Mortal Kombat

Common Sense Media says

Bloodiest, goriest game since the series began.





What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Warner Bros. Games
Release date:April 19, 2011
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Mortal Kombat was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byMercuryMan April 21, 2011
Yes, it's Mortal Kombat ready to create controversy among the gaming world and it's back with all new gory fatalities and attacks. In one word, this game is great. The story line is actually a thrill to play compared to games like Street Fighter and The King of Fighters. But what makes this game really fun is the controls. The controls are fluid and make moves easy to pull off, great for pick up and play. What is absent in most fighting games is unlockables, but Mortal Kombat is full of them; Concept art, movies, and costumes and so much more. Blood and gore is everywhere in this game so you might want to keep this away from your kids. Sliced body parts, x-rays revealing broken bones, and unthinkable fighting moves make this one of the goriest games I have ever played but if you are an older teen or adult that can handle that kind of violence, then you should pick up this game. Another great point is the multi-player, whether offline or online, will provide a great time too. So if you are the person that wants Street Fighter with gallons of blood and gore, then pick up this game because it will satisfy your blood thirst. :D
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 9 years old May 8, 2011


well i am 9 years old and i played it JUST FOR 10 SECONDS AND it was too much blood and it was scary SO I SAY IT : NOT FOR KIDS
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 12 years old May 21, 2011


Has anyone else read the title for this video game? Mortal Kombat. You know, the game that over the years earned a reputation as THE most gory, violent, disgusting, and controversial games in gaming history? This video game is described as the revival of the series. Therefore, and lets just use our brains for a moment, it is more gory than the original. And, may I add, it is rated M. If you feel it may be too violent for your child, or that the rating should be enforced, enforce it. Just don't make the rest of us have to do as you say. Now, many hardcore fighter fans will be drooling over this game, and I say go ahead! It seems the fighting genre is on its way to recovery, having seen Street Fighter 4 and Tekken 6. Thanks for reading!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide