Mortal Kombat Preview

We sign waivers and put our bodies (and blood) on the line to check out the latest additions to Mortal Kombat, from NetherRealm Studios...

17
It has been a few years since I've punched the head clean off the shoulders of one of my rivals. Far too long, if you ask me. Though I've been known to throw a punch or two in my day, what I'm of course referring to is the new Mortal Kombat, from the newly-formed NetherRealm Studios at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. As I gleefully noted in my last preview of the game, the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot is an ultra-violent affair, worthy of succeeding the franchise's previous generation titles. Gone is the tame combat found in the crossover Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, replaced with the blood-soaked throes of passion found in the the franchise's past. On a violence level, this is the Mortal Kombat we've been waiting for. My recent time with the game focused on some of the bells and whistles included in the package. Beyond the game's standard arcade and online components--which I delved into during my previous write-up--there are a number of other additions to flesh out the game. Included in Mortal Kombat is a Training Mode, which gives players a chance to learn specific special moves and combos for their favorite combatants as well as a Practice Mode, allowing players the opportunity to freely test out their acquired knowledge against an A.I. rival. Like in other recent fighters, these modes serve as an entry point for new players looking to learn how Mortal Kombat controls, while also giving experts an opportunity to test out winning strategies. The modes start to get a little more intricate from there. Mortal Kombat includes a Fatality Mode, which delivers exactly what you'd expect. The mode indicates where players must stand in order to successfully perform the final death blow for any of the game's 20+ characters, turning green for correct position and red for out of bounds. Players can select their favorite character, which fatality they wish to rehearse, and their favorite punching bag in the mode.

Mortal Kombat isn't shy about dousing the world with buckets of blood.

When the Fatality Mode loads, the correct button sequence appears at the top of the screen giving players an opportunity to practice the move. Timing for Mortal Kombat's deadly strikes is key; however, the mode allows players to remove the clock from the equation to sear the combo into their minds at their own pace. The game is friendly in its execution. The only penalty for failing to land a Fatality is a brief reload, but that's only necessary if you were to accidentally strike an opponent; plugging in the wrong button combinations won't require a restart. Friendlier still are entire character move lists, including special moves, in the game's pause menu during matches. What really captured my attention was Mortal Kombat's Challenge Tower, a 300-level high series of tests and events that help unlock a surprise the MK dev team during my preview said would be "well worth a player's time." They also noted that, while they wouldn't reveal what that surprise was, the information will likely be revealed on the Internet within hours of the game's release. Vague rewards aside, the Challenge Tower offers a cornucopia of different tasks for the player to accomplish. The first few levels act as a tutorial for the game, showcasing basic moves like blocking. As players climb the tower, the challenges get more complex and rules for each level get more detailed. The Challenge Tower also brings classic Mortal Kombat modes into the fray: Test Your Sight, giving players the chance to follow an eyeball as it's shuffled under multiple hollowed out skulls; Test Your Might, testing players rapid button pressing and timing to destroy increasingly more difficult objects; Test Your Strike, where players must destroy a specific block in a stack; and (the brand new) Test Your Luck, which adds random modifiers to battles. In Test Your Luck, players might face off against headless opponents, battle in an upside-down arena, or combat without the use of their arms. This mode basically adds a pinch of crazy to the boiling pot of blood and guts, once again proving that filling a game with violence doesn't inherently make it mature. The Challenge Tower is a mixture of tutorials, interesting challenges, throw away filler missions, and completely odd concepts. If any level of the Tower becomes too complex (or asinine) players can use their collected "Koins" to bypass the level and move on to the next challenge. The Tower also brings with it a classic passion from the Mortal Kombat series of old: a desire to unlock the game's secrets. Though it's not as intricate as the "Krypt" found in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, it's 300 missions that set to test a player's supreme Mortal Kombat prowess with promises of something extra special in the end. I just hope it's worth the effort, because fighting three manic Baraka's isn't my idea of a good time if the end reward is a pat on the back and a few stills of concept art. While the Challenge Tower and Fatality Mode focuses on the single-player experience (Read: the least important aspect of this genre), the modes do serve a multiplayer focus. They are essentially entry points for players to get comfortable with the game's style. Mortal Kombat is not a lightning fast fighter in the vein of a Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, so it's nice to see NetherRealm shine a light on the offline to get gamers comfortable with its very different and distinct style. Mortal Kombat is a game crafted from the nostalgic essence of our youth. Though it's insanely violent and over the top, it never dips into the world of the chaotic--even during the game's Tag Team arcade mode. The game is as plodding and manageable as you remember, with a striking modern visual flair and a weight behind every attack. So far, the new Mortal Kombat looks to be a love letter to the franchise filled with reminisince nods to its former glory... and signed in blood. Mortal Kombat launches on April 19 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    March 16, 2011 2:30 PM

    Comment on Mortal Kombat Preview, by Xav de Matos.

