It’s time once again to test your might with the world’s unfriendliest bunch of inter-dimensional warriors. That’s right, there’s a new Mortal Kombat, and it offers more than just the button-mashing combos and power ups of the earlier titles. Yep, this time, you get two completely new mini-games to deepen your fatality-addiction, and a very rich single player story to play through. It’s a whole lotta game bundled into one awesome package.
So first off, we have the core game of Mortal Kombat: Deception, which is MK through and through. There are dozens of fighters, some new, some old – but all varied enough to offer up plenty of fighting strategy. This time around, there aren’t any out-of-balance characters to make the game feel cheap. Rather, everyone has three fighting styles, two hand-to-hand, and one a weapons style. And each style offers a huge variety of combos, strikes, defenses and speed. If you can’t find a fighter that meets your style, well, you must have one unimaginably unique style. The weakness in the list of fighters? Well, only about 30% of them are unlocked at first, and it’s up to you to unlock the rest. So to start the game, you may be stuck with someone who you really don’t like playing. I imagine Action Replay is going to do a booming business in downloads of fully unlocked profiles.
The arenas in MK: Deception add a new dimension to fighting for the MK franchise. Rather than being a stagnant stage for combat, the arenas now offer all sorts of nasty surprises. Knock a fighter through a window, and he may fall three stories before hitting pavement and taking major damage. Or, you might launch your opponent into a spiked grinder, dealing an instant fatality. While not as tactically rich as arenas in Dead of Alive 3 or the latest Virtua Fighter titles, they still add an extra element to the fighting.
Now that you’ve heard about the slightly-modified old stuff, it’s time for the new: Puzzle Kombat and Chess Kombat. First off, the Puzzle Kombat, which is worth the price of the game in and of itself. Basically, it’s a duelists’ version of Tetris. You have falling blocks of various colors, which you have to stack in an orderly way. When a breaker of a specific color falls, you use that to smash all the blocks of that particular color. Bombs and special powers offer all sorts of gameplay variety, keeping dueling players on their toes at all times. Each available fighter has his/her own special power, for example, you can turn your opponent’s stack invisible for a time, or you can jumble up all his nicely lined up rows of color. Whatever character you choose, Puzzle Kombat is an absolute blast, offline or on.
If Puzzle Kombat isn’t your thing, there’s also Chess Kombat, which is a modern version of Battle Chess. In Puzzle Kombat, you populate the chessboard with MK characters, and to conquer squares, it’s up to you to fight hand to hand between the characters. It’s a simple concept that’s great fun if you liked Battle Chess or Archon.
Along with the three main gameplay modes (which are best enjoyed in multiplayer, especially online) you can play through the single player story. It’s a pretty long campaign, which, well, you won’t pay much attention to the story, but you can unlock plenty of goodies by fighting your way through it.
Mortal Kombat: Deception for Xbox is practically three full games for the price of one. Seriously, you won’t find a better value in games these days. And for those who were addicted to Tetris, Puzzle Kombat is going to steal away many hours of your life. Mortal Kombat: Deception is a game that needs to be on every adult action gamer’s shelf.
- Gameplay: 8.9
- An excellent fighter mixed with a great single player and two additional games makes for a lot of fun
- Graphics: 8.5
- Highly polished visuals, lots of detail in both characters and environments
- Sound: 7
- Standard MK fare, which is to say slightly above average
- Replay: 9
- So many reasons to keep playing this game, it’ll be hard to not play it
- Overall: 8.8
- An all around great game