We are now finished with NetherRealm’s summer DLC campaign, and while fans enjoy the free costumes that have come out, there is no question that the characters were the main course on Mortal Kombat’s DLC buffet. It is debatable whether or not the DLC is worthy of purchase. However, it is hard to argue against the price versus product ratio that Mortal Kombat 9 offers.
NetherRealm Studios had announced shortly after MK9′s release that there would be extra characters added over time as DLC, but the price of these characters wasn’t mentioned until later on. They eventually stated that each character DLC pack would be worth the equivelant of $5 but would also be offering what they called a Season Pass. The Season Pass would offer fans a chance to get all four fighters for the price of three. Sure, customers would have to pony up $15 at once, but the purchase ensured the download of Skarlet, Kenshi, Rain, and the fourth mystery DLC character – who would more or less be a freebie with the Season Pass.
A discount program for their DLC packages is arguably the best move NRS could make seeing that fans are fervently gnashing their teeth at the idea of paying five bucks per character – something that the heavily criticized Capcom is accused of embracing. Fans want to know that they are getting what they pay for when buying DLC add-ons for their games, and repeated public outcry against single character packages is well documented proof that charging anything above a few bucks for an extra character is very unpopular with customers – which is apparently popular with Capcom.
Paying for content that is already on the disc is not a popular move in the eyes of gamers either, and NRS did choose to go that avenue with the Classic Skins Pack #1(one can only assume that there shall be a CSP #2 later on). The pack offered all of the classic outfits that were given as pre-order content, but the fact that this content was already on the disc still upset some fans and made them wary that NRS and Warner Bros were trying to milk every dollar that they could with DLC packages – y’know, the gaming equivilent of going to the Dark Side.
How do you sell your DLC package? By having Freddy Krueger slap one of your franchise staples in the face
Mortal Kombat 9 needed a home run to sell this as the best DLC package money could buy and a package that boosts the game’s image. That home run came in the form of Freddy Krueger. Freddy has been received with mixed reactions from both Mortal Kombat fans and gamer alike, but the reaction appears to be mainly positive. The addition of Freddy could also reel in some potential buyers who were on the fence about buying the game. Kratos may be a large enough name to spark interest, but Freddy Krueger is a name of legend. I’d argue that anyone who enjoys video games and classic horror films would consider buying Mortal Kombat for Freddy alone.
Furthermore, the success of the MK Season Pass could mean another DLC package in the future. Only the future can tell what would be included in a second package, but the idea of more characters and even mini-games – like Motor Kombat or Puzzle Kombat – doesn’t seem impossible. Many MK fans loved the extra modes in past games, and giving NRS extra time to perfect the mini-games would be the best course of action. If the price of a second package is fair and the content is worthy of purchase, then fans will embrace more.
The most important part of any DLC that involves extra characters is to ensure that the extras do not offset the game’s balance. Skarlet, Kenshi, Rain, and Freddy offer new and interesting ways to play, but their presence is not mandatory in order to win matches. This puts the fear of DLC being a must buy in order to stay competitive to rest.
Skarlet is quick to inform Jade that you don’t bring a friggin’ boomerang to a knife fight
While Skarlet may be the only new character to join the roster, she doesn’t rely on cheapness or bells and whistles to be a worthwhile character to learn. This blood assassin relies on speed, quick hits, and intense combo damage to take down the competition, and playing her is challenging enough to lure in players who are looking for their next character to master and tear through online Ranked matches with. She slightly damages herself in order to inflict more damage on opponents, and she is able to inflict high amounts of damage in under ten hits with fierce combos.
On the other hand, Skarlet’s arsenal of fast attacks and heavy combos may also backfire in the hands of some players who aren’t looking for a fair fight. Her blade and teleport attacks can easily be spammed, and her speed possibly helps the spamming along a little too much. Combine that with her top combos which usually consist of forty-percent damage with eight hits, and it may create a solid reason to nerf her in future patches.
Behold! Kenshi has perfected his pimp slap!
