MORTAL KOMBAT VS DC UNIVERSE XBOX 360 REVIEW

The long-awaited installment of the next Mortal Kombat game, entitled Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, has made its way to the Xbox 360. The highly anticipated sequel has created quite an impression in its next generation debut. Players are greeted with a number of notable features that pit their skills against heroes and villains from the DC Universe. Among the added attractions are Freefall Kombat and Klose Kombat. While the fighting mechanics may have changed a bit in terms of mustering up a combo or a ferocious finisher, rest assured that the signature moves for your beloved MK characters still remain the same; from Lui Kang’s bicycle kicks to Raiden’s lightning fireballs, these classic trademarks are all accounted for.

Those who have waited long for this title should be pleased that the gameplay has lived up to its expectation. But some may feel disgruntled as the level of violence in this game has become somewhat reserved. But for what it’s worth, it’s still a great Mortal Kombat experience overall. In Midway’s latest MK offering, the game offers the best of both worlds – being able to play as your favorite Mortal Kombat warriors or as the popular DC Comics characters. The main roster includes 22 high-profile combatants, 11 fighters on each side serving their respected realm. Scorpion, Subzero, Raiden, Lui Kang, Shang Tsung, Kitana, and Jax are just some of the familiar names you can take command in the Mortal Kombat lineup.

In the DC squad , you can choose from a regiment of prominent characters that also have comparable strength in brute combat. These include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Death Stroke, Captain Marvel, and Flash among others. It’s a dream come true to watch comic book legends perform or battle against the “coin-op” classics in typical MK setting. Superman taking on Subzero in a no-holds bar contest? That’s unheard of in the hey days but now that’s no longer a fantasy. Witnessing these characters unleash a barrage of special powers on each other is an amazing spectacle but having to execute their fatalities is an entirely different gripping experience! The action may not be as fast as the previous Mortal Kombat games but the gameplay is still at full-throttle in punctuating those little moves into devastating attacks. When it comes to fight scenes, Midway has a sharp edge on producing the most dramatic battles, complete with thrilling visual effects that capture the gritty dark tone of each combat.

With a better grip on signature strikes, the match has a more compelling fighting chemistry! Thanks to the responsive control, players will have more fun experimenting on the most effective combos. One of the highlights of this year’s Mortal Kombat experience is the progressive damage. As players continuously inflict damage between bouts, the characters themselves incur some visible disfiguration such as physical bruises, torn clothing and more! What’s also interesting about MK vs. DC Universe is the dynamic multi-tiered environments. The mayhem can spill over onto another stage given the right heavy blow or a savvy throw. At certain levels, players even have the ability to bulldoze their enemies through several layers of concrete walls while pounding the face buttons to deliver the maximum damage!

The “Freefall Kombat” applies the same bulldozing principle. Instead of tackling your enemies and ramming them through a series of building foundations, this technique allows you to hammer them through boulders or stone barriers so that they topple over the ledge. As you plummet hundreds of feet in the air, you can bash your opponent with different combinations of attacks. To add insult to injury, you can even perform a special move once your bash meter fills up past its half-way mark! This will send your opponent hurling like a large asteroid crashing cataclysmically into the ground! The magnitude of such forceful impact is so great that it leaves a massive crater at the epicenter of where your opponent is situated. Another intriguing feature is the Klose Kombat. Besides being able to throw your opponents like ragdolls, you have a unique grappling ability that’ll put them in a temporary trance.

During trance, the camera zooms in on the action and you only have a few seconds to unload a barrage of cheap shots. Be careful – if the opponent pushes the same button as you, you’ll suffer an enormous counter damage. Speaking of counters, the game gives you the opportunity to break up an endless stream of attacks. This levels off the aggression on the gameplay as it moderates the advantage of skilled players, especially against newcomers who can easily become punching bags. This counter measure provides a good breather from cheap shots, and as long as you have one “lightning” gauge, you should be able to reverse everything except when your opponent is in rage mode. Activating rage mode requires two lightning gauges. It is triggered using the shoulder buttons in which your character lights up in fiery color. What’s great about this rage mode is that it allows you to be immune from basic attacks including some projectiles. The best part is that most of your hits will be unblockable.

In terms of violence, most players will feel somewhat disappointed with how the fatalities are less gruesome. Many of the fatalities have been replaced with “safer” animation to ensure decency. Graphically, the game looks spectacular. Midway did a good job turning both the Mortal Kombat Universe and DC Universe into a dynamic fighting adventure. The backgrounds showcase a lot of iconic arenas from Batman’s Gotham City to Superman’s Metropolis. The animation is incredibly smooth and the little particles effects – such as walls blasting into rubbles and ice bursting into smaller chunks after a heavy uppercut – only reinforce the action further. You’ll be pleased with how the background remains damaged throughout the match. Thanks to the excellent sound system, every punch and kick connects with an overpowering blow! The special effects on heavy projectiles and running your opponent through walls deliver an agonizing onslaught. It just feels like every move surges with a lot of punishment!

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is an incredible fighting game. Midway has done an exceptional job crafting some of the powerful matchups between two of the famous franchises in the entertainment business. Who wouldn’t want to watch Wonder Woman trade punches with Sonya Blade? Or see Superman school Subzero on freezing? Well, whatever rivalry it may be, the action is always going to be more than dramatic. It’s amazing to see how certain dynamic elements accentuate the damage towards the surrounding arena, while the multi-tiered environments set the stage for grueling combat. On top of that, you have the addition of new fighting mechanics, such as Klose Kombat and Freefall Kombat, which provide a fresh new take on adding insult to injury. The only major gripe to the game is that fatalities are less sinister. Though the new Mortal Kombat may have shined away from its bloody tradition, it’s still one of the greatest franchise crossovers in recent history!

FINAL SCORE: 8.5 OUT OF 10