Tag Archive: mortal kombat


The original Injustice was an epic comparable to any major comic book event, movie release, or series of TV crossovers. It had everything from multiple universes to the kind of fights fanboys spend way too much time on the internet arguing about. Couple this with tight gameplay all around, and it is no wonder the game was such a hit. Topping all this in its inevitable sequel would be no easy feat—and although I enjoyed the first game of the series a tad more, Injustice 2 is still great enough that Batman would offer it a seat at the Justice League table.

Injustice 2 takes place shortly after the events of the first game. The heroes from our universe have mostly returned home (Green Arrow decided to stay and help out) and those in the Injustice-verse must aid the rebuilding efforts now that Superman’s Regime has been overthrown. In its place, however, new threats have arisen. Gorilla Grodd has brought together various villains to form a group called The Society, determined to rule in the Regime’s place. Meanwhile, an interstellar threat from the stars—the world collector Brainiac—has set his sights on Earth after finding out not one, but two surviving Kryptonians reside there. The heroes of this Injustice-verse must again band together, and even forge some uneasy alliances, if they are going to survive this new conflict.

It is now official: it seems the writers of Injustice have a better grasp of how to make a compelling DC Comics universe more than anyone currently behind most of the comics and all of the movies. The overarching story of Injustice 2 is a logical continuation of the first game’s narrative, told in NetherRealm’s now signature chapter-based sequences that follow individual fighters in the universe. It continues to flesh out this Injustice-verse and find, for the most part, natural ways to integrate new and interesting characters. There’s even some chapters that you can replay with different characters, and multiple endings depending on a choice you’re forced to make—although one feels much more like it will stand as canon beyond the other.

The story isn’t without flaws, however. While many characters made sense here in Injustice 2, several seemed to be shoehorned in just to expand the roster number. Firestorm’s ability to create any element was nothing more than a plot device, and the Joker—who appears as a Harley hallucination—was completely unnecessary beyond needing to continue to push that awful Jared Leto-esque Suicide Squad design onto us yet again. The worst, though, might’ve been Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Atrocitus. They all had small—yet interesting—side stories started, but they never came to a logical and satisfying conclusion, leaving us holding onto unfinished B-story threads. That said, I’d still rather have a dozen Injustice stories for every piece of garbage that DC Comics now prints or sends to our theaters.

Where Injustice 2 really stands out from the crowd is in its gameplay. The fighting mechanics are deeper than ever, with an extended specials meter that allows for more special moves to be buffed up, new escapes from combos, or the always-entertaining supermoves that cue a cinematic should they hit. Whether it’s Batman blasting you with the Batwing, Green Lantern obliterating you with a mechsuit construct, or even the Flash literally punching you through time, they never get old to watch—except maybe if you’re always the one being hit with them instead of doing the hitting.

As well, each of the game’s arenas once again feature a plethora of objects you can interact with. From throwing alligators in Slaughter Swamp to knocking opponents into the marquee of the Empire Theater, being aware of your surroundings can be just as important as memorizing combos. The only downside I found in the arena design was that one major feature from Injustice was surprisingly watered down here in Injustice 2: the stage transitions. Whereas we used to be able to knock opponents into one or two other stages on almost every level, many levels in Injustice 2 are self-contained, or only feature one transition. I’m not sure the reason for this, but the transition threat on both sides of a stage is something I sorely missed from the first game, and—considering the roster size—made the lack of overall arenas all the more telling.

A few new characters and a continuing story are expected in a fighting game sequel, though. The biggest change that Injustice 2 introduces is the new gear system. Similar to an action-RPG, leveling up your profile, leveling up a character, or completing certain objectives across all the game’s different modes will reward you with loot, gear, or Motherboxes, which—depending on rarity—rewards two to six more pieces of gear. You can then take the items you’ve earned and equip them into one of five different gear slots on each fighter. It not only changes the cosmetics of each fighter, but also boosts their ability, attack, defense, or health. You can even find new moves for your characters that you can equip, such as a teleport for Scarecrow, or a ground pound for Superman.

