Mortal Kombat: Deception Review
Mortal Kombat: Deception packs in some completely off-the-wall gameplay modes, but the core one-on-one fighting action--whether you play it offline or online--is easily its best part.
Deadly Alliance had just one fatality per fighter, but Deception has two. And most of these are barbaric and really gross, meaning they're excellent. In fact, it's fair to say that MK: Deception packs in some of the best, most brutal fatalities in the series to date. Another new addition to the series is the hara-kiri, or self-fatality. Basically, players who've lost a match have the ability to punch in a command to perform a self-fatality. These are pretty amusing, much like most all the other fatalities in the game. As a result, the losing player is given a sort of fatality advantage. Whereas the winning player must be in the proper position to execute a fatality, you can pull off a hara-kiri as quickly as you can punch in the command. So, in practice, you won't have much opportunity to pull off a fatality against someone who's memorized the hara-kiri maneuvers. Regardless, it doesn't really matter either way, because--as in past MK games--fatalities are just for show. And they put on a great show indeed.
The standard fighting mode is playable versus the computer or against another player. When you play against the computer, you'll fight your way past a number of combatants until you finally square off against a typically overpowered Mortal Kombat boss. Each character has a fairly elaborate ending, should you win the bout, so fans of the MK mythos should enjoy the arcade mode if not for this reason, then because the enemy artificial intelligence is actually pretty fun to play against. It's susceptible to some tricks and patterns, and at higher levels of difficulty it fights pretty cheaply, but mostly it's a good way to practice your skills, master some combos, and maybe see a fatality or hara-kiri you've never seen before.
Online play is a major attraction in MK: Deception. You can play puzzle kombat or chess kombat online, but the regular one-on-one fighting is where the real action is. It's easy to get into a match, and we experienced surprisingly smooth, lag-free gameplay in each of the different online modes, which is impressive considering this is the first-ever online-enabled 3D fighting game to hit consoles. Furthermore, the game's very timing-intensive, which would make lag not just noticeable but quite detrimental. Interestingly, you have access to all of your unlocked characters while playing online. Some of the game's hidden characters seem noticeably stronger than average, so the play balance--especially with the death trap-filled environments--is a little suspect. On the other hand, it's not like you're dropping quarters into a machine each time you play. At any rate, like pretty much any fighting game, MK: Deception is at its best when you're playing a similarly skilled opponent. And the presence of online play means you should be able to find ready and willing competition 'round the clock. It's a huge deal and a major milestone for 3D fighting games.
Soon enough, you'll be tempted to gain access to the game's variety of hidden characters, alternate outfits, and additional battle arenas. So, unfortunately, you'll have to stop playing the arcade mode and switch over to the aforementioned konquest mode.
Konquest mode is definitely the weak point of MK: Deception. It's a surprisingly long and drawn-out third-person-perspective adventure game in which you, as an aspiring martial artist named Shujinko, will get to visit many of Mortal Kombat's multidimensional locales to meet many of its characters. Konquest mode also serves as a tutorial, since it'll initially walk you through the basics of combat and teach you most of the different characters' various moves and combos. This all might sound great in theory, but in practice, konquest mode is ugly and dull. Shujinko's journey is just a series of very repetitive point-A-to-point-B fetch quests and combat training exercises that are punctuated only rarely by an actual good, old-fashioned fight. Shujinko ages during the course of konquest mode, and there are a few other nice touches, like how you can just go ahead and punch anybody for any reason at any time while running around. However, these don't save konquest mode from being disappointing. The whole thing just looks and feels awkward, and the lousy voice acting and poor graphics will probably keep you from getting into the long-winded and utterly predictable storyline. Diehard MK fans will find some pleasant cameo appearances in konquest mode, but it's still a chore.
Yet you need to play konquest mode to access most of the good, unlockable features in the game. You'll run across vast fields while collecting "koins" and opening treasure chests that contain still more koins. Occasionally, you'll discover a key of some sort. Koins and keys are used in Deception's krypt, which, much like the krypt in Deadly Alliance, is basically where you unlock all the game's hidden content by cashing in your earnings. You earn koins while playing the other modes (though, unfortunately, you don't earn koins while playing online), but keys may only be found in konquest mode, and only with keys can you unlock the game's best extras--including the hidden characters--and so on. To make matters worse, many of the keys are well hidden. Once you finish the story in konquest mode, there's still a bunch of extra stuff waiting to be discovered, so you'll need to go back in and comb through all the areas you've already visited for more secrets. It's an unnecessarily painstaking process, and it threatens to drag down the entire experience of MK: Deception. On the plus side, it'll make you relish Deception's unlockable content that much more--and many of the unlockables are worth the hassle.
- Player Reviews: 234
- Game Universe:
- Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (PS),
- Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (XBOX, GC, GBA, PS2),
- Mortal Kombat: Deception (PS2, XBOX, GC, PSP),
- Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (PS2, XBOX),
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy (N64, PS, SAT, GCOM, PC),
- Mortal Kombat 4 (PC, GBC, N64, PS, ARC),
- Mortal Kombat (GB, GEN, SMS, PC, GG, SNES, SCD),
- Mortal Kombat 3 (GEN, PS, PC, ARC, GB, SNES, SMS, GG),
- Mortal Kombat II (SAT, GEN, PC, SMS, PS, AMI, ARC, GB, GG, SNES, 32X),
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (SAT, GEN, ARC, SNES, X360, IP)
- Offline Modes:
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players: