Review: 'Mortal Kombat' or Mobile Martial Murder On Your Vita

WB Interactive and Netherrealm Studios bring the fantastic series reboot to the PS Vita. Does it survive the port or is this a fatal move for the series?

THE BASICS

Say, did you play Mortal Kombat on the PS3 and 360 last year? Maybe you thought that it was a fantastic return to form that somehow evolved the series while also weaving a compelling (if appropriately nuts) story throughout the experience? Now maybe you want to play that same game on your shiny new PS Vita.

That, and the inclusion of all of the PS3 DLC is pretty much the big pitch for this handheld version of Mortal Kombat, the first handheld game in the series in over five years (Ultimate Mortal Kombat for the DS being the last entry of note). There's also some new Bonus Tower missions if you thought that the hundreds of challenges in the existing tower weren't enough, along with more costumes, art, and additional trophies. The game also includes a few Vita-specific gimmicks, like a "Test Your Slice" mode (swiping on the touchscreen), "Test Your Balance" (tilt-based challenges), and some AR functionality if you're inclined to snap a picture of your room with the Vita's rear camera so you can see Scorpion and Sub-Zero battle it out to the death where you sleep.

The downside is that you will have to contend with the Vita's analog nub which is a little too small and imprecise for a fighting game, while the D-pad will take some adjustment to get used to.

While the Vita port doesn't offer more than the console counterparts, its portability, the inclusion of all of the previous content (including all of the downloadable characters like Freddy Krueger and Kratos), and some unobtrusive touchscreen controls for fatalities provide enough reason to pick the game up if you either haven't played it or need some good fighting action on the go.

WHAT'S GOOD

Pretty much everything that makes MK work is here

All the modes, all of the characters, on top of more modes, costumes, and extras like additional art make this a little more than a simple port.

WHAT'S BAD

Controls make it a less-than-tight fighter

We're just going to have to get used to the fact that the Vita isn't the optimal console for fighting games. Still, with a little effort (and bypassing the analog stick entirely), you can overcome the way the system is laid out and really get into the game.

THE VERDICT

The long and the short of it is, if you enjoyed last year's release and DLC, but want to play Mortal Kombat on the go, then the Vita port offers a ton of content on the go. While the platform comes with its own challenges for a fast-paced fighting game, the clever use of touchscreen input provides an end-run around some of the inherent issues of the cramped PS Vita play space.

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