To all my Mortal Kombat brethren, I must apologise. You see, ever since Mortal Kombat X was revealed, we MK fanatics have been scrounging around for any information on the tightly-sealed story of the tenth entry in the iconic fighting franchise, and our best shot at gleaning any details of said story is through the introductory dialogue between fighters as they square up and ready to come to blows. Unfortunately, the conditions – particularly the noise level – of the EB Games Expo 2014, prevented me from making out any full lines of dialogue. Although I did catch tidbits and can give you all some paraphrased quotes at the end of this article.
Before we get to that, it’s funny that a fellow reporter at the event laughed when I complained about being unable to hear the dialogue, stating that I was pretty much the only person who cares about the story in Mortal Kombat, or any fighting game for that matter. That’s unfair. Mortal Kombat has always been the sole fighting property with an actual story, one with established relationships, twists and turns, and proper character motivations. It spawned a film that was not only good, but probably still stands as the best video game to film adaptation made (obviously I’m not talking about annihilation). And Mortal Kombat (2011) rebooted the franchise and the story in an effective and captivating way, introducing an entirely new approach to story-telling in fighting games that just works. So yeah, I am bummed out that in my playtime, Sub-Zero’s quip to Raiden at the outset, and vice versa, was inaudible. But, truthfully, with all that said, gamers attend these expos to get an early preview of blockbuster titles, and I was extremely happy to even get a chance to play Mortal Kombat X. I got in about 14 matches while at the expo (yes, I returned to the booth numerous times) and played every single character available…including the tattooed sorcerer himself, Quan Chi.
Yes, that’s right, Quan Chi was revealed at midnight here in AEST time, and a mere 9 hours later the build was updated! Netherrealm Studios producer Erin Piepergerdes had presumably not flown into the country empty handed. Naturally, I jumped straight into it as one half of the infamous ‘deadly alliance’. Quan Chi is a character that demands practice in order to pull of some of those awesome-looking combos shown in his reveal trailer. They’re definitely not easy to chain together. His ‘Warlock’ variation is his most beginner-friendly, summoning portals that he can then kick, stab or grab opponents through from the other end of the arena. ‘Sorcerer’ is a much more strategy-heavy variant, allowing the player to cast power-enhancing spells, and zones where the player can stand within and become impervious to attacks. Finally, ‘Summoner’ enables the player to summon a Netherrealm demon-bat creature that can then be commanded to shoot a fireball, gnaw on the opponent’s face, or sweep their legs out from under them… I could not command it to do any of those things (looking at the movelist is for “noobs”, after all). Quan Chi feels like a “big bad” and his entrance differs depending on which player chooses him, either riding in on his devil-horse or arriving through a portal brandishing Moloch’s severed head (looks like the Oni’s fate has been decided).
Out of the current 9 character roster, Ferra/Torr is the most unwieldy (think someone like Bane in Injustice: Gods Among Us), and Cassie Cage is easily the most accessible and easy to pick up and chain attacks with. Also, her X-Ray is a real ball-buster. But perhaps my favorite character to play, surprisingly, was Kotal Kahn; the combination of the “Blood Sacrifice”, dropping health a fraction to double damage, and the “Ray of Light”, which heals when stood inside, unless you are the enemy, in which case it deals damage, is extremely powerful. I ended a round in 5 attacks utilising them! Fatality commands were removed from this build, but of note, everyone has five finisher slots except for Scorpion, who has six. Interesting…he’s also the only one who has a name listed for his second fatality, although it is a troll by the developers: “badadadadada whooo!” Maybe it’s Scorpion doing his best Adam Sandler impression as a Friendship? Mortal Kombat X is shaping up to be a smooth, technical fighter.
Okay, so remember how I promised paraphrased intro dialogue? Here’s what Kano says in a mirror match: “Well, look who we have here?”/”One of us is a fake!”/”One of us will die!” More intriguing is this interaction between the new Outworld emperor Kotal Kahn, and Ferra/Torr: “Join me!”/”You want enslave our people”/”I wish to restore you!”. And what does Quan Chi have to say to Sub-Zero? “I have your brother’s soul!”. Lastly, Sub-Zero answering a query about him supposedly being frozen in a block of ice: “Unlucky for you I decided to thaw out!”.