11 Settings That Are MMO-Worthy

There’s been an insane bandwagoning of franchises making the jump to the MMO genre as of late. I suppose many developers simply want a piece of WoW’s pie, but with so many MMOs competing with each other (rather than challenging WoW), it seems unlikely that any of them will get that pie. Still, you can’t blame them for trying, and a lot of developers do seem eager to get into the MMO genre. The list of franchises and series that have transitioned to the MMO world has grown quite long over the past few years, but there’s certainly room for many more. Here are several well known settings that I feel would make fantastic transitions to the land of MMOs. Note that they are not in any particular order.

Avatar’s Moon of Pandora


Pandora had it all. The moon of Pandora is home to the Na’vi, a spiritual race of wildlings that seem to be in tune with all aspects of nature. Unfortunately the technologically advanced Humans ruthlessly expanded their operations across the world and caused several major conflicts. This would be an amazing setting for an MMO, with players being able to choose between the Human or Na’vi factions. I have no idea how avatars could fit into everything, but I suppose that a creative developer could think of a great way to incorporate them. Aside from the conflict between the Humans and the Na’vi, Pandora itself suits the MMORPG genre simply because it has everything you can think of. Heck, it even has flying mountains!

Diablo’s World of Sanctuary


Despite the fact that Blizzard is working on their next MMO and it isn’t related to Diablo, I don’t think that rules out the possibility of a Diablo Online in the distant future. Imagine being able to pick from several classes spanning all three Diablo games. Angels, Demons, and Humans could be the three factions. The most appealing part, however, is the idea that we’d be able to travel to any location we’ve ever heard of in Diablo lore. Imagine Caldeum, Kingsport, Kurast, Lut Gholein, Tristram, and Westmarch all being visitable. We could even explore the Dreadlands (former homeland of the barbarians), the insanely expansive Dry Steppes which is north of Caldeum, along with the mysterious Skovos Isles which rests in the sea south of Kingsport. There’s a lot of potential here, and it’s frustrating that Blizzard still hasn’t allowed us to explore more of this huge world.

Zelda’s Land of Hyrule


If Nintendo ever decides to make an MMO, they’ll most certainly go with Zelda. Hyrule has quite a developed backstory behind it now and it has become one of the video game industry’s most celebrated and widely recognized worlds. Imagine a fully 3D Hyrule with several players grouped together and exploring mountains with hookshots, solving dungeon puzzles together, and working with each other to defeat a fearsome dodongo. There would be so much to see, so much to do! Another thing that would work in favour of a Zelda MMO is the fact that the series has Link, a completely silent protagonist. MMO characters are also completely silent (unless you’re playing The Old Republic) so it would help keep the Zelda atmosphere intact while establishing a firm sense of being in an MMO world. Whether or not Nintendo ever makes an MMO is a different question though, so this one doesn’t look terribly likely at the moment.

Mortal Kombat’s Elder God Realms


NetherRealm Studios is pretty much the last development team I’ll ever expect to make an MMO, but never say never. Mortal Kombat may be a fighting game, but it still has a vast and thorough lore behind it. Earthrealm, Edenia, Outworld, and a slew of other realms make up the several lands created by Raiden and his fellow Elder Gods. After playing Mortal Kombat Deception (I know, I know…) and experiencing a pretty limited and poor representation fo the several realms, I can only imagine how much better NetherRealm could make the realms look and feel now that they are no longer shackled down by Midway. Each realm is so distinctly different. They’d be a joy to explore in a proper MMO title. If there’s a good fighting engine in the game as well, then even better.

A Song of Ice & Fire’s Westeros


HBO’s Game of Thrones has skyrocketed the popularity of George R. R. Martin’s book series. A Song of Ice & Fire is traditional fantasy but, at the same time, it isn’t. There’s something distinctly different here that sets the series apart from other fantasy stories such as Lord of the Rings. Because of this, I don’t feel that A Song of Ice & Fire would work best as a regular MMORPG. Aside from the fact that it would simply crater due to being too similar to the competition, there’s just so much potential to make things very interesting. I’d love to see the setting adapted as an MMO where players have to align themselves with a major house right at the start and then work to strengthen their house and go to war. It could be very PvP oriented, and this would fit the whole war theme that the overall story encompasses.

