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Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is a 2.5D fighting game with 3D graphics and the ninth main installment in the Mortal Kombat series. It is a reboot of the franchise and was developed by NetherRealm Studios and published exclusively by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The game was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 systems in April 2011, and a PlayStation Vita port was released in May 2012. An expanded version of the game, titled Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition, was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in February 2012 and for Microsoft Windows in July 2013.

Although set directly after Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, the game focuses on the earliest period in the Mortal Kombat series, the trilogy of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3. The storyline involves the divine protector of Earth, Raiden, attempting to change the aftermath of the events of Armageddon by contacting his past self as he faces defeat at the hands of the evil emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn. The gameplay bears closer resemblance to that of the earliest titles in the series, with fights taking place in a two-dimensional plane but with characters and levels rendered in three.

Upon release, Mortal Kombat received positive reviews and won several awards for fighting game of the year. It was also a commercial success, selling more than two million copies in the first month alone. Due to its extremely violent content, the game was banned in Australia and South Korea and indexed in Germany; the Australian ban was later lifted and the game was released there in May 2013.

Mortal Kombat Plot

The game's director, Ed Boon, described it as an altered re-telling of the events of the first three Mortal Kombat games (Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3):

"Raiden is about to be killed by Shao Kahn, and just before he delivers the last blow, Raiden sends a mental message to his earlier self by saying that he must win, and the camera rewinds back to Mortal Kombat 1. The Raiden from Mortal Kombat 1 then gets the message and experiences a premonition. The game then spans Mortal Kombat 1, 2, and 3, retelling the story with an enlightened Raiden, who has changed the course of events. Eventually, everything the player has seen happen before ó Liu Kang winning, Lin Kuei turning into cybernetic ninjas, has been altered. You might see a cybernetic character who wasn't before, and a different version of events."

Mortal Kombat Gameplay

Principal gameplay involves one-on-one fighting in a single two-dimensional fighting plane (at 60 frames per second), although characters are rendered in three-dimensional fashion, intended to give depth and range to portrayals of various projectiles. Unlike previous Mortal Kombat games, four buttons on the game controller represent attacks and are each linked to a corresponding limb.

A new feature is the "super meter", which can be charged by various actions during battle such as performing special moves, getting blocked by the opponent, or getting hit by them. The super meter can be charged to three levels, each of them enabling a different action to be performed. At the first level, it can be used to deliver an enhanced version of one of the character's special attacks; two levels can be used to interrupt a combo attack, and the full three levels allow for the delivery of a special attack called an "X-ray move". The X-ray move unleashes a series of attacks during which the game provides an internal view of the character being attacked, which shows their bones and organs being broken or ruptured.

Extra features include a story mode during which the player plays as multiple characters, a Fatality training mode (allowing players to practice executing finishing moves), the Challenge Tower, tag team fighting, and an online mode. The Challenge Tower mode is a single-player option that includes 300 specific challenges of various difficulties providing currency rewards upon completion; players have the option of using in-game currency to bypass other difficult challenges, completing them later. Among the various challenges are "Test Your Might" (rapidly pressing buttons and using specific timing to destroy blocks of varying difficulty), "Test Your Sight" (following an object hidden under a cup or skull and revealing the object after a shuffle), "Test Your Strike" (destroying a specific block in a stack) and "Test Your Luck" (fighting under certain conditions, such as no jumping). The four-player tag-team feature is an original feature, allowing two players to play together. During tag gameplay, two new types of attacks become available. The first of them is the "tag assist" attack, in which the off-screen character temporarily jumps in and performs certain attacks during the active character's combo. The other is the "tag kombo", in which the active character performs a combo that is finished by the off-screen character as they enter the fight.

The online mode includes a "King of the Hill" option, where up to eight players can act as spectators and play the winner of a fight. Spectators may also rate the fights and use the "forum" to determine how to perform various combos or moves observed during a fight. A single-use online pass is also included with the game which is mandatory to access the online components. Online passes are also available from the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace.

Reception
Prior to the game's release, Techtree listed Mortal Kombat as "one of the reasons for people to own a gaming console in 2011", with PC Magazine and 2D-X editor Jeffrey L. Wilson claiming this was one of the most anticipated titles of E3 2010. The E3 2010 showcase version of Mortal Kombat received the Best Fighting Game of E3 and Best Stage Demo of E3 awards by GameSpot, and the Best Fighting Game of E3 award by GameTrailers. Later, Mortal Kombat won several Game of the Year type awards for the best fighting game of 2011; some of them are listed in the table on the right.

