The new X-Ray moves are cringe-worthy.
Each character has at least two personal fatalities and one stage fatality. There are at least a half dozen stages with their own fatalities, and they're all appropriately gruesome. Some of the stages themselves have pretty disturbing visuals, but they're so over-the-top they begin to become campy, but not in a bad way. Equally gruesome are the X-Ray attacks. As you battle you are constantly building a meter that can be used either for combo breakers, enhanced special moves, or X-Rays. Mini-fatalities themselves, X-Ray attacks can quickly change the tide of battle. And they're brutal. If all of this sounds horrible to you, never fear. There are less deadly finishing move, but I'll let you figure those out for yourselves.
The game is flush with content. The Krypt has returned with over six hundred unlockables. You purchase these items with Koins. You earn Koins in every mode in Mortal Kombat except for player VS. (No boosting, cheaters!) Items you unlock can be found in the Nekropolis, which is basically a gallery where you can view character bios and renders. In addition to the Story Mode, there are skill challenges such as Test Your Might, Test Your Sight, and Test Your Strike. These boil down to button mashing and three-card-monte, but they're a fun distraction. The daunting Challenge Tower has 300 missions that range from simple matches to ridiculous feats of gore. One test in partiular forced me to throw my own limbs at and opponent. It was awesome.
Guess what happens when you buy this Krypt item. Hint: Horrible, horrible death.
So where's the co-op? Don't fret, it's in there. As I mentioned earlier, two players can team up in Tag Ladder matches. On a local console you can both play on the same tag team and face off against AI opponents. The other player can be tagged in by simply pressing a shoulder button. In addition to simple tags there are advanced moves that use your X-Ray meter. Each player has their own life bar. Additionally, each character earns Koins toward their own Krypt and Nekropolis. Fatalities pay out more Koins, so there may be a little arguming as to who finishes the fight.
When a Tag Ladder is completed, only the main character's ending is shown. But, if the second player visits their own Krypt, they will have unlocked the ending for whichever character they controlled. The main player is also is rewarded with their character's alternate costume, if they haven't already unlocked it. The second player, oddly enough, does not get a costume reward. I should note here that if one of the signed-in players has an alternate costume or secret character unlocked, any other player on that console can use it. Switching between player Extras, like the Krypt or Nekropolis, is easy enough. If Player One chooses "Krypt" and presses start, he's in his Krypt. The same goes for Player Two. One of you will just have to be patient while the other shops, of Tests their Might, or whatever. These distractions can be handled quickly, allowing for easy back and forth progression. It's not the most ideal co-operative play, but it is available.
...and here's a shot of Scorpion Vs Boobs Mc Gee.
The back of the Mortal Kombat box has the online co-op feature checked, but alas, we could not find a way to co-op a Tag Ladder online. We could play Tag Versus, but you won't be meeting up with a pal for some comp-stomping. If you find a way to do it, comment the heck out of it and I'll adjust my review accordingly.
Mortal Kombat is a throwback to the old fighting games of the early 90's, and it is terrific. It looks great, it plays well, and it's tone is perfect. The story is like bacon-wrapped nostalgia (that's the best nostalgia). The stages are so vibrant and alive, one can't help but wonder if a sequel to the incredible Shaolin Monks is in the works. We can dream, right?
The Co-Op Experience: Two players can tackle CPU opponents in local Tag Ladder Matches. Both players earn koins for unlocking items in their own Krypts.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.