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 2:31 PM

      Summary: A look at the bells and whistles around the combat in the latest MK. Training mode, practice mode, Fatality mode and the Challenge Tower included...

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 2:38 PM

      droool....

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 3:32 PM

      This all sounds great! Thanks, Xav.

      Gotta say, Fatality mode is a much-needed addition. Before the advent of practice modes, I'd put the game on two-player, quickly beat the dummy to a pulp, and then invariably screw up my Fatal's timing, or position, or accidentally low kick them or something.

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 3:34 PM

      No PC, me sad :(

      • reply
        March 16, 2011 3:40 PM

        *in my best Scorpion voice*

        "GET OVER IT!"

        Sorry. I mean... I had to, right?

        • reply
          March 16, 2011 3:53 PM

          no need to apologize

        • reply
          March 16, 2011 4:05 PM

          srsly, fighting games are the one area consoles are made for. better for in-person two-player games and really something you want on a big screen

          • reply
            March 16, 2011 5:20 PM

            That, and the arcade crowd gravitates to consoles, so those platforms will have an exponentially larger user base than a PC version would. I'd like to see more fighters on PC simply because I think that audience wants more of them to play, but I'll never buy them on PC; I play those games on consoles because there's more competition.

            • reply
              March 16, 2011 5:49 PM

              i think given equal distribution of players between platforms, i'd still go console because i imagine playing it together in the same room, and that on PC sucks

              • reply
                March 16, 2011 6:25 PM

                If you are familiar with playing fighting games in arcades, huddling around a computer monitor feels just about the same. Not that that's a benefit, but it's not as bad as people make it out to be. Anyway, now that you can hook PCs up to HDTVs so easily and get all the benefits of that comes with it, the whole console > PC for this specific thing argument goes out the window as usual.

                I'd take any modern fighter on PC because it just looks so much better and loads so much faster and you have a much wider choice in peripherals to choose from. On a big screen HDTV, the aliasing and low res of the console versions are just that much worse to look at. I know that doesn't bother a lot of people, but after playing SF4 on PC it was like night and day. So hard to go back to console for Super. I don't care at all about MK9, but I'd kill to have MvC3 and SSF4 on Steam.

                I never noticed a lack of players in the PC version of SF4, either. You don't really need a super large community anyway as the games are played 1v1, but there are more than enough people out there to make doing a PC version worthwhile.

                For me personally, the only thing the console setups make sense for with fighting games are the bigger tournaments that need multiple machines and stations set up. Way easier and cheaper to just throw some consoles in there than to get a bunch of PCs up and running. I don't play in tournaments, but I can recognize why they would choose go with 360 or PS3 over PC. Likewise I understand why people prefer fighters on console, but after playing them on PC I certainly do not. SF4 PC turned out to be a huge cocktease from Capcom :(

                • reply
                  March 17, 2011 8:48 AM

                  SSFIV PC is coming soon! (probably) Ono has hinted more than once that there will be an annoucement after the 3DS US launch. Boon also said that they considered PC so I wouldn't rule out a MK9 completely.
                  MvC3 though. I doubt see it coming to PC.

                • reply
                  March 17, 2011 11:51 AM

                  SF4 is arguably the best console port of the last few years (along with Batman).

              • reply
                March 17, 2011 11:28 AM

                The idea of fighting games only being a console style game is ridiculous. PCs can do everything a console does and more. Well, except for the newer Kinect, Move, and Wii control stuff, which it kind of does.

          • reply
            March 17, 2011 11:49 AM

            I'm having a blast playing SF4 on my 61" through Steam. Even the online works perfectly (by far my best GFWL experience) and the game is even more stunning.

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 4:06 PM

      reposting article because i want to read it


      It has been a few years since I've punched the head clean off the shoulders of one of my rivals. Far too long, if you ask me. Though I've been known to throw a punch or two in my day, what I'm of course referring to is the new Mortal Kombat, from the newly-formed NetherRealm Studios at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

      As I gleefully noted in my last preview of the game, the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot is an ultra-violent affair, worthy of succeeding the franchise's previous generation titles. Gone is the tame combat found in the crossover Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, replaced with the blood-soaked throes of passion found in the the franchise's past. On a violence level, this is the Mortal Kombat we've been waiting for.

