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Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (Xbox 360)

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17 Reviews
  • Story Mode is a good Single Player Option
  • Good fun
  • There are now better sequels on the market
  • Gimmick add-ons slow down play
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    17 Reviews
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      23.10.2014 21:36

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      • "Good fun"
      • "Solid roster"
      • "Story Mode is a good Single Player Option"

      Disadvantages

      • "There are now better sequels on the market"
      • "Gimmick add-ons slow down play"
      • "Usual MK issues - lack of polish"

      Fans of both sides will enjoy it, but it is far from perfect

      Every now and again the world of videogames throws you a curveball. It’s hard to imagine anyone had predicted a crossover the likes of Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe prior to its unveiling. Its premise was the kind of joke that got thrown around when rival 2D fighting game company Capcom unleashed X-Men Vs. Streetfighter in the 1990s. There was no real demand, even on the internet, to see Batman fight Liu Kang or Superman take a test of strength against Jax and his bionic arms. The 2 sets of characters didn’t seem to sit right together at all, with Mortal Kombat’s pseudo-Oriental mysticism and over the top violence not merging with DC, who are owned by Warner Bros., mainstays like Superman and Wonder Woman. However, it did combine Mortal Kombat, Superheroes and a fighting game, all of which are things I am notably a sucker for, so I decided to give it a shot.

      Not only was the game a surprise in terms of subject matter, but also because the Mortal Kombat series had finally seemed to reach its conclusion with Mortal Kombat Armageddon. It was a rehashing of a tired engine that’s only real appeal was its obscenely large roster. I had been a long suffering fan of the series, owning at least one version of every game in the series despite the fact there wasn’t a truly good one since Mortal Kombat 2, and even I wasn’t expecting this utterly bizarre change of direction for the franchise, especially for its first outing on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

      The game is, as with the majority of Mortal Kombat games, a 1-on-1 fighting game where the goal is to deplete your opponent’s health bar with a variety of punches, kicks, throws and special moves in a Best out of 3 Rounds contest. The 2 factors that set MK out from its contemporaries were its over the top gore and ‘Fatality’ moves, allowing you to end the fight by performing a lethal attack on your foe (often bringing about the aforementioned over the top gore)

      In many respects, MKvsDC is simply a Mortal Kombat game. The gore has been turned down, and the Fatalities are less savage, but it follows the same principles. The game does employ a new engine, but it isn’t a million miles away from the game’s immediate predecessors Armageddon, Deception and Deadly Alliance – this turns out for good and bad. The good is that it features a fairly simple control system, utilising the 4 Face buttons on the pad for 2 punches and 2 kicks each, with blocking achieved by the R trigger and the various special moves performed by pressing buttons in conjunction with directional presses of the D-Pad. The game is, for most of the time, a 2D fighter, but it does have a 3D element in the form of using the Analogue stick to sidestep attacks to get the jump on your foes.

      In 2008 Midway were still very much in denial about Super Moves, which became the norm in fighting games in the late 1990s, but they have spiced up the game with the addition of a few new features. The first of which is ‘Close Combat’ which allows you to grab your opponent and duel it out directly, as they try to second-guess what button you will use to attack, the second is ‘transitional combat’ where you can knock an opponent into another area of the level but continue to fight in mid-air and RAGE mode, which makes you able to walk through attacks (if still sustaining damage) and enhances your attacking capabilities. These vary in terms of quality. Close combat is something of a groan inducer, serving no purpose other than killing a fight’s pace, and RAGE mode still just seems like avoiding Super moves for the sake of trying to be different. The ability to fight mid-transition of stage is a nice touch though.

      As with most recent Mortal Kombat titles, these gimmicks are basically included to mask the fact that the core engine of the game isn’t that great. That isn’t to say it’s bad, it’s just...Mortal Kombat. Anyone who has played any of the games immediately pre-dating this one will know what I mean. The game is solid enough to enjoy it, and especially have a chuckle on multiplayer, but is clunky and frustrating to the point you can never truly love the game, and will find yourself swearing at the screen quite a bit due to less than perfect hit-detection and sometimes sluggish controls. As with most MK games it is built around an engine that is solid, but really could have done with a bit more work.

      The game has 3 single player modes, Kombo Challenge, which tests your ability at the series’ much maligned ‘Canned-Combo’ system, which is ultimately a frustrating test of precision timing that I have little love for, Arcade, which pits you against a host of other characters before taking on 2 bosses, either Shao Kahn or Darkseid before their amalgamated form of ‘Dark Kahn’ and finally Story Mode.