Reviews for Mortal Kombat were very positive. GameZone's David Sanchez considered describing Mortal Kombat as "a fitting reboot for the series" to be an understatement, as "while offering plenty of nostalgia" the game is also "a major step up for the series". Andrew Reiner of Game Informer called it "the best Mortal Kombat yet." According to Mark Waltron of GameSpot, "over-the-top, bloody, and bursting with content, Mortal Kombat is a return to form for the franchise." IGN's Ryan Clements called it an "amazing" game that "combines the novelty of extreme violence with a great fighting engine." Neidel Crisan of 1UP.com stated it "has simply set the standard for future fighting games to follow." Eurogamer's Matt Edwards was more critical of the game, but added that "to judge Mortal Kombat harshly simply because it isnít the equal of BlazBlue or Street Fighter IV on a technical level would be unfair to what the game does right." Brett Elston of GamesRadar was also more cautious in his review, stating it is "a successful sequel that both reboots and redeems the wayward series, though itís not a flawless victory."

Mortal Kombat's gameplay was generally well received due to its balance, violence and use of what GameTrailers called a "classic 2D template". Reiner wrote that "the only area where Mortal Kombat feels antiquated is in its AI." Waltron praised the game for having "one of the most in-depth story modes to grace a fighting game." Crisan compared it to "watching a full length CG movie", and said that while "incredibly corny, it's also oddly addicting" due to its over-the-top plot. One complaint concerned the shifting levels of difficulty in the game's story mode, described by Clements as forcing the player "to fight cheap tactics with cheap tactics." According to Elston, "character balance, inconsistent detection and a stingy coin reward system drag down an otherwise bloody good time."

According to Ed Boon, during its release month, Mortal Kombat sold two million copies between both PlayStation 3 and Xbox versions. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, publisher of NetherRealm Studiosí Mortal Kombat, reported that Mortal Kombat had sold close to three million units as of August 2011. According to Warner Bros., this covered the cost of the entire Midway asset acquisition. One year after the game's release, GameZone's Sanchez stated that Mortal Kombat has still remained "the best fighter currently on the market," calling it "today's greatest modern fighter" and "one of the most compelling fighters to come along in years."

The PlayStation Vita version of the game was also well received. Dan Ryckert of Game Informer called it "the most complete version of Mortal Kombat available," while Brett Zeidler of Destructoid hailed it as "a perfect example of keeping the best graphical fidelity possible and including an already astronomical amount of content." According to Walton, "despite a few control issues" regarding tag team combos, "Mortal Kombat on the Vita is every bit the great and gruesome fighter as its console counterparts." Steven Hopper of IGN recommended this "great port" for those who did not play the original release enough.

The PC version of Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition was well-received despite being released two years later than the console versions; the PC version received an 82/100 Metascore on Metacritic, with users of the same site rating it an average score of 8.9/10. In August 2013, questioned about the sales performance of the Windows version of the game, Boon tweeted that it was "WAY, WAY above expectations".

Controversy

See also: Controversy of Mortal Kombat

In February 2011, the game was refused classification by the Australian Classification Board due to "violence that exceeds strong in impact". Warner Bros. unsuccessfully appealed the decision to the Classification Review Board, who ruled "the impact of the violence in Mortal Kombat is higher than strong and thus could not be accommodated within the MA15+ classification." The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service listed the game as a prohibited item and the Australian Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor asked to be briefed on the Mortal Kombat decision, citing "public disquiet on the issue". In 2012, the Vita version of Mortal Kombat was banned in Australia as well. A spokesperson for Warner Bros. commented: "We felt that because of the Vita's size, the smaller screen would minimise the impact of the violence in the game and we felt it might fit within the MA15+ category. Obviously, the Classification Board of Australia did not agree."

Mortal Kombat was also indexed in Germany by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons due to "drastic representations of violence," and was banned in South Korea due to its excessive depiction of blood and gore. The Australian ban for all versions of Mortal Kombat was lifted in February 2013 due to the introduction of the R18+ rating and the game was released there on May 1, 2013.


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