|System: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Pub: Warner Bros.|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Who’s Next? We finally know what that means after trying out a playable build of Mortal Kombat X at E3. “Who’s Next?” refers to the setting of the new Mortal Kombat, which takes place several years after Mortal Kombat 9.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, this means that a lot of your favorite characters are now far too old to fight in the Mortal Kombat tournament. In their place are a whole host of new characters, raring to break their enemies’ spines. Make no mistake, the roster of Mortal Kombat X is far smaller than Mortal Kombat 9’s, but it is huge and innovative in its own right.
The first thing to note is that each character isn’t only one character. It’s three characters. Once you select a character you then select that characters style. Choosing a style not only alters the properties of your moves and combo strings, but also gives you completely new special moves that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. For example, Scorpion can choose a sword, fire, or summoning style. If you pick sword style, Scorpion will have a whole host of new combo strings that utilize two swords at the same time, making his combo potential grow. If he chooses fire style, his fire moves, like the hellfire or flame kick, get much more powerful and stun the enemy for much longer. If he chooses summoning, he gains the ability to summon minions from hell to grab or strike at the opponent, allowing him to move at the same time. His basic moves, like the spear and teleport, remain unchanged regardless of his style, but these new moves allow you to play a agro, zoner, or even grappler Scorpion, if you so choose.
Scorpion is one of the only two characters returning to Mortal Kombat X, the second being Sub-Zero. The rest of the playable roster was completely filled with newcomers.
The first was Ferra and Torr. This duo is a giant with a little wild girl riding on his back. Choosing a style determined how the duo plays. You can remove Ferra completely to make Torr a heavy handed brawler/grappler. However, you can also choose between two styles, one which makes Ferra pretty much nothing more than a projectile, and another which lets her be controlled independently, much like a shadow character.
D’Vorah is a creepy insect lady who seems to rely on status effects and weird area control. One of her styles augments her attacks with the ability to deal damage over time, another style gave her the ability to release swarms of insects around her and attack from the air, and her final style allowed insects to crawl around the ground controlling space. Kotal Kahn is a massive Aztec style warrior, who focuses on brute strength, counters, and one huge sword. Cassie Cage is the daughter of Johnny Cage and is kind of a combination of him and Stryker with styles that emphasize more martial arts or gunplay. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to play as either of these characters, but they certainly looked fun.
The basic systems of the game remain similar to Mortal Kombat 9. There is a block button, which pretty much prevents left right mix-ups, though there are still high and low attacks. Stage intractable, like Injustice: Gods Among Us, have been integrated into the game, but they are far less over the top. Usually stage intractable just give your character a special sort of movement or a quick attack. They don’t do much damage, if they do damage at all. Also, they are governed by a new “stamina” meter. As you block, dash, use stage intractable, and run your stamina depletes. When it is depleted, you cannot run or dash anymore, nor can you use stage hazards. So you will be forced to remain on the offensive if you want to keep all your options open to you.
Meter management is handled the same way that Mortal Kombat 9’s was, but meter builds much, much slower this time around. You still need one level of meter for an EX move, two for a burst, and three for an X-Ray attack. As it stands, all X-Ray attacks have super armor on startup, but that might change by the time the full game is released. The game uses Mortal Kombat 9’s round system as well, though positioning is handled a little bit differently. While the stage stays at the same point at the end of a “round” characters back up to other sides of the screen, giving you the ability to catch your breath before the fight starts again.
It’s also worth noting that characters are much, much, much floatier this time around. Juggles are very easy to pull off. Characters tend to have multiple launchers and several strings that will keep their opponent in the air. Even so, combo damage drop-off is very huge, making long combos less practical. It feels like short combos, followed by resets or wakeup setups will be the name of the game this time.
I had a lot of fun with Mortal Kombat X, but your results will vary. Anyone who really disliked Soul Calibur 5 for taking away their favorite characters in lieu of a brand new roster will probably hate Mortal Kombat X. However, if you can get past the roster, you will find that this game has a humongous amount of depth, far more than any Mortal Kombat before it.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: June 11, 2014