Mortal Kombat Cuts Down To The Bone

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Posted by Jeff (3425 posts) -

NetherRealm Studios' Hector Sanchez describes the new Mortal Kombat as being devoted to "fan service." So in case you were wondering why the game's playing field has flattened to a 2D plane, it's because that's what the great, old MK games had. If you're wondering why the roster of playable characters doesn't yet show a character that debuted in anything past MK3, it's because that first trio of Mortal Kombat games are remembered as the best in the series. After toning things down to a T rating to accommodate the superheroes and villains of the DC Universe, Mortal Kombat is back to ripping out spines, cutting dudes in half, and uppercutting your foes into pits of huge spikes. In short, Mortal Kombat is back.

But this game, once known as Mortal Kombat 9, is hardly some kind of pure nostalgia play. All of the redesigned and remixed things that you recognize from the older games in the series are wrapped in a fighting system that manages to feel like the classic 2D entries in the series where it needs to while also adding things that weren't found in those early MK. The combination makes the 2011 release feel like a more modern fighting game, and more in line with what Capcom's been doing with Street Fighter IV. Along those lines, Mortal Kombat has an on-screen super meter with three different main abilities requiring its use. 
 
== TEASER ==

The first is a pumped-up version of your special attacks, done by holding block while performing the standard move. This makes Johnny Cage throw two fireballs instead of one, increases the length of dash attacks, and so on. It'll cost you a third of your meter to perform.

The second is a combo breaker. It's performed by hitting forward and block while receiving an attack, and it'll bust you out of a combo immediately, whether you're being juggled or just parrying an incoming hit. It's useful, but since it costs you two-thirds of your meter to perform, it won't make you invincible.

A full meter lets you perform your X-Ray attack. These are Mortal Kombat's take on super arts or ultra combos, and are currently performed by hitting the block and the throw button (both of the right shoulder buttons) at the same time. These are situational and specific to each character. For example, Johnny Cage's X-Ray is a parry. Scorpion's teleports him near his opponent. Nightwolf's will connect after a short forward dash. The impacts are hard, as most of these lead into a brief animation showing the victim's skeleton getting rocked by the attacks. Right now, the attacks can be blocked, but it sounds like they're designed to be unblockable, and the designers are still tossing around a few different ideas about how this stuff might work in the final game.

The roster in Mortal Kombat keeps with the fan service theme, and so far no characters from anything newer than Mortal Kombat 3 have been shown. The fighters maintain most of the moves they've had in previous games, including some that have never really been used on a purely 2D plane before. So Scorpion has the move where he makes fire rise up out of the ground right underneath his opponent, along with the spear, teleport, and leg trip moves he's had in the past. Sektor has his arm flamethrower available as a special move, along with the teleport punch, a straight-ahead rocket, and a rocket that falls from above. His homing rockets are still there, too, but they show up as the meter-draining EX versions of the rocket launches. Sub-Zero gets straight-ahead ice, ground ice, the slide, and his self-freeze move that counters incoming attacks with a quick ice sword to the face. Characters are also given more personality in win poses--Sub-Zero freezes the "lens" of the game camera and Scorpion quickly teleports himself back to Hell, giving you a fiery look at the place he calls home whenever he defeats the opposition. It's a cool addition.

Mortal Kombat is also a tag battle game, and when you're playing in two-on-two mode, the tag system works a lot like Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The character who isn't actively fighting can regain some of his or her health, and if you want to use some of your meter, you can make your partner run in for a quick assist attack. This sort of lets you add an extra special move to your roster, so if you're playing as Nightwolf, you can quickly call in Sub-Zero to freeze your opponent. The assist attacks seem like they'll make a potentially crazy combo system even deeper.

On top of all this, uppercuts matter, the game has turnaround kicks, and it generally feels a lot like the classic Mortal Kombat games, even though it breaks the buttons up by "front" and "back" instead of "high" and "low." It sounds like there's potential for some sort of MK-specific hardware down the line, too, as the game's more advanced moves, like tagging and throwing, can be done by hitting multiple buttons on the classic five-button MK setup, as well as via their dedicated shoulder buttons. It'll be interesting to see if that develops.

All that, plus it has--right now, anyway--two fatalities per character. The finishers are over-the-top without (yet) reaching the extremes of making arcade machines fall out of the air or making Scorpion turn into a penguin or anything like that. I'm not sure how I'd feel about the wackier side of Mortal Kombat making its way into this new game. On one hand, nothing is more awesome than dropping an arcade machine on top of a guy. On the other, 2011's Mortal Kombat trades in pure carnage and extreme dismemberment, so something like a "friendship" or a "babality" would seem very out of place.

