Mortal Kombat (Unchained)
Though it features an all-new subtitle, Mortal Kombat: Unchained for the PlayStation Portable is basically a straight port of 2004’s Mortal Kombat: Deception for the PlayStation 2, with longer loading times and without the online play. Contrary to what you might expect, it’s not based on this fall’s
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, though it does throw in a few of that installment’s added characters. Seeing as there’s so little new content in Mortal Kombat: Unchained, it’s difficult to recommend to Mortal Kombat fans, unless they really want a version of Deception to have on the go.
Given that Unchained is based on Deception, it includes most of the same relative strengths and weaknesses of that game. So, in addition to the one-on-one fighting game at the heart of the experience, you get a couple of quirky extras in the form of chess kombat and puzzle kombat. The former adds a basic strategic layer on top of the one-on-one fighting, in a nod to the classic computer game Archon. The latter is a competitive puzzle game inspired by the great Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. These were exciting extras in 2004, but their novelty outweighed their quality or lasting appeal, and by now, the appeal will be long gone for anyone who’s played these modes before. Unchained also packs in a story-driven mode called “konquest,” which gets into a lot of the elaborate, long-winded fiction of the Mortal Kombat universe, with numbingly bad pacing and voice acting, plus tons of pedantic tutorials. Noticeably long loading times bog down these extras as well as the one-on-one fighting, in which you’re stuck waiting about 20 seconds in between a typical bout. Thankfully, there’s a new endurance mode that lets you take on successive opponents without much interruption, and that about does it for this game’s new content.
he roster gains a few additional characters not found in Deception, though you might have seen them in Armageddon. Jax, Kitana, Frost, Blaze, Goro, and Shao Kahn are available in this installment, along with series favorites like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, and Raiden.