      Story mode is where the game actually becomes very interesting, and rather worthwhile. The game actually includes 2 story modes, MK and DC, and each is so much more than the standard Single-Player fighting experience. This mode sees you play as each of the characters for around 4 fights, progressing the game’s plot through cut-scenes. This is really the approach that fighters probably should have taken years ago, and it is easily one of the game’s strongest points.

      Speaking of the plot, how do we explain Princess Kitana Vs. Wonder Woman? Well, it turns out that Superman defeats Darkseid in the DC Universe at the exact moment Raiden defeats Shao Kahn in the MK Universe, somehow causing some form of intergalactic incident that sees the 2 villains fuse – and begins the fusing of the 2 realms. Both sets of fighters look to set out to save their universe, initially believing the other party to be to blame.

      The plot is about as daft as you would expect, but to be honest, it really works about as well as is possible with such subject matter, and is a great fun for fans of both sets of characters.

      On that front, the game’s 20 man roster is pretty solid too. With 10 fighters each (as well as unlockable bosses) there will obviously be some omissions that will leave someone annoyed their favourite is missing, overall there is nothing too obvious in terms of absentees. Scorpion, Sub Zero, Sonya, Liu Kang and Shang Tsung are all there, as are Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash. I’d have liked to see Reptile, Johnny Cage and Hawkman myself, but overall I’m happy with the roster.

      Visually the game is decent. I’m looking at a 2008 game with 2014’s eyes, and while it doesn’t exactly push the 360 ala the Dead or Alive games, it still holds up well enough. The character designs from both sides are also pleasing, offering streamlined versions of the characters from both sides that will be instantly recognisable for anyone. Likewise the stages, ranging from a Metropolis engulfed in flame to the Batcave via a Haunted Graveyard and Netherrealm, also reference both franchise’s signature locations well, and are nicely executed.

      Likewise the game’s music and voice work is nice enough. The music is more Mortal Kombat, but given that using any music associated with any of DC’s characters would take a hefty royalty payment that is to be expected.

      It’s quite tough to look at a game like this 6 years on and gauge its quality. It’s a fun enough little title that will appeal to both sets of fans for how odd it is, but as with most recent MK titles lacks that bit of polish to make it a truly great game. Fans of both sides will enjoy story mode, and getting a few mates around for a multiplayer scrap is at least half of the appeal of any Mortal Kombat title, and this game’s addition of some of pop-culture’s most famous characters makes it pretty good in that respect too. Realistically, the only thing keeping the score on this one down, is that in the subsequent years we have seen follow ups both in terms of a new Mortal Kombat game and Injustice: Gods Among Us a DC fighter from Netherrealm Studios. This should be able to be picked up fairly cheaply now though, and is worth a look from fans looking for a cheap laugh.

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      13.03.2010 22:44
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      4 out of 5. Not a bad game

      This game is your typical Mortal Kombat game with DC Universe characters added in for a bit of variety. The controls are similar to every other Mortal Kombat game out there with regards to doing moves which in my opinion is fantastic. You can invite friends over who have never played the game before in there life but having some experience in the previous games have found it quite easy to master and keep up. The single player aspect is somewhat enjoyable but I find this game is best played with a group of friends.

      This game is a must if you're a mortal kombat fan who likes to learn all the special moves and finishing moves for characters and as I said before the DC universe characters add variety to the experience. At just under fifteen pounds I would rate this as a very good buy. If you and your friends enjoyed the mortal Kombat games and you enjoy having them over then this is a great game to go for. The age rating on the game is there for a reason too as some of the finishing moves can be quite gruesome.

      A good buy for the price especially if you already a fan of fighting games and Mortal Kombat

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      01.09.2009 20:45

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      One of the better fighting games around

      Fighting beat em ups have been in gaming for a while and have made it into the HD world with good success. Enter Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe a crossover beat em up action game which pits two equally famous and different universes together. Familiar faces are seen on both side from Sub Zero and Raiden to Superman and Batman. The game includes 11 characters from each side and you are bound to find a character's fighting style you like in the list of 22.

