Gamescom 2010: Mortal Kombat Hands-On PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Aug 23, 2010
What We Know:
Franchise creator Ed Boon and his team at NetherRealm Studios have taken the long-running and famously violent fighting franchise back to its plasma-spewing roots in the latest iteration due out in spring 2011.
What We’re Seeing Now:
The last time I went hands on with MK was during E3 2010, and while I was only able to play a few matches, I still found the fighting to be fast, brutal, and satisfying. For Gamescom 2010, the developers showed off two new characters--the dreadlocked cyborg Cyrax and the curvaceous, killer-fan wielding Kitana, as well as two new environments—the Desert and Bell Tower.
Because the MK developers see the newest installment very much as “fan service,” it should come as no surprise that the character moves, and the controls that pull them off, are the same as they have always been. The “best of” moves list will instantly be familiar to anyone who has ever spent even the slightest bit of time with the series, and the result is a much-appreciated pick up and play feel. For both Cyrax and Kitanna, this meant easily pulling off a number of their signature moves like the energy net/chest bomb combos for Cyrax and Kitana’s hover-inducing fan wave and fan toss.
The new levels helped show off the game’s fantastic lighting effects and depth of field. Since the developers deciding to stick to the traditional 2D fighting plane, as opposed to the 3D approach found in previous titles in the series, a lot more detail can be dedicated to the environment, as well as the character models, animations, and, obviously, the gore. In addition, each character has custom animations, which means each fighter has a totally unique look and feel.
In action, this attention to detail makes the fighters pop off the screen, and thanks to the real-time damage and dynamic blood (blood will not only coat floors but fighters as well), you can’t help but cringe a little as you watch fighters rip each other apart before your eyes. The new three-tiered special attacks meter adds a welcomed bit of strategy, and the X-ray inducing third portion takes the intensity of fights even further by showing you every bone being broken during the appropriate attack. When Ed Boon and company say this game is a love letter to the fans, you better believe they mean it.
The tight controls, polished visuals, and highly creative violence seem to be in line, and if the developers keep this promise alive throughout the rest of the game, then MK fans are going to be in for one bloody good time when the game ships next year.