Mortal Kombat has always been a broken series. Whether it's unbalanced characters, cheap moves, insane bosses, what have you, the series has always been more about the Gorn and less about the game play. The 3D games only made this worse, drowning the main game under waves of increasingly stupid minigames, horrible characters, and an increasingly incomprehensible plot. When Midway finally died a well-deserved death, the series was already buried. Thank God Warner Bros. dug it back up. Mortal Kombat 9 is, by far, the best game in the series. The game play is very familiar to fans of the older games: strict 2-D, dial-a-combos, chaining specials, etc. All these elements have been improved, however. The fights move much faster, while the combos also allow you to insert or lead off of specials. There's also the new meter, shamelessly ripped off of other fighters, which allows for a few more strategic options. X-Ray Attacks are more flash than useful, but are still cool to see at least once. Breakers are brought back from the 3-D, and actually make some sense this time. (No more spinning like an idiot when used, for one...) The game has multiple modes again, but this time they, again, make more sense. You have a traditional Arcade Ladder and Multiplayer fights, all of which can also be played in a Tag Team mode. The minigames are all of the "Test Your..." variety, and fit quite well. The big draws, however, are the Story Mode and Online Multiplayer. The game's actual story is pretty damn stupid, but fits the Michael Bay-esque "popcorn movie" feel the series has always had. Online is also good, although there is still a lag issue. In closing, Mortal Kombat 9 is a very good game. It's not the best fighter out there this generation, but you'll certainly get your dollar's worth.
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