The system is one of the deepest rewards systems I’ve ever tried, and saying I became hooked by it would be an understatement. After every fight, I had to compare and contrast what my fighters were wearing, and it kept me playing far longer than I might have otherwise. It basically means that mirror matches are far less predictable, and even if you don’t like the idea of gear changing your stats, you can turn off the effects before every battle if you so choose. As characters level up, new gear becomes available to them until you hit the level 20 cap per character, and even if you should find a piece of epic gear at a lower level, you can earn regeneration coins that allow you to recast those items at your current level.

Sure, there are microtransactions that can speed up this entire process—including leveling up all your characters to max if you so choose. Honestly, though, I am having way too much fun fighting for every piece to make me potentially more powerful. I’ve never felt this direct connection between my hard work and the loot I earn so strongly before, even if the numbers are all randomly generated. My only complaint would be how I wish there was an easier way to earn epic loot for characters you don’t play with in the story. For beating a respective character’s story chapter, you’re rewarded with a piece of level 20 epic loot; it then made me really sad that half the roster was one piece of loot behind everyone else, even though there’s still the process of getting everyone to level 20.

Still, you can earn gear in every mode. Whether you’re trying to climb the online leaderboards (which are all operating smoothly at last check now a week after the game’s launch) or watching your characters duke it out in the new AI mode (where you pick three of your custom fighters to fight other custom teams and let the computer decide the winners as you watch), the gear and loot is always coming. My personal favorite way to get new gear, especially of the epic variety, is the new Multiverse mode.

The next step in MKX’s Living Towers system, these time-based events are portrayed as Batman keeping an eye on all the different worlds he learned about after the first game. Picking a planet affords players the opportunity to tackle special challenges against the AI; should you complete all the objectives on each one of these Elseworlds, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best gear in the game. Each planet, though, has a variety of stipulations. Some might help you, like having characters from the last game—such as Ares or Raven—offer their assistance as an AI ally that you can call on with a button press. Others will hinder you, as maybe you take damage every time you do a special move, or your opponent will have armor on, allowing them to absorb a certain number of hits before you can actually chip away at their lifebars. Either way, these challenges are constantly cycling in and out every few hours, and will keep you on your toes while keeping your coffers stuffed with loot and gear. The only one not set to a schedule is the “Multiverse Battle Simulator,” which is the well-hidden equivalent to Injustice 2’s arcade mode.

Injustice 2 is everything fans of DC Comics would want from a game like this, and then some. The gear system is surprisingly balanced and delightfully addictive in a way that will keep you coming back to this game long after you’ve seen every arcade ending and both endings in story mode. The story itself is very good, and even with a few holes and cheap gimmick characters thrown in for the sake of expanding the roster, is easily the best writing any DC property has seen since the first Injustice came out. And, most importantly, the gameplay remains top-notch, and is deeper than ever with new escapes, meter burns, and those fantastic supermoves. Even in a year that seems to be full of fighting games, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one better than Injustice 2.

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment • Developer: NetherRealm Studios • ESRB: T – Teen • Release Date: 05.16.17
9.0
Injustice 2 is one of the most complete fighting games you’ll ever play. From the story to the Multiverse Mode, there is something for everyone here to enjoy. And with how addictive the gear system is, you’ll be hard-pressed to put it down.
The Good The gear system is as addictive as advertised, and the Multiverse concept only feeds into this.
The Bad Story tries too hard to shoehorn some characters in. Less stage transitions than previous game.
The Ugly The new Joker design. Stop trying to push the Suicide Squad movie on us Warner Bros.!
Injustice 2 is available on PS4 and Xbox One. Primary version reviewed was for PS4. Review code was provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.

Not a Flawless Victory

Growing up, whenever the subject of fighting games arose among my group of friends, everyone found themselves in one of two camps: Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. I readily admit I was in the MK camp (kamp?). The franchise seemed to put a larger emphasis on the story, which appealed to me, and of course, there was the blood and gore—and the controversy over that element would eventually lead to the formation of the ESRB.

Now, with the 10th main game in the series upon us—and as someone who’s been playing the series fanatically since the early days—it’s interesting to see that Mortal Kombat X is, in many ways, attempting to get back to basics when it comes to what the franchise has always been about.

