Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition – PC
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios, High Voltage Software
Release Date: Jul 3, 2013
Reviewed by Dean Engle
Review Score: 3 of 5
The Mortal Kombat franchise had become a convoluted mess of genres and terrible games right up until the release of MK9 over two years ago, and later with the release of Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition in February 2012. Finally, PC owners get the entirety of this great fighting game in one package now that the Komplete Edition has finally come to PC. Although there’s no denying Mortal Kombat is a great game, a flawed PC port over two years later may not be enough to justify a purchase of this product even if it does include all the DLC.
Instead of focusing on the bad, let’s start off with the good. Mortal Kombat is an awesome game. It’s easily one of the best fighting games of the past decade and does an exceptional job of revitalizing one of the best, most recognizable fighting game franchises in history. Mortal Kombat captures everything that made the old games great while doing a fantastic job of bring those mechanics to the modern era. Fans of old Mortal Kombat games won’t be disappointed when they find that this game plays exactly how they expect a Mortal Kombat game to play. Take into account the addition of unique game modes to keep things new and exciting after dozens of hours, and it’s obvious to see that Mortal Kombat is great return to form for a decaying franchise.
One of the most impressive new modes is the Challenge Tower that introduces 300 mini games and fights that will require players to do things like fight without arms, fight without heads, or fight with the world upside down. It’s is a great new addition that gives a much needed change of pace and context to fights that can get stale in any fighting game that has a lackluster story mode and barebones ladder mode. Thankfully, Mortal Kombat even delivers a story mode that outclasses all fighting game story modes before it. It delivers on the expectations of fans, while also doing a great job introducing newcomers to the over complicated mess that is the Mortal Kombat fiction.
The Story Mode starts off at the end of Mortal Kombat 3 and begins a series of events that allows what is essentially a retelling of the entire story from the first three Mortal Kombat games (Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Mortal Kombat 3) with some significant variations to the story. Although it puts the developer in an odd situation for future Mortal Kombat stories, this game’s story couldn’t have been better at taking such a ridiculous story and making it easily accessible for everyone. I won’t get too into specifics of what actually plays out over the course of the game, but I will say the way it is delivered is a large reason why the story is so good. Instead of dropping in and out of fights with loading screens and cutscenes, Mortal Kombat seamlessly transitions from a cutscene to a battle with absolutely no loading screen. This makes the game flow naturally with story that seems directly relevant to the fights rather than being some kind of tact on narrative with no relation to the gameplay. This brings me to the first problem with Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition on the PC.
Whenever a fight ends there is a video file that plays to continue the story before a new fight begins. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between the video file and the game engine when playing any other version of Mortal Kombat, but unfortunately Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition on the PC has a terrible issue with compression on the video files that make the audio horribly tinny and the video extremely pixelated. With a story that’s so great with seamless transitions from fights to cut scenes, it’s a shame that the compression on the video files is almost unbearable. It’s not unplayable by any stretch, but it does make the story much worse than it would otherwise be. Hopefully this problem is brought to the developer’s attention and can be easily fixed with a patch, but as of the writing of this review there doesn’t seem to be any fix in sight.
With a Story Mode as crippled as this version, there better be a thriving online community to play against. Unfortunately, with the game being over two years old, there’s very few people playing online, and those who are playing already know exactly what they are doing. It’s going to be extremely hard for anyone who hasn’t already played another version of this game to get into playing against other people. The Training Mode is pretty good at teaching the basics, but just like all other fighting games there’s nothing like practice against real human opponents. So even though I praised the Challenge Tower earlier in the review, that mode is only a great addition to the game if the other modes are as intended. As it stands, the Challenge Tower is the only mode that meets the standards the previous versions of the game has set.
Even though Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition contains a large amount of high quality DLC including skins, characters, fatalities, and more, it’s hard to recommend it with all the problems this version seems to have. I don’t doubt that there will be a fix for the Story Mode sometime down the road, and it’s impossible to tell how the online community will pan out in the future. So it’s not as if this version of the game is completely worthless, but it’s definitely not the best version out there. The bottom line is that Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition for PC is a flawed version of an otherwise fantastic game.