Alienware 18 Review

If there’s one laptop that deserves to be called the most powerful, it’s the Alienware 18. Dell has done a great job with the construction and customization of this laptop. It’s made out of metal materials for durability. Everything from the chassis to the hinges is strong. You can open and close the lid up to 20,000 times before the hinge starts to wear out. The components and technology are powerful and advanced enough to keep you gaming for years.

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With an 18-inch display, you’ll be able to see plenty of background when playing games and watching videos. There is also the option to connect the Alienware 18 to a larger display that has 3D capabilities.

All of your multimedia will run smoothly thanks to 4th Generation Intel processors (quad-core). They are made even faster with overclocked technology and turbo boost, which can get up to 4.3 GHz. The hyper-threading technology can handle up to 8-way multitasking so you can run more applications in the background without using too many system resources.

The AlienTouch provides you with plenty of touchpad customization. It is designed for virtual scrolling. Horizontal and vertical scrolling gestures can be customized by you. It’s up to you to decide how much sensitivity you want the touchpad to have.

How much memory would you like your dream laptop to have? This one can handle up to 32 GB (dual channel) at 1600 MHz. The base option is 8 GB, but you can go up to 16 or 32 if you need more.

As far as the graphics go on this laptop, you couldn’t ask for more. It comes with dual NVIDIA GeForce graphics.for gaming and 3D software. The dual graphics will be able to handle any game you throw at it, no matter how advanced and detailed the animation is.

The audio is just as advanced as the video technology. The laptop comes with standard HD 5.1 performance audio, and it can be upgraded to an even more advanced system.

If you plan on using this machine for a long time, you’ll need plenty of storage space. Think of all the games and other files you’ll be downloading and saving over the years. You can choose 1000 GB or 1500 GB SATA (7200 RPM). For the optical drive, you can go with a standard DVD writer or a Blu-Ray reader.

To put it simply, the Alienware 18 is the best laptop money can buy. Not only do you have some customization options, you can also personalize it thanks to the AlienFX system lighting technology. Apply dozens of different colors to different zones. There are so many color combinations available that your laptop is guaranteed to have a unique look. It comes with everything you need, and it’s engineered to last.

You’ll never find a better gaming laptop than this. You can find it at a low price online thanks to exclusive Alienware 18 discounts. Dell usually gives out promo codes to help online shoppers save on computer and accessories.

Nadav Snir operates a website which includes coupons and discounts for Dell laptops and desktops. To get those discounts, visit GripBuy.com. You can find more information about GripBuy.com on Google+.

Why The New Splinter Cell Is On My Blacklist

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is fast.

Sam Fisher has moved away from his arthritic self and looks like he’s been downing vitality yoghurts by the 8-pack. He glides through Libya, Marawa, Dallas and many more worldwide locations, with as much finesse as Ezio from Assassin’s Creed.

Plus, his balls have tightened…well, his voice is slightly higher.

I get it.

Ubisoft has allowed Fisher to shed his wrinkly skin and crooked voice to allow for a more actiony action hero.

But when it comes to SC, I’m one of the purists in need of a split jump, an in-game bit of sarcasm from the old guy and a much slower experience all-round.

This speedy platform game is too close to the mediocre Conviction and too far away from the original tetralogy. I mean, interrogating foot soldiers for useable intel later on (i.e. a door code that made the mission easier), was a signature move of the franchise. And now it’s gone.

Interrogations are carried out through cutscenes and it feels like a clunky step back every time.

But hey – at least we’ve got some Jack Bauer style takedowns to enjoy instead.

The problem is, Ubisoft, we already get our kicks from other non-stealth action shows/games. We play Splinter Cell to feel somewhat closer to real espionage.

When I’m tagging enemies and executing them all with the single press of a button (similar to Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon), I feel empowered, sure. But I also feel like some sort of exaggerated lead role in a weak Sky One thriller…Strike Back: Project Dawn.

What happened?

SC: Conviction wasn’t a Splinter Cell. And just because you wear more goggles in Blacklist, it doesn’t make this game any less of a let-down.