The first aspect of this is MKX’s Story mode, which takes place primarily 25 years after the events of the previous game. Shao Khan is dead, and Outworld has been thrown into turmoil courtesy of a civil war between two of his lieutenants who’ve made claims to the throne—the ramifications of which are starting to spill over into Earthrealm. Meanwhile, minions of an old enemy, the fallen Elder God Shinnok, are moving in the shadows in an attempt to bring their imprisoned master back.

Whenever NetherRealm discussed MKX, the plotline was one of the key points of emphasis. We were told it would be an epic tale that brought kombatants old and new together against an unforeseen threat. But considering that it was a point of focus for the team and that MK9 provided a strong foundation to build on, I can’t help but see MKX’s Story mode as anything short of disappointing. Part of my frustration comes from the fact that NetherRealm touted a nonlinear story here, but MKX plays out the same way Injustice:Gods Among Us and MK9 did. It’s nothing new.

The nonlinear aspects simply come from flashbacks seen far too frequently that are meant to drive the main storyline forward in a singular fashion. They’re there to fill in the blanks, add missing backstory, and make desperate attempts at character development—necessitated by the drastic leap forward in time between games. If you lose a fight, whether in the past or the present, you still need to beat it if you want to move forward and see the next cutscene (or use a cheap “skip fight” token that can be earned in the Krypt, MK’s interactive way of unlocking extra in-game content via ‘Koins’ earned by playing the game).

The saddest part of MKX’s Story mode, though, might be the glimmers of greatness the game tantalizingly teases. Plenty of interesting subplots are hinted at throughout—like how character relationships between old fighters and new have evolved in 25 years, especially those with familial ties. There’s also Outworld’s civil war, which could’ve been more deeply explored and fleshed out, given how central a role it was supposed to play. Instead, it feels like Story mode tries to cram in too many ancillary tales that, while interesting, are never properly explored. And considering that MKX is 25 percent shorter in terms of chapters than MK9, I was left wanting more in the worst way.

On the flip side of that, admittedly, you can also get too much of a good thing. The game ships with 24 fighters, only a couple less than MK9, but each one has three variations that offer different abilities. For example, Kenshi’s three variations are essentially the moves he debuted with in Deadly Alliance, those he used in MK9, and a brand-new set for MKX that allows him to manifest the spirits that possess his enchanted blade and use them offensively. Personally, I found it too much trouble to learn all the variations for each fighter. Once I found one I liked, I’d simply ignore the other two.

The entire process of experimenting with the variations is frustrating in and of itself—I think people who are into fighting games want to figure out who their “main” is as quickly as possible, so giving them 72 options just feels like overkill. I’d rather have 10 more playable characters and none of the variations than to have all these degrees of gradation.

At the very least, the fighters who do show up—16 of which we’ve seen in previous MK games, along with eight new faces—all feel truly distinct, even if their own internal variations don’t. While a few elements seem lifted from Injustice, such as Ferra/Torr’s Bane-like charge attacks or Kung Jin somewhat resembling like Green Arrow, the returning characters feel like I expected (in a good way), while the debuting fighters all bring something new to the table.

The combination of Ferra/Torr, which sees the diminutive Ferra riding atop the hulking brute Torr’s shoulders as part of an odd symbiotic relationship, has amazing range when Torr swings Ferra around like a club. I also loved playing as Cassie Cage, because she’s such a smooth blend of her parents, MK icons Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage. She quickly became one of my favorites—not just for her fighting, but also her one-liners.

Takeda feels the most distinct of all the new characters in terms of gameplay with his whip attacks and arsenal of different weapons. Both Erron Black and Kung Jin took some getting used to, but they’ve got some absolutely punishing combos once you begin to master them. Kotal Kahn is your typical slow, powerful brawler, but his sun beam that heals him but hurts opponents makes for interesting zoning strategy in battle. Jacqui didn’t really move my needle either way, since she felt like just a faster Jax, and the insect-like D’Vorah was a fighter I just couldn’t get a handle on no matter how hard I tried.

