N Amer - 05/24/2007
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Review
When Mortal Kombat: Armageddon hit the PS2 and Xbox late last year, it represented a hallmark of sorts for the series, offering all of the characters from the series in one complete package. Now the title is hitting the Wii, complete with a new control scheme utilizing the Wii’s motion-sensing controls. While the Wii-mote/nunchuck scheme might not be ideal for a fighting game of this kind, requiring a great deal of accuracy in order to perform special moves and projectiles, this is still a great package for Wii owners looking to play through all that the MK series has had to offer over the years.
In MK Armageddon, you get to play as every single fighter from the series’ canon, ranging from the essentials to the esoteric. Liu Kang, Baraka, Stryker, Bo’ Rai Cho, Goro, Shao Kahn, the gang’s all here. You can even unlock a few more by completing the game’s varied modes. When all is said and done, over 60 characters are at your disposal. They are all fairly balanced too, and each boasts two fighting styles as well as a weapon (not to mention their own sets of special moves and combos), making for a ton of different unique fighting possibilities.
However, for those of you out there who find 60-plus fighters to be a dismal showing, Armageddon has a new Create-A-Fighter mode that allows you to build your own fighter. This mode offers a lot of different customization options, letting you change your character’s appearance, fighting styles, moves, and so on with a great amount of depth.
The motion-sensing controls are a bit of a mixed bag. In order to perform moves, you have to hold down the B button while performing gestures, be it moving back and forth, in a half-circle, up and down, and so on. This raises some problems, as the motion-sensing isn’t quite as accurate as gamers weaned on D-Pads would hope for. Oftentimes, moves are either done wrong or aren’t completed at all. There’s a huge learning curve to get down all the moves just right, and the payoff isn’t especially huge, as playing game with a classic controller or a GameCube controller is a lot more conducive. To further exacerbate things, basic attacks are done with the Wii-mote’s D-Pad, making combos unnecessarily difficult with this control set.
Aside from the standard combat tier, the game gives you a few different game modes to switch things up. The Konquest mode from Deception has returned, presenting a single-player adventure mode, where you can explore a world and learn the game’s back story while fighting battles against characters from the MK universe. You can also score some unlockables in this mode, which is added incentive for completing it.
A brand new addition is Motor Kombat. This is basically a go-kart mode with some obvious inspiration being drawn from Mario Kart. This mode uses the Wii controls a bit better than the fighting does, allowing you to hold the Wii-mote sideways and steer your kart like a driving game. While the lack of Puzzle Kombat and Chess Kombat from Deception is a crying shame, this mode is actually a lot of fun in multiplayer settings.
Graphically, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is a decent enough looking game and compares to the PS2 version, but unfortunately doesn’t take any advantage whatsoever of the Wii’s increased horsepower, however small. That said, the framerate is pretty smooth, keeping the action strolling along at 60 frames per second, and the dynamic environments (complete with some great stage fatalities) are pretty cool.
The sound is also a bit of a mixed bag. The dialogue is very cheesy, and the voice acting in the Konquest mode is just painful. The music is pretty decent, but not really outstanding for the series. The sound effects are pretty good though, offering plenty of back-breaking boom.
For players who’ve kept up with the series over the past few 3D iterations, Armageddon will offer more of the same, not really stirring the pot a whole bunch. However, if you’re new to the series or have been out of it a while, then Armageddon is the one to check out. Just make sure you have a classic or GC controller handy.
Review Scoring Details for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Basically every fighter from the MK universe is now at your disposal. The new create-a-fighter mode is a nice addition, allowing you to create your own brawler however you see fit. The gameplay mechanics are largely the same as the past two games in the series, save for the new Wii-mote/nunchuck control configuration. However, this mode isn’t terribly practical for a fighting game, lacking the intricacy of a good D-Pad. Most traditional fighters will want to play this one with the classic controller or GameCube controller (which the game thankfully supports).
The game looks about as good as it did on the PS2, but that doesn’t say much considering that the Wii is capable of much more. The framerate is pretty smooth, however.
Goofy dialogue (painfully delivered in the Konquest mode), solid sounds, and a decent score sum the audio up.
No online hurts (no fault of Midway’s however, this is Nintendo’s wrongdoing), but the fighting is pretty fun and Motor Kombat is a pretty cool party game.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon doesn’t really offer wildly different gameplay from Deadly Alliance and Deception, but rather offers a complete version with 60+ characters to choose from and a nice create-a-fighter mode.
While the Wii-mote controls are pretty gimmicky and not very practical, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon offers a robust amount of features and game modes, plus plenty of fighters and unlockables to keep you busy.
Midway’s flagship brawler comes to the Wii wrapped up in a complete package.
Reviewer: Steven Hopper
Review Date: 06/18/2007