      The array of moves is done well for each character and each feels completely different from the next. Some have you relying on superpowers like heat vision and ice blast whereas others have you using a variety of gadgetry. The graphics are very detailed on the individual characters and doesnt overdo it with the muscles as seen in most games of the genre. The individual character super moves and finishing moves are also great to watch although a little hard to pull off. Graphics also have a noticeable ripping of clothes if your character gets beaten up which brings a sense of realism to the game

      The basic moves are easy to learn to newbies but the more complicated and powerful moves take time and a lot of practise. I was only able to pull of only two finishing moves after 500+ fights but then again am a newbie to this genre. Suprising to this series includes a campaign which tries and bridges the gap between the two universes. Once the single player is done players can then take the gaming experience online against friends which should keep them hooked on for hours as they destroy their enemy using a variety of superpowers and weapons.

      Music is nice and and though the voice acting is a little cliche it fits in quite nicely with the game The 3D levels are great looking and overall the transition to 3D is fantastic. This is defintely one of the better fighting games out there for the console. Now we just have to wait for marvel comics to make an appearance

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      21.08.2009 14:54
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      A good game. Great for fight fans or people who enjoyed the original.

      I'm a person who grew up with the orginal Mortal Kombat & Streetfighter series of games. I always used to prefer Streetfighter because gameplay for me was a little better. But I used to love the idea of fatalities & regularly played both game. Needles to say that when both games came out for the current crop of consoles, I was quick to give them a go.

      Anyone who has played any of the original franchise will find this instantly familiar. A 1 on 1 Beat em up where the sole purpose is to knock out your opponent. Some existing characters with the familiar & some new moves plus lots of new characters from the DC Universe. This is an easy game to pick up & play for anyone. Simple controls. All the special moves available by pausing the game & a good mix of characters all with their own strengths & weaknesses.

      The game plays well. It's doesn't run at the lightening pace of a streetfighter game (or as fast as the currrent one). Matches are therefore a better test of skill & ability to use your special move to injure or counter your opponent. Skilled players will be able to start to put together combo attacks will can drain up to half your opponents energy. Button bashing will not work as well in this game as in some other beat em ups. The game is full 3D so you can circle your opponent & can use this as a way of attacking, countering or defending in battle. The game does get harder but I think they have got the difficulty right. The boss can be tricky even on easy, but everyone can just about get by the easy level. You'll have to be a real master to defeat the hardest level.

      Fatalities are not longer in evidence because DC didn't want you ripping out Wonder Woman's spine with Sub Zero. There are still finishing moves in place. Even for the DC characters, but none of them are significantly violent & don't quite come up to the same level as say Kano's Heart Rip. Plus, no where does it tell you how to do them. Work them out or get them off the internet.

      I would recommend the game. As with all games of this type, you can pick it up & play it for 5 minutes at a time or you can play for hours. It is fun for solo players & the finishing moves give you something to aim at because you want to see them all. I would say though that the game is more fun with others or online as everyone always gets more fun from beating a Human Controlled opponent as to a computer one.

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        04.08.2009 19:07
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        Not a brilliant game but if you are looking for a challenge then by all means buy this game.

        This game was extremely challenging.

        I felt that it really did lack originality and was much too like, say, street fighter and Tekken.

        This game had it's up such as the many different moves and combinations that you could do and the different maps along with the wide range of characters to choose from.

        The difficulty of the game shocked me greatly. Although i could have sworn to have set it to easy i simply could not beat anyone. I eventually endured through a couple of fights and got bored so switched it off.

        The graphics on the other hand are not bad at all and i was quite impressed so even though i could not play the game i still admired the surroundings and the characters costumes.

        This game is definately for those amongst us that want a REAL challenge but if you would like to actually get somewhere in a game i can say that this is not the game for you.

        Along with being extremely difficult i did not find it very entertaining and the story line was particualarly dim. It followed every other street fighting game in the way that two people meet argue and then fight.

        Overall i would not recommend this game but if you are really curious then by all means buy it and i wish you better luck than i had.

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          02.08.2009 17:17
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          A great fighter.

          Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe is the latest in the popular fighting series and the first on the next generation consoles.

          It is also the first time that the two universes of Mortal Kombat and DC have combined, this is explained through a crazy comic book like story which involves the two universes fusing together bringing the fighters together and bringing up equally silly reasons that cause them to fight eachother, surely you weren't expecting a masterpiece of a story in a fighting game though!

          The new fighting engine in the game has been really tweaked and made alot of fun. Even a novice player can pick up most of the characters and have some fun stringing together some basic moves while there is depth for you to learn the advanced moves of the series and of course the Fatalities, a series staple but they have been taken down a notch as DC didn't want the likes of Superman ripping someones head off with fountains of blood spurting out!

