Though the upcoming Mortal Kombat (9) is still weeks away, it's shaping up to be the most ambitious fighting game of the year. Finally returning to the 2D realm in terms of gameplay, NetherRealm Studios may be creating the perfect Mortal Kombat entry. After the absence of extreme violence in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, I'm beginning to understand why blood and gore can be so integral to a game series.
The statement I've seen very prominent when hyping Mortal Kombat 9 is that the franchise is “finally returning to it's roots.” I'm a Street Fighter fan by nature, but I see some errors with a comment like that. Yes, the violence is over the top; but it's also much more realistic than ever before. Really the gameplay is what they mean. Fatalities have been reintroduced, and the counter-system known as Breakers have returned. Yet the true gameplay almost seems completely different than the classic MK entries. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was nowhere near as fast or fluid as MK9, and I don't recall any game from the series featuring a Super Meter.
What I'm getting at is that MK9 should not be compared to it's predecessors outside of lore, characters and tone. If the 2011 version was a true return to the 1992 original, then this game would be extremely clunky and silly. NetherRealm Studios is doing a great job of giving the fans what they want, or need even; I almost feel like they're not given enough credit. Seriously, go back and play one of the three original MK games. Does it feel even remotely close to MK9? The characters are the same, and thus so are many of the moves and combos- but that's about it.
Taking a look at the complete character list, it's easy to get excited. Unlike the Marvel vs Capcom 3 roster that had me shaking my head, the MK9 list is solid. Not to mention it appears NetherRealm Studios has a much better plan for DLC characters. So far MvC3 has released two 'new' characters: Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath. Both of these fighters were available in the Collector's Edition of the game, so really Capcom was hiding content away to be bought at a later date. Meanwhile it has been announced that MK9 will be receiving three new characters shortly after launch: Kintaro, Kenshi and “Lady in Red” (Scarlet).
With this MK9 roster I don't feel like I'm “stuck with” any undesired characters. Sure I really want Shinnok, and I'm not the biggest fan of Sindel or Nightwolf. But those characters making the cut are far more understandable than say She-Hulk or the lack of Mega Man in MvC3. The Mortal Kombat development team knows what the fans want, and are going to great lengths to please them. If the game sells well enough, and the DLC is desired we could theoretically see a Mortal Kombat 9: Armageddon edition.
Admittedly I'm pretty hyped for Mortal Kombat 9. I'm a little terrified as well, considering I've been disappointed by the last two entries in the series. In fact my disappointment in 2011's first gigantically-hyped fighting game has me wary of this one despite the gross differences. Mortal Kombat 9 looks fantastic so, it can't be all too bad...right?
Mortal Kombat 9 Roster:
- Goro (Boss Character)
- Johnny Cage
- Kenshi (DLC)
- Kintaro (DLC)
- Kratos (Playstation 3 exclusive)
- Kung Lao
- Liu Kang
- Noob Saibot
- Quan Chi
- Scarlet (DLC)
- Shao Kahn (Boss Character)
- Shang Tsung
- Sonya Blade