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For those that want a really good all round fighting game - you have one now! Right off the bat I'll tell you this is one of the best Mortal Kombat games and probably the best comic character transition to date. Why? Because it goes back to its beginning and builds upon what made Mortal Kombat I & II so ground breaking and ultimately more fun than the yawnsome Capcom offerings (how many versions of Streetfighter II are there now?).
Story Mode is split into one story from two angles - both climaxing with a powerful villain. The DC Universe story begins with the final defeat of Darkseid. Joining forces with Lex Luthor, Darkseid was tricked into a showdown with Kal, beaten to a pulp in the process... but as he is about escape into a Boom Tube, Superman makes a fatal error and soon heroes and villains across the globe begin to vanish or swap dimensional planes with a place called Outworld. To make matters worse those remaining are infected with the Rage virus... something that quickens the merger of Earth and Outworld...
Over in Outworld at the exact same time, Shinnok's son, Shao Kahn, is double crossed by the sorcerer Quan Chi and left to be slain by Raiden. Snatching a chance to escape Kahn tries to use Quan Chi's portal to retreat but Raiden attempts to stop him with devastating results.
To complete story mode for both sides you'll need to complete a whopping 56 battles with 2-3 rounds each. (You'll unlock two new characters in the process) due to the story line you'll be forced to have to master each of the characters in a specific sequence until their story arc is completed. It's worth noting that finishing moves aren't involved during story mode.
Arcade mode meanwhile is split into three separate games; Mortal Kombat, Mixed or DC Universe. Combo challenge and training are also thrown in for good measure.
Mortal Kombatants have two fatalities each for you to get to grips with, but the DC Universe characters have two brutalities instead.
For the Superman fans you'll be sad to know the game is his fault, but happy that it's a Superman-centric story - and if they utilize his ending - it could change his character in continuity forever...
For Outworld: Liu Kang, Kano, Scorpion, Baraka, Shang Tsung, Jax, Sub Zero, Sonya Blade, Raiden, Kitana.
After story mode is 100% complete the game will introduce two characters. The online services have promised new content to download as time goes on including new arenas and even more combatants.
If mastering so many characters sounds daunting, and for those of you REALLY poor at these kind of games, don't worry, they've made it as accessible as possible for even a technophobe to have fun with!
Story - 4 out of 5: While the story isn't great or original, it's not terrible. It goes to great lengths to point out the DC heroes will never kill - I like that especially as those who cried out that the DC heroes were too dark and advocating meaningless violence and death can now eat their hats - or shorts.
The story explanation is far less gimmick driven than the DC Versus Marvel story was, so kudos to Palmiotti and Gray. Great attention to character backstories, relationships and characteristics has been payed to both universes. So even if you don't know the characters very well - you soon will.
I hope they'll give it a go with a miniseries in the comics. It's great to see how either universe's characters could quite easily fit into the other's universe. Marvel tried to do this a few years back with a dark and dull game Marvel Nemesis or something like that but DC wins this hand!
Graphics - 5 out of 5: Wonder Woman is not only the worst character in the game but she's really rendered badly, for consoles of this calibre I would have expected more - especially as, well, EVERYTHING else in the game is absolutely AWESOME. (Diana's bad hair and 'Poser OS X' doesn't nearly justify a lack of a point).
The fact the game utilizes the Unreal Tournament engine means that when Catwoman slashes Clark in the face for the rest of the match he sports the wounds. Also enjoy the animations of the characters when they win or lose a round - they seem to get as frustrated as you will.
You've seen the renders already as we've been leaking them by the day - I don't think I really need to tell you it looks superb. You'll need to have a huge television to really appreciate how fine the detail is. Under EXTRAS, click BIOS to enjoy a character model you can explore completely 360 degrees. Some characters are sporting more cinematic versions of their comic costumes.
One thing you might enjoy Superfans is that the Mirror Matches feature the second player in a darkly hued costume, yes I know you're thinking, "YEAH! The best bit in Superman III!". That's right enjoy - be sure to kick butt in the Fortress, by the wreckage of the Daily Planet or the decimated Lexcorp too!
Sound - 4 out of 5: The sound in the game is standard Mortal Kombat music, sadly it doesn't sound very DC, no signature themes that I could recognize. The voice casting is very good too except for Catwoman - it's bizarre looking at her and hearing an Eartha Kitt soundalike. Overall though, if you've got a 5.1 system, it's spread out pretty evenly, very immersive. Especially when you hear the narrator's graveled tones.
Gameplay - 5 out of 5: While it's no Streetfighter (Thank God!) or Tekken (ho hum!) Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe offers more than its fair share to kick their behinds. It's far more stylish and though it's tamed down slightly for the new-coming youth market, the amount of blood and guts flying around means you probably wouldn't even notice! The game play is mixed on the 2D & 3D gaming platform, with the old 'long combo chain', weapon mode and tri-style fighting out the window all of which though innovative, made the game somewhat of a boring chore to play. So back in are create your own combo, juggles, signature moves, mash-ups and several new modes: test your might, pro moves, mash-ups, aerial kombat and close kombat. The new modes are twists on the old brick smashing in the original game and the sweetness of create a combo is awesome. When you get to grips with Superman and string your combos together you'll quickly be drawn into game mastery! The arena's have some surprises too but you'll have to play it to discover them! Let's face it there are some epic showdowns you know you want to recreate!
BUY IT? Definitely, sorry but if you own a console and don't have this game - you're missing out or dare I say it... not really a big Superman fan (yep it's that good). I'd even say get the console just for this game! Midway have delivered a game that reminds you why they are one of the best - takes you back to the good old days of MK I & II, but slaps you in the face with one of the most creative, fun and original games in the versus genre. A respectful game to either universe and even the naysayers from either the MK or DC camp will find it difficult not to like this game.
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