Showing posts with label Mortal Kombat X. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mortal Kombat X. Show all posts

Mortal Kombat X: Predator review

Predator, the fighter I was rooting for back when it wasn't certain who would appear in the Kombat Pack (sorry, Spawn fans), has finally stepped into Mortal Kombat X's bloody world. Given the fact the alien's a skilled combatant who's loaded with all kinds of weaponry, it's really should come as no surprise that Predator makes a solid addition to NetherRealm Studios' evergrowing MK universe.
Now if we could get a Xenomorph in the game...
Predator's three variations are Warrior (brutal close combat), Hunter (healing and the ability to set traps), and Hish-qu-ten (gains use of the signature shoulder cannon). While these obviously benefit three different gameplay styles, one surprising thing is Predator doesn't have unique combos for any of the variations. On the plus side, that means there's less to memorize and the character is "easier" to master since each of the three variations have the same melee attacks and combos - it's just a matter of how you'll work in the different new special moves to make your opponent suffer even more. But on the down side, that's kind of disappointing. How great would it have been to use the Predator's impressive strength in new ways for the Warrior variation? Or the Plasma Caster at point blank range to conclude a harsh combo with the Hish-qu-ten variation? Or what if the Hunter variation had a combo that ends with trapping your enemy in a net, leaving them temporarily open for an extra combo? There's so much potential here - the Predator is heavily armed, after all - so to have no unique combos is a bit of a letdown.

Even though Predator's lacking unique melee attacks across his three variations, the special moves shared by all three are still satisfying. Obviously, Predator has the ability to cloak - no real surprise that was picked as a move or what it does - but Scimitar Stab is ferocious and exactly what you'd want to see from a Predator. With the ability to lunge forward pretty far, the Predator impales his enemy with his wrist blade, slowly lifts them up and abruptly throws them away. It's savage, it's swift, and it has the Predator doing his memorable noise. All in all, that one never gets old. While it doesn't have as much fan service as the wrist blade toss, Smart-Disc is a hugely effective special move. Instead of throwing the disc directly across the screen, the Predator tosses the bladed weapon into the air. From there, it waits for a moment or two before launching after its target. If the Predator is knocked around, the weapon falls. Otherwise, it seeks out and stuns its target. This is probably the biggest and most creative surprise for the character. I fully expected the Smart-disc to be incorporated, but I assumed it would be a relatively standard throw. Well played, NetherRealm.

The combos he does have are pretty simple yet still good fun. I'm glad the Combi-stick is utilized to give the extraterrestrial a little more reach and his one very easy combo with the pointy melee weapony is appropriately cool and effective. It's really easy to juggle with the Predator and all of his listed combos are easy to execute. Best of all, they all feel true to the character. From the way the Predator walks towards his enemy to the handling of his attacks, it's obvious NetherRealm put a lot of love into bringing the iconic movie character to life in to the video game. You can also tell NetherRealm had a good time naming Predator's combos. From "ugly mother" to "CONTAAAAACT," the names are likely going to make any fan of the movie(s) smile while looking through the move list for the first time - I sure did. Oh, and his throw is beyond cruel. The way he uses his wrist blade is relentless.
At least "Carl Weathers" has a fair shot at winning this time around.
Warrior - my favorite variation - is simplistic and focuses on an aggressive tactics. With the mask removed, this is the Predator when he's ready for some vicious hand-to-hand combat. This one's all about blunt damage and giving your enemy no room to breathe. Meanwhile, the Hish-qu-ten variation - which equips the shoulder cannon - can be used by clever players at just the right moment, but honestly, it's clear this is what the spammers will adore. This variation only gives Predator the ability to fire forward, downwards (you can alter the range by holding the direction) and upwards. You can also aim with the laser sight and fire whenever you're ready. In the right hands, this can serve as a game-changer. In the wrong hands, it'll be obnoxious. Thankfully, you've learned how to counter spammers at this point, right? Last but not least, the Hunter variation takes the most talent to use well, so if you're an especially skilled and tactical player, this could be your go-to variation. The ability to lay traps is guaranteed to manipulate your enemy's movement and if they do step on the trap, they're left vulnerable. Plus, the ability to generate some extra health - especially while your foe is stuck in a trap - doesn't hurt.
If only the Predator mimicked Dutch's "stick around" line after stabbing someone.
Just like with Jason Voorhees - another movie character who doesn't speak English - Predator's intros don't offer a lot of variety. As a fan of the alien hunter, seeing the Predator roar and get ready for a fight is consistently awesome, but the way characters react to this new fighter isn't all that entertaining -  based on what I've seen so far, that is.