          A couple of new additions to the fighting system shake things up further, my favourite has to be the air combat, if you hit a player off the edge of a level you can play this epic over the top minigame where you continue to pound your enemy as you fall down to a lower level.

          The rage mode is very good as it stops players from spamming the block move as your rage soon builds and when activated you become unstoppable smashing through blocks and not getting knocked back by enemy attacks.

          This game is an excellent fighting game, the story is silly but fits the comic book feel they are going for. A successful collaboration of the MK and DC characters. A shame that the Fatality moves were toned down though.

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            26.07.2009 12:10
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            with better planning the game could have been pretty good

            Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a 3D fighting game and was released in November 2008 by Midway Games and Warner Brother Games and is based around the Mortal Kombat games the game can be played both multiplayer and single player.


            The Good

            Similar fighting games to other games in the Mortal Kombat game series, the game plays like a Mortal Kombat game and has characters from both Mortal Kombat games and from the DC Universe. The story has been written so it is a bit like a comic. The multiplayer is pretty good and is a good addition to the game.

            The Bad

            The plot is not very good and a lot of the characters are not very equal, the Mortal Kombat characters are a lot easier to use than the DC Universe characters, the computer is not very hard to beat either and the game is over pretty quick if you are pretty decent at fighting games.

            Overall

            A decent game with plenty of characters to choose from and a bit different from the normal Mortal Kombat games with you having the option to choose fighters from the DC Universe, the game itself could have been better written and the sides could have been more evenly balanced, but not a bad attempt for the first cross over game, worth a look at.

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              14.07.2009 22:32
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              Great for competitive friends or perfectionists.

              Okay let me start by saying I didn't usually like games like this and I brought this one mainly because I love DC Comics, sorry Mortal Kombat. But after playing it I was hooked and started to really get into the story and began to get good with some of the characters. The story can be played through either the MK side or the DC side which is great if you brought the game just because you liked MK or DC, but after a while it becomes so repetitive and annoying, especially if you don't win for about 10 rounds, that you almost want to really beat someone up.

              When I thought I was good enough I ventured on xbox live and ended up getting destroyed. This is when you realise you are either playing for fun which only lasts about 3-4 days at a time or you have practised so much that no one can beat you, which makes playing online for the rest of us no fun.

              Overall the game is great with a friend and to play before another game because it gets you warmed up and competitive. If you wanted to stand a chance online there is a practise mode and combo challenges which are also useful if you have just started to play. I don't recommend this if you have a similar game like street fighter because they are basically the same, but if you don't have a game like this get this one because one of your friends has probably heard of at least one of the characters who they will enjoy playing as (until they realise you will beat them because you've practised, but you will feel good).

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                17.05.2009 12:20
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                Great - would thoroughly recommend

                Mortal Combat vs DC Universe is a fantastic game. One of the great things about this game is you can play with either the DC Universe characters or the Mortal Combat characters. You can play in arcade mode, story mode and combo challenge mode. In the combo challenge mode, it helps you practice your moves, which helps you to be a better player in story mode and arcade mode. In the story mode, you choose between playing with DC or Mortal Combat characters. Each one of these then determines what storyline will be used. This game is challenging to start with, but the more you play it, the easier it becomes. It is extremely enjoyable and fun and I personally believe it is one of the best XBox 360 games available. I would thoroughly recommend this game to everyone, and can guarantee it will be one of your favourite games.

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                  20.03.2009 14:55
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                  An enjoyable beat em up with little plot and little violence...

                  In our schoolyard days Vs. matches would often be the subject of debate, even now in the pub the age old question of who would win in a punch up between Superman and Batman has so many factors, it can create new friendships and push old ones out the door.

                  Midway has seen this niche and decided to fill it, by packing in a bunch of well loved superheros and facing them off against a number of vicious fighters imbued with magical elements and known for their violence.

                  Round 1 fight...

                  The game is your average 3D fighter, one person each side, punch, kick, throw, block and some special moves. The special moves work very well as they tend to be more of the back back X variety than the quarter circle foward type, which causes less stress than with other games (for example street fighter or soul calibur). We are also given a 'grapple mode' where one player grabs the other and plays a variant of rock paper scissors using the four main buttons to cause damage while the other player tries to suss out their move, and a 'freefall mode' which works the same way and is caused by being hit out of the arena and down to the next tier a la dead or alive. Both these modes (along with a smack through walls and hit all the buttons minigame) feel tacked on and although fun and cool to do, do become tiresome.

