First off the major news came at the Sony PlayStation live event this afternoon. Ed Boon along with PlayStation's Sid Shuman went over another gameplay demo of Mortal Kombat X
live on stage. There is a new character unveiled for the first time in this video, so you should watch that first before reading on. Included are first look at both D'Vorah
A few hours before that stream happened, the show floor of E3 2014 opened up. As we predicted before, based on prior experience with their previous games, Mortal Kombat X
was actually not on the show floor. There is a large public demo theatre with gameplay demos going on. The game is available for the press behind closed doors though. But thanks to the kind staff of Warner Bros.
and NetherRealm Studios
they let me go back and get my hands on the game first thing in the morning before the rest of the press showed up for their scheduled demos.
The first thing I noticed is that the control layout is what you expect from Mortal Kombat (2011)
, but just a few changes and one major addition. The major addition is a new Run component to the game. Instead of a dedciated button like previous games, now if you hold Block while dashing forward, you will run forward until you let go of block or run out of stamina. The stamina meter is just below the health bar and reduces when you dash, run and use a stage interactibles. This prevents the player from spamming these abilities too much because once it's depleted it takes about two full game seconds to regenerate (at this time).
The throw button has been moved to the L1/LB button, in place of Tag, but can also be used by pressing 1+2 together like before. The R1/RB button is the new stage interactibles button, just like in Injustice. The block button is also still used for enhanced attacks and breaking combos like in MK9.
Despite those minor control changes the game feels pretty close to how Mortal Kombat (2011)
did. It's just noticibly faster paced game. If you wanted more Mortal Kombat, this is what you got. It's not Injustice but clearly has learned a few tricks from that game. It's a bit faster than before as well.
The addition of the stage interactibles, which at this point are mostly evades in some cases, really changes the pace of the game. If you get stuck somewhere there may be a way out to create some distance between you and your opponent very quickly. I'll get into the various interactibles in the stages section below.
I've been told that the NetherRealm team has re-written the rendering engine from the ground up for this release. It shows. The details in the character textures are something that I've noticed is lost in most streams of the gameplay so far. To get a better feel for that look at the screenshots attached to this story.
The backgrounds also have more detail than I've seen in the previous games. There is dynamic lighting and everything is animated. From characters walking in the background to water waves in the background of another stage effecting ships in the water. There is a lot going on.
As far as the internal body system works for X-Rays and fatalities, now the game's character models can be cut at any angle. This opens up fatalities to have far greater variation across the board compared to Mortal Kombat (2011)
's pre-defined cut points. This change gives the game a far more gruesome feel as you see more and more fatalities.
The fighting animations seem smoother than before too, but hard to tell how much smoother at this point.
The build at E3 has six players available on the select screen. In addition to Sub-Zero
we got Cassie Cage
, Kotal Kahn
. Below is a bit on each of the characters. I played as Cassie the most, but the rest I played far less and am looking forward to playing further later this week.
Hollywood, Brawler & Spec Ops
Single Shot, Low Kick, Get Away Flip, Takedown & Power Slam
By only seeing her image along with her name on the selection screen it was immediately apparent who this was. Cassie was the daughter of Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage. She fights with a similar yet different set of moves than her parents. She was clearly trained by them because of these similarities. One major difference is she uses akimbo pistols in her gameplay, something Sonya never did. Her "Spec Ops" variation allows her to call in a precision air strike as well.
Also her X-ray involves her father's signature move quite well I'll say, but I'll save any further details until later.
Blood God, War God & Sun God
This Aztec looking warrior is pretty brutal. He can fight with a sword based on a variation (I think it was War God). His Sun God variation allows him to place sun beams on the stage that deliver chip damage to the opponent when they walk through it. They stick around for a while too, so could be great to use towards the ends of the match.
Brood Mother, Swarm Queen and Venomous
D'Vorah seems to be part insect and controls other insects. The Brood Mother variation allows her to control the worm like insect Krawler seen in the gameplay trailer the other night along with a move called the Bug Blast. The Swarm Queen gives her special moves involving swarms of wasps. The Venomous variation incorporates more moves using D'Vorah's extra insect legs.
Ruthless, Vicious and Lackey
We learned today that Ferra
is the name of the girl in control of the mighty warrior Torr
who she rides. Most of their attacks are them working in concert with each other except in the Lackey variation Torr fights without Terra who watches from the sidelines. I believe the Ruthless variation adds some attacks that Ferra can stab Torr to enrage him and boost his damage at the cost of health. I'm not sure what the Vicious variation offers compares to the other two, but you can see the Vicious variation in the PlayStation Live gameplay video above.
Ninjutsu, Hellfire and Inferno
I only played as Scorpion's Hellfire variations. It added some fire attacks to Scorpion like a fireball and a flame aura that encircles him causing damage to anyone who touches him. I found the addition of another projectile made fights with him great for zoning opponents which is a play style I tend to fall into. The Ninjutsu variation adds dual swords that Scorpion can use in special moves. The final variation Inferno is a demon that can be used in special moves to attack. You can see the Inferno variation in the PlayStation Live gameplay video above.
Cryomancer, Unbreakable and Grand Master
In the Cryomancer variation Sub-Zero can summon ice weapons to use in special moves and combos. You can see the Cryomancer variation in the PlayStation Live gameplay video above.
This is the stage shown in the first cinematic trailer. Snow is covering the ground and trees are casting shadows across the environment. This stage has many tree limbs that you can interact with to change your character's position in the arena quicker. There is also a Stage X-Ray
on the far left that when used you'll take a tree branch and hit your opponent in the face with it.
This is an open market with lots of activity in the background. The interactables are baskets you can throw at your opponent. There is even an old lady that you can toss at your opponent, nicknamed Blanche, which sadly she doesn't survive so can't be thrown again later. As far as evades interactibles there is a Tiger and also a merchant tarp that you can use to re-position yourself quickly.
The cove is a very interesting stage. The battle takes place on a pier over a lake with a large Shao Kahn looking skull shaped rock in the background. The lake is fairly active with waves which causes it move the ships at sail up and down in time with the waves. At times the waves will wash a dead body up to the pier that you can toss at your opponent. You can also use the wooden posts or nearby ships to vault off of to change your position quickly. There is also a large wrecking ball you can use on the right side to swing hard at your opponent, but be careful because it can only be used once.
That's all we got for now, but hope to have more gameplay thoughts and details later this week as well as some interviews with the people behind the game.