This week’s review sees me battle it out in the guise of some of the most iconic superheroes and villains of our time, each of which have been cherry picked by NetherRealm Studios from the vast array of DC Comics inhabitants.
On the surface of things, this game has all the ingredients it needs to not only be a truly great fighting game, but a great game in general and with the legendary NetherRealm Studios at the helm I had high hopes for this game. Neather Realm is a fairly new studio, but they are the creators of the immensely excellent Mortal Kombat from 2011, the best game in the Mortal Kombat series since the MKIII (in my opinion).
Midway were the original gods of fighting games, creators of the Mortal Combat series that has lasted multiple gaming generations, so who better would NetherRealm studios be made up from than a bought out and rebranded Midway, courtesy of WB Games. Even Ed Boon, the original director of all the other Mortal Kombat games is still in charge!
Add into the mix of DC Comics legends, a legendary development team renowned for their fighting game expertise, the well proved Unreal Engine 3 powering the game its self, not for getting the assistance of legendary comic writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti an no doubt countless others and you already have a “shut up and take my money” situation for any DC Comics or MK fan.
I’m not the biggest DC fan ever, sure I enjoy a few of the movies, maybe a few of the cartoons when I was younger and personally I’ve never been one for comics or graphic novels, but that doesn’t diminish from the fact that I want to battle Superman against The Flash! And now… I can do just that in the setting of Metropolis, Arkham City, Wayne Manor and more!
Much like both the Mortal Kombat series and the MK Vs DC Universe title, this game features a cinematic campaign over the old school ladder progression system often favoured by fighting games. This is a great way to explain back stories, bring in a mixture of different characters and really explore what the game world has to offer and to be honest, I’m surprised more fighting games hadn’t thought of this format sooner as it provides a much more engrossing and longer gameplay experience overall.
I don’t want to spoil much, if any of the major story lines because unlike a lot of fighting games, the story is actually really enjoyable, playing out like a movie of its own at the best points. Metropolis is gone, millions are dead and Superman has vanished. The Joker is the main suspect and from that point on even the good guys start to lose their cool.
That is of course until events skip over to a parallel universe! Where you’ll find everyone from the Justice League, Bane, Lex Luthor, alternate universe doubles of Batman, The Jokers and more… but there city hasn’t been destroyed, yet and things don’t take long to escalate into a true to DC and even Mortal Kombat style fight for the “one” to save the earth… but who will it be, best fight each other and figure that one out I guess.
Graphics on this game will simply blow your mind, fans of the comics are going to adore this game and everything from the level design, to the characters and the animation is perfectly polished and in fairness, I doubt fans of a DC series would accept anything less.
Yet as good as the levels look there is still plenty of temptation to smash them to oblivion as you right it out against your foe, trashing the level with your enemy, but even using your environment as a weapon, with crazy things like the giant robot on Striker’s Island getting involved.
Levels are also cleverly multi-tiered too and a well-placed kick or upper cut and send your enemy blasting through the roof or wall into another section and keep the fight going, which only adds to the already very cool comic book feel.
The game features pick up and play gameplay that you could mash your way through on easier settings but it’s no without refinement too and I’d go as far as saying “easy to learn, difficult to master”. Each character has their own unique special ability, but you’ll also be treated to cinematic super movies, many of which are far more over the top that you could ever imagine.
While there is enough content in the main story to keep you entertained for many hours, the game also features a fairly standard online mode, but the bonus here is that you can play online to unlock skins, abilities and other little bonuses. There is Battle mode, which offers up the classic ladder climb format but with little variants to keep things fresh and challenging. S.T.A.R. Labs offers mission based challenges to keep you on your toes, although many of these I found to become impossible to complete, definitely a challenge for the more committed gamer, in fact you’ll have to be mental to try complete most of them, but that’s just my opinion.
What we have here then is Mortal Kombat 2011, with DC characters in a richer universe, not to mention a parallel universe! A much more detailed story set in a universe people are more familiar with that the one in MK (DC Universe), some very cool level design and the fatalities removed sorry fans of MK, no more ripping out spines in this game.
Put simply, if you loved Mortal Kombat (any of them), then you’ll love this game. If you love a good fighting game, you’ll love this game. If you love DC Comics based games, you’ll love this game and if you’re a fan of all three… you need this game in your life. Not only is this better than MK it’s also in my opinion the best new fighting game in years.