                  The plot is fairly simple and involves (without spoilers) the two worlds (that of the dc heroes and that of the mortal kombatants) being sucked into each other, them all going a bit loopy and bashing each other around, with 'magic' explained as the reason that you can actually hurt superman. it is that simple and rather than be a flaw, it is exactly what you need in a game like this, I don't want to hear about batmans troubled past, I want to punch sub zero in the head!

                  The game has both an arcade mode where you can fight whoever you want (DC can fight themselves and vice versa) in a stage of your choosing or a story mode which works by choosing a side, then being given a character, fighting four battles, then being given another character and repeat. Not great as you are given a new character just as you learn an old one and you cant choose said character but at least you get some variety.

                  The graphics and sound are fine, The visual damage to the characters as the fight goes on, such as ripped costumes, scars on the face is a nice touch, however there is an awful lot of dark arenas and the personalitys of the characters never really shines through. There are also occasional glitches, punches that go through characters, small details that blur, these things never bothered me too much but if you are a graphic fanatic it could be a blight.

                  Each character falls into a set, heavy attacks slow moves - Jax, Lex Luthor. Or weak attacks but fast - Wonder Woman, Sonya Blade. Or all rounders - Scorpion, Joker. Some people do have issues with superman and the flash being very hard to hit when being used by a master, and although they do rise above the difficulty of normal characters, perserverance should see you through.

                  The replayability of the game is remarkably low, you gain an extra character for completing each side of story mode and a one picture ending with a vague description upon finishing arcade mode but thats about it. Where are the comics? The Commentaries? The things that DC and MK geeks like me actually want!!! It's going to be enjoyed a lot more on a game like this than on something like army of two believe me.

                  The achievements are bland, they are mainly based around completing story mode then completing arcade mode with each character. There are a number for playing Vs. online which if you enjoy doing so, will be a bonus.

                  I must take a small moment here to mention the combo challenges, with one for each character these are essentially training modes, where you must input a series of commands to pull off combos, starting small - back back A, down foward B, to huge ones with three to four times the original inputs. These would be fine if it wasnt for the game's awkward collision detection and timing in this mode, I pride myself on being fairly good at games and even I couldn't finish ANY of the combo challenges fully, and to get as far as I did took a lot of time and effort. This is not to say they are impossible, but be prepared to invest some serious time on these if you want to finish them.

                  My other major problem is the lack of violence, although you can punch and set fire to whoever you see fit in the game, due to DC law their superheros cannot kill people so all the superheros are given "Heroic Brutalities" and the "Fatalitys" have been dumbed down, gone are the days of ripping out a spine or uppercutting someone onto spikes, they are replaced with dumbed down versions, although you still techincally 'kill' the other player it doesnt feel the same (this is as an MK player for a few years) and feels a bit of a sell out on midways part. It is also worth noting here that you can only do fatalities in arcade and online vs mode as during the story it would present continuity errors.

                  My final problem with the game is the choice of characters, I imagine that midway and DC picked their most recognised and fan favourite guys and threw them in, but where is Nightwing? Johnny Cage? Doomsday? Cyrax? Rumour has it that they may be released as downloadable content but as it is just a rumour I cant promise anything and was a little bit miffed not to be able to play as some of these guys.

                  Overall this is exactly what it says on the case, a chance for you to punch scorpion with superman and freeze batman with sub zero, if you want depth, strategic techniques and flowing graphics you're in the wrong place, but if you want to know who'd win from your schoolyard days? You're home.

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                    03.03.2009 21:47
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                    If you're a fan then go for it, if not, invest elsewhere.

                    This game is certainly slick in feel and appearance, however it is let down by a lack of comparative depth.

                    Of course as the label says, this is a fighting game - akin to 'Marvel vs Capcom' and all other 'battle of genres' type fighters with characters from Mortal Kombat duking it out with DC Comics characters.

                    Naturally I don't deny that fans of either side will love being able to play as their favourite characters so there is that appeal there. However being impartial, I shall assess it merely as a game.

                    Anyway, the fighting mechanics work decently - they aren't slick and fast like Soul Calibur but they are functional. One major gripe I have is the computer (note: difficulty setting 'easy') is painfully cruel.

                    Beginners who would fight on easy in single player would be easily put off by how insanely hard the enemies get to be defeated in the latter stages. Of course seasoned players may find more to do and persist better but it got to the stage where it really wasn't fun trying to fight the Joker on Stage 7 (for example) and losing so many times...