Mortal Kombat is due for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in Spring 2011. It sounds like the PS3 version of the game will receive some additional features, like the ability to run in 3D on supported televisions. While it only has eight characters in it right now, the content that's already in the game feels very sharp. It's a fighting system that feels like Mortal Kombat where it needs to while successfully mixing in concepts from other fighters to freshen things up. If everything else that's still in the works comes together, Mortal Kombat might just be the best game to bear the name since the franchise went polygonal.
Staff
#1 Posted by Jeff (3425 posts) -

NetherRealm Studios' Hector Sanchez describes the new Mortal Kombat as being devoted to "fan service." So in case you were wondering why the game's playing field has flattened to a 2D plane, it's because that's what the great, old MK games had. If you're wondering why the roster of playable characters doesn't yet show a character that debuted in anything past MK3, it's because that first trio of Mortal Kombat games are remembered as the best in the series. After toning things down to a T rating to accommodate the superheroes and villains of the DC Universe, Mortal Kombat is back to ripping out spines, cutting dudes in half, and uppercutting your foes into pits of huge spikes. In short, Mortal Kombat is back.

But this game, once known as Mortal Kombat 9, is hardly some kind of pure nostalgia play. All of the redesigned and remixed things that you recognize from the older games in the series are wrapped in a fighting system that manages to feel like the classic 2D entries in the series where it needs to while also adding things that weren't found in those early MK. The combination makes the 2011 release feel like a more modern fighting game, and more in line with what Capcom's been doing with Street Fighter IV. Along those lines, Mortal Kombat has an on-screen super meter with three different main abilities requiring its use. 
 
== TEASER ==

The first is a pumped-up version of your special attacks, done by holding block while performing the standard move. This makes Johnny Cage throw two fireballs instead of one, increases the length of dash attacks, and so on. It'll cost you a third of your meter to perform.

The second is a combo breaker. It's performed by hitting forward and block while receiving an attack, and it'll bust you out of a combo immediately, whether you're being juggled or just parrying an incoming hit. It's useful, but since it costs you two-thirds of your meter to perform, it won't make you invincible.

A full meter lets you perform your X-Ray attack. These are Mortal Kombat's take on super arts or ultra combos, and are currently performed by hitting the block and the throw button (both of the right shoulder buttons) at the same time. These are situational and specific to each character. For example, Johnny Cage's X-Ray is a parry. Scorpion's teleports him near his opponent. Nightwolf's will connect after a short forward dash. The impacts are hard, as most of these lead into a brief animation showing the victim's skeleton getting rocked by the attacks. Right now, the attacks can be blocked, but it sounds like they're designed to be unblockable, and the designers are still tossing around a few different ideas about how this stuff might work in the final game.

The roster in Mortal Kombat keeps with the fan service theme, and so far no characters from anything newer than Mortal Kombat 3 have been shown. The fighters maintain most of the moves they've had in previous games, including some that have never really been used on a purely 2D plane before. So Scorpion has the move where he makes fire rise up out of the ground right underneath his opponent, along with the spear, teleport, and leg trip moves he's had in the past. Sektor has his arm flamethrower available as a special move, along with the teleport punch, a straight-ahead rocket, and a rocket that falls from above. His homing rockets are still there, too, but they show up as the meter-draining EX versions of the rocket launches. Sub-Zero gets straight-ahead ice, ground ice, the slide, and his self-freeze move that counters incoming attacks with a quick ice sword to the face. Characters are also given more personality in win poses--Sub-Zero freezes the "lens" of the game camera and Scorpion quickly teleports himself back to Hell, giving you a fiery look at the place he calls home whenever he defeats the opposition. It's a cool addition.

Mortal Kombat is also a tag battle game, and when you're playing in two-on-two mode, the tag system works a lot like Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The character who isn't actively fighting can regain some of his or her health, and if you want to use some of your meter, you can make your partner run in for a quick assist attack. This sort of lets you add an extra special move to your roster, so if you're playing as Nightwolf, you can quickly call in Sub-Zero to freeze your opponent. The assist attacks seem like they'll make a potentially crazy combo system even deeper.

