Subzero or Batman?
I’ve been a Mortal Kombat and DC Comics fan for a long time, so when I heard that Midway was creating Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, I was apprehensive but excited. There is something special about seeing Subzero square off against the Dark knight. It is one those things you wonder about as a kid: “Who do you think would win the fight, Batman or Subzero?” Well, we can now answer that question and, in fact, you can decide for yourself. Because it turns out, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Comics is a pretty decent fighting game. So, if you are a fan of either series, I think you will have a great time.
When you start the story mode you have two ways to play: the Mortal Kombat or DC perspective. The stories are identical whichever way you go, but if you don’t play both sides, you will miss out on what happens to other characters throughout the storyline, and you will not be able to unlock one of two characters (Darkseid or Shao Kahn). Players will be greeted with a ruined Metropolis as soon as they begin the game; apparently at the hands of Darkseid. You will then see Superman holding Darkseid by the throat. Soon after, he tries to escape to Apokolips through the portal, so Superman uses his heat vision to destroy him before he can escape, but he instead caused a disturbance, which merges the two worlds, bringing Mortal Kombat and the DC universes together. The disturbance also causes Darkseid and Shao Kahn to merge and create the ultimate evil knows as “Dark Kahn”. The objective of the story is to defeat Dark Kahn before the worlds collide.
The gameplay is a mixed bag. Many gamers will start by button mashing, but eventually they will have to learn some combos or else they will get nowhere. Also, MK vs. DC does not have the same fluidity as other next-gen fighters. I would recommend mastering at least one character or else you will not stand a chance while playing online. The gameplay pales in comparison to Soulcalibur IV or Dead or Alive 4, as the combat doesn’t flow. You cannot chain the combos very well and can easily see where a new combos start and where they end.
MK vs. DC does have some cool new features such as Klose Kombat, Free Fall Kombat, and Test Your Might. Klose Kombat is triggered by standing near an opponent and pressing RB/R1 or by pressing B/Circle and Y/Triangle simultaneously. In this mode, the camera zooms in to showcase the brutal beating. The player who activated Klose Kombat can perform a series of attacks, but the other player can evade or counter by matching what the other player pressed. Free Fall Kombat is a lot like Dead or Alive 4, you have the ability throw people off the edge, but unlike DOA 4, you are able to attack the opponent on the way down to the next level. It works the same as Klose Kombat but with a couple additions. You can become the aggressor by countering the attack; countering will cause players to switch positions. If a player lands enough attacks, they will be able to use a super move by pressing RB/R1; this move will inflict extra damage on the victim. The final feature is called Test Your Might. Again, this is similar to the other modes but it allows you to run the opponent through a building leading to another similar arena. At the end of the match, you can perform fatalities or brutalities depending on your character affiliation.
There are a couple other modes besides the single-player. There is an Arcade and Practice mode, as well as another mode called Kombo Challenge. In this mode, you must complete increasingly difficult combos; there are a total of ten for each character. There is also an online mode; in it, you can play ranked matches or player matches, except player stats will not count towards the ratings. The game also features a leaderboard.
When I heard that MK vs. DC was being built using the Unreal 3 engine I got excited. I was expecting the game to look fantastic. Instead, I was disappointed, especially with the backgrounds. They look plain and the colors look dull. Some levels are just copies of others, but they dress them up with different textures (Metropolis and Gotham City).
Character models look great; there is a lot of detail, especially in their costumes. Although, another thing that bothers me is some characters look like they are made of plastic. But, many games built using the Unreal 3 engine suffer from this problem. Some characters’ faces look weird; their facial expressions are poorly animated. However, MK characters don’t really suffer from this problem because most of them are masked. The most impressive aspect of the visuals is the damage modeling; characters bruise, bleed, and their clothes rip. This is something that many other games do not do, so it is very nice to see.
The sound is just OK. There is absolutely nothing memorable about it. Actually, the only thing you may take away is the horrendous voice work; at times it is laughable. Every time I sat through a cutscene, I found myself making fun of the voice acting. The dialog is also cheesy as well as stupid.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was an interesting experiment. The game is not a failure by any means, but you will find yourself asking for more or wanting to play other more fleshed out fighting games. The visuals were also a big letdown, especially the backgrounds, mainly because we’ve been spoiled by other visually appealing fighting games. If you are a fan of either Mortal Kombat or DC Comics, I would recommend you at least rent the game because this is the only game that offers this kind of roster.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.5 Graphics
The character models look really good, but they sometimes look like they’re made of plastic. The environments are not very detailed; they look bland. 3.8 Control
Controls are solid. They work well, but there isn’t much to them. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Terrible voice work. Otherwise, sound effects are all there. 3.5 Play Value
The game is fun and substantially improved by multiplayer functionality, but there are not many unlockables. 3.8 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.