Mortal Kombat

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Mortal Kombat Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Bloodiest, goriest game since the series began.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 74 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game is all about fighters who battle it out to a gory finish. While recent Mortal Kombat games went a little lighter on the violence, it's back in full-force in this sequel. The game can be seen as suggesting it's OK to kill opponents and inflict a brutal fatality move when you've already beaten them to a pulp. While players are trying to save the future in the story mode, it's all about violence to achieve your goals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

None of the fighters are good role models as they're in the game to battle against others using melee attacks, magic, and weapons galore. It's a fight to the death for these games -- hence the impalement, bone-snapping, and point-blank gunshots to finish the job. Woman are represented as over-sexualized in provocative dress with disproportionate physical assets.

Ease of Play

Fighting game fans shouldn't have any problems playing this game, as you can randomly "button mash" for a while -- until you need to learn special moves and combos, breakers (to break out of an offensive attack), and fatalities for each playable character. There is a move list and a manual to help along, too.


Extremely violent: not only are there gory finishing moves (fatalities) that include impalement, bone snapping, ripping flesh in half, and gunshots to the head, but there are also X-Ray effects so you can see what's happening inside the opponent's body when inflicting damage (such as a skull cracking from a sledgehammer). Graphics are in high-definition -- and even in 3D on compatible televisions (PS3 version only).


Many of the female fighters have disproportionately large breasts, most of which are barely covered by material. There is plenty of cleavage and other skin revealed (such as buttocks), not to mention gratuitous breast "jiggling."



Some profanity can be heard during dialogue sequences, including the words "f--k," "s--t" and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this title is arguably the bloodiest, goriest Mortal Kombat game since the series began almost 20 years ago. You can perform those over-the-top and deadly, "fatality" moves -- like ripping out an opponent's spine, tearing them in half, or impaling them with objects -- but now it's in high-definition 3D (PlayStation 3 version) and with a new X-Ray feature to see the effect of your violence on your opponent's insides while you perform the moves. There is also partial nudity (woman who fight half-naked) and some strong profanity, as well. In short, this game is not for kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bynuenjins September 8, 2014

Mortal Kombat Vs DC much more kid friendly.

First and very plainly, every woman in the game is as scantily clad as possible compared to any other rendition in previous games with in your face cleavage and... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byAdam ferriter May 2, 2014

Is it safe for kids

I think that the game shows gory violence but no sexual intercourse which is what I was worried about
Teen, 14 years old Written byreds1999 August 30, 2014

MK9 is the best!

Mortal Kombat is the best game ever made. Creative storyline, good characters, awesome gameplay, and everything! A good, good, good, good, GOOD! game. The conce... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMrsTkkibolo April 8, 2012

Better Than Most Horror Movies But Suggetive

Mortal Combat can be gory,but if you let your kids watch things such as "Saw" then this game is like a cut on the knee. But parents need to know that... Continue reading

What's it about?

MORTAL KOMBAT is the latest in the best-selling and controversial fighting game series. Much like its predecessors, you're tasked with choosing a fighter from a roster, who has his or her own unique abilities, and then pitting your fighter against other fighters in an arena. By punching, kicking, blocking, chaining combo moves, and using weapons (guns, swords) and special powers (such as fire and lightning), you try to defeat your opponent before he can do the same to you. Once your rival fighter is on his or her last legs, you can perform a brutal \"fatality\" move to finish him or her off in a gory, over-the-top fashion. The new game marks a return to its gory roots (a loose remake of the first three games), including more of a 2D look (though characters and environments are rendered in 3D), four-player tag-team, and a deep story mode that takes players back to the events of the original Mortal Kombat in an attempt to alter the events of the past.

Is it any good?

If you're a fan of this 19 year-old franchise, then no doubt you'll like everything NetherRealm Studios has added to this great-looking, smoothly-animated, and multi-moded fighting game. Familiar players have returned, such as Scorpion, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Kung Lao, Kitana, and Raiden, as well as new fighters (including Kratos from God of War on the PlayStation 3 version). Along with a lengthy story mode, there are also quick battles, tag-team options (the first for a Mortal Kombat game), online games (such as the "King of the Hill" spectator mode), co-op arcade mode (for two players on the same television), and a Challenge Tower which has the player perform 300 different challenges -- such as mastering various characters, trying out gory fatalities, fighting under different conditions, and so on (this mode itself lasts 8 to 10 hours). Fatalities will make you cringe more than ever, including the new X-ray moves to see the insides of someone you're smashing, slashing, impaling, or blasting away to end the duel. While the game is intense entertainment for mature players, there's still some questionable balancing between fighters. Overall, though, it's an exciting but gory fighting game that has a ton of gameplay -- for those over 17 years of age.

Online interaction: One of the modes allows players to play against each other over the Internet (both versions of the game), including a King of the Hill mode. In this "party" mode, you can be a spectator, represented by an avatar and joined by others, while watching the fight between two human opponents. You can also choose to praise or trash-talk the fighters with preselected actions tied to buttons (throw tomatoes, laugh at them, say "wow" or chant for a fatality). Players who are fighting can also talk via a headset microphone so players could hear profanity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Mortal Kombat seemed to be going a little less violent -- such as the "Teen" rated Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game from 2008 -- only to deliver an even bloodier and gorier sequel in 2011? Is it carnage that gives Mortal Kombat fans the thrill or is it the fighting mechanic, multiple modes, and familiar characters, each with various moves?

  • Could NetherRealm Studios deliver as fun a game without all the extreme violence and gore?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Warner Bros. Games
  • Release date: April 19, 2011
  • Genre: Fighting
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love games with loads of action

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