Mortal Kombat Hands-On

We do the robot and kick our opponent into itty-bitty pieces with a fresh look at the Mortal Kombat reboot.

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It seems like forever ago, but it was only in June this year that the world was given its first glimpse at the return of an old friend with the new Mortal Kombat. E3 gave us the chance to spill our first drop of blood, and what began as a nosebleed quickly developed into a full-blown bloodbath. At Gamescom 2010 we got our second chance to pick up the controller and take some old favourite characters for a spin.

Our hands-on began with a presentation, a refresher of sorts for those who had seen the game previously, and a look behind the curtain at the design philosophy for those experiencing the game for the first time. Our guides from developer NetherRealm stressed the importance of adhering to the look and feel established in arcades all those years ago when the game first launched. Where previously a handful of characters looked and moved similarly, our demo team explained that each character now includes its own unique set of animations, as opposed to simply reskinning similarly playing characters with a differing model.

Each fighter will have two fatalities at his or her disposal in the final version of the game, and while we observed some familiar practices, like Johnny Cage ripping the head off his slain foes, new aspects have also been added to the mix to give it a fresh vibe. Publisher Warner Bros. revealed two new backgrounds to fight in front of at this year's show. Desert is a refresh of an old arena and is complete with rocky outcrops and swirling sands. Bell Tower, originally featured in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, also makes its triumphant return in high-definition glory.

You probably won’t spend much of your time ogling the backdrops as fists are exchanged, making the announcement of two more characters to the growing roster significantly more interesting than what’s going on behind the brawl. Cyrax and Kitana get in on the action. The former is a robotic soldier employing technical wizardry tactics like bombs and nets, while the latter is all about air dashes and slashing with her blade-laden fan. Throwing the fan deals multiple hits and immobilizes the target for a follow-up uppercut. Well-timed high and low punches and kicks are enough to take down an attacker, but the new super meter introduced in the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot adds some much-needed nuance and micromanagement to fights. Two-versus-two matches allow you to tag in a second character, but at the cost of energy from your bar. The bar builds up as you deal damage and can be used sparingly, or dashed on an impressive combo. The brutal x-ray moves--performed by simultaneously tapping the right shoulder button and the trigger--can easily demolish half a rival player’s health bar in one fell swoop. These moves are some of the most gruesome we've seen in a game yet, zooming right in as you destroy bones and organs from inside their owner’s body with an icy squeeze or a devastating punch to the skull.

Even if you’re the one dishing out the pain, you’re likely to get dirty as blood sloshes around by the bucketload, drenching both the players as attacks connect. Persistent damage sees clothing rip and wounds weep as the round continues.

Though we didn’t have the opportunity to see it running during our demo, the team did confirm its plans to offer stereoscopic 3D playback exclusively on Sony’s PlayStation 3 console. Details are still sketchy, but it’s clear that there are plans afoot for postlaunch DLC by way of additional characters, so if your favourite isn't already on the shipping roster, there’s a chance you may get to bring him or her into the game.

Mortal Kombat will be out on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in spring of 2011 and, at least from what we’ve seen of the title so far, appears to be a love letter to longtime series fans. The reboot marks a return to all the most requested aspects in a single tight package. Stay tuned for more details on this game in the coming months.

Discussion

327 comments
Andy9Beans
Andy9Beans

Online pass = I'll pass. Until I'm sure this game is worth playing and I know what price I can expect on trade-in I'll save my money. Fighter games are notorious for having no longevity, this means an online pass is a positive move for publishers profits but a negative move for gamers. Early reviews indicate the online play has bugs, so unless this is fixed I will be waiting for either brand-new prices to go down or preowned copies to become available. Sorry if this seems like trolling, I'm just a bit sick of being manipulated by publishers looking to maximise profits at the expense of gamers. I love the MK games and am hoping that this won't be another turkey like other games which have used online passes.

tisoyboy2
tisoyboy2

@kwanzudood Fatalities are 4 directional presses then a face button. Have to keep going to moves list at first. But if you do a ladder with a fighter you memorize it buy using it over and over. Bad side is 3 of the 4 fatalities for each fighter are locked at first.

tisoyboy2
tisoyboy2

Fatalities are very bloody. Great work on female fighters too.