Fallout’s Post-Apocalyptic World


I’ll point out right away that I hate Fallout an awful lot. I didn’t like the old RPG-esque games and I didn’t like the newer ones that utilize Bethesda’s engines. The games just don’t click with me, which is a shame because I like the setting. Post-apocalyptic settings are always very interesting, and I think that Fallout has a good amount of lore built up behind it that would enable it to be a pretty decent MMO, especially if they played off of the whole premise of essentially being a scavenger fighting to stay alive. I know that Bethesda canned one attempt at making a Fallout Online, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t have another go at it later on.

Resident Evil’s Raccoon City


Why not? Capcom is testing the waters with Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, a small scale co-op shooter that is set int he fallen city. In it, players assume the role of cleansers sent in by Umbrella and it is their job to clear the undead. I think that a massive MMO with a city on the scale of what you’d find in real life, complete with an endless supply of respawning zombies, would be really cool to experience. Imagine not having to bother with grinds or levels, but rather focusing solely on your own survival and nothing else. I don’t know what kind of endgame content there would be if all you’re doing is scavenging and surviving, but wouldn’t it be a blast logging in simply fighting to stay alive against an entire city that wants to eat you? Capcom could even instance the city so that there would never be too many human players running around at once. Imagine a huge city the size of, say, the entire playable area of Skyrim, and there are only about ten to fifteen human players in it who can’t even communicate unless they’re within range of each other. Wouldn’t it be an awesome feeling of relief to find each other? Come on Capcom, this just may be able to work.

Terminator’s Post-Apocalyptic World


Imagine fighting against Skynet. Seriously, just do it for a moment and then keep reading. Okay, you’ve done it? Gave you a pretty hopeless feeling inside, didn’t it? Now imagine if you really had to do that in an MMORPG. Imagine fighting against computers ON your computer. Wouldn’t that make you feel a little paranoid? I bet the game would make Skynet cheat. Ignoring the fact that you’d be using Skynet’s own technology against them, wouldn’t it be really freaking cool to play a game that would deal exclusively with taking down terminators!? Come on, you know that you’ve mentally put yourself in the shoes of John and Sarah Conner before. You’ve imagined yourself running and trying to escape from terminators. You’ve also imagined blowing them up with high powered guns and explosives too, right? A Terminator MMO would let every teenage boy of the 1990s relive their fantasies. Terminator Online would be absolutely epic.

Grand Theft Auto’s Liberty City


I’ve been wishing for an online GTA game ever since I played APB a few years back. APB was all about jacking cars and gunning down enemies in the city of San Paro. It was basically a violent GTA with absolutely no story or content besides driving and shooting. If Rockstar ever works up the courage to attempt a GTA Online, I think that it could be quite interesting. I’m sure that Rockstar locked at APB carefully and know where the developers went wrong with their car jacking, gun tootin’ MMO shooter. A GTA Online would likely feature a more defined story and would, I hope, have more features than just stealing cars and shooting at people. I’d bet money on Rockstar adding a lot of other fun group activities and minigames. Heck, maybe even PvP wouldn’t be the only thing you’d be doing all the time?

L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz


Oh we’re off the see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz! While The Wizard of Oz was originally a children’s book and then adapted into a movie children, it’s impossible to ignore that there are some truly dark things going on in the world of Oz. I was never truly aware as a kid, but now that I am an adult I fully realize just how twisted of a place Oz was. It could perhaps make the MMO transition pretty well, but I’m not sure how it would be marketed. Would it be a kid friendly MMO, or would it perhaps be a little darker and grittier than the ESRB’s E rating would allow? Regardless, Oz has a lot of backstory these days and I think that a Wizard of Oz MMORPG isn’t a question of if, but rather a question of when.

Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom


Will we ever see Nintendo make an MMO? That’s a pretty good question. While Zelda’s Hyrule would probably be given the MMO treatment ahead of the Mushroom Kingdom, I doubt that anyone could possibly deny the appeal behind adventuring throughout the Mushroom Kingdom with your friends. The NES loving kid inside of me would kill for a Mario MMO while the adult that I am, who still loves the NES, would probably do very horrible and rotten things if it ever meant Nintendo would develop a Mario MMO. I mean seriously! How could anyone not want this? Imagine King Boo as a raid boss. Just do it. There, now you’re as sold as I am. The concept of a Mario MMO doesn’t even need explaining, it just needs to happen!

