Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Xbox 360 Review
With its fatalities, friendships and whatnot, the Mortal Kombat series has never really been one to take seriously. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe takes the series into further realms of silliness however, and just as the name implies, the game introduces Batman, Superman and a host of other popular DC heroes and villains as playable characters.
Midway have tried to craft a story out of this nonsense and the results are obviously insanely silly. Sadly it’s not told through the excellent Konquest mode that was featured in the past couple of games. Instead what we get is a more traditional story mode, or make that two: One focussed on Mortal Kombat characters and the other on those from the DC Universe, both sets of characters are trying to discover how the opposing bunch ended up in their world. Essentially it’s just a series of fights interspersed with some entertaining (in a somewhat laughable way) cut-scenes, which is disappointing, but the fact that you get to play as all twenty characters, between the two stories, makes it more of a substantial mode than what you get from most similar games.
The character roster in case you’re wondering, is one half Mortal Kombat and one half DC. On the Mortal Kombat side, we have most of the old favourites, but newer faces are absent, which could be disappointing to the hardcore fans. The DC Universe side has many big names, and favourites like Batman and Superman are as enjoyable to play as one would likely hope them to be. Characters like The Flash are wildly overpowered though, with nearly every one of his specials being tough to handle. It certainly isn’t the most perfectly poised fighting game then, but characters are largely equal enough so as to have a fair fight.
The past few iterations in the series have had fairly complex fighting systems, built around building big combos by switching between characters fighting styles. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe harkens back to the days of Mortal Kombat II however, where there were few real complexities, which will be pleasing to those who have yearned for a new, but somewhat old fashioned Mortal Kombat game (if that makes sense) though disappointing for those who enjoyed the emphasis on crafting insane combo strings. The breakers which allow you to stop any moves in their tracks and particularly useful to break out of potentially damaging combos are still there, as is my surprise that such a great feature hasn‘t become more widespread in the genre.
New this time is Freefall Kombat, which is triggered by using powerful attacks at the edge of any arena, which will send both fighters tumbling to the ground and sees one character become the aggressor, having the option of pounding on their opponent, whilst still descending to the ground. The opponent can switch places and this struggle can happen multiple times during your descent. Klose Kombat (surely they’ve nearly exhausted the letter K by now) is essentially a more hands on throw. Finally, there’s the Rage Meter, which when filled to its highest level (by taking damage, having your attacks blocked by your opponent and executing certain specials) you’re able to go in a rage state, where your attacks can break through blocks and you’re able to absorb a number of your opponents attacks.
The addition of DC characters to the game, has meant a toning down of blood. Regardless of this there’s still plenty of the old claret, whilst attacks feel as if they have an almighty clout behind them and as fights wear on, characters will begin to sport black eyes, cuts, bruises and torn clothes to further cement the illusion of a nasty brawl. Fatalities are still there too, but obviously they’re not as bloody as they once were and the superheroes featured, unsurprisingly don’t get the chance to kill their opponents, but have to settle for nicer, but still very nasty, heroic brutalities.
Latterly the Mortal Kombat games have been packed with unlockables, but not so for this iteration. There are a couple of characters to obtain, but that’s as far as things go in this regard. There’s no new costumes to get (I really, really wanted to play as a black suited Batman) and not even any boring art to yawn over. The lack of hidden extras likely has something to do with Midway’s plans to release downloadable content, but it’s no less of a disappointment, especially since the content will almost certainly come at extra cost.
Most experts of the genre will find that Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is an unworthy outlet to test their godly skills. But the more casual of fighting fans, or just those who’re looking to give their fingers a break after pulling off many a complex combo string, will likely find a hugely enjoyable fighting game that has a gentle learning curve that welcomes the less adept with open arms.