On top of all this, uppercuts matter, the game has turnaround kicks, and it generally feels a lot like the classic Mortal Kombat games, even though it breaks the buttons up by "front" and "back" instead of "high" and "low." It sounds like there's potential for some sort of MK-specific hardware down the line, too, as the game's more advanced moves, like tagging and throwing, can be done by hitting multiple buttons on the classic five-button MK setup, as well as via their dedicated shoulder buttons. It'll be interesting to see if that develops.

All that, plus it has--right now, anyway--two fatalities per character. The finishers are over-the-top without (yet) reaching the extremes of making arcade machines fall out of the air or making Scorpion turn into a penguin or anything like that. I'm not sure how I'd feel about the wackier side of Mortal Kombat making its way into this new game. On one hand, nothing is more awesome than dropping an arcade machine on top of a guy. On the other, 2011's Mortal Kombat trades in pure carnage and extreme dismemberment, so something like a "friendship" or a "babality" would seem very out of place.

Mortal Kombat is due for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in Spring 2011. It sounds like the PS3 version of the game will receive some additional features, like the ability to run in 3D on supported televisions. While it only has eight characters in it right now, the content that's already in the game feels very sharp. It's a fighting system that feels like Mortal Kombat where it needs to while successfully mixing in concepts from other fighters to freshen things up. If everything else that's still in the works comes together, Mortal Kombat might just be the best game to bear the name since the franchise went polygonal.
Staff
#2 Posted by CyleMoore (493 posts) -

cool

#3 Posted by VoshiNova (1645 posts) -

MORTAL KOMBAT!

#4 Posted by ChernobylCow (238 posts) -

Loving the return to form and Jeff's excitement.

#5 Posted by DeathbyYeti (742 posts) -

I want more gameplay!

#6 Posted by dbz1995 (4790 posts) -

Cannot wait for this game. I wonder who else is gonna be in the 26 character roster.

#7 Posted by Titl (539 posts) -

As someone who is not into fighting games at all, i find my excitement for this game a bit misplaced.

#8 Posted by Xandiarr (2 posts) -

I am really looking forward to this game :D cant wait to see some real brutal fatalities :D

#9 Posted by dbz1995 (4790 posts) -

Are we gonna get any footage of this game being played? If not, does anybody know where I can find some that isn't in a trailer?

#10 Posted by Scooper (7882 posts) -

This game looks great. I hope they pull a SFIV and reboot the series.

#11 Posted by Rhaknar (5939 posts) -

looks awesome, and 26 character slots is pretty nice for a MK game.

#12 Posted by MiamiRedHawks (914 posts) -

Who picked up the license after midway tanked?

#13 Posted by Frostler (244 posts) -

I can't wait for this game!

#14 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2779 posts) -

I wanna hear more about that DLC box in the Character Select screen.

#15 Posted by skrutop (3615 posts) -

It sounds like they're doing a revamped version of MK2, in terms of the overall feel of the game.  I'm down with that.  MK2 is my all-time favorite fighting game.

#17 Posted by I_love_Eva_Braun (481 posts) -

GET OVER HERE

#18 Posted by Dante_the_Jedi (326 posts) -

This is going to be so good, Day 1 buy for me.

#19 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

I loves me some Mortal Kombat!
 
Played through the decent 3d fighters just to get my fix!

#20 Posted by Warchief (653 posts) -

1000 x YES! 

#21 Posted by Prymet1me (99 posts) -

count me in

#22 Posted by 234r2we232 (3181 posts) -

Nostalgia!

#23 Posted by apoptosis61 (600 posts) -

hope they dont screw up with 2d too, gona kill em if they do

#24 Posted by VWGTI (1919 posts) -

 On top of all this, uppercuts matter, the game has turnaround kicks, and it generally feels a lot like the classic Mortal Kombat games, even though it breaks the buttons up by "front" and "back" instead of "high" and "low." 


 
Yep. Sold!
#25 Posted by GUnitVer1 (106 posts) -

Spine Rips, The Pit, Decapitating Uppercuts... Yup that's Mortal Kombat... Still calling it for GB's game of show.

#26 Posted by supox (6 posts) -
Sub Zero WINS
#27 Posted by bretthancock (778 posts) -
@MiamiRedHawks said:
" Who picked up the license after midway tanked? "
I believe it was Warner Brothers.
#28 Posted by Ben_H (3316 posts) -

It's a requirement in EVERY MK related news post.
 
