Remembering 2008: The Biggest Games That Turn 10 This Year
Created by GameSpot Staff on
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (November 16, 2008)
Many remember Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe as the game that toned down the series' iconic violence, but when it launched in 2008, it gave the series its groove back. Sure, fatalities and over-the-top gore are an integral part of the Mortal Kombat formula, but this was the first time in years where I felt like I was playing a classic Mortal Kombat. It was still on a 3D plane, but for the most part, it felt like those first three games. As a Scorpion player, I was ecstatic to see the return of back, back, low punch (only '90s kids will remember this). Additionally, seeing some of my favorite superheroes stand in for some of my favorite Mortal Kombat characters was an absolute treat--Batman used his smoke bombs and disappearing act as if he was Smoke, while The Flash tripped up his opponents with his Kabal-like speed.
In addition to the excellent fighting gameplay, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was the first to feature NetherRealm's trademark story template. For those who aren't familiar, it's basically a movie in which you take part in a couple dozen fights with gameplay and cutscenes transitioning seamlessly between each other. It kicked off a period in which NetherRealm not only made my favorite fighting games, but also some of my favorite single-player experiences. On top of that, it's used the story template in every one of its games since and has even pushed other fighting game developers to follow suit with cinematic story modes now being featured in games like Street Fighter V, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, and Tekken 7.
The Mortal Kombat series may not have regained all of its footing until 2011's simply titled Mortal Kombat, but it was Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe that planted the seeds for that comeback. And despite NetherRealm putting out four arguably better fighting games since then, I'll still go back from time to time to play a few matches and remind myself of how it all started. -- Mat Paget