PAX East 2011: Mortal Kombat Hands-On

In: Articles by Anthony McGill

12 Mar 2011

Warner Bros. has taken the Mortal Kombat series back to its roots in the truest sense.

The only Mortal Kombat games I’ve ever really been into were Mortal Kombat 2 and 3 on the SNES. Thankfully, developer NetherRealm Studios embraced the series’ golden age and made some great choices in recreating a classic gameplay and visual style.

The new Mortal Kombat definitely looks great. While created in the same style as the classic titles, it boasts an updated HD coat of paint thanks to a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine 3.

I started off with my old favorite, Sub-Zero. I could still remember many of the same button combos to execute his well-known moves like ice blast and ground slide. Of the characters available, composed primarily of fan favorites from the first three games, many of the same attacks from previous games are present — a fantastic choice, in my opinion.

Grabbing moves are incredibly simple. A quick button press of the the right bumper allows you to execute a unique grab move depending on your character. For example, when executed, Kano wraps his hulking hands around the neck of his victim, followed by a vigorous shaking motion, making for quite a humiliating experience for the opposing player.

This is twice as embarrassing when your girlfriend does it continuously while you’re surrounded by people at PAX.

I also started to notice some familiarity in the levels. Many are actually old levels that have been reconstructed, while other additions are totally new. The living forest level from Mortal Kombat 2 makes a very welcomed appearance. A smile spread across my face as I saw the familiar movement of the trees in the background.

Downloadable content will be coming to Mortal Kombat, as well. This includes new characters, arenas, and fatalities. The DLC is not simply locked content on the disc, and will appear as a separate download.

NetherRealms really seemed to have a goal of allowing players to relive their arcade experiences. In fact, at PAX, they had Xbox 360 consoles built into full arcade cabinets with stick and concave button controls — definitely something I’d love to have in my house. But for those of us who don’t have disposable income lying around, Mortal Kombat will integrate with Facebook and Twitter to allow for competitive online play and a social, arcade feel with fellow players.

Overall, Mortal Kombat is definitely climbing its way up my most anticipated game. I subscribe to the group of people who have been fully disappointed by the more recent games in the series, and I’m glad they are taking a more classic approach while still showing a willingness to adapt to current online play styles — and it looks damn good, too.

Mortal Kombat (in Kollector’s and Tournament editions)
For Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Available April 19 (US), April 21 (Europe)

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1 Response to PAX East 2011: Mortal Kombat Hands-On

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Darn Ragnar

March 13th, 2011 at 3:19 am

Gawd I want this game. Just hope the appeal goes through so it can be released in Australia.

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