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Mortal Kombat Review

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★★★★

Undergoing a hard-hitting nostalgic reinvention, the latest Mortal Kombat scrapes back from the doldrums of franchise mediocrity. It drops the superfluous appendages it has gained over the years and instead returns to the simpler, horrific delights that made it such an illicit 2D thrill for any child of the SNES era. Stripping back to a new reinvigorating handle of competitive fighting, this reboot has enough hardcore muscle to prove a welcome contender in the beat-‘em-up ring.

A familiar retread through past events, the story involves another tournament to decide the fate of Earth Realm, with some of gaming’s most colourful combatants duking it out for blood-drenched supremacy. There’s a huge amount of fan service here, with Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, et al never looking better, brutal animations at their most visceral and packing more punch than ever before.

The fundamentals of the gameplay are all familiar – the gory delights of 'Fatalities' make a welcome return – but the combat feels deliciously weighty, with a greater depth than the series’ past glories. However, a new super gauge adds a slick edge for mastery: charging the three-tier metre, you enhance moves, break through enemy combos and finally, with a fully charged bar, enter X-ray mode which deals out devastating, bone-cracking attacks.

It’s a fantastic, game-changing addition, matched with plenty of unlockable costumes, art and extra fatalities, making Mortal Kombat one of the best 2D fighters available. With enough complexity to encourage seasoned vets to toil away the hours, it also proves welcoming enough for casual gamers just looking for a little extra entrails in their fighter. Occasionally, the robust single-player may feel a little cheap (some move spamming can be too often required) but Mortal Kombat certainly won’t leave fans disappointed. So what are you waiting for? Get over here.

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