Up Up Down Down: Mortal Kombat

After checking out the massive flaws and only slightly redeemable qualities in Soulcalibur: Lost Swords last week, I decided that this edition of Up Up Down Down should feature a fighting game that's actually good. Released in 2011, Mortal Kombat marked a fitting reboot for the NetherRealm Studios-developed series, and it's very easily one of the best fighters on the market. Even after three years, it's still a totally enjoyable — and blatantly brutal — arcade experience.

Its only issues are barely miniscule, and its pros outweigh its cons in a big way. So it's pretty much the opposite of Lost Swords.

Mortal Kombat - 360, PS3, PSV, PC - 1

Up Up: Fighting mechanics are intuitive and satisfying

There are plenty of fighting games out there with complex combos and crazy controls. Mortal Kombat isn't one of those games. It's actually fairly simple to grasp the game's mechanics, and its intuitive controls make for an experience that's easy to get into regardless of your skill level. This makes it rewarding to pull off slick, devastating moves, and it also means that people of all skill levels can play together. Because let's face it, fighting games are at their best when you've got more people in the mix. Duh, Lost Swords!

Down Down: Hardcore fighting game fans may find it too “easy”

There are bound to be fighting game elitists out there who criticize Mortal Kombat for its pick-up-and-play design. No, this isn't the most intricate fighter around, but it still has its fair share of more advanced moves. Still, even those aren't nearly as complicated as a lot of what you would see in something like Street Fighter. For some players, Mortal Kombat may be lacking a lot of the nuances and intricacies that they look for in these types of games.

Mortal Kombat - 360, PS3, PSV, PC - 2

Up Up: The series' signature gore remains intact

The Mortal Kombat series was always known for its edgier, more adult themes. Sure, you can have all the bouncy, big-breasted babes you want in pretty much every fighting game, but Mortal Kombat is also about broken bones, fountains of blood, and torn innards. That almost cartoony gore is present in the latest installment, and thanks to the magic of modern hardware, it all looks better than ever. Especially noteworthy are the X-ray attacks that slow the action down and let you see the internal damage you're doing to your adversaries. Gotta love the crunchy sound of bones breaking!

Down Down: Characters' phrases can get awfully repetitive

Hearing the characters of Mortal Kombat moan and groan as they get punched, kicked, and sliced is pretty cool, but there's also a lot of repetition. Characters utter the same phrases all too often, and it's not uncommon for lines to border on overkill. It's not that big of a problem as the actual action stands out far more, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless.

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Up Up: The best story mode ever for a fighting game

Usually, fighting games live or die by how good they are as multiplayer experiences. The same can't be said about Mortal Kombat. This is due to the game's absolutely superb story mode, which retells the lore of the series in true star-studded fashion. Aside from some fun fights, there is also an incredible amount of detailed, well-produced cutscenes, all of which feature kick-ass voice acting. The whole thing could take you up to seven or eight hours to get through, and you could argue that the story mode alone is worth the game's price tag.

Down Down: Online play will never outshine local multiplayer

It's not that playing Mortal Kombat online isn't any fun. Occasional lag issues notwithstanding, it's still pretty sweet taking the brawl to complete strangers. That said, this is the type of game, much like most fighters, that's just way more fun if you're playing with your buddies right next to you. Shouting obscenities, gloating, and laughing during wild moments is always awesome … if you're playing with someone sitting right next to you.

Mortal Kombat - 360, PS3, PSV, PC - 4

Left Right Left Right: Mortal Kombat makes a bold statement as one of the best fighters around

Mortal Kombat is truly a special fighting game. Its mechanics are inviting but also encourage players to learn the game's mild nuances. For some, it may not be complex enough, but even then, there's so much to love about the game that it's sure to win over most who play it. Plus, the story mode is truly badass, and it's one of the best of its kind as far as fighting games are concerned.

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