Game Review: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Game Review: MK vs DCU

In the midst of what may seem like a never ending stream of bad news for Midway, there’s a shining light: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, a game which much of the company’s future rests upon, is actually quite good.

Deathstroke and Baraka compete in the Floor competition; both were snubbed by the judges from Oa
Deathstroke and Baraka compete in the Floor competition; both were snubbed by the judges from Oa
Baraka & Deathstroke compete in the floor competition; both were snubbed by the judges from Oa

The game’s concept is fairly obvious: characters from the Mortal Kombat series of games face off against heroes and villains from DC Comics’ stable in one-on-one fighting. At its heart, this is definitely a Mortal Kombat game. Very similar special moves and combos, along with a high pace to the matches makes this feel familiar to fans of the series. The addition of the DC Characters adds some freshness and allows for what is easily the best story to a MK game to date.

The story mode plays even better than it read , giving players a chance to try out most of the characters in a few battles each, with one branch going down the DC side of the story, and the other telling it from the MK point of view. Most of the DC characters play very differently from one another, and players of all styles will find one or two that become fairly instantaneous favorites. That can be the one frustration with the story modes- you start to get used to a character only to have them taken away from you too quickly. Luckily, the classic arcade-style tree is also present, with unique endings for every character from both universes.

The gameplay of Mortal Kombat games fits into a funny category. Button mashing gamers are just plain not going to do good here, but people wanting 50 hit combo chains are likewise going to be mostly disappointed. Real success requires basic understanding of the special moves, and can create a very frustrating experience for novice fighters, even at the easiest difficulty level. This is pretty standard fare for MK, again holding onto the style of the series.

Flash takes Superman for a spin
Flash takes Superman for a spin
Flash takes Superman for a spin

Channeling the power of the gods, or doing Pee Wee's Tequila dance? As a note, the short comic included with the "Kollector's Edition" of the game is an unfortunate tease. It would be great to see Tobias draw a full crossover miniseries, and hopefully the success of the game will lead both companies and the series co-creator to jump into something full length. The included extras DVD is pretty standard behind-the-scenes fare, and the special edition Alex Ross print on high quality cloth paper is expectedly gorgeous.

This game that had equal numbers of scoffers and champions prior to its release wound up paying off considerably. Whether playing single player or going head to head with friends (even online), the game offers the same style of MK fighting with the addition of some of DC’s best characters and a couple new interlude gameplay modes. With promise from Midway that more characters are on their way, the game should have enormous staying power. Their forum for the game has been taking suggestions and polls on who should come next from both universes, and the developers made the game with the specific ability to add downloadable characters. While this won’t outright replace the MK franchise, I can easily see this crossover becoming a franchise of its own. This is a fun game, and really, every fan of either side should experience it, if only to bear-hug Raiden with Captain Marvel and yell, “SHAZAM!” showing him the true power of the lightning.

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