You may be surprised to learn that sales of the recent Mortal Kombat games far exceed the MK games of yore. While under Midway’s wing, sales of the PS2/Xbox entries would usually clock in between 1-2 million. Since Warner Bros. rebooted the series, sales of each entry are now around the 5-6 million mark. Not bad going for a franchise some consider past its best.
Reviews of Mortal Kombat 11 went live yesterday, and it was mostly met with a positive reception. It’s likely that there are fewer 9/10s than WB hoped for, and perhaps more 7/10s then they anticipated, but still, an 83% Metacritic is nothing to sniff at.
The Switch version is currently review shy, incidentally. Early footage suggests it runs smoothly in handheld mode, but the visuals take a slight hit when docked. You may have seen posts on social media claiming that it looks “terrible”, which seems way off the mark. It appears a respectable amount of effort has been put in.
Sony’s PS4 exclusive Days Gone is another of this week’s big name releases. Although Sony’s first-party efforts have been mostly excellent this generation, this biker-based zombie shooter has been a cause for concern – the first batch of previews weren’t too positive. It has received extra development time since, however, so there’s still hope Sony can pull another major hit out of the bag. [Update: Reviews added below]
Elsewhere, Capcom’s hack ‘n slash RPG hybrid Dragon’s Dogma makes its way to Switch. It was one of our favourite games on the last generation, full of spectacular set-pieces, combat that’s easy to learn while still featuring some subtle nuances, and unique online functionality that allows AI teammates to be swapped and shared. Oh the things you’ll see.
We’ve rounded up scores below, along with a smattering of scores for Jupiter & Mars – an underwater adventure that’s (for better or worse) drawing comparisons with Ecco the Dolphin.
New release showcase:
9.0 – PlayStation Lifestyle: “Days Gone checks all the boxes of a proverbial PlayStation exclusive, but never feels like it’s stepping on anyone else’s toes. Despite the games, film, and TV that you can easily draw comparisons too, Days Gone handles it all in such a way that it has its own unique identity. The more I played it, the more I loved it, until finally finishing the long journey and not wanting the adventure to end”
8/10 – VideoGamer: “Days Gone is a grim, beautiful B-movie; its action and writing are full of pulpy thrills, and by the end of it, I found myself liking a character called Deacon St. John – an achievement in itself”
8/10 – PSU: “Though a touch derivative and brought low on occasion by the odd technical issue, Days Gone is a sprawling and handsomely made open-world adventure that contains a surprising amount of heart and ample amounts of violence to match”
7.75 – GameInformer: “Days Gone has good gameplay foundations. The scarcity of supplies and ever-present threat of zombies put me on edge as much as it gave me options to escape by the skin of my teeth. But the inability to fully deliver on either the story or open world fronts makes it a title of both possibilities and limitations”
7/10 – Push Square: “A dense selection of overlapping gameplay mechanics make for entertaining action, even if the title’s unremarkable mission design doesn’t always make the best of them. The story can drift, and the overall package isn’t quite as polished as its PS4 exclusive counterparts – but as far as gaming comfort food goes, you could feast on much worse snacks than this”
6.5 – God is a Geek: “Days Gone has some moments of brilliance, but there’re far too may bugs. The hordes improve the game drastically, it’s just a shame that a lot of the game suffers in other avenues”
6.5 – IGN: “Fun in small bursts, but Days Gone’s repetition, bland world, and meandering story make for an unremarkable ride”
6/10 – The Metro: “We wouldn’t particularly recommend Days Gone, and it’s certainly not in the same league as most of Sony’s other PlayStation 4 exclusives, but while we don’t look back at our days with it with any sense of wistfulness we don’t resent the time spent on it either”
Mortal Kombat 11
9.0 – IGN: “It’s a rare fighting game that hits just about every note as strongly as Mortal Kombat 11 does. Everything from its methodical and deep combat to its fantastically absurd story mode and its rock-solid netcode, right down to its extraordinarily comprehensive tutorial is absolutely exceptional”
