on May 15, 2012
As far as Mortal Kombat--or any fighting game, for that matter--goes, the unbelievable amount of content here is beautiful. Not only does this include everything in the Komplete Kollection for consoles (The original + All DLC for it), but it adds a massive "Bonus Challenge Tower" that includes Vita-specific minigames that are all very well-done, as well as Vita-specific control schemes to be used, not the least of which includes touchscreen-activated fatalities, which do not require any attack commands to perform, hence removing any accidental inputs that could potentially end the match with a jab instead of the fatality intended. There are neat little touches everywhere, and it's easy to see that the developers made sure people were going to like this, and Vita users in particular were going to like it, even if they already have the Komplete Kollection.
There are a few minor gripes, but one is not the graphics, which for some reason have gotten a lot of heat for not being PS3-level. First of all, while it does lose detail compared to the console versions, it isn't a catastrophic loss. The developers insisted throughout the development that the game would maintain a 60 fps frame rate, so was it really fair to ask for a flawless conversion onto such different hardware? If it weren't for the gorgeous console versions, no one would be saying a word about the graphics in this, but for comparison's sake, yes, the console versions do have more detail. But it's not worth even one loss of a star over.
Some may like it, some may hate it, but for obvious reasons, the lobbies from the console versions of the multiplayer are gone--thank God. Everyone who's been in those totally unmoderated lobbies knows exactly what I'm talking about when I say it's refreshing to *NEVER* have to see them, with all their glorious spamming of insensible trash that is still impossible to disable while you're looking for a match. We now have a simple matchmaking system for ranked and unranked games, private or public, either in teams or not in teams. It's simple and it works.
Touchscreen fatalities don't work quite as well as I had hoped, and I find myself reverting back to using the D-pad and attack commands. They're simply unforgiving, and a slightly crooked swipe with the finger can ruin your sequence. It definitely takes some getting used to, but unless you're horrible with those inputs on the D-pad, you probably won't find the feature very useful. It's a neat idea, but it's not implemented particularly well. The fatalities themselves are no different--you don't, for instance, swipe once to taze your opponent as Stryker, and then swipe an arc to blow their head off, which could have been neat. Instead, you just input the commands normally, the only difference being that there is no attack command required. Baraka's second fatality is still F, F, D, D, to perform it. Normally, it would include LK at the end of that. But because the touchscreen is also used to move and attack, it's easy to screw up.
Touchscreen movement and attacking is, as you would guess, totally useless for real play, and at the same time, hurts the usability of touchscreen fatalities, because it will cause you to move as you swipe, potentially ruining your distance. If they had simply disabled touchscreen movement and attacks and left it for fatalities and X-rays, this would have been fine, but they tried to do too much, and it doesn't work. Chances are, you'll go back to the regular button inputs to do such things.
It should be noted that microphone support is fully supported, so unless your opponent has his disabled, you can both chat by default without any kind of headset, since the Vita has a built-in microphone. Some may not like this, but I find it great. It adds some sociability in the game, and most people are polite when it's their actual voice, unlike online. It definitely adds something to the experience when you're both having fun with the game and you can hear each other's real-life cries every time some major upset happens. It's very cool, to say the least.
The bottom line: Even if you own Mortal Kombat for a console, the Vita edition is still worth it for what you get. There are extra costumes not even included in the Komplete Kollection, a whole lot of gameplay tweaks, a massive number of new Vita-specific challenges, better multiplayer support (without that God-awful spam box always present), and for those concerned, you *DO NOT* have to do the story all over again to get Cyber Sub-Zero or Quan Chi--everyone's there ahead of time, which was kind of the developers. Most of us are well past that phase, and it's good that they recognized that.
Very highly recommended for anyone who wants MK on their Vita; it's a near-perfect conversion with its own bells and whistles, and is especially worthwhile for people who are either new or who did not spend the cash on the DLC already. But even if you did spend cash on DLC, you still won't have everything this version has, and that makes up for it. Great stuff.