E3 2010: Mortal Kombat Preview

By Jordan Douglas on July 2, 2010, 4:06PM EDT
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Mortal Kombat is one of those classic franchises that manage to conjure up feelings of nostalgia in people who wouldn't normally consider themselves "hardcore" gamers. With such a broad appeal, it comes as no surprise that the reveal of a new Mortal Kombat installment makes people take notice. Recently, Warner Bros. acquired the series from Midway and announced its ninth iteration, simply titled Mortal Kombat. The game boosts gorgeous visuals, numerous fatalities, and a level of gore that shocks and amazes at the same time.

The developers over at NetherRealm Studios have said Street Fighter IV's success convinced them they were on the right track using a classic 2D plan with an improved visual presentation. The 2D plan and classic gameplay gives the modern Mortal Kombat a throwback feel, comparable to Mortal Kombat II. The improved visuals really can't be overstated - it looks absolutely beautiful, in a strange, gruesome way. Everything in Mortal Kombat's small, contained environments looks crisp and runs smoothly.

Another focus for the development team was to craft the game based on fan expectations, which happened to be a brutal, vicious presentation and a wide variety of fatalities. Both appear to be present in Mortal Kombat. Watching a fight makes you feel as though you're getting punched in the face. The montage of painful fatalities further emphasized that this game is aimed at an audience hungry for visceral, violent fighting mechanics.

NetherRealm have implemented a few new ways for players to punish their opponent, the biggest addition being the "Super Meter". This three stage meter allows players to either initial a special move, break free from an opponent's combo, or use an "X-Ray" attack - a move that literally shows the receiving player's skeleton shattering. Mortal Kombat also allows players to enter "Tag Team" fights, where each player chooses two characters for their team. Players can then chain massive combos together by seamlessly switching between fighters mid combo.

Mortal Kombat's revival appears to be on the right track. The game is fantastically violent, looks stunning, and runs very smoothly. With the promise of "the most robust online fighting game system ever imagined," fans should have something to look forward to as Mortal Kombat nears its 2011 release window.

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