Video Game Review – Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe (PS3)

I’ve finally gotten around to playing another genre video game, after a load of non-genre games I’ve reviewed elsewhere. So, I have a review of a game that might make for fodder for the Crossover site – Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

General Information

Title: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Midway Games
Systems: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release Date: November 16th, 2008
Genre: Fighting Game

Available from (PS3, Xbox 360)

The Premise

Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips have once again tried to invade Earth and were repulsed. As Darkseid attempts to retreat in a Boom Tube, his Mother Box is damaged by Superman’s Heat Vision, causing the Boom Tube to collapse, presumably sending Darkseid into the space between dimensions…


Shao Kahn and the forces of the Netherrealm have been repulsed once again in their attempts to conquer Earth Realm. As Kahn and Shang Tsung attempt to withdraw, Tsung deserts him, and Kahn’s portal is disrupted by the lightning of the thunder god, Raiden, presumably sending Darkseid into the space between realms…

Darkseid and Shao Kahn end up merging into an entity called Dark Kahn. When their essenses join, their respective universes are also drawn togeather. Now, fighters from Earthrealm and the Netherrealm and the heroes and villains of Earth must do battle to restore their universes and save them both from this new Crisis that could destroy them both!

The High Points

The two parts of story mode mech together pretty well, and do a good job of making the player want to go through twice to get the whole picture. Additionally, the fact that both endings are Correct makes for a nice touch, though the DC Universe conclusion, Shao Kahn getting sent into the Phantom Zone, is a little better.

The story mode in general, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey, has a fairly well done story, and it makes for a decent warm-up for the arcade mode. While the game’s Arcade mode doesn’t get as off the wall as the same mode in other games in the series, it is fun to play.

Further, the game takes advantage of the license to add mechanics from other fighting games and earlier Mortal Kombat games and then tweak them to add something new. For example, Mortal Kombat 3 had multi-part stages, and the Dead or Alive games brought the concept into the 3D realm. MK vs. DCU takes this another step further, by having you either fighting in mid-air or by being able to ram opponents through, say, a building while going to the next portion of the environment.

The Low Points

While the Mortal Kombat side of the storyline is fairly well written, the DC side isn’t written as well, particularly with the character of Catwoman. The movement animations for the fighters are not very fluid (which admittedly is a trait that is common for the Mortal Kombat series, but still something that should be called out).

While people are still playing the game online, all matches are essentially unranked and set up through user-created lobbies, meaning that a new player can’t tell if the guy he’s facing in a “Newbs Only” lobby is another inexperienced player, or a veteran looking for easy wins.

Also, the game is toned down to a Teen, at least in the US release. This means that the absurd blood and gore that made the Mortal Kombat series infamous is toned down. Even some of the fatalities used by the DC Universe villains are toned down a bit – originally The Joker was supposed to shoot his opponent in the head, but now he doesn’t.

Content Notes

This game was rated Teen by the ESRB. There is some blood spray in combat, and the characters clothing is visibly damaged and they become visibly bruised as the fight goes on.

Other then that, all female character Gainax during their cutscenes, and Catwoman’s outfit has Absolute Cleavage.

The Scores

Originality: Crossover fighting games have happened before, usually involving Capcom. This isn’t really that different. 3 out of 6.

Story: The story here isn’t totally original – it’s essentially a Crisis story, and one that isn’t up to the standards set by earlier Crisis stories. However, it isn’t terrible. 3 out of 6.

Graphics: The game looks pretty good. The game runs on Unreal Engine 3, which has lead to quality visuals in the past. The stages themselves are some of the nicest in the Mortal Kombat series and the bruises and tears on characters outfits look good. 5 out of 6.

Sound: The sound is decent. Blows sound meaty, and the called attacks still sound good – I would presume they got Ed Boon back in the studio to re-record audio samples for “C’mere” and “Get Over Here”. 5 out of 6.

Playability: The game plays very well, the controls are good. Special moves are much simpler then moves in other fighting games (Sub-Zero’s freeze attack’s motion is Down and Forward, instead of a Quarter Circle Forward), making them easier to pull off, in turn making the game a little more accessible. That said, I don’t necessarily find the fighting “deep”, compared to the Street Fighter, King of Fighters or BlazBlue series. 4 out of 6.

Immersion: It’s a fighting game – it’s not very by the very nature of the genre. 2 out of 6.

Overall: This is a fun fighting game, and a worthy successor to the Mortal Kombat series. However, this won’t be most players main fighting game any time soon. 4 out of 6.

In Total, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe gets 26 out of 42.