I have played more fighting games this year so far than I have in just about any years past. With 4 major fighting game releases under my belt by now, Mortal Kombat on the PS Vita, a port of the 2011 Mortal Kombat, has found itself landing in the grip of my calloused fingers ready to cause me that much more (enjoyable) pain. Having not played the 2011 release, this port is new territory for me. What I found is that Mortal Kombat on Vita is the most content heavy fighter this year, and makes a surprising splash on an otherwise dry handheld. Those disappointed by Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, or by other handheld fighters in general, will find that Mortal Kombat is one of the best fighting games you’ll find on 3DS or PS Vita, period.

Graphically speaking, Mortal Kombat’s cutscenes look great on the Vita’s LED screen. The only alarming situation is when it changes to the actual gameplay graphics, which are shockingly weak in comparison. By no means are they bad, but after seeing the cutscenes, they look severely washed out. Animation remains fluid, mixed with the game’s signature brutal combat. X-Ray attacks allow you to deal crushingly disgusting wounds to your opponent, shattering bones and more.

Mortal Kombat’s gameplay continues to fail to impress me as much as its competitors, but comparitively, this new Mortal Kombat game feels much more fighting fan friendly than any Mortal Kombat I’d played before it. It is also rather easy to pick up for newcomers.  I was able to master the “Kombos” with relative ease, and the game offers plenty of easy mode options for those who need a bit more practice. In addition, the game’s massive roster (including all DLC characters from the console version free of charge. Yes, including Freddy Krueger) offers a unique spin on characters that are all fundamentally very similar. Those who feel comfortable with a certain playstyle will be at easy being able to do so with most of the characters. At the same time there is plenty of room to master a certain character.

If you are tired of causing carnage in the game’s fun arcade mode, you can play Mortal Kombat’s lengthy and awesome story mode. This is how I think fighting game story modes should be. It weaves a rather interesting tale, and allowed me to learn more about the game’s collection of characters, which I once thought to be pretty lame. Shedding new light on the characters, with fresh humor and decent dialogue, you will actually find yourself wanting to play the story in its entirety. Its ridiculous amount of chapters should keep you occupied.

There are plenty of other modes to play when you’ve completed the story as well. Included in the game is the Challenge Tower, in which you attempt to conquer increasingly difficult challenges to win Kombat currency and trophies. Additionally, the Vita version includes a handful of minigames centered around the Vita’s functionality. “Test Your Balance” as you keeping your character steady over a pit of spikes using the Vita’s accelerometer is one example. The Bonus Challenge Tower mimics the regular Challenge Tower but brings in new Vita related challenges as well. When you are done, go to the Krypt and you can spend your hard earned Kombat currency on new battle modes and extras, though which you pick to buy is more or less random. Tutorial brings you through the game’s tag team modes, and does a great job introducing newbies to Mortal Kombats style and flair.

Mortal Kombat’s online mode works standard wi-fi, or with AD HOC connectivity, and is a welcomed addition to a game that has so much content, it doesn’t even need it. Ranked matches and player matches show that Mortal Kombat brings a strong multiplayer mode that lacks innovation. If you have the 3G version, you’ll be able to break skulls anywhere you please. There isn’t anywhere you can go wrong with Mortal Kombat.

Final Thoughts

I once saw the Mortal Kombat series to be boring, overly gory, and immature. However, after getting my hands on Mortal Kombat Vita, I was welcomed by the most content rich fighter of the year and years past. If you are a Vita owner trapped in the desert that is the handheld’s currently library, Mortal Kombat is a no-brainer. Whether you are a fan of the console version or not, or even played the console version, there is a lot to love here. This is a fantastic port. Trading some graphical prowess, players are granted with more things to do, making Mortal Kombat a great tag-a-long game on the road with it’s challenges and mini-games. Mortal Kombat is a worthy addition into the hall-of-fame of handheld fighters, and my just be one of the best ever. Fatality!