Okay, I realise that I’m being bitter, like some re-married 40-something remembering my ex-love to be much better in bed than the new wife. So, let’s give this gal a chance and talk about her ‘other qualities’:

Blacklist has a deep level of gear customisability, and Generation Modern Warfare kind of expect this in every game now. So that’s a big fat tick.

Life was much easier when Sam had all the latest tech provided by Third Echelon as standard. But manually upgrading your goggles makes you really appreciate the enhancements in the field.

Fourth Echelon is on a tighter budget.

Interestingly, there is no main menu. Instead, the game’s singleplayer, multiplayer and co-op missions are all accessible by Sam’s playable airborne HQ – the Paladin.

You return to the Paladin between each mission and can walk around interacting with Grimsdottir & co (similar to the terrorist HQ in Double-Agent). It offers some nice downtime and does a solid job of making you feel you’re in control of the entire operation (which you are).

You earn money for the way in which you complete missions. This money can be invested into your gear, clothing or the Paladin itself. It’s an extra flavour to enjoy and some players will get more out of it than others.

I like it.

Part of this pay-your-own-way system encourages stealth during missions – which I also like. You receive cash rewards no matter how you play. For example, if you’re blazing your way through Libya but you land headshots every time – then you’ll receive credit for your display of ‘Assault’ prowess.

Similarly, you receive ‘Ghost’ credit for evading enemies and conserving ammo. The ‘Ghost’ approach is the more lucrative.

The actual gameplay itself is more Conviction than Double Agent. It’s nice to see the objectives painted on the in-game walls again, I always thought that was a clever way of making you feel like you’re setting your own objectives – rather than checking your OPSAT all the time for instructions from HQ.

The ‘execute’ feature is slick and some of the multi-kills you can pull off are beyond awesome.

But it still doesn’t feel right. Not one mission feels like a direct descendant of Shanghai in Double Agent, the bank in Chaos Theory or even the Kalinatek operation in the original SC.

Overall, Blacklist is more like the bastard child of Conviction and Syphon Filter.

There’s enough stealth and path choice in Blacklist to satisfy the purists, while keeping the neutrals happy with Hollywood-style spy moves. And it really does feel great to suit up in the leathers again (behave).

Still, I’m not in love.

Sam might have cleared up his crow’s-feet but no amount of makeup could cover the wrinkles of Blacklist on a whole. If Ubisoft continues to be uber-soft with this franchise, it will lose the hardcore fanbase and remain eclipsed by more self-secure titles.

Sam is no longer safe in the shadows. Sigh.

The Last Of Us Review

Why The Last Of Us is the best game ever…

I was a few weeks late on the uptake but I have finally finished the Last Of Us. Like anyone else who has found themselves on the other side of Naughty Dog’s crowning achievement, I am locked in a state of catatonia. I cant believe that what is probably the most enjoyable gaming experience of all time has come to an end.

On the face of it, the Last Of Us is a third-person zombie game with a linear structure and a concoction of action, puzzle and stealth gameplay. All pretty standard items in the world of single-player epics, but it’s the plot that sets The Last Of Us apart.

The story is like nothing that has ever been told before via the medium of video game. From it’s shocking beginning to its morally murky end, you are gripped. In most games, cut scenes punctuate the action and give you some handle on what your goal is. In the Last Of Us, the gameplay is simply a vehicle that allows you to interact with the harrowing, beautiful story of Joel and Ellie.

The gameplay itself is robust and challenging and every set play in which you find yourself is expertly executed. The game essentially follows the rules set by previous zombie games and indeed previous third-person adventure platforms. Strong elements of the Drake’s franchise are apparent throughout, which is definitely not a bad thing as Naughty Dog’s original adventure is a slick, impressive runaround in its own right.

Although there isn’t much new about the way the game plays, Naughty Dog has definitely made its simple dynamics watertight and graphically got the very most out of the PS3. The linear, ‘closed world’ not only allows the graphics to be as detailed and realistic (mostly gory) as possible, but it also restricts the player from veering from the main story line. This may well be deliberate, as to ensure the story doesn’t lose any of its heavyweight punch.