                    There are a few nice touches, like sort of 'action time' mid-air fall fights, they look good the first few times however their lustre wears off fast. Special moves look pretty yet one solid criticism can be levied: the move variety is lacklustre.

                    This is a decent game, it does the job, doesn't desecrate either genre's lore but it doesn't make it splendid either.

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                      11.02.2009 21:49
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                      overall a good game well worth a look

                      Mortal Kombat charaters vs batman, superman and the joker......cool.
                      okay once your over the inital thought of it all you have to look at the gameplay of it and the word that comes to mind is.......cool.
                      Right seriously the story is weak but hey what did you expect a blockbuster movie,
                      It's a tried and tested formula and if you have played a mortal kombat recently you'll know where you stand beat the other guy up do a fatality.
                      There is a few things to note some charaters play better than others, the fatalities for the mortal kombat charaters have been toned down some what (good or bad thing thats your choice).
                      The overall look of the game is exellent and you can see a lot of attention to detail as been used.
                      This is a game that is never going to take it's self too serious if you have played other mortal kombat's and enjoyed them then you will enjoy this, if you have'nt well give it a try it's good for laugh.

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                        29.01.2009 09:37

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                        An old game, revamped!

                        My other half was going on and on about getting this game! I made him wait until after Christmas, is that cruel??!! Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised when I could use the infamous "Superman" move on Superman! I showed him!!
                        So MK vs DC Universe is actually quite a good game. I am glad that they have reverted back to just good old one on one combat.
                        All of the classic moves are there, the controls are the same, and yet by throwing in the DC characters it makes it more interesting to play as there is something new to learn.
                        And the fact that you can actually play as The Joker is hilarious, although he does have a tendency to jump around on the spot a bit too much giving your opponent the chance to take you out!
                        Both story modes are good as you get the chance to play from MK side or DC side.
                        All in all it is a classically good game, and worth adding to your collection. Brilliant for when your mates come round for a few beers! Takes you back to your youth!

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                        23.01.2009 17:35
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                        If you like MK and you like DC this is great fun

                        Over the past couple of years we've had a few occasions where two completely different franchises have clashed and actually resulted in decent video games. I'm talking about Mario & Sonic at the Olympic games - who would have thought that would happen? Not to mention LEGO Batman (that I still find hard to believe!)

                        I had to do a double take when I saw MK vs DC Universe. Yes, that is DC comics. That means yes, you can pit Sub-Zero against Superman. Or Batman against Jax. How odd.

                        Fortunately, as a fan of both the Mortal Kombat games (right back to coin-op days) and DC comics, this combination was a pleasant surprise to me. I'm not saying I thought it was going to work - I mean, I had not idea how it possibly COULD work, the two franchises seemed so different - but I just had to try it out.

                        So I did. And I was pleasantly surprised. You see, the thing about beat em ups is that as far as I'm concerned they pretty much peaked several years ago. The original Mortal Kombat - was fantastic. Street Fighter 2, of course. And the latter day classic Tekken 2... I just never tire of that 2D classic beat em up gameplay.

                        Well I do tire of it, when the game has nothing extra and interesting to offer. That's where this game succeeds. The range of characters is huge, and the novelty is really in the fact that you may actually recognise all of them, especially if you're a fan of both series.

                        Yes, there is something great about playing as (or against!) Superman - laser beam eyes, anyone? How about the Green Lantern!

                        The other main feature that defines a beat em up for me is the moves. They have to be impressive, but not repetitive, and they have to be challenging to pull off, but not infuriating. MK vs DC Universe has an excellent combo system that makes fighting an utter joy. Not to mention a range of fun 'fatalities' from the original games.

                        Overall, as far as beat em ups go yes, I guess this is a bit of a novelty title. But it's so much fun I can't really fault it! It's a beat em up in the classic retro style, with great graphics, recognisable characters and smooth gameplay. The only real issue here I guess is if you aren't familiar with either series that it's based on, some of the appeal may be lost!

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                          13.01.2009 16:23
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                          One of the better Mortal Kombat games in years

                          Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe-The Battle of the Century or a small punch up?

