Mortal Kombat: Armageddon PS2 review

May 31, 2010 by Simon Wigham  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features every MK character ever conceived, resulting in a total of sixty characters. This was a rather ambitious undertaking for Ed Boon and his team, but also before the series moves onto the next generation it’s a rather fitting swansong for the franchise on current generation machines.

When we say every MK character ever conceived, we damn well mean it. All the favourites are here such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Lui Kang, Jax, Johnny Cage, Sonya and Kitana. Even every boss character that has ever appeared in MK is there for selection, though thankfully much more toned down than they previously were. There are no new characters, although since the game has much more complexities in its fighting mechanics when compared to its 2D breathen (such as different fighting stances) many of the old faces who are stepping into 3D for the first time, function very differently to what they did in the older games.

Even if you’re still not happy with the total lack of new faces, there’s an alternative with the “Kreate-A-Fighter mode”. As the name suggests, this mode allows for you to create your very own fighter, with generous scope for customisation (not anywhere to the level of EA’s famous GameFace though) this is a satisfying addition to the game, it’s particularly fun to go online and see what monstrosities other people have conjured up.

Another new mode: Motor Combat, sees the Kombatants represented as shrunk down caricatures and partaking in fast and furious racing rather than brutal and bloody kombat, it does however retain the dark sense of humour that the series is so famous for. Power ups are dotted around the track, most important of which is the special move, which allows your chosen character to fire off one of their more recognizable of moves. The mode is a superb extra, that would have benefited from a greater range of tracks.

The compulsive Konquest mode makes a welcome return. Rather than acting as almost an extended training mode as it did in the previous iterations, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon‘s Konquest mode has more in common with last years spin-off title: Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and is all the better for it. Traps litter the environments and fighting is no longer just restricted to one-on-one battles, as much of the combat now takes place within the modes engine. Konquest mode remains as a fun method of unlocking things and amassing money to spend on the many items in the Krypt.

Yes, the collection of unlockable items known as the Krypt is back too. Due to criticism, unlocking items within the Krypt lacks the previous element of surprise (we miss this and think many other people will too) and signposts exactly what each item is before opening it.

The main event, the one-on-one fighting engine may not be the most fluid, nor are the characters the most perfectly poised, but it’s certainly bloody (excuse the pun) good fun. Mechanically it’s largely similar to its predecessor, so for instance, deadly combos can be cancelled out with the breakers, whilst all the characters possess multiple fighting styles, though most have two opposed to the previous three. A new and welcome addition to the game is the “parry” move, which allows you to do as the name so blatantly suggests, parry your opponents attacks, thus leaving them open to a brutally bloody beat down. It’s also now a possibility to exchange blows whilst in the air, which is a first for the 3D versions of MK.

The Fatalities on the other hand have lost much of their appeal. No longer do each of the characters have unique finishing moves to call their own, in their place is the new kreate-a-Fatality system, which allows for you to rip limbs and heads off in whatever order you desire. Initially satisfying it may be, but most fans will soon be missing brutal finishing manoeuvres like Sub-Zero’s spine rip, and will be hoping to see their return in the inevitable next generation sequel.

Like its predecessor, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is the most complete fighting game around and certainly remains as a very attractive package. As a one-on-one fighting game it’s good, but when you take all of its fun extras into consideration, it’s great value and thus an even better game.

8/10

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