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Mortal Kombat Vita Review

 

Remember a time when  fighting game fans had no portable fighters to play whatsoever? When the experience and the fun that console fighters provided was ONLY provided on those at-home consoles? When a “portable fighting game” consisted of schlepping a console with the game of choice to a friend’s house? With the advent of the 3DS and the Vita, those days are long gone.

Now, portable fighting offers the same quality gameplay and features as their console brethren. Super Street Fighter IV 3D for the Nintendo 3DS set the bar right at the 3DS’ launch, and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Vita kept the excellence going on Sony’s newest handheld. Now, NetherRealm Studios has answered the call, porting their excellent 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat to the PlayStation Vita. Does the game’s bloody and brilliant gameplay translate to the portable realm?

The answer is simple: Flawless Victory. Fatality.

Well, maybe not flawless, but it’s definitely a victory. Mortal Kombat Vita is a faithful port, with added touch controls and extra Vita-exclusive costumes and content. There is hardly any difference between playing this MK with a controller or with the Vita: the resemblance is uncanny. Anyone who’s previously played the 2011 Mortal Kombat will need basically zero preparation in order to play the Vita version.

Despite the familiarity, the Vita version offers plenty of new experiences and tasks to keep Mortal Kombat fans busy. 150-challenge Bonus Challenge Tower does a great job of mixing normal challenges with Vita-specific challenges, like the Fruit Ninja-esque “Test Your Slice” or the system-tilting gyroscope action of “Test Your Balance.” The touchscreen controls are cool, but like Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 before it I find myself using them far less than the normal controls. I will say that swiping the screen to hit a Fatality is much simpler than some of the button inputs can be.

What’s more impressive is the amount of content that made the trip from console to portable: everything. Every mode, every special move, every costume, everything is here. Most exciting for me is the so-cheesy-it’s-excellent story mode being included. Fighting games aren’t know for their stories, yet Mortal Kombat had one of the coolest stories in gaming last year. For those that haven’t played it, the story is a new look on the events of MK1 through MK3, separated into character-specific chapters.

Mortal Kombat Vita runs at a full 60 frames-per-second, making this version just as fast and smooth as its big brother. However, in order for the game to maintain it, something had to take a hit. That hit is in the graphics, as character models don’t look quite as crisp as they do on TV. Of course, if it were me having to decide what comes out, I’d choose the same thing. Sacrificing graphics in order to maintain core gameplay is a no-brainer, and luckily NetherRealm Studios made the smart decision here.

Mortal Kombat, in all of its gory glory, is now portable. It’s a beautiful thing, especially since the previous inferiority of portable fighters seems to have disappeared. The Vita has become a prime launching pad for portable fighters, first with Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Blazblue, now with Mortal Kombat. The fighting game resurgence has not only brought fighters to the forefront, it’s also taken advantage of the far more powerful portable offerings. If quality games like Mortal Kombat keep coming to portables, there’s no telling how long this fighting renaissance can go.

Mortal Kombat fans, rejoice! There’s finally a game worthy of the name on a system you can take anywhere. Mortal Kombat Vita takes everything the 2011 reboot offered and enhances it for one hell of an on-the-go fighting title. In the infancy of a system, must-play titles are key to its success, and Mortal Kombat is a must-play for the three month old Playstation Vita.



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