I'm left with really mixed feelings on the ending. On one hand, the development is huge for the Predator and it gets my mind racing with all of the ridiculous and over-the-top possibilities. On the other hand, it seems somewhat out-of-character and I'm guessing an honorable Predator wouldn't want to make things too easy for himself. Yeah, the Predator has technology that makes a fight unfair for its opponent, but they often relish a challenge, too. This development seems to imply the Predator will never have a proper fight again; he'll have no problem obliterating all of his prey with ease. I would have liked to see the ending go in a different direction, but it's still an amusing twist.
I ain't got time for pacifism. 
Even though Predator's first fatality is solid (as if stabbing someone in the gut isn't enough, he then slices off the top part of their head with the Smart-disc), it's pretty swift. Yes, it's a fine way to humiliate your friends and it's cheerworthy the first time around, but when we're waiting this long to play as a character, you can't help but expect more. The Predator's generic win sequence is more satisfying (it includes the signature spine rip and then adding the skull to his trophy room). Thankfully, the second fatality is much, much better. Using his should cannon - and we get a glimpse of his vision as he locks on - the Predator systematically blasts apart his enemy. That one offers a little more fan service, feels more brutal, and it definitely feels like a fatality that holds up to all of the other combatants' ridiculously over-the-top finishers.

When it was announced Predator would be included in the Kombat Pack, it's ridiculous just how excited I was. Seriously, I wrote about it at least twice. My expectations were way up there for the deadly extraterrestrial and overall, I think NetherRealm Studios has handled the Predator very well. The animations, sound effects, basic attacks and combos all feel true to the character. You can really tell the developer picked the Predator as an extra fighter because they're fans of the character - this was a passion project for them, not just a fighter that's getting tossed in there mainly because fans demanded it. I mean, just look at what happens if you pick "Carl Weathers" Jax and "Commando" Johnny Cage! Would I have liked more unique moves with each variation and a more jaw-dropping first fatality? Yes. Do I think everything else about the character is excellent and all kinds of fun? Absolutely. NetherRealm Studios, you've made this Predator fan very happy.

Predator is currently available for download if you have the Kombat Pack. For everyone else, he'll go on sale July 14.

Mortal Kombat X: Jason Voorhees review

Today, Mortal Kombat X's first Kombat Pack combatant, Jason Voorhess, is available for anyone and everyone to purchase. Back when it was announced the iconic killer would be the first character in the DLC pack, there was a whole lot of negativity. Many were upset it wasn't Spawn being selected, but a lot of people expressed concern over the murderer's move list. "How can a guy with a machete bring anything awesome to Mortal Kombat X, a game that's full of crazy powers?" Some degree of skepticism is understandable, but if NetherRealm Studios is adding a character, the odds are pretty good they believe it's because they can give the character some entertaining moves. Thankfully, they didn't disappoint and Jason Voorhees feels like a solid addition to the roster.

Just like everyone else, the classic movie character has 3 variations. His are slasher, unstoppable, and relentless. My top choice is slasher, a variation that allows Jason to use his signature machete for melee attacks with better range, vicious combos, and a few special moves. Two of the combos -- brooding and machete launch -- are very easy to pull-off and leave your opponent open to additional combos. With Jason, it's very easy landing a combo that could do around 24%, and I say that as someone who really isn't all that good at the game. Two of his special moves, bloodshed and psycho slash, are just downright brutal. The third unique one for this variation, machete toss, just gives the dude a ranged attack as he throws his bladed weapon. It's not a particularly fast or original ranged attack, but it has proven to be useful.
The lumbering guy also has a boost called "killing machine," which is also available in the relentless variation. That move gives you a temporary "armor" that allows you to go unfazed by all of your opponent's attacks. The only downside is you can't jump and at the end of the boost, Jason is left vulnerable for a second or two. So, if you're going to use that boost, make sure you know what you're doing, otherwise you'll end up totally open to attacks. All in all, slasher is definitely the "easiest" variation to use and unleashing combos with that machete is a blast. It may be a "simple" weapon compared to the options other characters have, but NetherRealm Studios made sure using that sharp weapon is a really good time. If you like Sub-Zero's cryomancer variation or Scorpion's ninjutsu variation, then slasher is definitely something you'll want to use.