Long time Mortal Kombat fans will remember Kenshi when he first joined the MK roster in Deadly Alliance. Significant changes have been made to Kenshi so that he better represents the blind swordsman with telekinetic powers instead of an alternate Ermac model. His combos are fairly easy to perform, he is able to be played at virtually all ranges, and he is able to dish out heavy damage at close range. I do not believe that he is as good as Skarlet, but he is still a character worthy of playing.
An issue I’ve experienced with Kenshi is that some of his special attacks are entirely too fast to perform and too easy to spam. Attempting to retaliate with one’s own ranged attack leads to a psychic pummeling, and attempting to close in on Kenshi proves to be just as taxing. The best counter I’ve seen to this has been a teleport, and not all characters have a teleport move. Kenshi is also slightly slower than other characters with regular attacks, but his sword combos are easy enough that players can spam six hit combos easier than Liu Kang players can. Kenshi is an easy character to turtle up with, and only patience and strategy can break his ridiculous defenses. Kenshi really can be a lamer’s wet dream.
This has to be the most annoying move ever. You’re just trapped in this stupid bubble…waiting
Next on the list of DLC characters is Rain. He still has several of his classic moves along with a new teleport move and upkick. I have a blast playing Rain. I love to see what I can do with him, and I also love learning more about the character that I didn’t realize at first. Learning Rain’s combos isn’t easy; timing is everything when playing him. His unique style of play and challenging combos is what makes me believe that he is the most interesting character to play out of the whole bunch. Prince’s “Purple Rain” never plays during any fights as or against Rain, but I suppose I can forgive that.
Rain isn’t without his flaws. As mentioned earlier, Rain’s combos are tough to master and require great timing. Couple that with the feeling that Rain doesn’t respond as smoothly as the other characters – at least on the Xbox 360 version – and a headache along with a mountain of frustration is bound to come pouring down. He is also rather slow compared to other characters, and I’ve seen where that can cause issues in some matchups. It is an issue that can be overcome with practice, but it is discouraging to be demolished after practicing up combos just to lose to speed.
Freddy shows off his uncanny ability to steal Liu Kang’s stance defense
Freddy may be the big draw for the Season Pass, but is he worth the hype? NRS did a great job of portraying Freddy. His mannerisms are in place, his special moves make sense, and his Fatalities are amazing. The horror fan in me gets a kick out of the beginning of each match when Freddy emerges from the flames, bellowing a maniacal laugh and sprawling the claws from both gloves. I believe Robert Englund would approve of their work.
Krueger has fun combos, a decent balance, and decent special moves, but I feel that he isn’t very unique other than being Freddy Krueger. He has a teleport move that has been used to death in MK9, he has an attack that can be dialed in for short, mid, or long range, and he has both standing and ground projectiles – attributes that other characters in the game already possess and do just as well if not better. I’m not entirely certain what else could be done with Freddy at this point, but he feels like a mesh of other characters at times. Perhaps I am judging a character that has recently been released too harshly, but I wasn’t truly blown away by what the Freddy character had to offer.
I do not actively purchase DLC for games that I have bought. Like many other gamers, I want to get to the most value in content for what I’m paying. While I – and many other gamers out there – loathe the idea of paying for content that is obvious on the disc to begin with, I can overlook the MK Classic Skins Pack that must be purchased separately to focus solely on what the Season Pass offers. It comes at a fair, affordable price that technically reduces the price of each character to under $4, and it has been supported by free costume DLC that was released over time alongside it. Add in how wonderful the free customes are, and the lack of the Classic Skins Pack becomes even more forgivable.
I find the MK Season Pass guilty of being an awesome buy for anyone who loves Mortal Kombat 9 and Freddy Krueger. There will certainly be plenty of debate over whether it was a worthy purchase or not, but I am thrilled with my purchase. As mentioned earlier, I am somewhat annoyed that the Classic Skins Pack wasn’t included, but I don’t feel cheated at all. The free extras that have been released over time quickly make me forget all about the Classic Skins Pack with such gems as Cyber Sub-Zero dressing up as Hydro for Halloween.
Justice has been served.