When I finally figured out what variations worked best for me, what characters I wanted to stick with, and who I’d be comfortable competing with online, I found that perhaps the most important part of a fighting game—the actual fighting—was better than ever. The combos flow smoothly, and no character feels too overpowered. Some moves are tweaked from previous versions, like slowing down Sub-Zero’s ice ball and Scorpion’s spear, but only in the interest of preventing spamming. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to adapt to the changes, which makes me think they’re all for the better.

For as good as the combat is, though, the post-fight action might be even better. Fatalities are easier than ever to pull off—and, at this point, it’s almost comical how gory they’ve gotten. Of course, it’s still immensely satisfying to make someone’s head explode with Raiden, rip apart someone’s spine with Sub-Zero, or absolutely eviscerate them with new characters like Ferra/Torr.

What surprised me more, however, was how great it feels to pull off the returning Brutalities. While they’re not as bloody, Brutalities are sometimes more difficult because they need to be executed as the last move of the final round—and some of the conditions are as brutal as the punishment one could end up delivering with the moves. So, suffocating someone with Reptile, kneecapping them with Erron Black, or punching them in the face until their neck breaks with Kung Lao is sometimes even cooler. The game even includes stage-oriented Brutalities.

But that’s not all that will make you want to keep fighting until the wee hours of the morning. A new feature in the form of the Living Towers and an old one in the Krypt provide a tremendous amount of additional content. The Living Towers are three ladders that provide fresh battles with new stipulations every hour, day, and week, constantly pushing you to test your skills in different ways.

The Krypt, meanwhile, has been transformed from a glorified gallery into almost an adventure game within itself as you explore a graveyard, caves, a mausoleum, and more from a first-person perspective, with more of the world unlocking as you find iconic Mortal Kombat weapons—Scorpion’s spear or Kung Lao’s hat, for instance. There’s even random quicktime events that have you wrestling with threats that can pop out of nowhere now and that reward you with more Koins if you succeed. In the Krypt, you’ll find concept art, Test Your Luck modifiers, and more Fatalities and Brutalities for each character, but after unlocking nearly 100 tombs in the Krypt, I do wish there were a few more interesting things to find.

Mortal Kombat X feels, in many ways, like one step forward and two steps back. I can’t get over the lack of depth when it came to Story mode, and the fighter variations aren’t as interesting as I’d hoped. However, once I finally found my favorites, the actual fighting still felt great. And with the Living Towers promising to keep the game perpetually fresh, I found there’s still plenty here to keep me coming back for more in the future.

Developer: NetherRealm Studios • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 04.14.15
7.5
When it comes to the gameplay, Mortal Kombat X is a solid fighting game, but a small roster and shoddy story hold it back from being a complete experience.
The Good The combat feels smoother than ever, and the Living Towers keep the game fresh long after Story mode is over.
The Bad The narrative has a ton of interesting subplots—but not enough time for any of them to breathe or properly come to fruition.
The Ugly You fight against three fan-favorite characters in Story mode, but they’re not a playable part of the roster. I smell a second “Kombat Pack” already around the corner.
Mortal Kombat X is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with versions for Xbox 360 and PS3 coming later. Primary version reviewed was for PS4. Review code was provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the benefit of this review.

At SDCC 2012, EGM Reviews Editor Ray Carsillo had a chance to catch up with Mortal Kombat co-creator and creative director for the upcoming Warner Bros. game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Ed Boon.

The Big Question: Can Injustice: Gods Among Us deliver a quality fighter using DC Comics characters?

The last time we saw our favorite heroes from the DCU mix it up in a classic-style fighting game, it was 2008 and it was one of Midway Games’ final projects: DC Universe vs. Mortal Kombat. Those who were able to look past the spectacle of seeing our favorite heroes mix it up with magical ninjas and underworld wizards though saw the game was flawed from the get go and so it was quickly swept under the rug.

Last year then, one of Midway’s key franchises in Mortal Kombat, now under the new banner of Netherrealm Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, saw a renaissance with parallel dimensions, a slimmed down roster, and a bevy of new modes to offer replay-ability rarely seen in any fighting game of that nature. The positive response and new look at how to do an old-school fighting game got the folks at Netherrealm thinking that maybe doing a fighting game with DC Heroes wasn’t such a stretch after all. And with Warner Bros.’ backing, as they also have all the rights to the DC characters, it should be much easier than last time to consult and push out a higher quality product that appeals to both comic book and fighting game fans.

