Mortal Kombat X: Chasing gory glory - Games Weekly

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Mortal Kombat X: Chasing gory glory

In 2011, Mortal Kombat received a shot in the spine that revitalized the series in a big way. Mortal Kombat returned to its roots by reintroducing the 2D mechanics the franchise was founded upon. The reboot proved successful, thrusting the franchise back into the forefront. With NetherRealm Studios determined to deliver a familiar, yet vastly expanded experience, Mortal Kombat X hopes to continue the success of its  direct  predecessor.

The story begins shortly after the end of the most recent Mortal Kombat, which retold the events of the first three entries of the series. Mortal Kombat X’s narrative spans the next 25 years in the universe, featuring familiar faces like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Raiden, plus several new ones.

One of the new fighters, Ferra/Torr, show-cases the new character scaling being introduced. “You’ll notice in previous Mortal Kombats, there hasn’t really been a difference in scale in character size,” says designer Derek Kirtzic. “It’s not until we started doing Injustice that we started bringing in large-scale characters like Bane and Doomsday. With MK, we wanted to start bringing in some of that as well. So you’ll notice that Goro is very large in comparison to normal characters, and Ferra/Torr is pretty large in scale.”

Mortal Kombat X builds upon the gameplay of the previous entry, while also taking cues from NetherRealm’s DC Comics-licensed fighter, Injustice: GAU. “With Injustice, you had superheroes that could almost pick up planes and smash you with them,” Kirtzic says. “With Mortal Kombat X, it’s more used for spacing than it is for an unblockable damage like it was in Injustice. With Mortal Kombat, you can actually block any of the level interactions, along with traversing space. What we’ve noticed is that corner pressure is a pretty prevalent thing in fighting games, and bringing in the level interactions that help you get out of those corners is a real big plus.”

Mortal Kombat X brings back character variations, giving each fighter three different styles for the player to choose from. Unlike this concept’s implementation in Deadly Alliance and Deception, which allowed players to switch between the three styles during rounds, Mortal Kombat X requires players to choose the variation before entering the fight. This gives each battle a rock-paper-scissors type of strategy, as players can plan their fight style around what could best counter that of their opponent.

NetherRealm is focused on injecting Mortal Kombat X with replayability. The Challenge Tower, which made its debut in 2011, is being reincarnated in the form of three separate towers that the studio plans to update regularly. One tower changes on the hour with damage modifiers and event frequency increasing as you climb higher, and another changes each day and provides random modifiers with more chaotic permutations for each challenge. The third is designed around special occasions. This premier tower changes every week on average, and includes holiday and special event towers. Kirtzic was tight-lipped about their plans for the tower, saying, “You’ll just have to see what we have in store.” Players can choose their character for each challenge.

Making Mortal Kombat X players even more likely to check in each day, a new Faction Wars system sees players taking up the flag of one of five in-game factions. Every action players do in-game whether in online or single-player modes earns points for their team. The faction with the most points at the end of each week receives special rewards. Daily faction challenges, such as “perform five uppercuts today” or “win two ranked matches” also reward points to factions with players who complete them.

Despite all of these connected features, Kirtzic insists NetherRealm is not abandoning players who enjoy playing offline. “You don’t have to play online or in online game modes to participate in the Faction system,” he says. “We want to make sure that the people who play single-player still benefit from this global system that we have. We also want to make sure there’s enough content there for people that just like to play single-player and don’t like to get their ass  kicked  online.”

With NetherRealm expanding on previously successful concepts and implementing multiple new community-driven features to keep players coming back for more, Mortal Kombat X appears ready to come out swinging.

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