The simply titled Mortal Kombat, WB Games' back-to-basics reboot of the infamous fighting franchise, will be in our grubby little mitts on April 19th. However, WB's not going on just name alone to sell this one, so they've released a demo exclusively in PSN (for now) to showcase their newer, nastier MK. How's it play? Check out my impressions after the break.
It looks like developer NetherRealm Studios (formerly the team at Midway responsible for MK) has taken every criticism leveled towards MK over the years to heart. Gone are the bloated rosters of the later games (63 characters? Really, guys?), trimmed down to around thirty characters, four of whom are playable in the demo: Scorpion, Sub Zero, Johnny Cage, and Mileena.
Loading up any of these four characters is an instant shot of pure nostalgia. Johnny Cage is still an insufferable douchebag, and Scorpion's infamous snarl of "Get over here!" as he harpoons an opponent is intact. In fact, the game plays exactly like the old arcade trilogy, right down to the side-to-side gameplay, just with very well modeled 3D characters in lieu of sprites.
The other major concern that was addressed is the violence. Despite a rock-solid gameplay base, fans hated Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, due in no small part to its neutered T-Rated level of violence. MK makes up for this "softening" in spades, offering showers of gore and easily the most graphic violence of the franchise. Fatalities pull absolutely no punches, pushing the gore envelope so far that it becomes almost ridiculous. It's not enough for Johnny Cage to punch someone's head off anymore: now he launches their skull skyward, tears their now-headless torso from their still-standing carcass, and catches the head to proudly display to the player.
With tight controls and a newer, leaner outlook, Mortal Kombat may be the reboot that gives the old, bloated franchise a much needed shot in the arm. Keep an eye out for further coverage, right here on FEARnet.
Mortal Kombat will be released April 19, 2011 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.