So legendary game maker Ed Boon unveiled to us at E3 2012 Injustice: Gods Among Us. This brand new fighting game takes place entirely in the DCU and uses a modified version of last year’s Mortal Kombat engine. Injustice will feature 20-30 characters, including the already revealed Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, and the Flash, and capitalize on the larger-than-life personalities at their disposal with massive arenas to do battle in and even more massive finishing and special maneuvers inspired by the spandex-clad superheroes’ most impressive moments. For example, Superman can actually fly his opponent up into orbit before then slamming them back to the Earth below to do massive damage.

One nagging problem that could hold this game back though is the same thing that crept into the story mode of DCU vs MK and that is how will Netherrealm level the playing field between humans like Batman and near-omnipotent beings like Superman? We’ve been assured that the story will work this all out for us, but it was supposed to back in 2008 as well. Maybe the interactive environments allowing you to fire missiles out of the Batmobile at your opponent or slam them through a skyscraper will allow us to overlook the story though as long as it makes a reasonable amount of sense. And you hope it does because with the great visuals we saw, tight looking game play, and over-the-top action, this fighter is surely shaping up to be a contender to be reckoned with.

Are you folks excited for this game? Does the thought of 2008’s MK vs DCU still make you worry about Injustice? What characters do you want to see make it into the title? Let us know your thoughts with comments below!

Ah, the end of the year. A wonderful time to look back on all the gaming that was had this year—and to commend the best of the best that consumed all of our days and most of our nights. Or, my days and nights, anyway. Here are my personal top 5 videogames from the year that was 2011—those that helped ensure another year of me sustaining my Casper-like complexion.

Ray’s Top 5 of 2011:

#1: Batman: Arkham City

Formats: PS3, Xbox 360
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
The greatest comic book fan service we’ve ever seen for a comic franchise also takes action-adventure gaming to a new level. After playing Arkham City, I couldn’t help but compare every other melee combat system I played—and none held a candle to this gem.

#2: Gears of War 3

Formats: Xbox 360
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Epic Games
A perfect series finale that ties up all the loose ends, Gears of War 3 took great elements from its predecessors to create one of the most cinematic single-player experiences available while being tempered with one of the most robust multiplayer suites available.

#3: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
A perfect ending for Ezio Auditore’s story, Revelations sets us up for a thrilling conclusion while still providing a brilliantly told historical thriller that’ll only have you craving more. Combine that with an addictive, novel multiplayer, and you’ve got one of the better all-around experiences this year.

#4: Mortal Kombat

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
The rebirth of one of gaming’s classic fighting franchises was memorable for many reasons. A coherent story mode that made sense and a return to crisp, combo-laden 2D combat were two of the main keys, but when you couple that with solid extra features and a large (but not obnoxiously so) roster, this was a clear Flawless Victory.

#5: Dead Space 2

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher: EA
Developer: Visceral Games
From what might be the most intense opening sequence I’ve ever played, Dead Space 2 pulled me in like few survival horror games do anymore. Javelin Gun for the win!

Ray’s Off-Topic Awards:

New Character That I Wouldn’t Throw a Life Preserver If They Were Drowning: Caddoc – Hunted: The Demon’s Forge
Whether it was whining about bugs or contemplating the meaning of life, Caddoc was a little too smart for his own good as the bruiser of Hunted: The Demon’s Forge—and he was better at getting on my nerves more than he was at slicing apart his enemies.

Popsicle’s “The Colors, Duke, The Colors!” Most Colorful Game of the Year: de Blob 2
A cute story to entertain the kiddies with some decent platforming for older gamers, De Blob 2 features bright, colorful landscapes of reds, blues, and greens you create as you progress in this interactive color-by-numbers family-friendly adventure.

Best Job at Filling John Madden’s Commentary Void: Bill Clement – “We’ll be tied going into the third as long as we’re still tied here at the end of the second.” – NHL 12
Every now and then, someone will step up and let their own backward logic escape their mouths. Naturally, that always reminds us of John Madden, the all-time master of puzzling color commentary, and this year, NHL 12’s Bill Clement went five-hole on us for the easy tally.

