Mortal Kombat 1 is a reboot. Proud, triumphant, aggressive. A fighting game that, according to the development team, intends to provide the maximum possible freedom to its users in terms of gameplay. What we tried during the Play Days at the Summer Game Fest obviously didn’t give us full confirmation of NetherRealm’s great ambitions, because there were only four usable characters in the demo, with three Kameo wrestlers ready to support them in battle.
It will take many more meetings, many more bones shattered and many more liters of blood shed to fully understand what this new episode is made of. Yet the test of about half an hour made another aspect clear, already sufficient in itself to reassure those who can’t get enough of Fatality: both on a technical and a playful level, Mortal Kombat 1 promises a show.
The work of NetherRealm is a hybrid between familiarity and innovation, not only in terms of the combat system. Even the characters that fans have come to know over the years are yes the same, yet they appear different, in some respects even “new”. The unpublished version of the well-known faces of the franchise is the daughter of that rewrite of the canon made by Liu Kang in Aftermath, the MK11 DLC.
In short, the team was able to indulge both in terms of narration and the reworking of some of the most iconic wrestlers in the series. Sub Zero, among other things, can now use an ice barrier that protects him entirely, and at the same time take advantage of his Kameo fighter to go on the offensive. Kitana and Liu Kang possess a greater number of aerial moves, while Kenshi has the ability to summon the spirit of one of his ancestor onto the stage, and fight alongside him, while the player controls both of them.
These that we have mentioned were also the only warriors present in the demo, accompanied by 3 support wrestlers, namely Sonya, Kano and Jax, each with unique fighting characteristics.
There are multiple types of Kameo Fighters: the more offensive ones, the more defense oriented ones, and the ones that are very useful for extending combos. It will be up to the player to choose which Kameos to match with the main characters, combining the skills of both fighters to create increasingly effective combinations.
Their support in battle is not for obvious reasons unlimited, but rather regulated by an indicator that recharges over time, but with such a speed as to never leave us without “help” for long. We still don’t know which protagonists will be part of the two categories of the roster, however it is certain that faces like Sub Zero, Scorpion and Kung Lao will be selectable both as “main fighters” and as Kameo. In short, Mortal Kombat 1 is a combat system conceived with total experimentation in mind, to focus entirely on fun, creativity and freedom. Even with a small number of roster members available, the first impressions were galvanizing. Sonya, Jax and Kano effectively modify the approach to battle based on the style they bring as a dowry: it is not a “temporary” tag team, but a sort of extension of the playful approach that the user wants to adopt with his primary wrestler. Mortal Kombat 1 is a fighting game that values aerial play, with a series of moves introduced specifically to increase the effectiveness of combos. The Kameo system has also been included in order to help the main warrior continue his chain of attacks in the air, without too many interruptions. Everything becomes more dynamic, pounding, the result of a decidedly faster gameplay than that tested, for example, in Mortal Kombat 11.
Lead designer Derek Kirtzic’s goal, as he revealed to us on our microphones, was precisely to “make a clean slate for the combat system, just like we did for the timeline of the series. We wanted to start over, create something completely new “. Pure combat has absolute predominance. And this is one of the reasons that prompted NetherRealm to remove the interactive elements of the scenario. There will therefore no longer be objects scattered in the environment to be used as a weapon, and everything will focus on the battle to the death where the user’s skill will triumph.
Kirtzic then confirmed the absence of the MK11 Breakway: the combo breaker therefore remains, the use of which is regulated by two indicators of the Meter Bar. In this bloody concert of novelties, however, tradition must not be forgotten: this is why the Fatalities will return crazier than ever. The main characters will have two final moves in their repertoire, while the Kameo wrestlers will only use one; remaining on the subject of dismemberment, the Fatalities cannot be carried out by the combined strength of the support and primary warriors, but only one of the two will have the ability to inflict the violent coup de grace in a show of death that reaches new heights of brutality.
A picture of blood
Mortal Kombat 1 can only be watched with full admiration. It’s not just a question of how realistic the death animations are, which are also the trademark. Seeing fighters transition from the selection menu to the match arena seamlessly is a sight, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Movements, bodies that get dirty, particles, detailed backgrounds, bones that break, expressions that twist, fluidity of the clash: this new chapter is visually all-encompassing from every point of view.
Cinematic and choreographed with rare skill, Mortal Kombat 1 follows a continuous flow between cutscenes and real-time battles, which we are sure will find its most convincing manifestation in the Story mode. Kirtzic promises that it will be very rich, as well as the entire singleplayer sector, of which we can currently only confirm the return of the Towers. There will be time to explore every aspect between now and the time of the release, scheduled for September 19th. What is certain is that the “restart” of Mortal Kombat already maintains the basic DNA but evolves it into a concentrate of technicality, freedom and brutality that we can’t wait to explore in more detail, in the name of that violence extreme typical of the series. After all, good blood doesn’t lie.