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Mortal Kombat (Review)

Ever since Mortal Kombat 4, the Mortal Kombat series has looked a little unsure of what it wanted to be and, as a result, it continuously changed with each new game and alienated fans of the previous games. Fans of MK4 were alienated with Deadly Alliance, and further revisions to Deception’s gameplay alienated those who were comfortable with Deadly Alliance. Armageddon threw everything together in a big mess and, well, we know how that game turned out. A few years later and we had Mortal Kombat vs DC which, to this day, I have never played because it was rated T and I knew that it wouldn’t deliver a proper Mortal Kombat experience.

So, with the series looking to have lost it’s identity for over a decade, it was understandable for anyone to write off the series and lose faith in any future installments. I think that this is what many people did but, when Midway went bankrupt and the Mortal Kombat franchise was sold off to Warner Bros. Games, something happened. The MK team was given more freedom than they probably ever had, and they were granted more time to work on the next game. When the first screenshots of what everyone called Mortal Kombat 9 surfaced, a 2.5D fighter that sought to return to the roots of the series, it was clear that a massive spike in quality had happened.

Now, here we are in April 2011 with a brand new and proper Mortal Kombat game that is simply titled, well, Mortal Kombat. Why not MK9, you may ask? Well, even though this game does serve as the ninth entry in the series’ canon story (the game picks up immediately after Armageddon), everything gets rewinded and the game becomes a complete reboot for the series. As everyone is well aware by now, the game starts off after Mortal Kombat Armageddon when Shao Kahn is about to kill Raiden and merge the realms of Outworld of Earthrealm. Just before the final death blow, Raiden sends a message to his MK1 era self as a way to alter the future so that Shao Kahn does not emerge victorious.

Character and stage detail greatly exceeds all expectations for a Mortal Kombat game.

The timeline for this game is set between MK1 and MK3 and, in the game’s engaging and expansive story mode, you play will through each of the three tournaments, though MK3 was more of an invasion than a fighting tournament. It is really worth noting that this Mortal Kombat has perhaps the best story mode I have ever had the pleasure of playing through. The narrative is fantastic, as everything occurs in fully voiced cutscenes that uses the game’s character models and stage arenas to tell a fascinating story. The story mode is divided up into several different chapters, each one giving you control of a protagonist from whatever timeline you are playing in.

Story mode is a lot of fun and has a lot of great voice acting and writing. NetherRealm Studios put their heart and soul into delivering a very engrossing experience here, and it really shows. This is truly their best work ever and it seems that Midway’s unfortunate downfall has allowed the development team to really flex their creative muscles, delivering a higher quality experience than anything we probably have never received from them in the past. The storyline is great and the fights in story mode are very enjoyable, though a few of the tag fights can feel a little unfair if you’re unfamiliar with the character you are using. The final fight of story mode is also extremely difficult to beat if you do not resort to using cheap tactics or spamming projectiles, but in a way that is what Mortal Kombat’s tough fights have always been about. What would a Mortal Kombat be without a boss that enrages us and forces us to abandon our cleverly developed strategies in favour of mass spamming of fireballs and other projectile attacks? Well, it wouldn’t be a proper Mortal Kombat! While some major game review publications have slammed the difficulty of this game’s bosses, I have embraced it in all of it’s insanely hard glory. Bring it on, I say.

The story mode will take between five and ten hours to clear depending on the difficulty level you are playing through, which is very impressive for a fighting game. After making it through the story mode and unlocking a few cool characters along the way, you’ll still have about half of the game’s content left to blow through – if not more!

X-Ray attacks are painful to be hit with... And also to watch!

Outside of story mode, there is the Challenge Tower. In this mode, players are given a ladder of three hundred challenges that they must complete. Many of them are pretty basic fights while others are more creative and force you to do things such as defeat waves of oncoming zombies. Mortal Kombat mainstays such as Test Your Might and other mini games also appear in the Challenge Tower, and they become progressively harder as you work towards the magic number three hundred. Clearing this massive amount of challenges can take some time and, at the end of it all, players are rewarded with a prize for clearing all three hundred. Many players do not seem impressed with the prize, but in NetherRealm’s defense I would like to say that Challenge Tower is more about the overall journey than the final prize.

