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E3 2014: Mortal Kombat X Preview: The Most Brutal MK Yet

Mortal Kombat is a series that has existed to shock players with its horrific violence and vicious fatalities. But with the graphical fidelity of the new generation of consoles, Mortal Kombat X is slated to be the most brutal entry in the series. I suppose it shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise, as the team at NetherRealm has to keep one-upping itself as they make more Mortal Kombat games, but it was still a sight to see. Regardless, the presentation I saw wasn’t all severed limbs and exposed brains: there are several updates to the mechanics that make Mortal Kombat X very different from its predecessors.

At the character select screen, you can now choose between different variations of each character. Each fighter comes with three variations, and choosing between them will give the character a different moveset and play style. For example, the three variations Scorpion comes with is a ninjutsu mode in which he utilizes his dual swords, a fire variation in which many of his moves are fire themed, and a demon variation in which he’s able to summon demons to attack. Each modification gives Scorpion access to new moves that other don’t have. Of course, several of his moves will be present throughout all of the variations, like his iconic spear and teleport punch. This new wrinkle of adding a character variation is a wildly intriguing one, as it gives players access to a vast number of play styles.

There were 4 new characters in the demo at E3: Cassie Cage, the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, Kotal Kahn, a tribal looking fellow that is presumably linked to Shao Kahn, D’Vorah, a lady that utilizes bugs and venom, and Ferra/Torr, a duo consisting of a oversized muscular giant and a small girl taking a piggyback ride.

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The two new characters they showed in action were D’Vorah and Ferra/Torr. D’Vorah was more an agility based character that was light on her feet and could summon swarms of bugs to attack from afar. Ferra and Torr, on the other hand, were a fearsome duo that was most effective when up close and personal. Each character’s variations were interesting as well, as they ended up changing how the character played in some pretty drastic ways. D’Vorah had a variation in which most of her moves were coated in venom, making her moves do damage over time. One of Ferra and Torr’s variations actually had Ferra not being on Torr’s back, which gave him access to more grappler style moves. Another modification had Ferra injecting different fluids into Torr, taking away some of his health but giving him more damage to all of his hits.

The environment interactables that were a big part of Injustice: Gods Among Us is present in Mortal Kombat X as well. In the forest stage, fighters can swing on tree branches to escape pressure, or can opt to rip out the tree branch and smack the other player. X-rays are back from Mortal Kombat 9, and they’re just as savage as you remember them. Sub-Zero’s X-ray had him ripping out his opponent’s intestinal lining, freezing it, and then shoving it through the opponent’s eye. But that pales in comparison to Scorpion’s fatality, in which he first cleanly impales his opponent through the midsection, letting his heart drop down to the empty space in the gut. He then proceeds to cut the opponent’s face off, letting the brain slowly slip out of the skull onto the ground. It was the kind of gnarly that made me laugh out loud because it was so disturbing/awesome/ridiculous.

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Character variation is a really interesting addition that can potentially have a profound impact on the overall balance of the game, and I’m curious to see how that particular aspect develops. The X-ray moves and fatalities all seem to upping the ante of the level of brutality that is synonymous with the Mortal Kombat series, and while for some that may be too much, I was gleefully enjoying what Mortal Kombat X brings to the table. Mortal Kombat X releases sometime in 2015 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC.



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