4/5 – Trusted Reviews: “Mortal Kombat 11 is yet another great entry in NetherRealm’s fighting series. We’re living in a golden age of fighting games right now, and NetherRealm’s latest can happily join some of the generation’s best”
4/5 – Games Radar: “Mortal Kombat 11’s story mode, along with its gameplay, is the most intense and gripping narrative in a fighter that I’ve played in years”
3.5/5 – US Gamer: “There’s a lot to love in Mortal Kombat 11. It’s a fantastic fighter with a roster of 25 varied characters, tons of customization options, beautiful graphics, and one of the best story modes in a fighting game. It’s a shame that modes like the Krypt and Towers of Time inject annoyance and tedium into what was an excellent experience. The progression is complex and obtuse, when it should be easy and straightforward. MK 11 could been an all-time best, but it’s just a contender”
7/10 – Push Square: “Structural foibles detract from the fact that Mortal Kombat 11 is an excellent fighter with lots to offer. Those yearning for the gore-soaked days of old will find plenty to love, and newcomers will be enthralled by its excellent story and deep fighting system”
7/10 – TheSixthAxis: “This game is the pinnacle of Mortal Kombat action. Fights are fluid, weighty, and gorgeous to look at. Unfortunately, that tightly-designed gameplay is bogged down by a grindy system of loot and consumables that only serves to artificially extend your playtime in the most tedious ways imaginable. There is so much heart and care put into this game, from the combat to the gorgeous visuals and memorable story, but that effort feels nullified by the desperate attempt to twist an iconic video game franchise into just another endlessly online service game”
Jupiter & Mars
4/5 – AOTF: “Following the journey of two neon colored dolphins, Jupiter & Mars can be enjoyed both with PSVR and without. Not only is it an actually well made underwater experience, but it also comes with a good message about protecting the future of the oceans in some interesting ways as well”
6/10 – Push Square: “Jupiter & Mars is an enjoyable underwater experience that sadly doesn’t push the boat out. The visuals and music mix for a trippy swim through Earth’s ruins, but the lack of interactivity makes the journey surprisingly dry. If you’re after a relaxed dive through colourful caverns, this might be worth a look, but don’t expect it to make a big splash”
2/5 – Screen Rant: “One of the first things most players will do is swim quickly up to the surface, expecting that triumphant and cinematic dolphin spin-jump to give them a bout of VR indigestion, but Jupiter merely smacks directly into the peak of the sea-level and immediately stops. There’s enough content in Jupiter & Mars to take up a lazy Sunday’s time, but it could have been so much more”
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
8/10 – Nintendo World Report: “Dark Arisen has some of the most unique systems in modern RPGs, and great combat to go along with it. It’s a great adventure, and if they can improve the loads after the inns it’ll be essential”
8/10 – Nintendo Life: “There’s no denying that it is rough in parts and really could have done with a full remaster rather than a straight re-release, but Dragon’s Dogma nonetheless remains a fantastically gripping role-playing experience that manages to straddle the divide between exhilarating real-time action and stat-based adventuring”
3.5/5 – We Got This Covered: “Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen arrives on Nintendo’s portable console, warts and all. It’s more than worth playing, if only for the combat alone, and it’s one of the best mediocre games ever made. If you long for the feelings of adventure that often only come when imagining a good Dungeons and Dragons campaign, this should be up your alley”
New digital multi-format releases:
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark
UglyDolls: An Imperfect Adventure
New on PSN:
A Chair in a Room: Greenwater
Tarot Readings Premium
Counter Fight: Samurai Edition
DayD: Through Time
New on Xbox One store:
New Nintendo retail releases
Dragon Marked for Death
Bomber Crew Complete Edition
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk (3DS)
Next week: Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, Fade To Silence, Crashbots, and VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action.