 

#29 Posted by SuperSambo (2854 posts) -
@bretthancock said:
" @MiamiRedHawks said:
" Who picked up the license after midway tanked? "
I believe it was Warner Brothers. "
Didnt Warner buy Midway, or what was left anyway?
#30 Posted by Greenlight13 (99 posts) -

It's Mortal Kombat, I'm sold no matter what. But please please please put Quan Chi in the game even if you don't include any other characters from after MK3. I know some people hate him, but dude is crazy well designed and fits in well with the mythos. He popped up in Shaolin Monks and vs DC Universe, both of which ignored later characters, so I'm hopeful. Plus I heard he's among Ed Boon's favourite characters.

#31 Posted by Mercanis (660 posts) -
@Ben_H said:
" It's a requirement in EVERY MK related news post.
 
 
"
Aw, yeah.
#32 Posted by slantedwindows (272 posts) -

..........? MK lives?

#33 Posted by Damian (1538 posts) -

 Looking wild, Jeff. Hope you showed Sanchez  what's what again in 2010.
 
@dbz1995
 said: 

" Are we gonna get any footage of this game being played? If not, does anybody know where I can find some that isn't in a trailer? "

This turned up on the forums recently. 

@SuperSambo said:
" @bretthancock said:
" @MiamiRedHawks said:
" Who picked up the license after midway tanked? "
I believe it was Warner Brothers. "
Didnt Warner buy Midway, or what was left anyway? "
Warner bought Midway Chicago, and Mortal Kombat for $49M. Pretty sure the entire team stayed on through that transition as well.
#34 Posted by KillerKahuna (153 posts) -

Looks sweet
me wants ! xD

#35 Edited by chronicsmoke (996 posts) -

Its Mortal Kombat so Im already in but damn every time I hear about it it makes me want it more and more

#36 Posted by MrGarcia (64 posts) -

EXCELLENT!

#37 Posted by sirchode (62 posts) -

Yeah this looks legit

#38 Posted by Goopynose (62 posts) -

The graphics are looking god awful, but this still just may be the best MK since 3 Ultimate.

#39 Posted by s10129107 (1179 posts) -

but friendship is never out of place... 
:/

#40 Posted by rybrad (143 posts) -

Awesome!

#41 Posted by fillmoejoe (1469 posts) -

I like the direction the reboot is taking but I still wish they include wackiness like babilties and animalities.

#42 Posted by Triphos (80 posts) -

I'm just glad they got rid of weapons, honestly. Hated that so much.

#43 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -
@Greenlight13 said:
" It's Mortal Kombat, I'm sold no matter what. But please please please put Quan Chi in the game even if you don't include any other characters from after MK3. I know some people hate him, but dude is crazy well designed and fits in well with the mythos. He popped up in Shaolin Monks and vs DC Universe, both of which ignored later characters, so I'm hopeful. Plus I heard he's among Ed Boon's favourite characters. "
Agreed!  I'm really not a fan of any of the characters post MK3 (and many of them in that one were questionable too) but Quan Chii is one of the all time best MK characters, even if he was introduced in one of the worst games.
 
Though technically he first appeared in that awful Sub-Zero game, before MK4 so perhaps they'll make an exception for him?
 
@fillmoejoe said:
" I like the direction the reboot is taking but I still wish they include wackiness like babilties and animalities. "

Being picky now, but it's actually not a reboot.  It's a sequel to Armageddon  :)
The story is a direct continuation, albeit involving time travel.
#44 Posted by anypti (88 posts) -

this looks pretty awesome!

#45 Posted by MostlyHeadless (116 posts) -

I haven't played an MK game probably since MK2. Do they still do the whole everyone-has-the-same-fighting-style-except-special-moves thing that they did in the early games or do they mix it up a bit?

#46 Posted by Parabole (216 posts) -

Rated Mature please. The Joker Fatality would've been cool.

#47 Posted by MeatSim (10778 posts) -

I bet Jeff could talk about Mortal Kombat all day.

#48 Posted by Pop (2609 posts) -

Nice read Im actually really really excited about this, I only thought mk vs dc was annoying cause of no blood or fatality but I thought the rest were good haven't played all of them but I thought they were mortal kombat enough except for the story :D.

#49 Posted by President_Barackbar (3439 posts) -
@MostlyHeadless:  No, each character has had a distinct fighting style for a while now.
#50 Posted by Jazz (2188 posts) -

Jeff's love for MK still baffles me, but hopefully it will live up to his expectations.

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