Mortal Kombat X: seen at E3 2014

Mortal Kombat is back -- and better than ever.


“Fight!” It’s hard to believe that the Mortal Kombat franchise is over 20 years old now, as we still remember it just being yesterday that we were knocking heads around with Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Now, the series is preparing to enter the next generation of gaming, as an all-new game in the series, Mortal Kombat X, is set to make its debut next year on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. And if you think it’s just a rehash of the successful 2011 release… well, prepare for a cold knock to the head. This is an all-new beast.

Warner Bros showed off an impressive 20+ minute demo for the game during E3 in a behind-closed-doors demo. In it, you could see elements from NetherRealm Studios’ Injustice: Gods Among Us taking shape, with the environment being used to players’ advantage. For instance, on a sea level, players can grab corpses that come splashing up out of the water to throw at enemies. This looks to add a level of unpredictability to each fight.

In addition, there are three types of combat that you can utilize for each player, showing diversity with every one offered. For instance, with Sub-Zero, you can play defensively with an ice shield, mix things up with an ice clone (which, by the way, you can now throw as a projectile if your opponent doesn’t walk into it) or other items. Each character can be different in this way, adding replay value when it comes to truly mastering what they can do.

The game will also have some “fresh blood,” so to speak, with the addition of new characters. Scorpion and Sub-Zero will return, along with several other faces, but these additional allies and foes go a long way into making the cast unique. One in particular, Cassie Cage, has a great back story, as it appears that Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade ended up getting together somewhere over the course of the series. That will all be revealed in the game’s story down the road.

Meanwhile, Mortal Kombat X’s characters add quite a bit. D’Vorah is a strange insect-like girl who can choose various techniques, such as calling upon a swarm of bugs to do her dirty work or spitting venomous poison at enemies. Then there’s Ferra/Torr, a combination of a large Master Blaster-like brute and a small, vicious girl, who work together to bring opponents down to size. Seeing these two go at it with various styles actually made each fight more interesting.

Then there are the fatalities. Of course they’re back with a bloody vengeance. Whether getting eaten alive by bees, ripping through someone’s rib cage with a fireball (only to see the heart hanging out, natch) or slicing someone’s face off and watching the brain slide out as a result, these are definitely stomach-churning (in a good way). Throw in some new, powerful X-Ray moves (like blades going into the face or the cracking of a good vertebrae) and you’ve really got a combat system that snaps back at you.

We’ll have more details on Mortal Kombat X in the months ahead, but this definitely isn’t “just another entry” in the series. With its visual growth, new characters and intriguing gameplay dynamics, this is one fight you probably won’t want to miss come next year.

You know, unless your brain slips out of your head…

Robert Workman was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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