There is always a danger of linear games becoming repetitive. One clever element that keeps the Last Of Us from being infected by repetition is the mix of human and infected AI. No two situations seem the same as you come across whords of runners and clickers, teams of ruthless highjackers or even three bloaters stumbling around a subway station. You have to deal with each situation with a combination of stealth, brute force and, on occassion, legging it!

Compared with its competitors within the third-person genre (Tomb Raider, MGS, Hitman, Drake’s Fortune etc), the constant variance of adversaries still keeps The Last Of Us at the top of the class for gameplay. So, not only do you interact with a plot that puts most blockbuster films to shame, you are constantly entertained while you do it.

 

“Just because you are character, doesn’t mean you have character.”

–           Harvey Keitel, Pulp Fiction

 

The character development in this Naughty Dog masterpiece is unlike anything we have ever seen in gaming before…yet it’s difficult to explain without dropping some hell-spoilers.

All we’re saying, is look out for how Joel subtly glances at his wristwatch (a gift from his pre-apocalyptic life) during certain clips and how Ellie’s body language shifts following some pivotal moments.

To get your money’s worth from The Last of Us – don’t rush. Only play when you have the time for a decent ‘sesh’ because there is so much added value deep in the spores of what is a fitting swansong for Sony’s PS3.

Scares are a big part of games that have a zombified complexion and The Last Of Us has plenty. Played on hard difficulty, the limited amount of ammo available means that each combative situation is as tense as it can be. Stealth is always the best option; for conservation of supplies as much as anything else. But when your presence is realised by either humans or infected, the pace at which either faction can mame you leaves you feeling frightened to try again.

Some of the brutal cut scenes also add colour to the picture of a harsh and terrifying future, where death waits for you in every abandoned building. This harsh realism provides the perfect backdrop to a perfect storyline.

The fact that the game is so story driven gives the characters in it a new level of depth that leads you, the player, to become heavily invested in them. This gives everything you do with your Dual Shock controller so much more meaning than other games.

Gameplay and storyline marry together perfectly to create an unerring depiction of an infected dystopian nightmare and the effect this new environment has upon the human condition. This is what makes the Last Of Us great.

 

We are at a point in time where a next generation of consoles await us. One large movement appears to be towards what are essentially interactive TV shows and films. Something that gives gamers a fantastic story that they can engage with…and even change.

However it will be many years before anything surpasses The Last of Us.

Granted, you are on a constant bearing and what you do doesn’t impact the outcome of the story. But you have to fight for your life to get from beginning to end. And what an end!

 

 

Borderlands 2 Review for Xbox 360

The premise of most first person shooter games is simple – shoot the bad guys, complete the missions and you are done. They are games that can get very boring, very quickly. Although Borderlands 2 does have elements of first person shooters, it is a game that stands out from the crowd.

Set five years after the first Borderlands, the second game in the series kicks off with a cut scene that involves the games protagonists traveling on a train to an unknown location to start their search for the Vault. However, it turns out that they have been set up by Handsome Jack; the same character as the previous game’s antagonist.  And he still wants anyone who is trying to find the Vault, dead.

Known as the Vault Hunters, the four main characters in Borderlands 2 are instructed to head to the city of Sanctuary to meet and team up with a gang of ex-soldiers known as The Crimson Raiders, and defeat Handsome Jack.

I find that sequels are very rarely better than the original due to a non-existent story or the premise has become stale and dull. However, I for one feel that Borderlands 2 is a vastly superior game than the first Borderlands. The reason for this is that first person shooters are not my normal choice of game but the storyline of Borderlands 2 kept me hooked from the moment I started to the very end, with some very funny moments along the way.

In most video games, once you have beaten the main story line there are usually a few little bits to do afterwards, these normally include trying out the new weapons you have unlocked and an extra mission or two, and that is usually about it. Borderlands 2 lets you complete the side missions that you may have missed during your first play through, as well as an extra game mode called ‘True Vault Hunter Mode’ which lets you replay the game at a much harder level but with the same skills, levels and weapons that you had at the end of your first play through.  Much more challenging.

