Disclaimer: This article originally appeared over the weekend on our PAX East 2011 coverage hub. Travel there to read more previews, interviews and features from the expo.
What we played was brief, but it was violent. We have a video interview with David Lebaron, the game’s Designer, going up later today. It’s quick, it’s simple and it glosses over the brutality that is this game. For now, here’s what Erik and I (Joey) dealt with.
Mortal Kombat, at least in the brief span of time we had with it, is a return to basics. It dismisses all of the stupid and absurd additions and tweaks that have made their way into the franchise for years and years, and it completely revitalizes a brand that we’ve considered as good as dead. That’s harsh, we know, but the last few years have been the darkest for Mortal Kombat.
The first thing we noticed was the violent and visceral look. This game really feels like an updated version of the classics we played so long ago. The environments we saw were dank and steamy, covered in grime and completely unwelcoming. Which, for Mortal Kombat, is perfect. This series has recently suffered from a repetitive feel and look, here it’s a nice diversion from itself.
The gameplay is very reminiscent of the original titles as well. The only difference here deals with the way limbs are handled. Instead of high punch and low punch, players activate their front hand and their back hand. The effect is largely the same for both, but players that are paying more special attention to their movements will likely welcome the change.
For me, Joey, this was the same Mortal Kombat I remember. The largest change lies in the fact that when I get beat, I don’t get totally dismantled. Erik is much better than me at MK, so being able to hang with him while he ripped me apart with Scorpion was positively brilliant. Was I able to sit back and spam the hell out of him in order to achieve victory? No. I got my ass handed to me… just slowly.
This game will hit store shelves in around a month’s time. April 19th. The biggest promise this title brings to the table is its shot at redemption. We talked with David Lebaron aside from the interview to ask him how the game was being received. He said the community loves it so far. He was nervous, he didn’t know how they’d respond, but he finds himself pumped to know that fans are loving it.
That’s just about the biggest damn compliment that can be paid.