After Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm is defeated by
Raiden's forces of light, Raiden destroys Kahn by blasting him through a
portal. At exactly the same time on Earth, Superman stops Darkseid's
Apokoliptian invasion by blasting Darkseid with his heat vision as he enters a
portal. These acts do not destroy either of them, but merges them into Dark
Kahn, and causes the DC and Mortal Kombat universes to merge.
As the worlds merge, the characters' abilities fluctuate, causing violent
"rage" outbreaks that are actually the feelings of Dark Kahn being
fused into the characters from afar. Because of this, certain characters either
gain strength or vulnerability. This allows things such as the possibility of
Superman being defeated due to his vulnerability to magic, and giving the Joker
the ability to fight Raiden. With each world thinking that the other is
responsible for the merger, they fight each other in Mortal Kombat.
Kombat franchise has stayed to itself for 16 years now, a lone wolf among
the pack of more "social" fighting game franchises if you will. After the
lackluster MK: Armageddon, Midway needed
something "big" to re-ignite the franchise. Well,
it really doesn't get much bigger than the likes of Superman & Batman,
so when Midway
got the opportunity to collaborate with DC, they took it (and they took it fast). Midway was also heading towards bankruptcy at that time
and had high hopes for MK vs DC to pull them out of their financial
slump. Alas, MK vs DC Universe wasn't in development for very long
at all, which unfortunately shows through quite clearly in the final product.
Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe, you can play through two separate
storylines in the game, one from the MK side and one from the DC side. 11 of Mortal
Kombat's biggest names meet 11 of DC's most recognizable super
heroes & villains, and overall, the developers made good (yet obvious) choices for the roster. Mortal Kombat
characters were slightly re-designed this time around and arguably look better
than in the most recent prequels. DC characters look like they should, proudly
sporting their bright, skin-tight spandex and original attire, but they also appear slightly out of place
when fighting against the MK combatants... just to state the obvious.
MK vs DC Universe features large, decently-rendered character models
which look impressive overall, but
they also appear a bit too "plasticy" for their own good. Ripped
clothing and physical damage on character's bodies is also done well, but special
effects, lighting effects, hair, and animation seems to be stuck in the last-gen. The
multi-tiered stages have some considerable depth, but visually, most backgrounds lack
polish and have an overall blurry appearance to them. In short, MK vs DC's visuals
look rushed and rough around the edges, even at the highest graphics setting (1080p).
Not so fast now... are ya?
Boon and the Midway dev-team opted to completely revamp the fighting system
for MK's next-gen debut... yet again.
The headlining features of this gameplay engine include: Klose Kombat,
Freefall Kombat and stage interaction. Klose Kombat is a mode that players can initiate
during gameplay, which pulls in the camera in close and has its own
separate fighting mechanics. Klose Kombat has its moments of looking cool, but
it's more of a lucky guessing game than
it is an effective fighting game mechanic. Freefall Kombat is a sequence
initiated when a player is kicked or thrown off of a stage, as both
fighters continue fighting on the long fall downward. Although it's a good idea in theory, the fighting
mechanics for Freefall Kombat are also a gimmicky guessing game, and it's visually a bit
too cinematic for it's own good. Characters appear to be on a "2D track" as they're falling downwards and
overall the effect could've been better animated, but there are some cool
character-specific animations to be seen.
feature breakable walls... but unfortunately, every character
uses the same animations for these sequences, so it gets old pretty
Breakers add some variety to the gameplay but, in my opinion, they end up being an annoyance
more than anything else. The newly introduced Rage Mode allows characters to
walk through any attack without being stunned and grants them the ability
to break their opponent's guard (and damage them easily). Rage Mode is actually pretty
cheap and it's yet another
more-annoying-than-enjoyable gameplay mechanic... it really just comes off as an
afterthought, to be honest. In hindsight, Midway always seems to
do something "drastic" to the gameplay system with every new MK
game, but a truly good fighting game system shouldn't have to change that much to bring the
Should've saw that one
MK vs DC Universe is a 3D fighting game, it actually plays more 2D
than anything else. You use the d-pad to move
in 2D, and holding L2 will allow you to move in 3D, or sidestep. Like earlier 3D
iterations of Mortal Kombat, sidestepping in this game feels slow and unless you're sidestepping a
projectile, it isn't very effective during gameplay. After playing the likes of Tekken 6 & Soul Calibur 4, any 3D fighting game player would expect the sidestepping game to be a lot
smoother, faster, and more rewarding.
Holding down L2 to move in 3D is very awkward to say the least, and players
are more rewarded when sticking to 2D plane anyway (which is not how
3D fighting games are played these days). Someone please tell Ed Boon it's not
The control scheme overall is an odd mix of 2D and 3D, and really doesn't
do a whole lot of justice to either gameplay style. At least "running" has
returned, but it's certainly not enough to save
MK vs DC's unforgivably slow and stiff gameplay system. If that's not
enough for you to steer clear, MK vs DC is also terribly unbalanced and
is even plagued with unfixed gameplay glitches and infinite combos.
As you might've expected, character-specific fatalities have returned,
well...kind of. To get a "T for teen" rating, MK's
trademark bloody & gory finishing moves have been toned down significantly, which
didn't have to be a bad thing. Unfortunately, many finishers fail to be creative
or even the least bit entertaining. More than not, the fatalities of MK vs DC
offer a cheap laugh at best, and many are poorly executed, featuring last-gen animations and
graphical effects. Adding insult to injury, every character starts off their finisher
in the exact same fashion... "throwing up their arms and yelling "Uuuaarrrrrrgggh!"