      My recent time with the game focused on some of the bells and whistles included in the package. Beyond the game's standard arcade and online components--which I delved into during my previous write-up--there are a number of other additions to flesh out the game.

      Included in Mortal Kombat is a Training Mode, which gives players a chance to learn specific special moves and combos for their favorite combatants as well as a Practice Mode, allowing players the opportunity to freely test out their acquired knowledge against an A.I. rival. Like in other recent fighters, these modes serve as an entry point for new players looking to learn how Mortal Kombat controls, while also giving experts an opportunity to test out winning strategies.

      The modes start to get a little more intricate from there. Mortal Kombat includes a Fatality Mode, which delivers exactly what you'd expect. The mode indicates where players must stand in order to successfully perform the final death blow for any of the game's 20+ characters, turning green for correct position and red for out of bounds. Players can select their favorite character, which fatality they wish to rehearse, and their favorite punching bag in the mode.


      Mortal Kombat isn't shy about dousing the world with buckets of blood.
      When the Fatality Mode loads, the correct button sequence appears at the top of the screen giving players an opportunity to practice the move. Timing for Mortal Kombat's deadly strikes is key; however, the mode allows players to remove the clock from the equation to sear the combo into their minds at their own pace. The game is friendly in its execution. The only penalty for failing to land a Fatality is a brief reload, but that's only necessary if you were to accidentally strike an opponent; plugging in the wrong button combinations won't require a restart. Friendlier still are entire character move lists, including special moves, in the game's pause menu during matches.

      What really captured my attention was Mortal Kombat's Challenge Tower, a 300-level high series of tests and events that help unlock a surprise the MK dev team during my preview said would be "well worth a player's time." They also noted that, while they wouldn't reveal what that surprise was, the information will likely be revealed on the Internet within hours of the game's release. Vague rewards aside, the Challenge Tower offers a cornucopia of different tasks for the player to accomplish. The first few levels act as a tutorial for the game, showcasing basic moves like blocking. As players climb the tower, the challenges get more complex and rules for each level get more detailed.

      • reply
        March 16, 2011 4:07 PM

        its over 5000!!!! characters

        The Challenge Tower also brings classic Mortal Kombat modes into the fray: Test Your Sight, giving players the chance to follow an eyeball as it's shuffled under multiple hollowed out skulls; Test Your Might, testing players rapid button pressing and timing to destroy increasingly more difficult objects; Test Your Strike, where players must destroy a specific block in a stack; and (the brand new) Test Your Luck, which adds random modifiers to battles. In Test Your Luck, players might face off against headless opponents, battle in an upside-down arena, or combat without the use of their arms. This mode basically adds a pinch of crazy to the boiling pot of blood and guts, once again proving that filling a game with violence doesn't inherently make it mature.

        The Challenge Tower is a mixture of tutorials, interesting challenges, throw away filler missions, and completely odd concepts. If any level of the Tower becomes too complex (or asinine) players can use their collected "Koins" to bypass the level and move on to the next challenge.


        The Tower also brings with it a classic passion from the Mortal Kombat series of old: a desire to unlock the game's secrets. Though it's not as intricate as the "Krypt" found in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, it's 300 missions that set to test a player's supreme Mortal Kombat prowess with promises of something extra special in the end. I just hope it's worth the effort, because fighting three manic Baraka's isn't my idea of a good time if the end reward is a pat on the back and a few stills of concept art.

        While the Challenge Tower and Fatality Mode focuses on the single-player experience (Read: the least important aspect of this genre), the modes do serve a multiplayer focus. They are essentially entry points for players to get comfortable with the game's style. Mortal Kombat is not a lightning fast fighter in the vein of a Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, so it's nice to see NetherRealm shine a light on the offline to get gamers comfortable with its very different and distinct style.

        Mortal Kombat is a game crafted from the nostalgic essence of our youth. Though it's insanely violent and over the top, it never dips into the world of the chaotic--even during the game's Tag Team arcade mode. The game is as plodding and manageable as you remember, with a striking modern visual flair and a weight behind every attack. So far, the new Mortal Kombat looks to be a love letter to the franchise filled with reminisince nods to its former glory... and signed in blood.

        Mortal Kombat launches on April 19 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 5:53 PM

      My fucking PS2 to PS3 adapters don't work anymore since firmware 2.7..