Additional game modes include your standard ladder mode (think arcade mode, complete with bosses at the end), tag ladder, and a few “test your…” modes. We are all familiar with Test Your Might, but what about Luck, Sight and Strike? Test Your Sight is the typical game of finding the hidden object under cups that are moved and swapped around. Test Your Strike is a lot like Test Your Might, only instead of having to build up your strength past a certain threshold, in Test Your Strike the objective is precision. You have to work your meter up to a certain point and keep it there. If you go above or below, you fail. These two modes are alright, but pale in comparison to Test Your Luck. In this mode, you get to use a slot machine that determines random battle mechanics such as who your opponent will be and what sort of enhancements the characters will receive. There are a lot of cool possibilities, such as armless kombat, which is when both characters lose their arms at the start of the fight, so any attack that involved using your hands will not be possible.

The newest innovation in Mortal Kombat is on that has been featured in several other series (most notably Marvel vs Capcom and Tekken) and that is tag fighting. The tag feature in Mortal Kombat allows you to choose two characters to use, and the overall experience is a lot like Tekken Tag Tournament was in terms of feel. In Mortal Kombat’s tag fighting, you can freely swap characters whenever you want by tapping a left shoulder button, and you can perform a tag assist attack by tapping down, back, left shoulder button. It’s pretty simplistic overall, but it makes the traditional Mortal Kombat fighting experience feel extremely fresh and new.

Kratos is available to Playstation 3 owners. Needless to say he fits in very well!

Now seems like a good time to discuss the gameplay mechanics in the latest Mortal Kombat. It is worth noting that this MK is the easiest to just pick up and play since perhaps Mortal Kombat 2. The past four or five titles were becoming a bit complicated in terms of playability by adding several stances to each character and having a heavy reliance on combos despite the fact that games such as Deadly Alliance or Deception had extremely clunky controls that made having exciting fights an extreme challenge for even the most devoted MK fans. This installment in the series remedies the problems of the past by almost eliminating the traditional stiff gameplay entirely. Mortal Kombat now feels surprisingly fluid when you have a controller or stick in your hands, perhaps exhibiting the best controls and fighting engine that the series has ever seen.

New to the fighting engine is the super meter, a familiar sight to Capcom fighting game veterans. The super meter in Mortal Kombat is divided into three segments and each one performs a different function. The first segment will allow you to perform an enhanced special move, which is basically a powered up version of an attack such as Sub-Zero’s freeze or Nightwolf’s arrows. The second segment allows you to perform combo breakers, which are fantastic if you are having trouble keeping a combo-happy opponent off of you. Breakers are pretty powerful in Mortal Kombat, giving anyone who uses one quite a lot of breathing room as the offensive player is thrust backwards. The third and final segment of the super bar, which performs X-Ray attacks, is arguably the most useful. X-Ray attacks are powerful moves that can deplete up to 40% of an opponent’s life bar. Some X-Ray attacks are executed frighteningly quickly, while others are hard to avoid due to the game having peculiar hit boxes that are sometimes difficult to judge. An X-Ray attack is performed by pressing both shoulder buttons when your super bar is full. The move itself is often very brutal, giving players an inside view of the opponent’s body as they are pulverized in slow motion. One example of an X-Ray attack is Kitana’s. She will thrust her fans into the back of the opponent’s skull (ouch!), rip them out, and then stab both into her attacker’s eye sockets. Skin and muscle tissue become invisible during this brutal display so that players can witness the bone-breaking assault on the unlucky victims. Some X-Ray attacks are very easy to pull off and almost feel cheap in just how good they are, while some characters such as Scorpion have fairly useless X-Ray moves. It makes you wonder why those characters got the short end of the stick.

There aren’t too many balance issues in the character roster from what I have observed. Some characters may seem a little intimidating with their special moves, but I have learned that pretty much nothing is safe in this game. If it can be pulled off, it can also be punished. Teleport attacks in particular seem to be extremely punishable. Unless your mind is wandering and you’re not really paying attention to the fight, it’s pretty easy to be able to halt any teleport attacker in their tracks with a simple uppercut – regardless of what the character is doing.

Challenge Tower presents players with all sorts of amusing fights and minigames.

