Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Finished Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe (Review)

*This one has no spoilers, as there's no real story to bother spoiling.

I have nearly thirty years of gaming enthusiasm under my belt, so there aren't many avenues of gaming where I could be called a noob. I have some experience in most video game genres outside of a few niches like RTS and Hardcore Simulators. Fighting Games is a genre that I once excelled in, but have since atrophied into complete noobness.

When I was a kid, I sat at the arcade perfecting Liu Kang's Animality. I believed people when they said there were things like "Sexalities" hidden somewhere in Mortal Kombat 3. I can still recite the Blood Code for Mortal Kombat on the Genesis from memory. Needless to say I was big on Mortal Kombat when I was a kid, but that was when I was a kid.

As an adult with more games than time to play them, I've backburnered fighting games in favor of less demanding genres like RPG and FPS. It was only due to Xbox Live's Ultimate Game Sale that I ever bought Mortal Kombat Vs. DCU in the first place, so imagine my surprise when I started it up and suddenly couldn't stop.

Last week I finished DMC: Devil May Cry, and I started installing Spec Ops: The Line with the idea that I could finish it before Gears of War and Army of Two came out later this month. Then a friend of mine called, and not wanting to miss story elements of Spec Ops, I decided to load up my Games On Demand version of MKVSDCU and started screwing around while shooting the proverbial poop... and I liked it.

As I've made abundantly clear by now, I'm a noob when it comes to fighting games. I suck at combos, and frequently devolve into one of those horrible special power spammers. Sub-Zero + Slide + Uppercut = Noob Win. So don't expect any real deep insider knowledge, I'm just going to ramble about how the game felt to my uneducated ass. I seriously never expected to be writing this article, I didn't even take notes while I played the game. So it's going to be a bit rougher than my usual dribble. (but no less long-winded.)

The story in MKVSDCU is pretty generic. Some dudes went into a portal, and it somehow caused the two universes to start merging together. Yeah, it's weak, but who the hell cares? Raiden fights Superman, that's all you need to know.

You can choose which side to play as, Mortal Kombat or DCU, and play through seven chapters as seven different fighters. Unfortunately, you can't choose which fighters you're going to play as in Story Mode, so you occasionally wind up with a character that doesn't work for you, and that's frustrating. The frustration is short lived, however, as the super badass hulking hero that just kicked your ass seems to grow weaker with each continue, eventually just standing there drooling on himself while you kick him in the balls repeatedly. I like that. It provides a challenge for those people who don't suck rotten eggs, and it allows the rest of us to progress without running into a permanent brick wall.

I was able to play through all fourteen chapters in about four days, and I don't put long hours into gaming lately. Plus, I would just stop playing whenever I started to feel my nerd rage boiling up. I am grateful that the difficulty scales down for noobs like myself, but it certainly feels like some fights are designed for you to lose no matter what. Maybe if I played all the time I could go undefeated, but I was surprised to see the Green Lantern nearly flawless me while I struggled to block his constant onslaught of green hammers and fists.

I'd also recommend playing the Mortal Kombat side before the DCU side, it seems like the story flows better that way. I know I said the story was crap and irrelevant, but if you're going to go through it, might as well make it as good of an experience as you can.

For someone who rarely plays fighting games, I found MKVSDCU to be a really good experience. I have played the Mortal Kombat reboot, and I can definitely see some of the game design ideas that were born in MKVSDCU and carried over to Mortal Kombat. So if you enjoyed the reboot, I think it's safe to suggest that you'll enjoy MKVSDCU. Even if you're not huge into fighting games, the variety of characters, the scaling difficulty, and beautiful stages make the game worth the five to fifteen dollars it'll cost to pick up.