      Now I have 2 useless arcade sticks.

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 6:03 PM

      Can't wait.

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 6:04 PM

      It's funny, I would have loved this when I was 15 but now I don't want to see those X-ray cam shots :(

    • reply
      March 16, 2011 7:12 PM

      Really appreciate the preview Xav. Sounds like it's going to be a great game. Thanks!

    • GFB
      reply
      March 17, 2011 8:30 AM

      This is exactly the kind of game I have been waiting for to play with my friends over a six pack of cold beers!

      And with 2 vs 2 tag team, me and 3 of my best friends can get really really competitive >:)

      This game seems like a breath of fresh air. I've been getting so tired of fps games lately, with MW2>BlackOps>Killzone3> and now tried the Crysis 2 demo, and it feels like it's just the same same.

      Mortal Kombat is 1080p, 60fps, awesome graphics, full screen ("non-split screen") competitive, fast paced, violent awesomeness & humor, just what we guys need!

      Tried the demo, and can't wait to get the full game!!

    • reply
      March 17, 2011 8:50 AM

      Sub-Zero and Scorpion in their original MK1 costumes!!!!!! :o

    • reply
      March 17, 2011 9:49 AM

      how are true are the moves and controls to the original as far as timing and responsiveness?

      • reply
        March 17, 2011 10:25 AM

        played the demo on ps3 last night, feels real good. The last mk game i played was on snes or something that long ago, definitely has the same mk feel to it though.

      • GFB
        reply
        March 17, 2011 10:58 AM

        The game is as responsive and fast paced as one could ever ask for. Gameplay and combat mechanic is top notch!

        I tried the Crysis 2 demo prior to the MK9 demo, and what a change it is in responsiveness and graphics sharpness/smoothness.


        But no wonder, I've read that MK9 runs at constant 60fps!

      • GFB
        reply
        March 17, 2011 10:58 AM

        The game is as responsive and fast paced as one could ever ask for. Gameplay and combat mechanic is top notch!

        I tried the Crysis 2 demo prior to the MK9 demo, and what a change it is in responsiveness and graphics sharpness/smoothness.


        But no wonder, I've read that MK9 runs at constant 60fps!

      • reply
        March 17, 2011 12:16 PM

        It feels awesome. Best way to describe it is:

        Take MK2, amp up the graphics, add in Street Fighter's dash and "super" system, and add in slower paced and more deliberate version of MK3's combo system(with no run button needed). Oh, and make sure every character is unique in how they play.

        And that's MK9. Oh and add in just about everything a player could want out of the box with their fighting game:

        Online play, spectator mode, lobbies, story mode, challenge tower ala Soul Caliber, traditional arcade mode, a shit ton of unlockables, secrets, and a shit ton of characters.

        It's basically the MK game we've all be dreaming of since MK2/3.

        • reply
          March 17, 2011 12:17 PM

          And to give you an idea how it feels, I got so sucked back to that MK2 feel I kept trying to do the jumping freeze clone corner exploit with sub-zero over and over and it felt like after they patched it in the arcades to make the clones not come out when you are super close. I mean it felt exactly that good.

    • reply
      March 17, 2011 11:31 AM

      *cough* ssf4>mk *cough*

      • reply
        March 17, 2011 11:50 AM

        So what? It doesn't matter whether on technical merits one is better than the other.

        MK brings death and brutality to gamers in a way that was really rare back in the day. And MK9 looks to really up the shock value compared to anything else on screen, except perhaps some of the shit in Gears of War and God of War.

      • reply
        March 17, 2011 12:01 PM

        Scorpion would totally kick Ryu's ass in a fight!

      • reply
        March 24, 2011 3:14 PM

        In your opinion maybe :) I've played SSF4 and it was fun. I think I'm going to like this MK game much better though.

    • reply
      March 17, 2011 12:16 PM

      Please to be releasing the Xbox demo

    • reply
      March 17, 2011 6:56 PM

      What a great news! I

    • reply
      March 18, 2011 12:07 AM

      any speculations about the "reward" of the challenge tower?

      • reply
        March 18, 2011 12:09 AM

        maybe unlocking Kratos as a playable character?

    • reply
      March 18, 2011 10:58 AM

      Got to see quite a bit of MK at PAX East.... the game really is looking fantastic. I'm excited about MK for the first time since the release of MK 3 :)

    • reply
      March 24, 2011 3:08 PM

      I'm actually excited about a fighting game again. This looks really fun!