Mortal Kombat Hands-On PAX East 2011

Mortal Kombat Hands-On PAX East 2011

ContentAnyone who knows me is aware that Mortal Kombat is easily my most anticipated game of 2011. While at PAX this past weekend, I was able to actually throw down with one of the developers at NetherRealm Studios as he schooled me in the art of MK. Going back to its 2D roots, this latest incarnation of the series brings back the gore, the secrets and, most importantly, the smooth gameplay that made the series a legend. Having now spent ample time with the game and its Fatalities, April 19th cannot come soon enough.

On the show floor, I played a couple of matches, including a tag match, against one of the developers of the game. I had to pull out my old favorite Sub-Zero while he showed off the newest announced character: Noob Saibot. I have to say that, after being thoroughly schooled, Noob is one of the top-tier characters in the game. His teleports and throw moves are great counters and can combat nearly any play style in the game. I was also treated to his fatality that was absolutely gruesome.

The developers at NetherRealm have been very vocal about taking the game back to its roots in terms of gameplay, as well as gore. After seeing some of the new X-ray moves and fatalities, this is certainly no joke. This game is not for the faint of heart and some of these moves are downright stomach turning. Nevertheless, that is what fans of the series have been clamoring for, and I am happy to say they will not be disappointed.


Our demo had 16 characters of the final roster including Jax, Kano, Noob and Kung Lao. Raiden was recently announced and, with just over a month before release, we still have several characters to be unveiled. Kratos was not playable on the show floor sadly, but the game was running in 3D on the PS3. The backgrounds look great, but some of the characters feel a bit off in the third dimension.

The gameplay itself will take some getting used to, especially for those of you that have been dumping countless hours into Marvel vs. Capcom 3 lately. Having to tap a button to block is the biggest hurdle, but once you get past that, it is smooth sailing. All moves also have purpose. You can’t simply tap punch repeatedly and expect results. Instead, your inputs must be timed and strung together. Creating combos is fairly easy, and the devs have done a great job of opening up the combat system for players of any skill.

The tag mode is new to the series and works surprisingly well. I did notice, via the title screen, that you will be able to play with up to four players, which could result in some crazy matches. The Challenge Tower and other modes were not available in our demo, but likely for the best. These are not the kind of modes you want to play for five minutes before passing judgment. The lines for this game surpassed almost any other on the show floor, and for good reason. Mortal Kombat is back and fans are going to be thrilled when the game drops on April 19th.

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Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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