Relentless seems to be the most advanced variation, one that'll be very useful in the hands of especially good gamers. You know how fodder in movies always attempt to run from killers and totally fail at it? The special move "pursuit" is inspired by that. For around five seconds, your opponent's controls will be inverted and they can't dash or run. If you use this in combination with lake mist, a "teleport" Jason gains in this variation so he can sneak up behind his opponent, then it's pretty obvious a truly skilled player can humiliate their enemy. In this variation, Jason is also "damned," meaning his damage increases as his health gets lower.
Seeing as Jason doesn't have his machete for melee attacks in this variation and the final one, unstoppable, he has plenty of other oh-so-harsh moves to dish out. For special moves, we have back breaker, choke, and tight squeeze. And yes, they're all as savage as they sound. You'd think we'd be used to shocking displays of violence in this game by now, but these are still delightfully cruel. For combos, Jason has two very easy ones called camp killer and final friday. They do 15% and 17% damage -- which seems great for such an easy to land set of attacks --  and man, they're wicked. Seeing this slow and strong killer grab, crush and toss his enemies is a real joy, and I say that as someone who isn't a big follower of Jason's movies. All variations also have a dash attack called temple punch, a basic way for him to close the gap pretty quickly.

The final variation, unstoppable, could be a game changer in the hands of a tactical player or even when a match appears to be a coin toss. This is where Jason can temporarily boost his damage via punishment or slowly regain health via rise. Using the health regen and then using time consuming moves like throws really helps out and, assuming you can juggle, the damage boost can prove to be really helpful. However, what makes this variation really standout is a little feature called resurrection. If you lose the round, Jason will get back up and whatever is in your super meter will be used to replenish his health. This can only occur once per round. So, if it seems like you might lose in a close fight and you believe an enhanced or X-Ray attack is too risky, this feature could be hugely beneficial.
Jason's fun to use, but it is a little disappointing more time wasn't spent on unique dialogue in the match intros. Obviously, Jason doesn't talk, but there isn't much variety here. There's a few amusing ones here and there (Cage and Ferra/Torr), but based on my experience, it seems like everyone only has one line about the character and some are as simple as, "Who are you?" Sure, it makes sense they wouldn't know who he is, but it would have been great to see them use this chance to really make each character's personality shine. Thankfully, Jason's X-Ray attack and brutalities are every bit as jaw-dropping and over-the-top as you'd want them to be. His X-Ray attack, the horror, puts his machete to good use and his enemy's spine is shown no mercy whatsoever. This X-Ray can also be used for a brutality. After Jason damages the person's neck, he has no problem lopping it right off. There's also ridiculously amusing entertaining ones like breaking someone in half with his knee or slicing them apart with his blade. And best of all? They're all unlocked right away. Oh, and his ending is definitely fitting for the character.

As for his fatalities, the one called "Kill for Mother" is easily the most memorable. Fans of horror movies will love how it's handled because it's clearly pulling a ton of inspiration from classic slasher flicks. From a quick close-up shot of the machete to the victim's shocked reaction to the sound effects, it's a blatant nod to the dude's history and it's surprisingly cinematic. Plus, slowly slashing someone apart is a pretty effective way to make sure they're down for the count, right?
His other one, sleeping bag killer, feels like a missed opportunity. As you can tell by the title, he grabs the person by their ankle and then begins to violently smash them over and over. On paper, it sounds gruesome and oh-so-perfect for Mortal Kombat X. But the execution? It's just, well, weird. When Jason smashes his enemy and then drags them, a limb just snaps off during each drag. The implication is he's smashing them with such great force and then pulling them extremely hard, but having the limbs just effortlessly tear off like that feels odd. Having him brutally smash someone multiple times, to the point of them doing that horrifying gargling noise, would have been more effective. Or it would have been really cool if it was environment based and they had him drag the person to a solid object in a stage and then he smashes them against the object over and over again. There aren't that many stages, so this wouldn't have been too big of a task.

If you plan on playing Mortal Kombat X for months and months to come, then yeah, I'd say Voorhees is definitely worthy of your $4.99. His variations can be enjoyed by both casual and competitive gamers and the studio definitely put Jason's strengths to good use. It's too bad one of his fatalities isn't all that stunning and he may not have the most original move list around, but the masked murderer definitely fits right in.