Kazmo-Khan
Kazmo-Khan

Anyone know if you can do Hara Kiri like in Deception? Or any of the other finishers like Friendship or Animality?

guitarjanitor
guitarjanitor

DLC characters? Man, back in the day when you bought a game you bought the whole thing. It makes me angry that developers are squeezing money out of fans for content that was originally just included in the game.

seriousplayer_d
seriousplayer_d

I hope the fatalities are bloody and very over-the-top!

Brewski_420
Brewski_420

TBH, i actually really enjoyed konquest mode from armageddon. It made the game awesome in a way for me. But in the last games, the krypt hasn't been as NEARLY as good as Deadly Alliances. Hope they make that better.

linkman3
linkman3

haha game looks pretty good still like the originals though

eliebaz
eliebaz

I hope you can use reptile he has been missing from the past couple of games he was my favourite

rigzzsy
rigzzsy

@Wesleyp_6 definitely! lets start a petition

rigzzsy
rigzzsy

x360 exclusive should be war from darksiders

josephpeterh29
josephpeterh29

for the xbox 360 exclusive character, i think it should be somebody like general RAAM from gears. not the most well known character in the 360, but he has guns, a blade, the kryill and the curb stomp at his disposal!

eliebaz
eliebaz

they should remake shoalin monks that was an amazing game, chilling on a sunday afternoon with your friends, playing through the levels, with no level confinement and free play. that was the best game, i dont like this arcade stuff id buy the game and get bored in a week

pH347m3
pH347m3

You get to perform Mortal Kombat's famous gory fatalities on Kratos... One more reason why PS3 exclusives are always better! Oh, and why did they even bother to place a "Rating Pending" sticker on the box art? Everybody knows this will obviously be rated M...

acetheman15
acetheman15

yeah im a fighting game lover, grew up on MK, but as of late they been bad, this time though hope the franchise gets the treatment it deserves and goes back to its roots of being a blood bath and good time

kwanzudood
kwanzudood

TBH, I hope they make the fatalities in this version easier to execute, because I don't feel like nor have the time to dial button combos into the controller over and over again to practice.

Wesleyp_6
Wesleyp_6

They should remake Killer Instinct ..that was a killer game :D but I;m satisfied with the new Mortal Kombat for now :)

nobie05
nobie05

Hmm.. havent played a decent fighting game in a while, especially since I grew up on Tekken, not saying that I never use to play MK in the arcade. Rating so far: 7.5/10 My decision: rent first.

WiseLyrics
WiseLyrics

Hmm.. A Warner Bros. Release...does this hint anything? perhaps...a movie in the making from Warner Bros Studio?

WiseLyrics
WiseLyrics

I'm still waiting on a Mortal Kombat Vs. Street Fighter release!

SonOfKira
SonOfKira

Only fighting game that'll be worse than this is dbz raging blast 2...so it wont be a complete waste of time...

elancion
elancion

fatalities and gore were the only aspects of mortal combat that help put this game on the map,but to put mk up there with some of the top fighters out there you got to be joking ,cmon SERIOUSLY. i think i'll most definitely pass on this fighter and spend my hard earned cash on one that will definitely keep me hooked for a long time coming (MVC3 BABY YEAH). CAPCOM is still the king when it comes to fighters.

