Video Game Review: Mortal Kombat 9 (2011)

Mortal Kombat 9 coverGame: Mortal KombatMortal Kombat 9 / Mortal Kombat 2011

Developer(s): NetherRealm Studios, High Voltage Software

Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Official Website:

Platform(s): Microsoft Windows (PC), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita

Genre(s): Fighting

Game Mode(s): Single-Player, Multi-player

Release Date: 04/19/2011

ESRB Rating: M-Mature  Blood & Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language


Although we try to be objective as possible, reviews are still opinions. This review does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Super Barley Bros as a whole.

My personal stats:

Mortal Kombat 9 logoI have played Mortal Kombats before. At the arcade, or at a friend’s house. This is actually my second time playing through one start to finish. The first being DCU vs. MK, but I am not sure if that really counts.

I’ll be honest, although I like fighting games, I really suck at them. I am not good at stringing together combos, let alone executing fatalities. I am alright against the CPU, but if you put a human on the other end, I will more than likely lose.

I played the story on Beginner difficulty on the PlayStation 3. Trophies 8 out of 51. 14%. This review is based on the main story. I dabbled in the other areas of the game, but not too much.

Quick Synopsis:

This is the ninth game in the series. It is a reboot of the story and the first game by NetherRealm Studios after Midway Studios’ bankruptcy. Although a reboot, it is a sequel to Mortal Kombat Armageddon. Much like JJ Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek it involves time travel.

The purpose of Mortal Kombat was put in place by the elder gods in an effort to protect EarthRealm from merging and being taken over by other realms. Fighters are chosen to fight in MORTAL KOMBAT if an EarthRealm representative is victorious, EarthRealm is protected. If not, bad news for us.

The storyline involves the divine protector of EarthRealm, Lord Raiden (god of thunder), attempting to change the aftermath of the events of Armageddon by contacting his past self as he faces defeat at the hands of the evil emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, who has teamed up with NeartherRealm.

The telling of this game spans across the original games of Mortal Kombat 1, 2, and 3 altering the events of those games. Being as I do not have much experience in the Mortal Kombat franchise, I am told that this is the first game to depict a story like this one has. I want to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

Shao_Kahn_vs_RaidenLord Raiden is getting visions from his future self. They are choppy and not quite clear with the only words being “He must win.” His magical medallion is cracked because it broke in the future, so this is his indicator whether or not the future outcome is still in place. His visions come at random or key moments, depending how you look at it. At that point in time, he tries to intervene with the current Mortal Kombat fight that is about to begin. This could be putting in a different fighter to speaking to the individual to try to achieve an outcome. Unfortunately throughout the story his medallion continues to crack indicating that the same outcome will occur. From my perspective, there were a lot of twists and turns, so I don’t want to spoil too much.

Initial Thoughts:

Since I am playing and reviewing this game late, my initial thoughts are skewed. I knew as a fighting game it was going to be fulfilling. At the same time, based on previous fighting game experience, I was worried about my personal abilities.

Game Play:

1) I thought the story was pretty good. It had some plot twists that I was not expecting. Just when I thought the game was over, there was more! This happened about twice.
2) Throughout the story you change characters; and, therefore do not get bored and start button mashing.
3) It seemed I had more luck with the special moves then I have in previous fighting games.
MK9 Characters4) Replay-ability. When you do the fights outside of story mode, you have plenty of characters to choose from. Along with that, there are several modes. You have the familiar fight tower. Where you have the ability to use your fatalities. You have the challenge tower. The game gives you certain challenges, such as ‘defeat this guy within X amount of time’, ‘use only blocking to survive’, and so forth. Tag combat. Couch versus. Online versus. You also have the ability to earn coins that you can purchase alternate costumes and fatalities. Make sure you search for a Krypt guide to avoid the concept art.
5) Even when you chose the Beginner or Easy difficulty as you progress, the enemies gradually get harder.
6) Mortal Kombat has been known for its over the top blood and gore. Well that is still intact, and now it has good fighting mechanics to go along with it.

7)Throughout the story you change characters; and, therefore have to learn their special moves each time.
8) During the story mode, at the risk of sounding whiny, there were some pretty unfair fights. Two on one, three on one, and Shao Kahn. I basically had to get into a cheap, repetitive fighting style.

SBB 4.0 RatingGame Play Rating:




1) Returned to its roots as a fighting game on a 2D plane, but with 3D looking graphics.
2) There were very smooth transitions from the Cinematic Cut Scenes, to the pre-rendered taunt before a fight, to the fight itself.
3) Outside of the main story, characters look more and more damaged as the fight progresses from bruises, to blood, to ripped clothing.
Xray mortal kombat4) X-Ray, a new fighting special move is introduced. You can trigger this when your super meter is charged. Once triggered, it goes into slow motion as you hit your opponent in key areas and you can see bones cracking, organs moving about.
5) Fatalities, slightly easier to pull off now. You thought they were graphic before? I put this as a pro, because graphically they look incredible. That being said, some, if not all, are most unsettling for the faint of heart or weak stomach.
6) The fighting settings themselves are also incredible. In most instances, there is actually things going on in the background. The depth is impressive.

5)The one thing that stuck out in my mind, for some strange reason was that the teeth didn’t look right. Weird, I know. I blame it on my wife, who is a Dental Assistant.
6) At times, I noticed some glitches before “FIGHT” broke out, mainly around the position of the characters head.

SBB 4.0 RatingGraphics Rating:




1) The folly sounds are spot on and full of audio win. The punches, kicks, weapons, projectiles, everything sounds incredible. So make sure to crank those speakers or headphones.
2) The usage of stereo and surround sound…well…sounds amazing.
3) The dialogue and voice acting is pretty good. Normally the typical fighting games are pretty dry and corny in this area.

Cons: n/a

 SBB 5.0 RatingAudio Rating:




I enjoyed the game overall, and had a good time. It is a game with many more pros than cons. With the replay-ability, I will be playing it more and more. But on to more of the backlog.

 Averaged Rating:  4.3

 SBB 4.0 RatingOverall Rating: 4.0
“An enjoyable game. It might have had a major flaw or a few minor ones that just stuck out. Overall the greatness of the game would overshadow it. We will let you decide whether to buy it now or on sale, but it needs to be on your radar.”

 Thanks for Playin’!

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