These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Ass Pull: Sindel suddenly slaughtering the heroes near the end of the story feels like a rather rushed way to kill off several of the cast members for the sake of the storyline, which made a point about heroes making 'unthinkable sacrifices'.
Awesome Music: Nearly all of the music of the original games gets a remix, including several very well done orchestral remixes.
Kratos. You've got the fans who think he's a great addition to the roster, the fans who are vehemently against his presence in the game, the fans pestering Netherrealm Studios to add a 360 exclusive character, and the fans who just don't care about him being in the game.
With the reveal that the fourth DLC character is Freddy Krueger, the fanbase is further split between those who think he's a welcome addition and those who feel that he's even less fitting in the game than Kratos is and that the reveal is a disappointment after the hype leading up to his release.
Babalities are back in the game. Without Friendships or Animalities to accompany them.
There's also the announcement that goes both ways: Unmasked Sub-Zero, YAYYYYY! Wait, Retro Cyber Sub-Zero, BOOOOOO!
Cyber Sub-Zero is a HUGE one among the fans.
Best Known for the Fanservice: Inverted AND averted within Story Mode. Most of the female characters remain clothed to some degree, with one surprising exception at first. No, not Sonya. Or Kitana. Or Jade. Or Mileena. Or even Sheeva. It's Sindel. In what is the only display of "frontal nudity" of any kind in the entire series, when Quan Chi resurrects her to match the events of Mortal Kombat 3, she is brought back naked, with only a view shown of her upper chest above the nipples.
Breather Level: Challenge 150, Gor-Owned, is much easier than anything near it in the Challenge Tower. This is mostly due to the challenge involving you playing as Goro. You keep his ridiculous armor and damage resistance, and you even get a considerable damage boost. Not even the requirement of having to defeat five people without healing makes this at all difficult.
Broken Base: Chapter 15 in Story mode has only two sides to it.
8.8: IGN gave the game a "mere" 8 out of ten, with a one page review and some complaints about the single player mode. The latter falls under sloppy research, since they were that it was too hard, and that the story mode wasn't comprehensive enough. Note that when the reviewer states in the review that when he made remarks about the difficulty to other IGN writers, they noted "Sounds like Mortal Kombat, then" and that none of the other fighting games except for afew feature a story mode.
Some of Goro's and Kintaro's weaknesses can be exploited via these. They can't comprehend uppercut spamming on Normal difficulty, and are also impotent against diving kicks, especially Cyber Sub-Zero's, which is a Godsend when you fight both of them towards the end of Story Mode.
There's also a glitch that lets you do most characters' X-Rays with other characters.
He's Just Hiding: A good portion of the fans believe that Liu Kang didn't die when Raiden shocked him, and that he'll be showing up in the next game having made a Face-Heel Turn. Whether or not this is true is unconfirmed.
In addition to the above, three others who some fans believe to still be alive and possibly return in the sequel are Shang Tsung, Noob Saibot, and Shao Kahn. In the case of the first is that Shang Tsung is known to be a death-phobic individual who may have had some sort of contingency plan in place and thus had a back-up body to put his own soul into after Shao Kahn absorbed his souls to empower Sindel. As for the second, Scorpion was also known to have been sucked into a soulnado and survived, thus it wouldn't be impossible for him to have survived as well. As for the last, there are some who believe that he wasn't killed by Raiden and the Elder Gods but merely sentenced to some sort of Phantom Zone like containment. Also worth mentioning in the case of the first two is that among those to be revealed to have their souls enslaved by Quan Chi, they were both absent possibly suggesting they are still alive.
Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm gave us a non-canon glimpse of Cyrax and Sektor before they underwent automation; they were respectively shown to be Asian and Black. While we've known that (in canon) Cyrax has been shown to be dark-skinned at the least since his ending in Gold (additionally, his bio for this game confirms that he's Motswana), this game's story shows us all of the major Lin Kuei warriors before they were converted into cyborgs. Sektor is shown to be Asian, thus meaning that he and Cyrax swapped races between the games and the cartoon.
