Injustice: Gods Among Us was made by the development team that brought you Mortal Kombat 9, the same crew currently working on Mortal Kombat X. It’s no surprise that Injustice borrowed elements from MK9, but also added quite a bit in the way of system mechanics and gameplay elements not featured in MK9. As NetherRealm Studios continues to evolve its games, it’s not a surprise to see some of those Injustice features making their way into Mortal Kombat X. Let’s take a look at how these two games are similar and what that means for Mortal Kombat fans.
One of the biggest additions to Injustice was the level of interactivity with the stages and environments. Most players coined these interactions as interactables. They were unblockable attacks that inflicted considerable damage to an opponent. However, there were many ways to either stop an opponent from using an interactable or avoid the attack entirely. The use of interactables became its own metagame in Injustice, and that line of thought will make its way into Mortal Kombat X.
While Mortal Kombat X features a form of interactables, they’re not quite the same as they were in Injustice. This time around the stage interactions are used primarily for defensive purposes. There are still a few that can be used to attack an opponent, but the main focus on interactables in Mortal Kombat X is to move to a different part of the stage. For example, if you’re trapped in the corner where devastating damage can be inflicted upon your character, there may be an interactable close by that will propel you back to the center of the stage.
The introduction of interactables in Injustice enhanced the metagame and how players approached each match. The impact likely won’t be as big in Mortal Kombat X, but will still be felt. The big change here will be how effective the interactables are at moving a character safely away from a bad situation. In our corner example, it will almost certainly be possible for the offensive player to bait their opponent into using the interactable in an attempt to escape the corner. While the defensive player will think they’ve escaped to freedom, the offensive player will be waiting for the interactable use, ready to punish with a devastating attack as soon as the other player lands.
Even in this simple example, there’s quite a bit going on in the metagame. Do you risk taking big corner damage, or do you go for the interactable and risk your opponent punishing the attempt? If the offensive player is ready and waiting, you’re going to take big damage. However, in this situation you will likely be able to slowly move your way out of the corner without using the interactable. The offensive player will need to be ready to punish the stage interaction, which means they won’t be able to apply corner pressure as well. As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this simple example.
One of the biggest changes from MK9 to Injustice was the simple fact that Injustice did not use a block button. Instead, the game used traditional Street Fighter mechanics of holding back to block. Mortal Kombat X still uses the MK-style block button, but the movement is much closer to Injustice than MK9. Most competitive players used Dash Canceling to quickly move across the screen. This was basically a forward dash canceled into a block, then canceled into another forward dash. That no longer works in Mortal Kombat X despite the inclusion of a block button.
The movement in Mortal Kombat X is much closer to that of Injustice. Double tap and hold forward to start running toward an opponent. This causes a meter near the top of the screen to deplete. Think of it like the Run meter in Ultimate MK3. You lose the precision and speed of Dash Canceling, but it feels more like past MK games, which was similar to how Injustice felt in terms of movement options.
Some competitive players are concerned that if movement is similar to Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, it could open up potential low punch shenanigans that were prominent in the MK classic. In UMK3, some of the best tactics involved continuously running towards an opponent with precisely timed low punches. Everything in MK causes chip damage, which means you’re slowly chipping away at an opponent while applying continuous pressure thanks to the repeated use of the Run button.
It’s unlikely Mortal Kombat X will have anything like that, but it should still be interesting to see what players are able to do with the new movement options in the game.
We’ll have plenty more on MKX in the months ahead.