Character customisation is an important part in the Borderlands 2 experience. Not only was I able to change the skins and heads of my characters, there was also an option that allowed me choose the skill of my character so that it suited my play style. Furthermore, the game ensures that the enemies’ levels are scaled to be close to yours, which makes the game more of a challenge. So if your character is at level 5, the level of the enemies’ will be at level 6.

Borderlands 2 is a unique game in terms of game play and the aesthetics of the game. The layout and design of most first person shooters is quite dark and mysterious, whereas Borderlands 2 is a very bright and colourful game which for me, made the game much more enjoyable.

Verdict
I feel that the developers have created a very entertaining game and one that I would highly recommend to any gamer.

About the Author:

My name is Callum Smith – I currently work behind the counter at a Cash Generator store in Luton.  This allowed me first to purchase a pre owned Xbox 360 and then I am able to buy cheap 360 games before I go home after finishing my shirts.  One day I hope to become a full-time game reviewer.

Bioshock Infinite for Xbox 360

Bioshock Infinite – the third instalment in the series takes place in a sky city going by the name of Columbia. You play the role of Booker Dewitt – a former Pinkerton agent sent on mission to find a girl to wipe away his debt. Columbia is as I mentioned a sky city – and unlike the previous two Bioshock games where they have been set underwater, the sky city is beautiful in its own right, from its inflatable buildings and barbershop quartets. But everything isn’t exactly what it seems…

Bioshock’s graphics are for what some people have said to be considered a piece of art; not quite realistic enough and not Disney-ish enough – but a good balance in-between. The gameplay of Bioshock is simple and easy, and looks so good when you pull off the right attack. You can play the game in many ways – some people prefer the run and gun technique, whilst others like to mix it up with combos using “vigors”. Vigors are abilities that you can use in the game as you go through finding new ones along the way. Some of these included are a murderous flock of crows pecking your enemies (giving you time to shoot them in the back while they are distracted), to a giant tentacle that can whip and grab enemies as if you was a Kraken of the sea.

Storyline-wise is where the game really comes into its own. Just like its predecessors, Bioshock Infinite does things with a story that will make you think and want to continue playing. The charters that you meet along the way are all fleshed out and given unique and wonderful personalities. One of the most standout charters is Elizabeth – not only does she help you out in battles by chucking you ammo when you need it (and a bit of coinage to spend on upgrading), she also has a few other talents up her sleeve.

Along the way you are able to upgrade your weapons and find gears to upgrade your clothes with. Some of these clothes include different buffs, one of them making you to be invincible when jumping off a skyline. “A skyline” I hear you all cry?  “What is that?” Well it’s a new fighting aspect of the game. At the beginning, your character Booker is given a device called a sky hook it. Basically it lets you cling and ride along skylines in the sky city.  With me so far? This makes for some interesting combat situations and epic set pieces.

The only thing I will say about the Bioshock Infinite is that its original “shock” value has been taken away from it a bit that’s only because ammo is everywhere and it’s not all dark and gloomy. In fact, it’s all bright and colourful which sets a completely different tone to the previous versions.

Verdict
Bioshock Infinite is up at the top in its amazing storytelling that sometimes you forget it’s a game at all. Getting sucked into the game you won’t want to put it down until the fantastic ending. I won’t spoil it for you.  Everyone is talking about this game and its story and it’s about time you did too – this is a definite purchase!

About the Author:

My name is Callum Smith – I currently work behind the counter at a Cash Generator store in Luton.  This allowed me first to purchase a pre owned Xbox 360 and then I am able to buy cheap 360 games before I go home after finishing my shirts.  One day I hope to become a full-time game reviewer.

 

Dead Island Riptide Game Review

Fans of the first Dead Island game will probably not be surprised by the gist of any Dead Island: Riptide review they happen to come across. They will love the fact that the game features more of the same, and they will be frustrated by the game also keeping some of the original’s flaws.

