Previews// Mortal Kombat

Posted 9 Feb 2012 17:31 by
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Games: Mortal Kombat
Mortaaal Kombaaaat! Oh wait, weíre not doing that anymore. The series has rebooted itself. And what a reboot it was - last yearís instalment of the brutal and gory fighter was a respectably return to form for creator Ed Boon and his NetherRealm Studios. Now the game is going portable, on Sonyís upcoming PlayStation Vita, and with it comes some new tricks.

In terms of core gameplay mechanics and features, this is pretty much the same Mortal Kombat you remember purchasing (or not) on your PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. The story is still a retelling of the events that took place in MKs 1 to 3, pitting classic characters such as Scorpion and Raiden against each other as they try to beat Shao Khan in Earthrealm and Outworld.

Traditional gameplay, using the buttons and analogue sticks of the PlayStation Vita, works in exactly the same fashion as the PS3 version, unsurprisingly. But, there are some interesting new modes and features that look to use and abuse all the other control inputs on the device - namely the gyro and touch screen.

These quirky extras are largely found within the Challenge Towers. There are a selection of brand new scenarios that you will have to overcome using the motion-sensing capabilities of the Vita. The first is Test Your Balance, which is quite aptly a mini-game that sees you tilting the console in order to keep your character standing upright.

Another gameplay mode, called Youíve Got The Power, couples tilt sensitivity into a combat situation. Youíll need to tilt the handheld in the direction your character is facing as you fight your opponent, to give yourself a boost in attack power. You can, of course, tilt it against your character, which will give your opponent the edge too. Whatís impressive is that there appears to be no lag or break in framerate whatsoever when tilting the world around - it all happens very smoothly.

Perhaps the most hardcore of these new modes is called Vertigo. This forces the screen to automatically twist, turn and flip upside down as youíre fighting, and you have to address this by shaking and moving the Vita around to counter the effects. While the screen twists around, your controls stay exactly the same so it can be quite disorienting if you donít right it quickly enough.

Touch screen controls are also used - both in the Challenge Towers and during arcade play - to alleviate some of the complexity in controls. Donít worry though - itís mostly X-Rays and fatalities that are affected here. Tapping a button in the bottom left corner of the screen activates the bone-crunching X-Ray move when you unlock the chance to use it. Fatalities can be directly executed using the OLED screen, meaning less emphasis on timing your button presses and not worrying about whether that step you took was actually big or small enough.

Of course, both functionalities are still tied by the laws of the Mortal Kombat battleground - you need to be within a certain distance for the X-Ray to work, and the fatalities will also require a perfect stance. It seems to be just another optional way to make the game more accessible to players - something Ed Boon was keen to stress with last yearís console release.

Itís always good to have a little bit of insane, blood-splattering combat on the go, so Mortal Kombat could well be up your street if thatís what youíre looking for. The accessibility of the series (itís hardly combo-heavy like Street Fighter) lends itself well to the portable environment well. Weíll know whether itís completely worth your money when itís released later this year.
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