A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
- 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.
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?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love games with loads of action
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.