 

What do you guys think of Ray’s picks? Let him know on Twitter (@RayCarsillo) or drop in a comment below!

Originally Published: April 26, 2011, on Youtube.com/Rcars4885

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix. This week’s episode sees me give my take on the PSN crash, review Batman #709 from DC Comics and the new Mortal Kombat from Netherrealm Studios and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment. My hot chick pick of the week is UFC Ring Girl Brittany Palmer and this week’s theme is the Mortal Kombat movie theme by The Immortals.

Originally Published: December 28, 2010, on Youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe for the Xbox 360 from Midway and Warner Bros. Interactive.

Originally Published: November 22, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for the Wii, the final game in the MK storyline that features all 64 characters.

Near-Flawless Victory

Originally Published: November 29, 2008, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Most felt that the Mortal Kombat series had suffered one of their own fatalities; they thought the previous installment in the series would mark a possible end to one of the most successful fighting franchises of all time. The genii at Midway would need something big, some twist, to rejuvenate the series and keep it fresh.

Enter one of the most enduring pop-culture franchises ever created, DC Comics. With the likes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and many others, you had instantly recognizable names, faces, places, and powers that had just recently been rejuvenated themselves through blockbuster box office returns and are in the midst of one of the largest comic story arcs ever where evil is supposed to win in the Final Crisis.

So, what happens when two beloved pop-culture dynamos come together? They FIGHT! I present to you ladies and gentlemen: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

If you are going to get one fighting game this holiday season, this is the one. From a storyline that actually makes sense, to brand new features like “Testing Your Might” in the middle of a battle, and mid-air and special “Klose Kombat” fighting sequences and the series has successfully been renewed.

In terms of the combat, the old Mortal Kombat system has returned along with a few new twists. There are now expert moves, moves that, if timed correctly, are automatically done twice and done more powerfully the second time. However, so small is the window to pull off these moves that even the better experts will have difficulty performing them every time. Mix this with the potential for some old school 10 hit combos, the new mid-air and up-close fighting systems, and some revamped fatalities (and brutalities for the DC Heroes since they cannot kill) and the gameplay is on par with the best of the series.

The addition of DC’s greatest heroes and villains adds depth to the game by allowing you to play a deep story mode from both points of view (and you have to if you want to unlock both of the game’s hidden characters). You play through the story mode and get a chance to try almost every character to see their strengths and weaknesses. (I am still a dominating force with Sub-Zero.)

The big change to the story mode from previous games is that, even though it worked for a short while, there is no more third person action adventure. The story plays out for you in-between character-specific fights. For example, when Batman meets Scorpion and the two have words with each other, there is no third-person take on this. We go to an old school, best of three rounds, Kombat scenario. I personally enjoyed the third-person adventuring, but this was the only possible way to pull off a story mode in this game considering how many great characters are available to you. And, of course, the story mode leaves it open-ended enough so there is a possibility for a second MK vs. DCU.

Those are the game’s positives, but there are a few negatives. One of the big negatives is there are no level specific fatalities like in previous games. In the last installment of the Mortal Kombat series, you could knock your opponent into a lava pit or a giant meat grinder by hitting them up against certain walls or boundaries. Even in the old school games, with the right mashing of buttons at the end of a battle, you could knock your opponent into a spike pit or acid bath. These have all been removed.

Another issue I had was the lack of unlockables. The Krypt has been removed and the only things you can unlock, aside from story and arcade endings, are two bonus characters added to the twenty you start out with. I liked the Krypt, even if it was nearly impossible to get everything in it, because I enjoyed looking at extra movies and concept art and getting alternative costumes. You’re telling me you couldn’t give me black suit Superman from when he came back after being killed by Doomsday? How about an old-school blue Batman suit? The Joker in his Hawaiian vacation outfit is always hysterical. A lack of unlockables is a sore point with me and it damages this game’s replay value.

