Preview Impressions: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Do you remember when “Mortal Kombat” used to be awesome? The last few games have been fun, for the most part, but thing back to a time when it was the most amazing game your parents wouldn’t buy for you? Ever reminisce about the first time you ripped someone’s head off with Sub-Zero, or their heart out with Kano? Remember the first time you saw Reptile, heard about Ermac, or convinced your friends that there was a code to play as Sonya naked? Yeah, it’s been a while since “Mortal Kombat” was at the top of a lot of people’s must play list, but all that’s about to change with “Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.”
Midway knows how you feel about “MK” - how you liked it better back before the days of cyborgs, Mokap, and online play. They are throwing (almost) everything you know about the franchise out the window for their first-ever crossover title. They are going back to their roots for the upcoming game staring 10 classic “Mortal Kombat” mainstays duking it out 10 beloved comic titans from the DC archives.
In order to make the game more accessible, and make it feel more like the older titles in the series, Midway has made a few changes. The match-ups have been simplified back to what is essentially a 2D battle in a 3D environment. The controls are back to the D-pad, and off the analog stick (take that as you will 360 owners). The combos are easier. The weapons are gone, unless they belong to a superhero (Baterangs are in). Multiple fighting styles are gone. “Mortal Kombat” is going back to the way you remember things best - and they’re doing it with Superman.
I recently had the opportunity to take a few of the new characters out for a test run, and I was quite surprised at how things went. First on my list was Batman. I immediately noticed that the dev team had taken the characters into consideration when working on their mechanics. In other words, Batman felt slow, and kind of heavy. It was surprising because thinking back to most of the other “Mortal Kombat” games, all the characters, pretty much felt the same. An uppercut as Liu Kang felt the same as an uppercut as Shao Khan, but within the first few seconds, you could tell that Batman’s speed and controls had been specifically tailored to him. Comparing Batman to Catwoman, the old man’s age showed - Catwoman felt much faster and more nimble. I was more than a bit interested to see how someone like the Joker handles, but I was told everyone would have to wait until Leipzig to find out.
Midway has also put some thought into changing the actual pacing of matches. They have added in mid-match opportunities to beat the snot out of your opponent to fill in the “dead” spaces. For example, as you are flying from level of the arena to another, you get to beat up your competitor instead of just animated falling. At the same time, they have the opportunity to counter, and turn around all the accumulated damage on you.
As I watched and played the game demo, there were a few interesting tidbits that I picked up:
- Although Shang Tsung was playable, they are still working out whether or not he will be able to change into DC characters yet. It was suggested that he might be able to do a “move steal” as opposed to a complete transformation.
- Downloadable content is being considered, but there was nothing to confirm.
- Fatalities (the most important part of the “MK” experience) will be able to be performed by all the “MK” characters, and DC villains. DC heroes will only be able to perform brutalities - brutal beatings that don’t kill their opponents.
- The game will be rated “T”
- You’ll be able to play as either side (”MK” or DC) in the story mode. More on that at Leipzig.
It was one of the biggest surprises in gaming this past year; the head-on collision of the “Mortal Kombat” and DC universes. We are, only a few months away from, what are shaping up to be, epic battles between Scorpion and Superman, Sonya and Catwoman, and even Sub-Zero and The Joker. While there is a lot of potential here, and it is pretty great, in theory, a little bit of the “Wow” factor has been taken away by the fact that Capcom did do this more than a few years ago. “Marvel vs. Capcom 2″ currently reins supreme in my book as the best fighting game ever made, and, as good as it looks, it is doubtful that “MK vs. DC” is going to knock it out of the top spot. However, I’m always open to a new number 2.