The name Mortal Kombat resonates with gamers all over the world. It conjures images of of brutality, blood and fast combat that kept legions of people hooked on the gameplay for years, but the modern versions of the beloved series haven’t had quite the impact of the original games.
But Mortal Kombat is returning with a new attitude and even more blood to keep the army of fans happy. There is not subtitle to the game here: this is simply titled Mortal Kombat which speaks volumes about the new attitude toward the game – both in keeping fans happy and in bringing the famous series back into glory.
To do so required some planning: after all the series was supposed to have ended with Armageddon, but was revived for Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe which was not classed as a chronological part of the Mortal Kombat series.
NetherRealm have essentially rebooted the game by using a neat, if confusing, story twist: during the final events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, just before Shao Kahn kills delivers the killing blow, Raiden sends a message back through time to himself which then leads us back to Mortal Kombat 1 where Raiden is now aware of the impending doom of both himself and the Realms – by using this rather confusing plot device the team have allowed themselves to go back and change the events of the first three Mortal Kombat games.
Whewh. Did you get all that? No? Tough.
But, story aside, it’s the gameplay that matters and it’s here that we see the biggest and best changes – the biggest being the shift back to a 2d plane of gameplay which was one of the most asked for changes by fans. It rebalances the gameplay perfectly: projectile attacks suddenly become dangerous once again, something which irked fans for many years. This shift shows that the creators are catering for the hardcore Mortal Kombat players out there, as well as attempting to bring it to a new audience.
Changes aren’t just coming in the form of how many dimensions you’ll have to think in either: the old Mortal Kombat system which saw different punches and kicks mapped to the face buttons has been changed in favour of a more Tekken like system with each attack button controlling one of the fighters limbs which will (hopefully) result in a deeper fighting system than we’ve seen before, but don’t be fooled this is still going to be a return to the original free-form fighting that got it so many followers and resulted in so many frantic fights.
Other changes come in the form of a super-meter, something that Street Fighter players should be familiar with, which is filled by dishing out damage and taking damage yourself. The meter will be usable in three separate ways: you’ll be able to interrupt an enemy’s combo – something similar to Breakers seen in previous games; add some extra oomph to your special attacks; or use it to perform the new X-ray moves which zooms in on your opponent and shows their bones and vital organs as you attack. As you can imagine this results in brutal close-ups of bones breaking and spleens rupturing. Classic, brutal and blood-thirsty Mortal Kombat gameplay if ever there was any.
Classic Mortal Kombat characters will also be starring in the new game with the likes of Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Johnny Cage and Jax all making their way into the game.
This time around the creators are promising that the characters will each feel unique to play as previous games in the series have been famous for simply re-skinning characters and passing them off as new, but in reality they just had slight differences in appearance and nothing more.
Each character’s animations are completely made from scratch to further add to their unique feeling, and each will have a different style of fighting such as something more based on grapples or combo’s.
Of course no Mortal Kombat game would be complete with the gruesome and brilliant Fatalities – after all they did have a huge part in making Mortal Kombat so famous. This time around each character will have access to two unique fatalities, and stage specific Fatalities are returning with the ability to kick people into spike-pits included. Of course nowadays such brutal sights don’t have the same impact as they did when Mortal Kombat first arrived on the scene, so it remains to be seen whether the Fatalities will have as much of a wow factor as they once did, but one thing is certain: they’re still vicious.
But the new additions don’t just stop there either, there are plenty of other things being rammed into this package including a brand new co-op mode which works quite like Marvel vs Capcom: at any point during a fight you can “tag” your partner in to continue battering the snot out of your opponent.
An in-game currency system has also been announced possibly pointing to the return of the Krypt as well ( a massive room of unlockables) so it’s pretty clear that they’re ramming as much into this new game as they possibly can.
And finally the game comes with big graphics overhaul to create a very striking game. The characters are each extremely well animated and attention to detail is stunning on both the characters and the environments in which they fight.
As you can see from the screenshots, if the finished game looks that good it’ll be mind-blowing. Literally.
Oh, and for that own the PS3 as well; as an added incentive PS3 players will get a special guest star – none other than Kratos, the God of War.
Mortal Kombat doesn’t aim to be an incredibly technical fighter, instead it aims to please the fans of the series and please new-comers by fast paced, brutal and extremely fun gameplay, and thanks to that Mortal Kombat has returned to consoles more insane, bloody, brutal and brilliant than ever before.