“Hey guys, whats up? Quick intro, I’m Dante (AKA on-line Fighting Game veteran,”Vict0r Freeze”), and I am pumped and ready to give you the latest buzz on the video-game beat!” It started a few weeks ago with a mysterious tweet from NetherRealm CEO, Ed Boon that simply read, “Who’s Next?”, and from there every fighting game forum was buzzing about the anticipation that there might be a new Mortal Kombat game coming our way. Boon’s twitter feed was soon bombarded by anxious, curious fans of the franchise as to what the tweet actually meant. Sub Zero has never faced a duo like Ferra and Torr! [image property of NetherRealm Studios]But Boon, being the known “information troll” that he is kept everything pretty hush-hush up until about last week when he let loose the trailer that sent Mortal Kombat fans into a frenzy! There it was, a dark creepy forest, ominous fog, and then finally fan-favorite ninjas “Sub Zero” and “Scorpion” make their appearance to beat the living hell out of each other. And with that, it was official; Mortal Kombat X was coming! And fans that have been thirsting for a follow-up to the widely successful Mortal Kombat 9 had finally gotten their wish! Flash forward a week later to Monday, June 9th; E3 2014 has arrived! Most of the day was pretty quiet on the NetherRealm front although it was expected that there would be pretty major announcements later on in the week about Mortal Kombat X. But to everyone’s surprise (mine included), not only did we get information on the game; we got actual GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE! And the introduction of 4 brand-spanking new characters along with Sub Zero and Scorpion. So what’s new this time around? LET’S TALK ABOUT GAME PLAY! Watch out, she’s a tricky one! [image is property of NetherRealm Studios] NetherRealm has always tried to bring something new with every Mortal Kombat game; this is no different. From the footage we were given between a match with Sub Zero and Scorpion, the first thing we noticed was how much more “fluid” the movement was, in comparison to previous Mortal Kombat games. Many critics of the series have often complained about how “stiff” the models looked during a match. Boon was able to give a reason for this improvement by saying that “Current Gen” systems (mainly PS4 and XBOX ONE) have allowed them to push the gaming engine a lot further than previous consoles had permitted. Another new feature added to the game-play is the use of environment around you. For example; if fighting in the dark forest (name of the stage not yet revealed), you are able to use the tree limbs as a melee weapon to do more damage to your opponent, or on the defensive side, you can use a tree vine to swing away from an attack! Or when fighting in the market place, you can even use the “on-lookers” standing nearby as projectiles. D’Vorah teaching Sub Zero a hard lesson! [image is property of NetherRealm Studios]Along with these new features, we have some returning fan favorites such as the brutal “X-ray moves” that were a big hit in MK9, and also what would the Mortal Kombat series be without their infamous “Fatalities” to quench our bloodlust? Regarding the controversial “Block” button, Boon went out of his way to emphasize that it is a staple of the Mortal Kombat game-play, and will be returning for this incarnation as well. (Sorry to all of you fans of “press back to block”, maybe in the next game!) SO THEN, WHO MADE THE CUT? As I mentioned earlier, there was mention of new characters infiltrating the Mortal Kombat universe, as well as returning favorites. No surprise to anyone that the ninjas, “Sub Zero” and Ed Boon favorite “Scorpion” are back in this new title. But to our surprise, they were the only returning warriors that were on display. The other 4 characters that were introduced were: Cassie Cage (Daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade) Kotal Khan (Hulking Aztec blood warrior) D’Vorah (Half human/half instectoid female assassin) Fera/Torr (A dwarfish killer who uses a masked behemoth to inflict brutal damage) Fighter is in Cassie Cage’s genes! [image is property of NetherRealm Studios]Although we didn’t get footage of Cassie Cage and Kotal Khan right away, were treated to a few matches between D’Vorah, Fera/Torr, Subzero and Scorpion. The following we day, we were finally allowed to see what Cassie and Kotal brought to the table. So let’s get into it: THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR Cassie Cage looks to be a complete blend of Johnny and Sonya. Her fighting style looks like a “keep away” game as she has inherited Johnny’s uppercut (or the equivalent of) and pistols to keep her opponents at range. She also appears to have very good combo starters and cross-ups. Kotal Khan (who many are speculating to be related to Shao Khan, unconfirmed) is definitely the power fighter of the group. His moves do mimic those of Shao Khan, like for example, certain charge moves and power grapples. He also (depending on which version you choose) has very strong projectiles and buffs. Kotal Kahn performing “open heart” surgery! [image is property of NetherRealm Studios] Those who are fans of Injustice: Gods Among Us will more likely associate some of D’ Vorah’s moves with that of the character “Sinestro”. Her insect like arms give her an advantage up close and from a decent distance. She also has a ground pop-up that allows you to start certain combo’s fairly quickly. And last but definitely not least, Fera/Torr. This style is somewhat similar to that of “Noob Saibot” from Mortal Kombat 9. These 2 play the “double team” game with their opponents, but unlike Noob Saibot, the Fera/Torr duo can play separate of each other. Torr is a power character like Kotal Kahn. His grapples do the majority of the damage, but with on top that, he can use Fera as a projectile, making him one of the most dangerous fighters in the game. As far as any other charters go, Ed Boon would not confirm who is or isn’t in the game. He did say, for sake of story that, Mortal Kombat X will span 25 years after the events of Mortal Kombat 9, so we can expect to see some more new faces, along with familiar faces, although aged quite a bit. THE VERDICT? FINISH HIM! [image is property of NetherRealm Studios]The jury is still out on Mortal Kombat X, as we do not have the finished product yet. But I can say, from everything I had seen from the NetherRealm booth, this is game is going to have a pretty major following in the fighting game community, maybe even bigger than all of its predecessors!