E3 2010: Hands-on with Mortal Kombat

After a decade of wayward spin-offs and convoluted sequels, it looks like the once world-famous Mortal Kombat brand is about to make a serious comeback. Gone are the silly character designs and borderline cartoonish fatalities – this is ultra violence at its peak, a no-compromises bloodbath of limbs, organs and bones. And all this before I even touched the controller.

Yes, it’s a 2D fighter that ostensibly looks and plays like the original three games. But it’s not business as usual – the moves flow into each other much more naturally and allow for a bit of creativity when it comes to juggles and fake-out moves. If you played MK II or MK3, you’ll probably get the hang of it right away, even though some of the classic moves have changed button inputs. Nothing major, just a brief adjustment period for longtime players.

Special moves, like say Scorpion’s spear or Johnny Cage’s fireballs can blend into normal moves way easier than the original games, enabling you to set up some rather brutal combos – especially when you use the powered-up versions of said moves. Much like Street Fighter IV’s EX meter, you can use a portion of this MK meter to execute a stronger version of a given move. Sektor’s teleport punch, for instance, usually hits just once. If you use the powered up version it hits twice, setting up even more hits.

That’s with just one charge on the meter. With two, you can let loose a combo breaker that stops your opponent’s assault cold and ideally gives you a bit of breathing room. With all three levels charged you’re able to unleash MK’s Ultra Combo equivalent, which closes in and shows your character smashing the hell out of the other guy’s bones. Skulls crack, necks splinter, guts mush up and you end up dealing nearly 50% damage. Plus, each character is said to be modeled individually, meaning every single skeleton will be unique. We saw Reptile’s head was certainly inhuman, and Sektor had more wires than veins.

At the end of each round, all that damage stays with your character. So, by the time you win the full match, you may be missing an eye and have entire chunks of chest, arm or leg missing. Oh and the new fatalities… truly gruesome. Got to be the most vicious yet.

There’s also a new tag mode (seen in the trailer) that wasn’t on display but was shown in demo form. From what we could tell, it’s similar to Capcom’s Vs games, allowing you to select a second character and tag him in or out at will. They can just hop in, or come in with an attack, or pop in with a move and then disappear again… basically like Marvel vs Capcom. Not hating! Just saying.

Now that Street Fighter has a fresh start, it’s only fair that Kombat gets the same. As with SFIV, there’s just enough old and new to get everyone back in the pool, plus anyone who passed the first time around. Can’t wait to play more.

Jun 17, 2010


E3 E3 2010


  • happydude007 - February 18, 2011 7:28 a.m.

    Glory days of MK are back!
  • areefmamdoo - July 28, 2010 5:53 p.m.

    I can`t wait to play the new mortal kombat game, I love mortal kombat.
  • SenatorPepper - June 21, 2010 9:41 p.m.

    Mega-wow! That's just what I NEED.
  • bloodyshadow - June 18, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    I'd be highly remiss in my duties as MK guru if I didn't have something to say here. Problem is, it seems most of you guys in the comments are ill-informed or not doing your research. Regardless. I can tell you guys that this game looks phenomenal. I've really had a severe crush to my heart in the past few years and had been so close to just disregarding the franchise. After all the footage I've seen, I'm coming RUNNING back. For fear of breaking some rule, I won't post links to any videos, but look for them out there. There are some AWESOME fatalities and gameplay elements that should be seen and not explained.
  • Modroneman - June 18, 2010 7:29 p.m.

    I am so giddy about this game. I am so glad they are going back to their roots. Loved seeing Subzero stab a guy with an ice sword and break it off.
  • Ninjasauce404 - June 18, 2010 7:16 p.m.

    i can't wait for this game! i wonder which fighters will be in it.
  • ScruffMoney - June 18, 2010 6:58 p.m.

    Looks awesome, only question, why aren't they showing Scorpion?
  • nuno004 - June 18, 2010 5:29 p.m.

    @ mEgAzD nice user pic I hope that this one has smoke from ultimate mk 'cause the armageddon one looked retarded reCAPTCHA: entrant prison
  • ChampKind - June 18, 2010 2:27 p.m.

    Can't wait for this! Takes me back to MK on the SNES!
  • mEgAzD - June 18, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    Finally a MK game which is smooth and and tournament friendly like the old games.
  • hatebreeder - June 18, 2010 11:49 a.m.

    Man this looks great! It sucks that that live action trailer has nothing to do with this game, it was confirmed that it was basically just a well financed Fan Video made by a director. But this game looks great, looks a decent throwback to the older games, one thing though, whats the deal with the spinning camera in the gameply segments? Some of the camera views just seem to go mental while folk are playing, hopefully it was just for demonstration purposes because that would make for a very confusing fighting system.
  • ACE-VAMP - June 18, 2010 10:38 a.m.

    this will be a rent only, MK games have been a bore fest through out the years
  • gmknoble - June 18, 2010 10:18 a.m.

    I cannot wait for this game. I hope it turns out as awesome as it looks so far.
  • FreekinIdiot - June 18, 2010 10:12 a.m.

    Oh fuck yeah! I'm convinced, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this. I know it's already been said but I.just.can' GET OVER HERE!!!
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - June 18, 2010 6:02 a.m.

    What's weird is how much better the game LOOKS than the trailer makes it out to be. The demo at E3 was much more detailed, and absolutely filled with gore. They said they had to tone it down for the trailer because of some ESRB rule. @noob - if you always hated MK, I'm not 100% certain this will change your mind. I feel it's a fantastic return to form, and based off the 20 minutes I played it was a smoother, arguably more strategic piece of fighting, but not drastically different. Still worth trying IMO.
  • HawtKakez - June 18, 2010 5:38 a.m.

    I'm glad to hear this preview because I was a little weary of the recent trailer for the game. I thought it was going down the same route as the previous iterations but I appear to be wrong in my assumptions. If it is truly as brutal as they say, I am definitely going to check this out.
  • MitsuharuSan - June 18, 2010 4:36 a.m.

    It's because its setting is MK 1 - 2 - 3. Look around the 'net, the basic plot has been explained... Can't wait for it!
  • taterboob - June 18, 2010 3:21 a.m.

    Looked like a remake of MKII to me.
  • Cyberninja - June 18, 2010 2:28 a.m.

    sounds like a great game that i am going to get i may have to pick between this and MvC3 Also to get this off my chest GET OVER HERE..... Finish Him Fatality scorpion wins
  • n00b - June 18, 2010 1:46 a.m.

    i have not liked (hated) mortal combat from its very beginning. all that gore was just to hide its clunky gameplay. always preferred street fighter, kof, killer instinct to mk. i think i was the only one when growing up, every one was saying mk is awesome... etc. all i felt when playing it was crap.

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