                          Let's face it, Midway are in tough times. In case you haven't heard Midway has a few weeks to pay off $150 million when they only have over $10 million, so we could be seeing them Bankrupt. To be honest, they have made a poor jump to the next generation with mediocre games like Black site, NBA: Chosen One, Hour of Victory and Blitz the League II. To be honest, I think their best game on Xbox 360 is a port of an 8 month old game. So, they aren't doing brilliant at the moment, but that doesn't mean I haven't been excited for Mortal Kombat on the 360. At least until they announced that they would be colliding with the DC Universe. The whole idea didn't impress me until I realised that the concept wasn't actually that bad, considering the MK characters feel like comic book fighters. Besides, I wish Capcom would announce that damn Marvel vs. Capcom for 360. So, is MK vs. DCU a good game or does it continue Midway's streak of mediocrity?

                          The story mode is where the madness of mixing MK with DC is explained, and it's actually not bad. Basically, both of the evil villains of each universe, Shao Kahn and Dark Seid, get shoved into a portal in each of their respective universes. It causes some kind of supernatural event, morphing both villains into one evil son-of-a-b**** called Dark Kahn. Because of his evil presence, the worlds are being fused together and it causes the heroes and villains of each world is to get into a magical ability called Rage which causes the guys to get angry and want to fight nearby people. Let's face it-this was an experimental idea as it's nothing like we've seen before, yet it's not that bad. The cheese is kept to the minimum with the story, and aside from the obvious and lame excuse for why they actually want to fight each other the actual reason for the worlds colliding is far from poor. In the end, it won't be Oscar worthy, but the story in MK vs. DC Universe is pretty fun.

                          To be honest, aside from the DC characters making their presence known and toned down violence, MK vs. DCU is relatively similar to its predecessors. The main thing here is that MK vs. DCU trims down the flab of previous games-gone are the multiple fighting styles, crazy mini-games, adventure story mode and other such novelties of the previous games to go back to basics. Characters have a mere one fighting style and a small list of moves with three moves including high and low punches and kicks and throws. It's very simple, as despite its 3D engine, the moves like side steps are near useless meaning it feels like a 3D game on a 2D plane. It's very simple stuff, yet the simplicity gives the game a niche old school feel and making it feel more like a Mortal Kombat game rather than a fighting game with Mortal Kombat characters. There is some depth for players with huge combos and even a mode dedicated to creating insane combos.

                          As you guessed by the name, MK vs. DC features characters from both of the licences. On the MK front, you have all the well known characters including Sub-Zero, Baraka, Scorpion, Raiden, Shang Tsung and Jax. The MK side of things is an excellent list-if you've played any of the previous MK games then you'll know who these guys and girls are. The DCU side is not quite as successful. I mean sure, you have your Batman and Superman and Wonder woman and The Joker, but unless you actual read the DC comics, you may struggle to know who some of the characters are, like Deathstroke or Captain Marvel. Then again, those who read the comics probably don't know who Sub-Zero or Jax are. That's the problem with splitting the game into two different licences. If you're not a fan of both licences then you won't know the other roster. If you're a fan of both though, it's great for you. But it's unlikely because the two properties are so different from each other. However those who feared that mixing MK and DC would spell disaster can relax as the two universes actually mesh pretty well.

                          The best thing about MK vs. DCU is the special abilities each character has. Famous characters from both universes return with their well known special moves. Liu Kang can do his famous bicycle kick as he drifts through the air pummelling the enemy to death with kick after kick. Raiden can fly through the air as she tackles the enemy to the ground. The Green Lantern can use his special abilities to create magic barriers and a giant hand which can smash the enemy into the ground. Superman can burn enemies with his eyes as they shoot laser beams and Batman can use his gadgets and widgets to help him in combat. This adds a lot of personality to each character. There are a couple of exceptions in the form of more simple characters like Kitana and Baraka but when you're using The Flash to chain high speed moves together into one ridiculous kombo, all is forgiven.

                          Aside from MK colliding with the DC characters, there are a couple of minor gameplay additions here too. The biggest addition is the Rage meter. When your attacks are blocked or you take damage, a meter builds up into two meters. When one lightning bolt appears, you can hold down the block button and press a direction to perform a Kombo Breaker which shoves the enemy away. However, save your energy for two full meters and two lightning bolts and you can use the Rage Mode. In Rage Mode, you are super powerful as you take major chunks off the opponent's health. You can also take more damage and break through enemies block attempts. It's a very useful when you use it, but frustrating when the opponent destroys your close victory with a Rage attack. It can be unbalanced.

