It's strange to sit here talking about the story of a fighting game. I don't remember mentioning anything about the stories in either my Virtua Fighter 5 or Soul Calibur IV reviews. Heck, I can't think of the last time I spent three paragraphs talking about the ins and outs of a fighting game story. But Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is not your usual fighting game. That's not to say that this isn't a solid fighting game, but to say it's as serious as the other fighters on the Xbox 360 is like suggesting that the Fantastic Four movies are as serious as The Dark Knight. This brand new Mortal Kombat game is extremely easy to learn, quick to master and is perfect for those gamers turned off by the more hardcore fighting games on Microsoft's system.
But it's also a lot of fun. Much like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe shows us that you don't need to frame count or learn every move to have a great time playing a modern fighting game. In fact, I would go as far as suggesting that this game is more of a throwback to the 2D roots of the Mortal Kombat universe. Sure the game is presented in 3D and using detailed polygons to make the world come to life, but for all intents and purposes this is a 2D fighting game. If you use the D-pad to control your character you'll find that it feels almost exactly like Mortal Kombat II, which is deemed by many (including myself) to be the peak of the franchise.
Fans of Mortal Kombat will feel right at home while playing this game. We still have the standard four-buttons for attack (two for punch, two for kick), a button to throw your enemy and the all important block button. The rounds are still set-up exactly the same way, with each person trying their hardest to KO the other person and, eventually, finish them off with some sort of fatal finishing move. All of the hallmarks are here, including being able to bust through the arena's walls and continue your fight on another level. Just about everything you love about Mortal Kombat is here in all its glory.
And it's not just limited to the series' best gameplay elements; Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe also features a cast of some of your favorite fighters. On the Mortal Kombat side we have Baraka, Jax, Kano, Kitana, Liu Kang, Raiden, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Sonya Blade and Sub-Zero. On the DC side we have Batman, Captain Marvel, Catwoman, Darkseid, Deathstroke, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Joker, Lex Luther, Superman and Wonder Woman. There are some noteworthy missing characters (what, no Goro?), but there's more than enough great characters here to keep just about every fighting game fan happy.
Given that this is the first time the Mortal Kombat characters have been featured on the Xbox 360, it's natural to be excited to see how each of them look. After all, the last time we saw them they were using a somewhat outdated graphics engine on the PlayStation 2. The good news is that all of the mortal kombatants look amazing. The detail is outstanding, and as they get hurt while fighting you can see gashes and bruises pop up on their body. Unfortunately not all of the DC characters look as good. There are a few worthwhile characters in the bunch (The Joker looks as loony as ever and Batman is really cool looking), but there are a few characters that just look ridiculous. I mean seriously, what is Catwoman wearing?
Each of the 22 fighters have a lot of fun moves, including the kind of over-the-top weapons that you could only get in a comic book fighting game. Superman has his patented eye laser beam, Batman has all of his wonderful toys and Wonder Woman has that amazing whip. However, it's not the superheroes that have the coolest special moves. In fact, it's none other than the super villains, including The Joker and Lex Luthor. These two characters have some of the greatest attacks ever seen in a Mortal Kombat game, including a hand buzzer that electrocutes your opponent, cartoon bombs, a missile launcher, and even the big red boxing glove of doom ... I'm not joking. That's not to say that all of these moves are as effective as they could have been, but there's no denying how fun it is to win a battle by shaking hands with your opponent and electrocuting them to death.
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