Mortal Kombat X: Different Fighting Styles - Games Weekly

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mortal Kombat X: Different Fighting Styles

From An Outside perspective, it must seem like fighting games rarely change. One player takes control of the combatant on the left side while the other takes over on the right. There are usually a couple of health bars to keep your eye on one that you want to keep healthy and one that you want to empty and the buttons you press invariably lead to punches, kicks and seemingly implausible feats.But for those who know their stuff,most fighting games tweak the formula in some subtle way. Most of the time this translates to a novelty or a gimmick,but every so often,the outcome is more profound.


This sense of forward thinking applies to Mortal Kombat X ,a direct sequel to the 2011 reboot that also takes its cues from Injustice . After playing a few rounds of the latest build at a recent event, there’s no question that the core principles are still intact. Blood starts to decorate the stage after the very first hit, special moves are performed with the traditional inputs and the block button despite being a relic of the past that should’ve been banished years ago is still the main source of defence. No, what makes Mortal Kombat X stand out from the crowd is the new fighting style system.

It’s not the first game to offer different fighting styles (Capcom vs SNK 2 , anyone ?) and it certainly won't be the last, but by making three distinct versions of each character, NetherRealm is rewriting part of the rulebook. You won’t be forced to play an entirely new character if you fancy a change you can just pick a different fighting style while retaining most of the moves you know already. There’s also the potential to counter bad matchups, but for this to work, each fighting style needs to be on a fairly even footing. There’s no point in implementing the system if each character has one style that stands out as the clear winner. They all need to be viable.
“THE NEW FATALITIES AND X-RAY ATTACKS OFFER A ROADMAP TO THE INTERNAL WORKINGS OF THE HUMAN BODY”
In this regard, it’s still far too early to make a judgement call on the balancing. What we can say for sure, though, is that each fighting style feels fairly distinct. Kotal Khan, a new character who looks like a distant relative of Tekken’s Ancient Ogre, is blessed with a shield projectile, dragon punch and anti-air command grab. His Sun God style unlocks a choke slam that can regenerate health, his Blood God style is more offensive in nature and lets you sacrifice some health in exchange for dealing more damage, and his War God style gives him a large serrated blade that significantly increases his reach.

This level of creativity extends to the returning characters as well. Kano has access to the classic human cannonballs and knife throws that made him such a nightmare in the original, but when you factor in his new fighting styles, he’s less of a one trick pony. Cutthroat is all about building long knife combos by burning lots of meter, Cybernetic takes the focus away from the blades and places it on eye lasers, while Commando turns the heartless mercenary into a grappler. We don’t know if he still wears underwear in this style but he gains a back breaking command grab and the ability to counter low and high attacks.

As far as the revised fighting system goes, that’s about all we were able to learn during our handful of matches. The fact that we’re keen to get more hands on time with the game and explore the depths of the new fighting styles speaks volumes for the development team’s ambition. Mortal Kombat hasn't always been an easy game to like but this new entry looks very promising indeed. What’s more, the shift to the PlayStation 4 has upped the level of detail considerably. The new Fatalities and X-Ray attacks offer a roadmap to the internal workings of the human body and you can now make out each individual tooth as it leaves its socket. It’s still a gorefest, then, but it’s one that’s looking fleshed out in other areas.

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