Dead Island: Riptide offers plenty of gory fun, and it meshes that well with various RPG elements, but it’s hard to shake the notion that this is a true sequel. It feels more like an expansion pack that didn’t try very hard at all.

Looking Into Dead Island: Riptide

Fans of the first game certainly got a lot of pleasure out of discovering the various ways to rip those zombies to shreds. They also enjoyed the ability to loot the zombies for goodies, build up characters, and create machines from humble beginnings. They definitely liked the nicely-done combination of chaos and cooperation in co-op. All of these things can be found in Dead Island: Riptide. The problem is that there’s really nothing about the game that’s been improved upon. That would be fine if the previous installment had been perfect, but since it wasn’t, players may find themselves quickly growing frustrated with the way this game seems perfectly content to settle for less.

If you’re looking for nothing more than zombie destruction with RPG touches, then you’ll probably have a great time with Dead Island: Riptide. You won’t even mind things like a shoddy story, lousy cut scenes, substandard voice-acting, and graphic glitches whose severity depends on which system you play the game on (PS3 is the worst, and the PC version is the best). Repetition is the name of the game here, and if you don’t want anything from your game more elaborate than slaughtering zombies, Dead Island: Riptide is a worthy purchase. It’s those who were hoping for something more that are going to be disappointed. Those who weren’t all that impressed with the last game will likely want to avoid this update at all costs.

Is it even really an update? That’s up to you. There are some new zombies, some of which are quite well-made, a new character, and a few new vehicles. That’s really just about it. The RPG elements of the game are thankfully strong enough to cut through some of that repetition, but that only goes but so far. The campaign and side quests should keep you busy for a while, but only if that aforementioned repetition doesn’t bother you. If the novelty of creative dismemberment can only carry you but so far, you’re probably not going to be all that eager to stick around. Not being able to go back and finish up your side quests after completing the main campaign is yet another annoying aspect.

Dead Island Riptide Review Conclusion

Dead Island: Riptide has no illusions about what it is, but there is still enough untapped potential in this game to make you wish Deep Silver had perhaps tried just a little harder.

Game Review: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor is an atmospheric, side-scrolling survival horror game that will inevitably draw comparisons to Silent Hill but you’ll quickly discover the chilling soundtrack and distinctive graphics make it very much its own monster. Here’s my two cents:

In the same week that Lone Survivor was released producer of Resident Evil: Revelations, Masachika Kawata, told Gamasutra the market for traditional survival horror just wasn’t large enough to warrant Capcom returning their series to its roots. That means no more mansions, no more mixing herbs and no more rabid dogs jumping through windows – sigh. Luckily for us, indie developer Japer Byrne has captured enough of the atmosphere from early survival horror games, particularly Silent Hill, to have me forget about the depressing future of Resident Evil and get on board with new projects from indie developers.

Lone Survivor begins by having you take control of a nameless man simply entitled “you.” From there on out it’s up to you to figure out why the apartment complex is filled with 10 ft. twitching white monsters and why the hell this doomsday event is happening to you.
To do that you’ll have to navigate the halls of the complex, sneaking past monsters, collecting food and water and trying to work out where reality ends and the hallucinations begin. Figuring this out doesn’t take place at breakneck speed, thankfully, and the game actively rewards you for spending your time surviving, cooking and gathering resources than it does for popping caps in the asses of various monsters – though if that takes your fancy you can do that too.

That’s because this game is all about atmosphere and Jasper Byrne has created it using unusual pixelated and equally beautiful two-dimensional graphics as well as an incredible attention to music. Let me give you an example, when you’re wandering down a corridor listening to muffled jazz play through the walls and all of a sudden a wrenching static burst erupts into earshot, and alerts you to the monster that is up ahead, can only be compared to something like fingernails on a chalk board. It makes your grate your teeth. This is where Lone Survivor really succeeds; it gets under your skin, plants a seed and then makes you itch. It’s not outright scary but, like a ghostly figure staring out of a window, really puts your hair on end.