Even with a couple negatives, this was a great game. The spectacle of my favorite DC Heroes and Villains kicking butt was great. Add in the return of some of my favorites from the Mortal Kombat universe and then mixing in some old school, button mashing and I was one happy gamer from this. If there is one fighting game you are going to get this holiday season (because you should have gotten Super Smash Bros. Brawl back when it came out) this is the one.

If you want some more information on the new fighting mechanics and the storyline of the game, take a listen to my interview with Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Lead Designer Brian LeBaron. CLICK HERE

Ratings are based on a system of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

Graphics: 9.0: Blood and guts galore are always the visual gem that a Mortal Kombat game provides and this one does not disappoint. A nice detail was how good Sub-Zero’s Ice Ball/Superman’s Ice Breath looked when the opponent was frozen solid. A point was removed because some of the interactive environment looked a little blocky and faded from the screen too quickly. Aside from that, this is a beautiful looking game.

Audio: 10.0: The voice acting was crisp and the SFX were all solid. The voice script was a little over the top, but its comic book characters fighting Mortal Kombat characters, I think I would have been more disappointed if it wasn’t over the top. This game delivers a great sounding experience.

Plot/Plot Development: 8.5: It was actually a plausible plot for these respective universes to somehow meet. Written by comic book veterans Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, the story kept in tune with both the Mortal Kombat and the DCU story lines. The time period was set happening sometime after the second Mortal Kombat game and before the Identity Crisis of the DCU and it fit well with the original plot. Some things were a stretch for both universes though and a few of the pop culture references were funny, but unnecessary.

Gameplay: 9.0: Like every Mortal Kombat before it, this was easy to pick up, but difficult to master. Some of the combos are simply impossible to complete and there were a couple of glitches if you liked to use Scorpion’s, Sub-Zero’s, Batman’s, or Raiden’s teleportation moves a lot. Still, this game was mostly smooth and not very frustrating.

Replay Value: 7.5: The lack of unlockables and extra characters keeps you from coming back to the single player story and arcade modes very often. The multiplayer and online features are solid, but won’t keep you coming back unless you need a constant dose of bloody, brutal fighting.

Overall (not an average): 8.5: This game is a great new entry into both Mortal Kombat’s and DCU’s respective mythos. The game gets a little repetitive after a while, but that’s the same for every fighting game. New in-battle Kombat systems, old-school characters, a revamped story mode, and old-school Mortal Kombat brutality makes this a must have if you are a fighting fan and/or a DC Universe fan. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is out now for XBOX360 and PS3.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally published: September 5, 2008, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Midway Games is known for making some of the best arcade style games ever. I recently had the opportunity to sit down at the Arena Nightclub on W. 41st St. between 6thAve. and Broadway in NYC and try out the next installments in two of their powerhouse franchises, Blitz the League II and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

I can’t give a full review on these games, since I only had the chance to play unfinished demos, but I will rate what I saw.

THESE GAMES ROCKED!

Blitz the League II brings back all the smash mouth, in your face action from the first, and adds some replay value by giving you a three season franchise mode. Along with strippers, steroids, and a few new crushing injuries that would make even the toughest dude squirm, this game delivers all the goods. I gave it an initial 9 out of 10. I’ll give a full review when it comes out October 13, 2008.
The Blitz franchise also brought back our favorite fictional football character based on a real badass dude, Quentin Sands played by NFL Hall of Famer and defensive legend, Lawrence Taylor.

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Aside from Lawrence Taylor, I also caught up with Jacob Beucler, the Senior Associate Producer of Blitz the League II to get a few more details about the game that we couldn’t get through an exhibition demo. Here is what he had to say.

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Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is one of the most anticipated games of the upcoming holiday season. Rumors have been swirling around the internet since this game was announced in terms of story, characters, and everything else you could think to make stuff up about. Although it had a few glitches, it still has a few more months of development before it’s released with that final polish we expect from a Mortal Kombat game.
This game will dominate though and my early review is another 9 out of 10. It looked beautiful and for the most part it played beautifully. I can’t wait to see the full story mode though to see exactly how these two very different franchises meet head to head. I had a chance to get some of the story from Brian LeBaron, the Lead Designer on Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Here is what he had to say.

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Although I gave both quick reviews, expect the full breakdown of these games when they are released this fall.