Mortal Kombat Review
Mortal Kombat Box Art
System: PS Vita
Dev: NetherRealm Studios
Pub: Warner Bros.
Release: May 1, 2012
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: 544p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Violence

One of the controversies surrounding this game is the fact that the Australian ratings board would not accept the version, even with the claim for the publisher that the smaller screen tones down the impact of the fatalities. I will have to take sides with Warner Bros. on this one, as it did seem less graphic. Not that anything has been changed in the executions, but seeing it on a five-inch screen rather than a fifty-inch seems to lessen the effect.

Everything sounds just as good on the portable version, though I suggest donning your noise canceling headphones if you want to hear every bone snap and crunch as you perform those X-Ray attacks. The voice work is top-notch, and each character delivers a believable performance, except Shao Kahn, who for some reason just doesn't sound imposing enough to make his underlings tremble at his feet. The action commentary is as good as it's always been, and the impact sound effects still resonate, making you feel the pain as you hear it.

Mortal Kombat Screenshot

Online battles have a couple of offerings, with ranked and unranked matches using a single combatant or tag team, user statistics, and a leaderboard to check out. Since this was a pre-release review, the player list was sparse, but the couple of matches I did partake in ran lag-free, making it a great way to strut your skills against friends and strangers remotely; you simply can't taunt them afterwards.

If you're looking for even more content, you'll be happy to know that the original Challenge Tower is included, as well a new hundred-and-fifty-stage Bonus Challenge Tower for the Vita. Many of these stages use the alternate control schemes of the system. As you would expect, they start nice and easy, but eventually make you want to rip your hair out. Also, every match or challenge will reward you with Kurrency, which can be spent in the Krypt on new fatalities, alternate costumes (with the Vita version again providing exclusive extras), and, of course, music and concept art, which can be viewed along with character bios in the Nekropolis.


Picking up Mortal Kombat for the Vita should be a no-brainer for any fan who's purchased the portable, even if they already have a console copy. The added character roster, new costumes, and extra Challenge Tower should be enough to sway those on the fence. But remember that it's Kombat on the go, so you can show off those fatalities anywhere, and all this content is a mere forty dollars—twenty bucks less than the barebones console copy at its launch—making an already stellar game an unbelievable bargain.

Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: May 1, 2012

Great detailing and varied environments, as well as awesome cinematics. The in-game character models are a little lackluster.
Controls are smooth and responsive, and some (but not all) of the new Vita controls are nice additions.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Really nice all-around music and effects. They don't sound great out of the Vita's speakers though, so wear some headphones.
Play Value
So much content for a handheld game price, you'll feel like you're ripping off Warner Bros.
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Taking advantage of the handheld's technology, Mortal Kombat delivers the ultimate on-the-go fighting experience, providing online connectivity, two Challenge Towers–one all-new!—and exclusive game modes designed specifically for the PlayStation Vita system.
  • Mortal Kombat PS Vita makes the franchise more accessible than ever before. Players can now get their fighting fix wherever they go via ad hoc or WiFi connection.
  • Warriors, environments, and fatalities are as brutal as ever on the PS Vita's 5-inch OLED touchscreen. From internal organs to the most "realistic" blood effects, Kombat looks as good as ever.
  • Fatalities return to their original violent form as Mortal Kombat for PS Vita with Touchscreen Fatalities. The game also features the popular X-Ray move which gives fans a cringe-worthy "inside" look at the internal damage their favorite fighter takes.
  • All the classic warriors, including Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Raiden, Kung Lao, Kitana, Mileena, Sonya Blade, and Jax, as well as Kratos, the God of War, and DLC favorites Skarlet, Kenshi, Rain, and Freddy Krueger.

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