Then they do something silly to beat up their helpless opponent and afterwards, they just stand
there, as if they're waiting for applause. (And I don't hear anyone clapping....
only crickets chirping.)
The truth is... old-school fighting game
gimmicks, such as fatalities, have little relevance in this next generation of
technical, more sophisticated fighting games. And comparatively
to the top 3D (and 2D) fighting games in recent years, MK vs DC falls
very short on a technical level and a "fun" level. Much like the overall pace
of the game, the combo system is sluggish and unrefined. More effort was obviously
put into the Story Mode than the actual gameplay system, and thus, hardcore
fighting game players have nothing else to do but scoff at MK vs DC Universe. The Story Mode
should appeal to casual gamers and is
considerably long & drawn-out, but also has its moments of being dull, repetitive, and evoking unintended laughter at times.
The voice acting actually is pretty solid for the most part, but unfortunately you have to actually
play the game to further advance the Story Mode... which feels like a chore
since the fighting mechanics aren't very fun.
One of my biggest (and returning) gripes about the "3D era" of Mortal
Kombat games is the animation. Lo and behold, nearly all characters
in MK vs DC have their fair share of "stiff" moments. Non-martial arts
enthusiasts might not catch the stiffness, but to those of
us that know what "good technique" is, MK VS DC's fighters
seriously look like they need to take a few karate lessons.
There are a few cool looking
moves and specials here or there, but overall, the fighters of MK vs DC
fight pretty sloppily, and offer very little in the way of creating an
impressive-looking battle. Well, at least characters have stiff animations to go
along with the stiff gameplay,
so it all kinda works out in the end... (yeah, just kidding). Also worth pointing out,
the running animation (which awkwardly occurs automatically after random moves) looks
absolutely terrible... I swear it's one of the goofiest-looking
running animations I've ever seen in a video game. Horrible.
Other flaws worth mentioning? I've got plenty. How about NO ALTERNATE COSTUMES.... Period.
Each character has their default color and a generic palette swap... that's it!
Alternate costumes would've suited this game nicely, but Midway
really stiffed the fans on that one (no wonder they went bankrupt! Ouch!).
Another stupid thing I noticed is during Arcade Mode, if you hit circle (on Playstation
controller) you'll automatically be sent back to the Main Menu?
Uhh... that's just sloppy game design right there. Character endings in
Arcade Mode are comprised of onelonely artwork with some text
& narration... even though the artwork is well done, obviously not much
effort was put into the endings. The combo information
displayed on screen also looks like it's ripped straight from a crappy PowerPoint
project... yet another detail that appears to be an afterthought.
Finally, some of the 3D
rendering really doesn't cut it for a next-gen title... hair and skin looks like
"plastic," and some characters just
look plain funny from certain angles. For example, Sonya seems to have
unfortunately acquired a bit of "man face" in addition to the rare disease known as "fish
lips". And can someone tell me why the faces of Mortal Kombat characters change
in every damn game? Hmmm... I'm guessing the MK characters need to have surgical facial reconstruction after
all those fatalities and such? I get it.
You'd be better off calling MK
vs DC Universe "entertainment" rather than calling it a fighting game. It's true, most of us have been spoiled with better fighting
games in the recent past,
both 2D and 3D. It's not being biased, it's just knowing what a
good fighting game engine is. It's also true that most people (casual
gamers) don't know the difference. People like that will simply look at the iconic characters
in MK vs DC, then mindlessly clap their hands like fat children
when they see an ice cream truck.
"YAY...ONE BATMAN FUDGE BAR PLEASE...*Snort*..."
MK vs DC seems like it can't really make up
its mind whether it wants
to be 2D or 3D... and either way, it sucks.
While most serious fighting game
players will avoid this game like the plague, this is a semi-acceptable package
for the casual fighting game player. I just hope casual
fighting game players realize there are far superior, far
more mentally stimulating fighting games that they could be playing in 2008.
On a side note, MK
vs DC actually kind of gives 3D fighting games a bad rap since it's such a high
profile title. It may even mislead some "beginner/casual" fighting
game players into thinking that all 3D fighting games are this slow, and
stick to a 2D plane most of the time.
Yeah... then, those same noob players try out the latest Soul Calibur or Tekken, thinking they can just
do random "tap tap" combinations, not sidestep, not
worry about range, and win...
which of course will never work.
DC fans, your favorite characters are most likely here, so this game was
made for you (and to pull Midway out of its financial slump). So "as a
fan-service," you might say MK vs DC actually delivers. However, the
character selection is on the small side and character movesets aren't very
deep. The trademark special moves that you'd expect are intact, but many
characters also share similar mannerisms & moves at times... which is
slightly disappointing, and yet another flaw that has plagued the MK series over
the last decade or so.
In closing, MK vs DC Universe is not a terrible game, but it is a terrible fighting
stiff animation might pass for a overrated, mainstream 3D action platformer, but fighting games in the last
couple of years have really raised the bar. It's actually hard for me to do as
much as to watch this game after playing fighting games with superior animation
& gameplay (like Tekken 6, Soul Calibur 4 & Street Fighter 4).
I'm not a fanboy, I'm just stating the obvious. ~TFG