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Mortal Kombat

Gamescom 2010: Mortal Kombat Preview - Bloody Hell!

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Mortal Kombat has had a spectacular fall from grace in recent years. Once considered the only real rival to Street Fighter’s dominance, it has since gone on to be something of an also ran, with a string of sub par games that gradually veered away from what the series is all about. Luckily the folks at NetherRealm are dead set on bringing the title back to its former glory and Senior Producer, Hans Lo, was on hand to give us the low down on the reboot of a formerly great franchise. Don’t call it a comeback!

First and foremost, there will be no more of that 3D fighting nonsense; Mortal Kombat has gone back to its 2D roots to allow for speedier combat, fluid combos and over the top action. Even after just watching the game for a few minutes it was obvious that this was the kind of fighter people would instantly know and love; no gimmicks, just straight up brutality. The fighters themselves are all 3D character models and have all been given plenty of loving treatment. Each of them has been uniquely motion captured and that means there will be no repeat animations or shared moves. Every single member in the twenty-eight-strong roster will have their own unique look and move set.
 
 
The pace of combat is as fast and frenetic as you would expect, though it is easy to string together combos and the like. The added bonus is the fact that the balancing at the moment seems to be spot on, with no one character seeming overly powerful and the range of moves having clearly been carefully considered. Hardcore fans will also be pleased to hear that the series' signature moves have made a comeback too – say hello to gruesome fatalities galore. Each character will have multiple fatalities with which to finish off their battered opponents, and there was even a subtle hint that the outlandish Friendship and Babality finishers might make a return. Expect the traditional level-specific fatalities as well, which allow you to smash your opponents into spikes and the like. Some of the moves really have to be seen to be believed and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed. Hans Lo was keen to stress, when pressed, that they would still require a modicum of skill to pull off, so be prepared for a ludicrous amount of button presses if you want to see Cyrax blow his opponent into ten pieces and then blow those pieces into a thousand more.

Another addition is the power bar that gradually charges as you fight and allows access to a variety of super moves. It is a feature that has cropped up in a number of other games, but the MK team have put their own unique spin on proceedings. At level two you will gain access to breaker moves which are powerful counters when you are caught up in an enemy combo; handy for getting out of a tight spot. The real fun comes at level three though and the cunningly (or not) titled X-ray moves. You can unleash some true carnage and up to 40% damage depending on the move, and get to witness a lovely close up of bones shattering and blood vessels popping. We are truly back to old school, gore filled, Mortal Kombat at its finest, which is exactly what everyone has been crying out for.


 
The series' trademark secret Easter eggs will also return in all of their crazy glory, and you can expect a complicated chain of random events to be required in order to find hidden stages and characters. Just like old times. There will also be new characters available via the magic of DLC, and it was hinted that fans might well get a say in who makes the cut. So even if your favourite misses out initially, there may still be a chance for redemption. Plus, you can expect new modes, such as two-on-two battles featuring tag assist for the first time in the series’ history. However, the core gaming here is going to be focused on fluid single player and online action, so if you are hankering after some of the ludicrous mini-games and such that have graced other entries, then prepare to be disappointed.

In a nutshell, Mortal Kombat is looking and sounding like a return to older – and far more superior – form and that is nothing but a good thing. The action is fast and furious with some superb looking visuals, and the uber violent blood filled combos that you’ve come to expect over the years make a triumphant return. The emphasis here is most definitely on over the top violence and all of the classic moves and finishers that helped to make this such a hit back in the day. The real question is whether or not it can topple the recent Street Fighter entries and the upcoming big hitters like Marvel Vs Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken. Time will tell, but on this showing, it could well be a serious contender in the fighting genre.

Expect some blood-splattered fighting action to hit your shelves in spring 2011.



 
 

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US April 19, 2011
Europe April 21, 2011

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