Mortal Kombat X Preview
Mortal Kombat will forever remain iconic. It went off the tracks during the PS2 generation but since NetherRealm Studio's hugely successful 2011 reboot, the IP has reclaimed its former glory. Now, fighting fanatics are anxiously anticipating the most brutal installment yet: Mortal Kombat X. Slated to arrive in April next year, the new entry will feature bone-shattering X-ray moves, special breaker abilities, and the classic one-on-one combat that is - according to many fans of the genre - the purest form of competition in video games.
As always, the most important factor will be the characters. This time, each fighter comes with three variations; the player will choose one before entering battle. Let's take the legendary Scorpion as an example: One variation will allow him to summon a demon partner that can either perform a dive-kick or grab the opponent from below, while another allows him to burst into flame, damaging his foe. The third variation lets Scorpion wield a pair of swords, which is unassailably cool, as is his trademark ability to toss that spear ("get over here!"). Other characters have more exotic variations, such as the insect woman, D'Vorah, who can fire larvae as projectiles or imbue her attacks with poison.
When you combine the variations with the total number of moves unique to each character, you'll end up with a hugely comprehensive library. Veteran fighting fans will have plenty to sample and master. However, all this variety does lead to an obvious problem, and that involves the question of balance. The good news is that NetherRealm is well aware of this hefty hurdle, which is why they're going to test the game among competitive gamers so they can hammer out any kinks. All those variables and variations will undoubtedly lead to a few problems, so the developer needs testing to get it just right.
Devoted followers can also expect interactive fighting arenas, not dissimilar to the team's last game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Players can pick up heavy objects and fling them at their opponents, and they can even leap off certain objects - a tree, instance - to give themselves the upper hand in a match. Positioning is critical in any fighter, but when's the last time you could make direct use of the environment to improve your position? The best part is that you can't abuse this option, as each fighter will have a stamina meter, which drains every time you use a special skill. This is part of the aforementioned balancing challenge, by the way.
In addition to the returning favorites, we'll get several new characters as well. As such, this this should end up being a robust, highly diverse roster that caters to every type of fighting aficionado. The game will ship with almost 30 total characters and there's no doubt that more will follow via DLC. One more point of note: The developers have made a "conscious effort" to give the female fighters more modest attire, which is probably a good move in the interest of political correctness (and really, it's unnecessary, anyway). Get ready for more MK craziness in the spring!
10/6/2014 Ben Dutka