A year before the game was announced, a YouTube user uploaded this video. At the time it was just a show off of Armageddon's "Kreate-A-Fatality" feature, where the player could build their own character, with their own powers, fighting stances, weapons, etc. But now that Freddy was confirmed to be DLC, the video seems (unintentionally, of course) prophetic...
Annihilation features a scene where Rain announces to Shao Kahn that he's captured Kabal and Stryker. Cue 9, and both of them are Bash Brothers.
The ending to Mortal Kombat: Conquest, where Shao Kahn kills everyone, is oddly prescient of this game, which ends with Shao Kahn killing almost everyone. In both cases, Raiden unwittingly caused the destruction.
Holy Shit Quotient: The X-Ray moves and Fatalities in particular have high HSQs, though there's no shortage of this in the game's storyline as well.
Stryker and Police!Kabal's conversation in the middle of Chapter 12:
Kabal: Stryker, check her [Mileena] out! What do you think? Friend or foe?
Kabal: Dressed like that?
Stryker: Definitely foe.
...And Kano is still frozen.note The last time that Kano is seen in the story mode is when he is frozen by Sub-Zero. Though he likely thawed out of the Ice eventually as Noob Saibot mentions that he received a warning from him about Sub-Zero's defection.
Porting Disaster: Maybe due to insufficient testing to ensure compatibility on a variety of configurations, the PC version may play perfectly to some, while others experience problems like inconsistent framerate - you may play the first round of a fight going with a fast forward button, then the second in slow motion - or sudden framerate drops when some visual effects are played. It can be remedied only by fiddling with some configuration files. Also, the compression of the cutscenes is lower than in the console releases, which causes a jarring contrast with the higher resolutions allowed on PCs; fans have released a higher-res movies pack.
Some mention also deserves to be made about Liu Kang. In the past, he was regularly overshadowed by everyone else. This is changed by having him be more of a chosen one ("He must win" Though Raiden realizes that the message meant something else entirely) and by developing his relation with Raiden by making them become estranged enemies by some of the latter's decisions sometimes having detrimental ramifications.
The Scrappy: Sindel after the events of Chapter 15 where she effortlessly curbstomps 10 people at once killing all but Johnny Cage and Sonya.
Shao Kahn, too, for being a SNK Boss that will send you crying home to your mother.
It's almost like the story is intentionally making you hate the Elder Gods with the unbridled fury of one thousand white-hot suns to garner a Kick the Son of a Bitch/Rooting for the Empire reaction from Shinnok's inevitable escape from the Netherrealm.
Raiden is now this for many fans due to his many What an Idiot moments.
Special Effects Failure: In the Vita release of this game, there's a bigArt Shift when going from cutscene to gameplay, much more than was noticeable in the home-console version (which was practically seamless). It doesn't help that most shirtless characters look like their muscles are just painted-on now. The PC version also has this problem if your resolution is set higher than the resolution the cutscenes play at.
That One Boss: Shao Kahn in Story Mode, if only because Liu Kang requires a lot more practice for Beginners. He also has a lot less combo potential and easy buttons to use. More specifically the 360 version because the D-Pad is pretty bad.
A cheap way to beat him during the Liu Kang matchup is to keep getting as far away as possible, as this seems to force him to taunt you. Repay this kindness with a flying kick, and repeat.
Kintaro/Goro in Arcade Mode can become this because of their Super Armor as well as severe Hitbox Dissonance on Kintaro's throws. They're not so bad in Story Mode however.
There's a rather easy way to beat both of these behemoths. Stay away from them, and keep dodging their attacks. When they jump off screen to stomp you, that's your cue: jump back and air kick them as they're coming down. Boring, but Practical: they will both go down like punks.
The final battle against Shao Kahn as Raiden in Story Mode will break you. He seems to LOVE reading your control inputs and countering at just the right time. And if you try to get a good hit in, chances are he'll bust out the hitstun to hit through that and smack you around for twice as much damage. Not even cheap projectile spamming (which works well in Arcade Ladder Mode) will help you here.
