Quickly and surely dethrones UMK3 as the ultimate, polished, tournament fighter MK game.
It's sad that it will likely be overshadowed by Portal, but MK has my vote for game of the year. Simply put, the controls are the most polished, responsive controls on a fighter to date. The game also has the most fully featured single player experience in a fighter thus far, with its long and genuinely interesting and fun story mode, its epic challenge tower, its tons of goodies waiting to be unlocked in the krypt, as well as new minigames like test your luck, where different conditions and multipliers for a battle are slot machined out for you... It's sooo fun!
There's also practice mode, including a fatality trainer, which will be really useful in helping those who always wanted to learn the fatalities in finally having a chance to pull one out on the fly. Of course, old minigames also make a return, with test your sight and test your might, and for 360 owners you also get several more modes and arenas, the highlight for me being the AWESOME inclusion of the Puzzle Kombat game... in HD! Wicked fun. And I'm sure Kratos will probably be a nice bonus for the PS3 fans too! But they don't get Puzzle Kombat or the Pit from MKIII.
Boss battles in story mode get a little ridiculous from time to time and you're reduced to spamming a few moves over and over again, but hey, that's typical computer AI and it's not fair to dock MK for that when no one did for the Japanese fighters. Costume designs, though heavily inspired by the original looks the characters sported in the 90s, feel fresh and modern in most cases, in my opinion, but IGN docked MK significantly for having costumes that were too retro and bosses that were too cheap... I kid you not. Yet the same reviewer gave MvC3 a much higher score, and the game featured both of those same problems and also had less content by far.
My only gripe is this: if you need to pause in story mode, you have to wait for Kombat to start. That's it. That's my only complaint for this whole amazing game!
On the multiplayer side, things get even better... Multiplayer seems to be smooth so far and you can also input things called Kombat Kodes for vs. matches that let you have things like "No heads" or "No arms" or "upside down screen" or other wild and ridiculous variables... Makes for some truly "Kool" matchups.
There's also the King of the Hill mode, where 2 players fight in front of a room of strangers who view the game live and do different actions, such as cheering, booing, and some secret actions as well, in an MST3K like setting. It seems fun but I haven't tried this kind of match yet. The cool thing about it is that your King of the Hill career score will be measured based on the points that your viewers give you. So, a player who spams the same move over and over again is going to get less points even if he wins, for example. In King of the Hill, honesty and good sportsmanship will pay off! It's a brilliant concept. Also, those who unplug mid-match will be exposed to a group of people and rated as well!
Rain is not included, but he is the only character from MK Trilogy not represented here so far, yet he is BOUND to be DLC one day based on twitter comments from Ed Boon himself, so I won't **** about that for now. It'd be nice if they included him fresh out of the gate, but whatever. Also, XBox 360 owners will get Lady in Red for free, the first DLC character, but will have to pay for Kenshi. Meanwhile PS3 owners must pay for both. Just a heads up!
The game also includes human AND cyborg forms of Sub Zero, Sektor, and Cyrax that I know of. There is a human Smoke. And yes you read that right, the second Sub Zero becomes a cyborg, and he's awesome.
Anyway, if you had any doubts about whether or not you should buy this game, do yourself and the hardworking folks at Netherrealm Studios a favor and pick it up immediately. If you order on Amazon now I think you can still get the Klassic Reptile costume. I am not sure if Gamestop or Best Buy are offering the deal still since preorder time is over.
Happy fighting, Kombatants!