Overall, Lone Survivor is what exactly what every modern survival horror game wants to be – Dead Space and Amnesia aside – and what every survival horror fan wants to play. It’s also the only two-dimensional game I can think of that after turning out the lights left me tucked up under the blankets feeling awkward. For £6.50 it is absolutely unmissable.

This article was brought to you by Mick Finn, a dedicated gamer, blogger and all-round tech enthusiast. For more info on Lone Survivor or Silent Hill Check out Grainger Games. Follow Grainger Games on twitter and be the first to find out about new PC, XBOX and PS3 games.

Kingdoms of Amalur Game Review

Kingdoms of Amalur has been well hyped, with so many creative minds behind the project that it sounds like they’re just name-dropping at this point. R.A. Salvator and Todd MacFarlane are two of the most well-known names that are sure to impress, but many other experienced people make up this project as well. The main focus of the developers behind the big names is on gameplay. You can tell that the team has focused on making combat feel natural and exciting, with an action RPG slant that keeps things interesting. It feels very smooth and almost arcade paced, a strong departure from the slower and more cumbersome focus that other RPGs share.

 

Kingdoms of Amalur, at its heart, is an expansive open-world RPG that gives you an entire world to explore and quest through. The quests and sidequests are engaging and plentiful, so it would not be surprising if you end up spending hundreds of hours in this world. This land has plenty of standard fantasy conventions, but more than enough interesting locations and characters that you get drawn in to the plot. The excellent voice acting assists with the immersion factor, as this is commonly an area that is overlooked in other RPGs.

 

The story begins with your death, freeing you from predestined fate that all of the other people of this world share. You’re the Fateless One, and you choose your path throughout the game. The entire world is well developed through an immersive collection of lore, history and politics, but this doesn’t always come through while you’re going on quests. Kingdoms of Amalur ends up feeling quite similar to a single player edition of an MMORPG, such as World of Warcraft–a trait that works out well for the game.

 

While Kingdoms of Amalur is an entertaining and overall solid game, it does have plenty of faults. The world is very fleshed out, but it pulls so many generic fantasy elements that it can end up being slightly forgettable at certain points. It’s not quite as wide open of an RPG as the Elder Scrolls games are, but it’s still broad enough to fit the definition of an open-world game. The menu interface could use some work as well, as it can be cumbersome to navigate through. The other failing is, while you have a ton of sidequests, not many of them actually affect the world in a noticeable manner. This can be quite disconcerting when you’re supposedly this wholly unique adventurer in the world.

 

Kingdoms of Amalur offers more than enough positives to offset the faults. The combat is incredibly engaging in a way that very few other RPGs are, and the story is compelling enough to keep you hooked. Given the creative team behind this game, the world could have been much more unique. Even so, if you’re looking for an open world action RPG experience that is sure to occupy some free time, take a look at Kingdoms of Amalur.

 

Author Byline:

Sean is tech-enthusiast that invests more time and money in new toys than he does on rent.  When he’s not learning the latest tricks for his gadgets find him contributing to ATTSavings or on Twitter @SeanTR.

 

Mortal Kombat 9 Review – PS3

Mortal Kombat 9 PS3 review

Mortal Kombat 9 - Mileena, Kitana and Kung Lao face off

We’re going to go out on a limb and say there’s no way you can enjoy both Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. You can play both and have a good time of course, but if you were given a Sophie’s Choice moment and had to have one taken away from you, you’d undoubtedly find you had an allegiance to one over the other.

So, for the sake of transparency, I’ll admit that I’ve always preferred Mortal Kombat – and I have history. I’ve played all entries side-by-side since my childhood and have always swung towards Mortal Kombat’s sense of ridicule and extremism. But I didn’t really take sides until I played the most current update of Mortal Kombat.

Critics lauded Street Fighter IV when it was released and I was swept away in the wave. I played it, completed it, unlocked all characters but didn’t find much in the way of single-player excitement. The opposite is true when it comes to Mortal Kombat – whether it’s Story Mode, the Challenge Tower, The Krypt and more, the amount of care and attention to detail shown in regard to the amount of content on offer here should be a jewel for NetherRealm Studios to wear proudly in its crown.