GymFox
GymFox

So many MK have been awful. I am really hoping they pull it back to its original greatness

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Pfff I loved mk back when I was a kid but now I could care less about the franchise... I would like to see the game become good again but I lost hope for it a long time ago... Oh well I'll just track this game and see what previews are like before making my final decision...

handstone82
handstone82

I'm excited about this one. Mortal Kombat has had its shortcomings as of late but this one appears to be old school yet visually stunning, SUPERB!

punisher781
punisher781

yes finally uncensored bloody as hell fatalities

superman937367
superman937367

Damn, another game that the state of california will try to exploit for their court procedings

superman937367
superman937367

Damn, another game that the state of california will try to exploit for their court procedings

cynicalundead
cynicalundead

Killer Instinct? That is Nintendo IP and the WII could NEVER run a game using the Unreal Engine. The WII isn't even HD. Think about Killer Instinct made me think about War Gods. Does anyone else remember how craptactular that game was? Anyhow, I am going crazy with anticipation for this. I am almost positive this is going to rock. Even the media that has given MK lukewarm reviews in the past has had nothing but positive things to say about this game.

thumbsdown01x
thumbsdown01x

Mortal Kombat. The ONE fighting game series that isn't full of worthless WEABOOS. BlazBlue, Street Fighter, Tekken. Those games are Japanophile-ville. Mortal Kombat hopefully won't have any worthless weaboos in the community.

crashhat69
crashhat69

sounds like a pretty cool game i used to have mortal kombat armageddon for ps2 which was an amazing game but the "fatality" was the same for every character which sucked.its good to hear that each character is gonna have there own fatalities in this game and lets hope you get to create a character like you were able to in armageddon

Seifer24
Seifer24

all the previews u bought were all overkill for your money. If it's an mk u must spent some money is this one.The others were just for rent

EL109
EL109

i wasted my money on mk ALOT!!!!! i just enjoyed shoalin monks but im not gonna buy this game until i read all the reviews about it!!! i hope the graphics doesnt suck

ehsan7715
ehsan7715

im realy waiting for release date i wish it will come for PC

irishdude199210
irishdude199210

mk trilogy was my favourite and its nice to see mk is finally back on track.

salmaggee
salmaggee

haven't played mk since trilogy. this looks pretty cool thou. hopefully it wont suck.

Brennios
Brennios

Have been a mortal kombat fan since the first game, and still am, for many years to come!

RagnarokWarrior
RagnarokWarrior

I dunno Mk as a brand has lost some steam over the years. Maybe this'll bring it back

h3rb
h3rb

@Alezzx73 Don't forget Primal Rage!

jurewicz88
jurewicz88

Like Alezzx73 said, Let's get some more KILLER INSTINCT!!

Alezzx73
Alezzx73

all we need is killer instinct and the fighting world is complete.

dark-warmachine
dark-warmachine

I wonder how Killer Instinct would look on this engine. The character animations look a lot smoother this time around. I see a bit of SSF4 in this game. You have your 2.5D gameplay, character closeups for specific moves, and the 8 player spectator mode remenicent to SSF4's Endless mode.

killer690
killer690

- Ever since Mortal Kombat 2, there hasn't been any descent MK games (at least for me) MK3 was kinda nice, but from there on, all MK games have been kinda bad and the same, I really hope this one brings the franchise back to life -

JD_Escobar
JD_Escobar

I'm a fighting game fanj but more so for tekken and soul calibur, but this has definitely perked my interest. I'll be keeping a watch.

assassassin123
assassassin123

this game looks great, don't get me wrong, but it feels like its just riding the hype of the success of street fighter4 and super street fighter 4. it looks like with all of these 2d fighters coming out, it is the rebirth of an era. its really kind of nostalgic.

Rasputin2011
Rasputin2011

MK is looking super sexy! I love trying out fighting games BUT am garbage at them XD

MGOPRO
MGOPRO

cant wait hoping for some cool content on my system they really slammed their berries in the door on the last game hopefully the new one will have all the violence and carnage of MK armegeddon

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

Hot damn on a biscuit, I cannot wait for this. Don't get me wrong, most of the previous MKs I liked - for some reason or another - but I am actually excited for this one. However, now that WB owns MK and Midway, how about some DLC love for MK vs. DCU? Or have they totally abandoned it?