing that sets MK apart from the other fighting games is that the team behind it seems to understand that not everyone is in for the competitive scene. They have made the single player experience one that can be enjoyable for all levels of play, as well include a wealth of mini-games with staples like “Test Your Might” as well as newer games such as “Test Your Luck” and “Test Your Strike.” There are 600 challenges in the Challenge Tower and Bonus Challenge Tower, rewards to be gained in Krypt by earning “Koins” within the game and a “Story Mode.” All the bells and whistles you’d expect from a Mortal Kombat game down to the gore and deadly finishing moves.
Speaking of the Story Mode… what the hell NetherRealm? Who gave these guys permission to actually go out and produce a quality story mode in a fighter? The story actually does something different in terms of direction that you don’t see much in general. Everyone knows that the story for MK was pretty much a jumbled mess with no clear defined canon until the next game came out. This time, to coincide with the reboot, they turned back time and redid everything but at the same time, did not.
The game opens up after the final events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Shao Kahn is pretty much beating the brakes off of Raiden. In his last moments, Raiden sends a vision/message to himself in the past dating but it was mostly vague. From there you continue on from the first Mortal Kombat tournament up through the events of Mortal Kombat 3. This also has the added bonus of bringing back pretty much everyone from those games though dropping all of the later characters but a few. The story mostly follows everything in greater detail but with Raiden trying to change the future, it causes other events to happen such as Sub-Zero being turned into a cyborg instead of Smoke. Overall, without spoiling too much, it was a satisfying experience, and brings a bit of cohesiveness to an otherwise mess of a plot.
Even with the amount of options given to you for the single player, you have plenty of multiplayer options as well. You still your normal multiplayer options. MK offers online play by both Ad-hoc and Wi-Fi. You can play either 1vs1 or 2vs2 tag matches in player matches or ranked matches to top leaderboards. Unfortunately there are no player lobbies (King of the Hill in consoles) and everything is done through friend invites or player matching. The matches I did play through Wi-Fi had minimum lag, but it becomes apparent how much time you need to take to practice before you face human opponents. Training mode and continuous playing will only help develop these skills.
Overall, MK for Vita is a great game. Sure, you may debate if its a good fighter to your tastes or not, but it is definitely a great game to have on the go. To me, it’s the best damn thing on the Vita since… well I don’t know honestly. It’s pretty good if you want something quick to pick up and play. Great for commuters, and if you’re a pad player, good for practicing. There are plenty of wrong choices you can make when buying games for your Vita, but Mortal Kombat is definitely not one of them.