In a less substantial improvement, this is the first time I've felt like the downloadable content was actually incorporated naturally into the game. In the console versions (including the Komplete Edition) the four new fighters (as well as Kratos) were sidelined to what amounts to a drop down menu. Worse yet, these new characters weren't integrated in any way into the challenge tower. All this has changed with the Vita release. Now all of the characters are featured on one simple screen and you'll find Freddy, Rain and the rest of the DLC line-up taking part in the bonus challenge tower. This really makes the game feel like a complete package.
The transition to the small screen doesn't come without a couple bumps in the road. For one thing, the character models don't seem nearly as sharp as they did on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The backgrounds still look fine, but longtime fans of the console originals will note the change immediately. Thankfully it doesn't take more than a match or two before it all looks completely natural. Even with the slight drop in visual fidelity, Mortal Kombat still looks fantastic on the handheld.
While the developers spent a lot of time making new challenges and modes, one thing they forgot to do was make the rest of the game work with the touch screen. None of the menus or options work by touch, which seems odd after spending so much time with the first-generation Vita line-up. This is especially annoying in the Krypt, where simply touching the thing I want to buy is easier and less time consuming than walking everywhere. These are minor issues, frustrating to only those who have gotten used to the ease of the touch screen.
On the other hand, the gameplay remains rock solid. Controlling the combatants with the Vita's D-pad is a dream; just as good as it is on the PlayStation 3. In fact, I prefer this over playing Mortal Kombat on the Xbox 360, if only because of the placement and quality of the D-pad. The load times are also short, plus it doesn't seem to eat down the handheld's battery life like some games I've played. And with 450 bite-sized challenges to conquer, this works wonderfully as a portable game.
I did not expect to be this impressed with Mortal Kombat 2011 for the third time, yet here I am gushing as if it's the first time I've played the game. Forget that so-called Komplete Edition, this PS Vita version is the definitive port of Mortal Kombat. It offers an enviable amount of content, most of which is well worth your time. Throw in some impressive multiplayer modes and that lengthy story and you have a killer app on Sony's handheld. Even if you already own this on another console, Mortal Kombat Vita has enough new content to warrant double dipping.
Confusion over the name aside, Mortal Kombat on the PS Vita is a must-own for any fighting game fan. Not only does it have all of the amazing content from last year's stellar console release, but it also features substantial new modes that are more than worth the $40 asking price. Without a doubt, this is the definitive version of Mortal Kombat!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!