The online portion of the game is pretty much what you’d expect. There are some latency issues at times, while you may have wonderfully lagless matches other times. It’s a big bag of mixed nuts. The most interesting aspect of the online mode is King of the Hill, which is meant to simulate fighting in an arcade. Oldschool gamers will definitely remember the days long gone when playing the original Mortal Kombat games in an arcade was all the rage. King of the Hill allows eight people to cram into an onscreen lobby where everyone takes turns fighting the winner. When you lose, you are thrown to the back of the line. There are two ways to view King of the Hill, and that is from the standard ingame fighting view that we are all used to, as well as the theatre view mode. In theatre view, the avatars for the two people currently fighting are presented on each side of the zoomed out match that they are partaking in and along the bottom of it are the six people waiting in line. While you are waiting and watching, you can perform emotes that let the fighters know what you think of their match. You can cheer if someone does something cool, boo them if they’re being cheap, or even hold up a piece of cheese. When the fight concludes, the loser of the fight and the several spectators at the bottom of the screen award “respect points” to the winner. It operates on a scale from one to ten and essentially just lets the winner of the fight know how good everyone thought he or she did. It doesn’t serve any purpose and respect points may not accurately represent the skill of a player since it is an abusable system. Anyone can casually rate every match a 0 or 1 out of 10, so it’s open to debate as to how beneficial it is to have respect points in the game.

In terms of unlockable content, there’s loads to obtain in this game. The Krypt returns from the past few MK games, now with even more locked goodies than ever before. While there aren’t any hidden characters or stages in the Krypt this time around, there are plenty of hidden fatalities and alternate outfits to unlocked, though with hundreds of lots to select from, you’re pretty likely to end up getting a piece of artwork instead unless you are using a guide for the Krypt. The amount of currency required to unlock everything is pretty staggering and should keep everyone except the obsessed players visiting the Krypt for a good while. I’ll also note that it might be best to play the game with a lowered volume when you’re in the Krypt. Why? Well, you’ll see!

Bloody and cringe-worthy fatalities in glorious HD. Are you prepared?

In terms of presentation, this is probably the best looking fighting game this generation. Most character models are packed with detail and the arenas all have lots going on and just look fantastic. I really can’t fault the graphics in this game at all, as it’s clear that NetherRealm Studios poured their hearts into making a game that looks very nice. With even the female fighters looking surprisingly feminine for once, it’s impossible not to admit just how pleasant the graphics are in this game. From each fighter and arena to each X-Ray attack and brutally detailed fatality, this game delivers on the graphical front.

The sound department is just as good as the graphics. Sound effects played during fights are all very brutal, heavy, and visceral. Each hit sounds painful and raw, and you can almost feel them yourself. Special moves all sound pretty great. From Scorpion’s “get over to here!” to Raiden shouting incomprehensible gibberish during his fights, it is hard to find anything to complain about. The voice acting can be a bit cheesy at times, but it is moreso the lines and not the voices themselves that are silly. Sindel in particular has an intro speech that is so bad that it’s laughable, but cheesiness has always been one of Mortal Kombat’s most admirable qualities.

So with tons of great game modes to plow through, almost thirty diverse characters (including Kratos on the PS3), and an insane amount of unlockables to acquire, it’s pretty hard not to view this as one of the most comprehensive fighters of the generation. While the fighting engine won’t deliver experiences quite as compelling as those found in high level Marvel vs Capcom or Tekken fights, the combat is still deeply satisfying and the wealth of content will be more than enough to satisfy any casual fan of fighting games. This is certainly one of the very few fighting games this generation that comes packed with enough content for everyone, casual or hardcore.

Is this Mortal Kombat at it’s best? Without a doubt. Anyone who has enjoyed this series between now and it’s early 90s debut in the arcades should definitely check out this fantastic title. Mortal Kombat is back, and it’s better (and bloodier) than ever!

PROS:
+ Story mode is very engaging.
+ Very pretty graphics.
+ Most fluid gameplay ever in an MK title.

CONS:
– Many Krypt rewards are very uninteresting.
– The vastly uneven boss fights may deter many players.
– Clipping issues occur often during fatalities and win poses.

Final Score

9.2/10

Australian Government Urges R18 Rating

After the recent controversary over the new Mortal Kombat being banned in Australia, and with anyone importing it risking a $110,000 AUD fine, it was only inevitable for the amount of noise gamers and major video game websites to cause a few higher ups in the land down under to seriously evaluate how they rate video games.

Australia’s federal government has woken up and is giving the individual states and territories until the end of July this year to agree on a new R18+ mature rating for video games.

The Federal Government is giving the states and territories until July to agree to a new R18+ classification for video games.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor was clearly behind the move when he spoke to ABC News Australia. “We’re the only country that allows tens and tens of games to be used by minors that are only used by adults overseas. We’re becoming the laughing stock of the developed world.”

O’Connor said the issue regarding Australia trailing behind the rest of the world in mature video game ratings had been debated by the attorneys-general for the past decade and it was time for them to make a firm decision on the matter.