What’s the Story, Mortal Glory

Reptile and Sub-Zero kick off in Mortal Kombat 9

So what’s impressed me so much? Quite simply, story mode. The amount of detail, scripting and effort that has gone into producing a campaign that utilises only the best characters in the Mortal Kombat universe is a triumph. For all the entries that have been released down the years, each one has seemed like nothing more than a casual update in an effort to keep the series fresh. Instead each new entry simply built on wobbly foundations.

It’s been a very public admission that the Mortal Kombat universe was getting overcrowded and that things needed to be scaled back to the series’ glory days of the original trilogy. With a lot of the chaff brutally amputated (Bo’ Rai Cho, thank Christ…), NetherRealm’s scriptwriters have reshaped the entire Mortal Kombat timeline and given Warner Brothers plenty of room to manoeuvre in the future.

Each and every fighter (bar Kratos) is beautifully interweaved, with fantastic pacing throughout. A brave move for NetherRealm to leave fatalities out of story mode altogether, but it’s a dead weight that isn’t missed as characters are fleshed out, explored and given a stage to shine on through each individual chapter. Much more involving than Street Fighter’s slapdash story arcs, which now seem mute and redundant in comparison.

Combining Kombat with Klass

Liu Kang takes Kano's face off in Mortal Kombat 9

So we know why we’re fighting, but does Mortal Kombat hold its own when it boils down to a one-on-one scrap? Button-mashers (like myself) will be very pleased with the pick-up-and-play mechanics, while there is ample room to master each character’s specific move set and combo list. Tag combos are a great way of mixing things up in multiplayer, with fatalities as big and as brutal as ever- but more refined and with thought put into them than purely being there for shock value.

Giving each fighter their own sense of character in story mode is likely to encourage players to find a favourite and stick with them, taking them online to prove their worth. The game does a great job in pairing you with characters to try out through both Story Mode and the Challenge Tower. I’ve steered clear of Jax all my life, but after having to ally myself with him during his chapter, I found a pal for life who has quickly become my number one choice when fighting against friends.

Admittedly movement isn’t as fluid as in Street Fighter IV, and it can be a pain trying to execute moves with the analogue stick. Opposing characters can be incredibly cheap – Quan Chi has the most irritating ‘jump on you from the top of the screen’ move that he constantly spams and is near impossible to avoid. But Mortal Kombat more than makes up for it with sheer brutality. The X-ray moves for instance are a joy to behold, giving a real sense of achievement when you manage to pull one off, and conquering a tag battle in Story Mode is a real leap-out-of-your-chair moment.

A Kryptic inclusion?

Sonya Jax it in - Mortal Kombat 9

Beating challenges gives you ‘koins’ which you can spend in the Krypt for extras. Much derided in the press, I wasn’t much looking forward to exploring it, but after spending a lot of time in there I found it added an extra element of replayability to the game – I might not have tackled Challenge Tower for as long as I did were it not for my need to unlock some more second fatalities and costumes. Some of the rewards are terrifically ass (come on… speed paintings??) but we’re willing to forgive because of the eclectic Mortal Kombat history at NetherRealm’s disposal. The Krypt is fan service, nothing more, and it’s all part of a title dripping with fabulous content (or kontent, haha…).

Mortal Kombat also looks gorgeous on an HD-TV. Characters feel weighted and solid, while possessed environments moan, gurn and growl in the background. There are slight niggles with Mortal Kombat alongside some of the aforementioned cheap moves. Shao Kahn is without doubt the most unfair last boss ever seen in a fighting game – no exceptions – and though we’ve got no beef with the Krypt we think having to crawl through it on your hands and knees to find fatalities is something of a bugger.

But as an overall package and reinvention of the universe that’s gone before it we can’t help but drool at Mortal Kombat. A series that once seemed to be going nowhere has reinvented itself for a new generation whilst keeping its fans and the hardcore happy, leaving a lot of loose ends behind to create an incredible sequel.

91/100