                          The other new features aren't particularly epic, but they do add some depth to the proceedings. These are the simple mini-games Freefall Kombat and Klose Kombat. Klose Combat is triggered when you or the opponent use the special grapple to initiate the mini-game and Freefall Kombat is triggered when you or the opponent is shoved through a destructible object onto a lower level. Both require button pressing mini-games where you or the other player must press the button which the other fighter didn't press. There's also test your might where you must press buttons quickly to do more damage as you shove your enemy through walls, but it's rare. These mini-games aren't dramatic, but using these to your advantage at the right time could net you a victory.

                          Like most fighting games, the best of MK vs. DC Universe is when you play with other players. The A.I. is competent, especially on the harder difficulties, but there's nothing like playing against real people. There are two ways to do this-online or in versus. Versus is your standard one-on-one fighting with two players, but online is different. There are your standard ranked, unranked and private matches and then there are the Chat Room matches. Basically, you can create or join a room with players who want to do certain things, whether it's for standard fights, achievement boosting or specific characters. This is helpful because several players can join and challenge other players meaning you can get into a match much quicker. Lag is minimal which is brilliant and the game is great fun whether you're online or offline.

                          Unfortunately, MK vs. DC suffers from some issues. Firstly, there just aren't enough modes of gameplay. You get your standard tournament arcade mode, the awesome story mode, a deep yet steep Kombo Challenge mode where you must nail insane combos quickly and the multiplayer components. The achievements do slightly increase longevity with a couple of really challenging achievements like performing every fatality/heroic brutality and performing every Special and Pro move unique to each character. Both these, and completing every Kombo challenge, will take time to complete and in this regard the achievements deliver. The odd silly mini-game would have helped though, and overall MK vs. DC is rather short on content.

                          Another noticeable element of MK vs. DC is violence. The game still earns a 15+ rating (same age rating as MK3 and other older Mortal Kombat games) yet the violence has been significantly toned down in ways. There are small spouts of blood with each attack and the body damage shows as you fight, but MK vs. DC is toned down. This is most noticeable in the fatalities and heroic brutalities section of the game. In prior games, spines were ripped out, people were burned to death and people's own limbs were used to kick the snot out of them. Here, however, the worst to happen will be someone gets shot in the head, and even then it's either censored (for The Joker) or hard to see (Death Stroke) which is a shame. Look, I'm not a gore hound who can't go five minutes without seeing blood splat from a dead Nazi's corpse, but let's face it you should either have violence and gore or don't-not try to have middle ground and here it's pointless.

                          In terms of graphics and sound, MK vs. DC comes up strong. Particularly in the graphics area thanks to Epic's Unreal Engine powering yet another game. The game is technically strong with detailed character models, lovely environments and smooth animation. The characters from MK look better than ever on next-gen hardware and the DC characters look like they have jumped out of the comic books. The main issues of the Unreal engine (frame rate chop and texture pop-in) are rarely present in MK vs. DC. There are some minor graphical issues like ugly textures and screen-tearing, but for the most part MK vs. DC looks slick.

                          On the sound side of things the game also is quite good. The effects pack a punch, especially with powerful characters like Shao Kahn and Superman. Some of the cool special effects from previous games, like the sound of the game's magic moves, are still good today. The voice acting isn't anything particularly special, though the superheroes like Batman and Superman sound close to their movie counterparts which are good. There is some decent music in some of the superhero levels where you recognise the source material, but overall the soundtrack is disappointing to say the least especially considering the pedigree from both licenses.

                          Is Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe good, bad or ugly?

                          There's always a risk of crossing different licences even with superb games like Marvel vs. Capcom. This is especially true with MK vs. DCU. I mean, how likely is it that fans of DC comics like Batman or Superman will be fans of the violent fighting game series Mortal Kombat? In this case, MK vs. DCU is actually pretty decent thanks to a great fighting system, cool special moves, great characters and an enjoyable story mode. However the issues of a lack of mode, disappointing fatalities, uneven gore and some other niggling quirks mean that rather than competing with other fighting games like Dead or Alive 4 or Soul Calibur IV, it feels like it comes close, but not quite the cigar. It will do great deals if you are suffering from having to wait for Street Fighter IV, and both MK and DC fans will appreciate the effort put into mixing these franchises together, but everyone else should proceed with caution on a full price purchase, but it's definitely worth at least a rental.

                          Controls: 8
                          Gameplay: 8
                          Graphics: 8
                          Sound: 8
                          Value: 7
                          Overall: 7.8

                          MK vs. DCU was released on November 21st on Xbox 360 and PS3. It is rated for strong violence and can be bought for around £30.

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