“If there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options. We cannot afford to leave it like it is.”

The most restrictive classification for games in Australia at the moment is MA15, which is three years below the standard M rating that the ESRB slaps on NTSC releases.

O’Connor has indicated that if the states and territories do not vote accordingly and approve of a new R18+ rating, the federal government may go ahead with one anyway.

Definitely something to keep an eye on. Australian gamers, Mortal Kombat may yet reach your store shelves!

Mortal Kombat Demo Impressions

By now, just about anyone with an internet connection and a PS3 have tried the Mortal Kombat demo. The general consensus, from what I have observed, is that a vast majority of players are honestly surprised at just how good the new Mortal Kombat appears to be.

Ever since Mortal Kombat 4, the series has looked a little unsure of what it wanted to be and, as a result, it continuously changed with each new game and alienated fans of the previous games. Fans of MK4 were alienated with Deadly Alliance, and further revisions to Deception’s gameplay alienated those who were comfortable with Deadly Alliance. Armageddon threw everything together in a big mess and, well, we know how that game turned out. A few years later and we had Mortal Kombat vs DC which, to this day, I have never played because it was rated T and I knew that it wouldn’t deliver a proper Mortal Kombat experience.

So, with the series looking to have lost it’s identity for over a decade, it was understandable for anyone to write off the series and lose faith in any future installments. I think that this is what many people did but, when Midway went bankrupt and the Mortal Kombat franchise was sold off to Warner Bros. Games, something happened. The MK team was given more freedom than they probably ever had, and they were granted more time to work on the next game. When the first screenshots of what everyone called Mortal Kombat 9 surfaced, it was clear that a massive spike in quality had happened.

Click to enlarge.

About a year later, here we are with the demo of Mortal Kombat. All of the mistakes of the past decade have been ignored and completely thrown away. The only aspect of the post MK3 era that seems to be returning is the sorcerer Quan Chi. Considering that he is perhaps the best character that the team created after going 3D, this is a good move.

The demo gives us access to Johnny Cage, Mileena, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero. The available stages round in at two (which is fine for a demo) and are The Living Forest and The Pit. Each stage looks as if NetherRealm Studios had taken their MK2 incarnations and simply made them 3D. They look so much like they had sixteen years ago (!!!) that it truly is staggering. Even the stage themes are just modern renditions of the originals from Mortal Kombat 2. It is understandable that NetherRealm Studios decided to do this since the game is a retelling of the original three games, but they really went the extra mile with the stages.

Click to enlarge.

Complimenting the stages are the physics. Imagine my surprise when I found that Mortal Kombat’s trademark clunky and sluggish controls, which only got worse with each new game in the past, were now almost gone! Characters feel and handle a lot like they did, again, in Mortal Kombat 2, only a little more responsive. The first character I picked was Scorpion, and aside from the fact that he was wearing an updated costume, it really felt like Mortal Kombat 2 as he jumped the same, tripped and uppercutted the same, and so much more.

I tried out all four available characters and came away impressed with each one. I didn’t really warm up to Johnny Cage, but this is pretty much only because I never really liked the character anyway. Of the four characters we are given in the demo, I found Mileena and Scorpion to be the most enjoyable to use, and I was surprised at how each character felt.

The gameplay really is superb. Gone are the fighting styles and weapons that we had to swap between from the past three Mortal Kombat games. Now each character has their own fixed movesets without any predefined fighting style that they have to adhere to. I found that pulling off combos was a lot of fun, since just pressing any three or four buttons resulted in a combo of some kind. I thought that was really cool, and it should let us experiment a lot with combos to find out which combinations work best. You can even easily add special moves to combos, something that Mortal Kombat has struggled with for several years now.

The violence in the game is ridiculously over the top as well, and I found some of the X-Ray moves to be cringeworthy. The fatalities are also pretty revolting. This is, however, a good thing! Mortal Kombat used to pride itself in being a bloody and disgusting mess, but this was lost for several years in the new millenium. Well, that bloody and disgusting mess is back and in full force. Just check out Kung Lao’s hat fatality and try not to cringe. I dare you.

The graphics are also worth mentioning. The stages all look fantastic, and the characters look even better. My honest opinion is that this will be the best looking 3D fighting game of the current generation. Yes, this beast is shaping up to be a better looker than both of Namco’s visual treats Soulcalibur IV and Tekken 6.

