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E3 2014 Must Buy: Mortal Kombat X

While this year’s E3 hasn’t been quite as explosive as last year’s, it’d be a bit of a stretch to say it’s looking like a quiet year for video games. There have been plenty of surprise announcements to go around but of all the AAA games stepping into the spotlight this E3, Mortal Kombat X is the one that I’m the most excited about.

The tenth game in the infamously violent fighting game series, Mortal Kombat X looks like it’ll be every bit as good as the last game in series- and that’s saying something coming from someone who owns three copies of MK9.

It sounds like a bold claim but MK9 didn’t just have the best single-player component of the series to date – it probably had one of the strongest single player campaigns in a fighting game ever. Instead of just throwing players through a gauntlet of fighters, Mortal Kombat threw players an epic cinematic story-driven experience that let them experience the events of the first three games through the eyes of their favorite characters. MK9 rebooted the Mortal Kombat universe and left the series in a very compelling place – something that MKX is primed to take advantage of.

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Very little has been said about Mortal Kombat X’s single-player component so far but the potential here is very exciting. MKX could continue from its predecessor’s example and continue to retell the series rich mythology through the cinematic cutscenes that worked so well in the last game. Alternatively, MKX could spin-off into its own narrative direction and use the freedom the reboot left to take the series somewhere new. Whether the series goes either or both of these directions – I’m absolutely psyched to see the series build a new future for itself using the bones of its past.

Along with this renewed narrative appeal, the other big aspect that has me excited for MKX is the new characters it will bring. While MK9 did technically feature some new characters, these additions were more or less limited to robotic modifications to existing favorites like Sub-Zero. It feels like the last time there was a Mortal Kombat that brought new characters to the table, it was 2006’s Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. The entire roster has yet to be revealed but E3’s debut of D’Vorah, Ferra and Torr has me excited. D’vorah is a fast insectoid fighter while Ferra is a small woman who rides the giant, Torr, into battle.

MKX will also be bringing more options to players through character variations. It’s an addition that echoes the martial arts options of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and it’ll let players choose the variations of characters that best suit their playstyle. One version of Sub-Zero might gives him access to more ice-sword attacks while another will let him throw his frosty clones at enemies. This variation mechanic looks like it’ll be bringing a breath of fresh air to the series and offer something exciting for long-time fans who have spent years learning how best to approach the series expansive roster.

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Mortal Kombat X is as much as sequel to MK9 as it is NetherRealm’s last game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. On top of bringing back the brutal X-Ray attacks of the last game, MKX will also incorporate the interactive environments of Injustice. It’s a change sure to shake up the series meta and I can’t wait to see how classic stages get reworked with these interactions in mind.

Mortal Kombat X looks like the next evolution of NetherRealm’s brutal fighting game formula and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s bringing new fatalities, characters and mechanics to the table alongside the next chapter of the series epic story – how could it not be a must-buy for me?