We are talking about NetherRealm’s hallmarks, a studio that has been successful after success in the last generation.
Several are the development teams that have known how to do things well during the last 7 years, almost exactly those that have been living on PS4 and Xbox One. From Arc System Works with Dragon Ball FighterZ to Namco Bandai with Tekken 7 and Soul Calibur VI, fans of fighting games have been more than well served during all this time, but if there is a study that has not stopped doing things well, that is NetherRealm, led by the famous Ed Boon. Either with the franchise that made them make a name for themselves, Mortal Kombat -whose eleventh installment is already available on the new consoles- or with Injustice, since the arrival of the last generation they left the quality bar very high, thanks to some signs unequivocal and present identity in all their games.
The keys to NetherRealm’s success are basically three: depth and variety for the individual modes, a solid bomb-proof multiplayer and an already perfectly recognizable gameplay. As for the first, they have made it clear that it is non-negotiable to provide the solo player with enough content to be entertained for months without having to beat the copper in the always competitive online modes. A solvent story mode is the first thing we find when starting in each NetherRealm game, in addition, and something unusual in the genre, of a considerable duration that can be around eight hours.
The Three Pillars of NetherRealm
The extensive lore of Mortal Kombat, forged over almost 3 decades, gives rise to multiple narrative twists that in Mortal Kombat 11 gave an interesting, albeit sometimes twisted, twist thanks to time travel. These, plus some unexpected and surprising alliances gave rise to one of the best narrative sections that we have seen in a fighting game, also extended with an expansion, Aftermath, which featured two characters already veterans but who debuted in this installment as Sheeva and Fujin.
It is not the only example, and it is that in Injustice 2, the imaginary of DC Comics does the rest, and what we enjoy is a new confrontation between Batman and Superman in which he is about to become a tyrant on Earth. The near coincidence in time with the movie Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice makes the comparisons odious, and in many respects, the video game is capable of surpassing the film starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. It is not exclusive to these two games, since NetherRealm did the same with Injustice: Gods Among Us and Mortal Kombat X, assuming this story mode a fun way to warm up and meet each of the characters, since there are few that remain in the inkwell.
But the story is only the beginning. Either through the Multiverse of Injustice or the Towers of Time of Mortal Kombat, we discover an endless number of thematic challenges in which we face different opponents under various conditions. These can be from a rival that receives more damage, to a series of missiles that travel through the stage hitting both opponents, to electrified ground … We say that they have practically no end because they are updated frequently – almost daily, in fact – and They allow us to get consumables or what is more fun, skins for the characters, which do change their appearance but not their abilities, except in the case of Injustice 2, although these advantages are not maintained in a very balanced online.
This is another of the key points, and that is that the online modes of both franchises can no longer boast a good balance between characters -although the grapplers can start at a disadvantage-, and what is as or more important, an excellent performance in line. In fact, not without surprise on the part of the study, Mortal Kombat 11 was left out of the list of games that would have competitive in EVO 2020, which as we know, was not held in person due to the coronavirus health crisis. After deciding that this would be carried out online, NetherRealm’s game was readmitted thanks to this aforementioned solvency, although it would not finally be held due to controversial accusations of sexual harassment against the president of the organization. For the ordinary player, it is a good way to get exclusive skins that cannot be obtained in the Kripta, since it follows a season system that already seems to be the model adopted by most video games with multiplayer functions.
Playable NetherRealm has long been polishing a formula that, with few exceptions, has maintained during its long-standing existence. Divide the template of characters clearly into three very different types, from grapplers -specialized in grabs- such as Sheeva or Bane, to those best suited to zonear -maintain distance with projectiles-, such as Erron Black or Batman, to others more balanced such as It can be Cassie Cage or Flash, it is difficult for any player not to find a character that does not suit their style. In addition, if these titles are characterized by something, it is by their great accessibility not only to make simple combos of three or four hits, but also the devastating Fatal Blow -in the case of MK- or the Super -in the case of Injustice-, the which can be carried out just by pressing both rear triggers. However, if you want to go even deeper, and as in any fighting game, you have to go through the practice mode because it is possible to make more complex combos or link them with special movements.
In total, NetherRealm has released four games this past generation – three if we take into account that one of them is the complete edition of Injustice: Gods Among Us-, but everything indicates that the support it will give to Mortal Kombat 11 will still last for several years , following the launch of its Ultimate edition and the recent arrival of new characters. That does not mean that the next installments of both franchises are not in the minds of Ed Boon and company, rather the opposite, and what is better, Injustice will also continue in the future, as we learned a few months ago thanks to a job offer issued by the studio itself.