Everything that older gamers loved about the old MK games is here. The gameplay screams nostalgia. Trips and uppercuts work just like they used to, and the “Toasty Guy” has even returned for the first time in fourteen years!

All in all, this really does look to be a fantastic fighting game. While Marvel vs Capcom 3 tended to the hardcore fighting fans, it suffered by not tending to anyone else and leaving out necessary game modes and unlockables, and this dragged down MvC3’s review scores with popular critics and publications. Mortal Kombat on the other hand looks to be aiming to please everyone and even includes a few fun bonus game modes. There’s a wealth of content in the game and with so much nostalgia here, it’s going to be hard to not love this game.

It took sixteen long years, but Mortal Kombat may very well return as one of the most popular fighting game series out there. This game is not just good, it is great!

Watch for it April 19 in North America, April 21 in Europe.

Mortal Kombat’s Challenge Tower

NetherRealm Studios revealed a wealth of new Mortal Kombat information to IGN today. Pretty much everything revealed involves the new “Challenge Tower” game mode. Imagine a cross between Soul Calibur’s Tower of Lost Souls combined with Marvel vs Capcom 3’s mission mode as well as a slew of mini games and you’ll have Mortal Kombat’s Challenge Tower.

Challenge Tower is represented on the screen by a huge tower, just like the tower of opponents you’d fight in previous Mortal Kombat story modes. There are a total of 300 challenges to plow through, which sounds like quite a lot of content!

Here’s a list of what has been observed to be in Mortal Kombat’s Challenge Tower.

– 3 On 1 Kombat: The player must take down three opponents simultaneously.
– Armless Kombat: Both characters have their arms removed and must duke it out. Ouch.
– Dream Kombat: No idea what this is. Only the name is briefly visible.
– Explosive Kombat: No idea what this is. Only the name is briefly visible.
– Grenade Toss: Throw grenades into buckets with Stryker and amass points.
– Headless Kombat: Fight without heads. Absolutely serious.
– Rainbow Kombat: No idea what this is. Only the name is briefly visible.
– Slot Kombat: A slot machine determines your opponent as well as random modifiers for each fight.
– Special Fights: Take part in fights that uses special conditions which alters the gameplay slightly.
– Story Battles: Appears to be actual fights that involve special dialogue sequences.
– Test Your Luck: Not sure what this is. Possibly a game of chance.
– Test Your Might: Break that wood! MK’s classic mini game returns.
– Test Your Strength: Persumed to be another form of Test Your Might.
– Training Missions: Learning how to perform various moves and techniques.
– Upside Down Kombat: Standard fight, but the screen is upside down.
– Zombie Kombat: Both fighters are turned into zombies. No idea how this works.
– Zombie Waves: Use special moves to knock down zombies that progressively approach you faster and faster.

The so called “Slot Kombat” is also becoming a game mode of it’s own due to the incredible randomness of it’s nature.

Here is the video that shows off Challenge Tower.

With a full story mode, tag team fighting, the Krypt, and now Challenge Tower and what I call Slot Kombat, the new Mortal Kombat is looking set to have heaps of content from the get go. Other fighters, such as Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Street Fighter IV, should take note of this. Fighting games need more content than simple arcade/versus modes, and Mortal Kombat looks set to deliver.

Mortal Kombat will be released April 19 in North America and April 21 in Europe. Watch for it!

Mortal Kombat Rebirth Receives Green Light

Remember that Mortal Kombat Rebirth trailer that spread like wildfire across the internet last summer?

The trailer was a reimagination of Mortal Kombat by director Kevin Tancharoen that he had put together to pitch to Warner Bros. in hope of the studio giving him the green light to make a new Mortal Kombat film in the Rebirth style.

For months, nothing was ever really heard regarding Mortal Kombat Rebirth until a few days ago when it was revealed that Rebirth will be a ten part web series rather than a full motion picture.

Rebirth will be distributed by the Warner Bros. studio, so the project will certainly have proper funding. Tancharoen will of course direct, as he was the mastermind behind this all along. Michael Jai White, who appeared as Jax in the Rebirth trailer, will reprise the role for the web series. No news yet if Lateef Crowder, Ian Anthony Dale, Richard Dorton, James Lew, Matt Mullins, or Jeri Ryan will return.

Shooting for Mortal Kombat Rebirth begins in February. The location is Vancouver, British Columbia. If anyone is in the area, see if you can sneak a few glimpses!