Mortal Kombat is something of a curiosity - a fighting game series that is almost more interested in its convoluted mythology than it is in crafting a rich, balanced fighting mechanic. However, with the series having proven itself thanks to an inspiring return to form on home consoles last year, the question here is how well the game survives transition to the handheld format.
Thankfully, the answer is rather well. The developers have wisely ignored temptation to fiddle with the game’s major controls in any misplaced effort to incorporate the Vita’s touchscreen capabilities. In fact, the only noteworthy alterations are the ability to activate super-moves by tapping a gauge on the screen and, similarly, an option to perform the series' trademark Fatalities using touch controls.
Overall, the core kombat remains a swift and thrilling experience, with fantastically modelled 3-D characters battling it out on a 2-D plane. It's far from the most challenging fighting game but it does require some small amount of strategy to win later battles. More bloodthirsty players will also be pleased to know there has been no toning down of content - all the delightfully sickening x-ray close-ups of broken bones and shattered cartilage remain in place.
The added functions of the Vita really come into play in a series of added mini-games, designed exclusively for this release. These will test your ability to balance above lethal pits, deflect incoming attacks with swipes or pokes at the screen, or other quirky ways to test your might that utilise the Vita’s functions.
That added content, plus literally hundreds of unlockable items ranging from background art to music to alternate costumes, and every kombatant from the PS3 and Xbox 360 releases (including DLC characters, Kratos from God of War and Freddy Kruger), make this the definitive version to own.