There is also a tutorial specifically on fatalities, and that one functions far better. There you get a helpful little box that tells you where to stand to execute the fatality and you can either have it timed (as it is in a game) or untimed so that you have as long as you need to push the right sequence of buttons. Go through the fatality tutorial with your favorite characters and you'll be slicing and dicing opponents in no time.
Actual fights, be they one-on-one, two-on-one, etc., unfold beautifully – the game is fast and you'll need to be fast too if you want to play it well. Yet, for all it's being fast and moves getting thrown left and right and tons of damage being issued, our first run through of the single player ladder had a match which was only decided when time ran out.
Outside of fatalities, Mortal Kombat's personal tweak to the fighting genre (every game has their alleged hook) is a little meter at the bottom of the screen which has three distinct portions that can be filled. Fill the first and you can execute an enhanced (slightly more damaging) special move. Fill the second and you break out of a combo. Fill the third and you can execute one of the highly touted X-ray moves which deals an immense amount of damage and shows you just which of your enemy's internal organs you crushed. The system works really well, it allows you to play slightly more defensively, slightly more offensively, or try to go all out and execute an X-ray move (which, just because you push the buttons won't necessarily happen as your opponent can block or evade them).
The new Kombat also sports a Challenge Tower which asks you complete 300 different challenges from simply executing combos to beating opponents and everything in between. That, combined with the regular old arcade stuff and a pretty good-sized story mode means that there is a whole lot to do in the title.
As for what's involved in that story mode, that's a little more iffy. The mode features some distinctly mediocre cinematics which tell a story about Raiden sending memories back in time to help save Earthrealm from being destroyed by Shao Kahn. You then play through various portions of the story from old Mortal Kombat games as various characters and watch as present-day Raiden tries to work out the memories he got from future-day Raiden so he can save Earthrealm. While a bunch of the battle are good and it's a great way to earn money to unlock bonuses, you're not able to skip past the story and just enter the battles. That really is unfortunate because the story is just as ridiculous as every fighting game story and consequently you're probably going to want to skip it as much as possible. It would be manageable in bite-sized chunks, but folks talk way too much between battles.