Best installment since Mortal Kombat 2, possibly ever.

User Rating: 9 | Mortal Kombat X360
In a revisiting of the original games from the series, NetherRealm studios have rekindled much of the magic that kept the arcades full of challengers back in the nineties. Not only have the story and general themes been returned to their roots, but the controls have also been simplified and tightened. This reminds heavily of the play-style offered by those original games and as a result the whole package feels cohesive and clean.

The concept of a 3D fighting area has been removed in favor of a 2D plane. This is a welcome return as it allows players to focus on block vs attack instead of worrying about side moves or z-axis dodging. For those looking for a game with a small move set that can be learned in excruciating detail, look no further.

There is plenty of content, including ladder and tag ladder (traditional game style) modes, the challenge tower (300 unique challenges), and story mode. The Krypt is one of the largest seen since MK Deception, and there are other hints of hidden content; although that is yet to be revealed.

The fighting is tight and fun, often producing quite memorable battles even just versus the AI. The difficulty levels provide a challenge without being too cheap, for the most part. The only real exception is Shao Kahn who feels awkwardly overpowered compared to the other fighters. His overly aggresive and difficult to interrupt style tends to direct the player to adopt a counter-fighter style of play, mostly holding the block button until he taunts and then sneaking in for a quick combo. Other than that though the main roster all play and fight very rewardingly.

The koins system has been simplified to a single "color" of currency. Koins are earned by fighting or completing sections of the story mode or challenge tower. You can spend koins to open items in the Krypt and also to skip challenges that prove too difficult or frustrating in the challenge tower. This is an interesting concept that allows players of all skill levels to see and experience the whole challenge tower without getting stuck. Skipping every challenge will cost a lot of koins though so there is plenty of motivation to try multiple times before simply buying your way past.

The updated visuals, audio, and control system make the whole package well worth the money. Invest in a fight stick to avoid frustration entering some combo strings, and get the strategy guide or read an FAQ for ideas if you're struggling to win online. Spending time in practice mode using the record feature will help to understand why certain combos are countered or why you struggle to block some attacks. A "slow down time" feature would have been very welcome in the practice record/playback feature to be able to really understand the action...perhaps in a future update?

In terms of DLC, NetherRealm Studios and Ed Boon have hinted at new arenas and playable characters based upon requests heard from the community. That's your call to action to get those twitter fingers typing and get the requests submitted to themortalkombat.com website. The community owns this one so get your requests in for your favorite characters like Kenshi and Frost. Tweet @noobde with reckless abandon to get your favorites available in a future DLC pack.

Overall the new MK represents one of the most content-rich and compelling installments in the genre. If you're a past or present fan of the MK franchise, you could do yourself a big favor by picking up a copy and enjoying this return to what made MK a great game twenty years ago. Two thumbs up.

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