Another tactic which works is to play defensively, and get really lucky. Always try to get as far from him as possible, and when he throws his hammer at you, teleport next to him and uppercut. If you try it when he tosses a spear, he'll hitstun block it and rape your face (on rare occasions the blow will connect). If he taunts you, use the flying torpedo move instead, as it recovers faster than a hammer toss. Repeat this until he either dies, or more likely, the timer runs out (hopefully with you having more health than him). Landing an X-Ray move is also helpful, the best time for that also being during a taunt or hammer toss. The luck factors in regarding his dash move, and how often he uses it to close the distance on you. If he gets too close for comfort, teleport again and retreat. Trying to fight him straight up WILL NOT WORK. Good luck, and in the words of Shao Kahn, "You will die."
Challenge #251, you must KO Shao Kahn with Shang Tsung, AFTER facing Baraka and Sindel on maxed out AIs.
Challenge #257: Hell, pits you against Noob Saibot with reduced damage taken, damage boosted X3, a super meter that never drops below 2/3, and input-reading AI. Fun times. Fittingly, this challenge is simply called "Hell".
Challenge #269 requires KOing 3 Shao Kahns as Stryker, with no health restore. It practically forces you into a tedious Hit Scan spam.
Tier-Induced Scrappy: Shang Tsung. He can only morph into to the character being fought, and they can block this to prevent it. His moves aren't that great, one of which even leaves you open for attack, and is easy to do by mistake when throwing combos involving uppercuts. And 2 of his big advantages, his grab and Soul Steal, are useless on the bosses. He can be played okay in the right hands, but even then, he's moderately good at best.
Villain Sue: Quan Chi is working his way up here, if not already there thanks to this game. Subverted as however it helps greatly when it's implied that Shinnok is possibly receiving information from his future self, and thus allowing the two to plan accordingly. Indeed at the very end the two state that everything has gone according to plan.
Raiden just stands and watches the Lin Kuei cyborgs abduct Sub-Zero; that this comes after warning Cyrax against the Cyber Inititave & his saving Smoke from that same fate makes it especially glaring. An argument could be made that his inability to understand his message from the future ("He must win") could fall under this, as he keeps thinking that it means a specific combatant from Earthrealm, even after Liu Kang's victories over Shang Tsung & Shao Kahn didn't ward off Armageddon. In fact, Raiden from the original timeline could fall under this too, because he could have very easily specified who the message "He must win" was referring to, though to be fair, he was just beaten up and about to be killed, so he must have had little time to clairify.
For one, he didn't go to the Elder Gods until the last possible minute, nor explain his visions.
Hey Sonya, Ermac's got a hold of Jax! Want to help Jax out? No? Okay, let's just hope nothing bad happ—Oh wait, there go his arms. Good thing you're here Sonya, now you can stop the bleeding!
Shao Kahn himself at the very start of the game. If he simply killed Raiden there and then as he started hisgloating, the timeline wouldn't have changed and he wouldn't have been annihilated by the Elder Gods.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Noob Saibot! After discovering his identity you would think he is trying to have his revenge and make a huge action that defeats the villains. Well, maybe in a sequel if he survives.
It's possible he became (even more of) a puppet to Quan Chi without realizing it. And, in the original timeline, even after it's been revealed who he was, he developed a whole new agenda (which included making Smoke into his own servant) rather than pursuing vendetta against Scorpion.
The Woobie: You can't help but feel for Raiden after all's said and done. Accidentally betraying your friends, being manipulated by every evil bastard between Outworld and the Netherrealm, watching your world destroyed in an invasion, finding no help from your superiors, and ultimately, figuring out it all went south because you couldn't even understand your own doomed message. Even if he played with the Idiot Ball, Raiden deserves a Friendship by the end of Story Mode.
Cyber Sub-Zero is this both in Story and Arcade Ladder. In both cases he is doomed to A Fate Worse Than Death, both an initial, temporary one, and a second, possibly more permanent one.
Long story short, this game made the setting a Crapsack World. It is utterly heartwrenching to see the domino effect screw over nearly everyone.