We recently had the chance to demo Mortal Kombat 11's Spawn at Warner Bros offices – and we have to say, he's a strong addition to an already impeccable cast of fighters.
First thing's first: Spawn has some great versatility thanks to his trademark chains and cape.
Both have been designed to be used in an offensive and defensive capability, with his simplest bread-and-butter chain combo making the most of his decent mid-range, ending with a nice knockdown that's particularly effective if you can nail the tricky timing and pressure your opponent after a juggle.
You've also have some decent tricks to keep you at that handy middle-screen range at more or less all times – an assault rifle powered anti-air stops mobile enemies jumping in, and pretty much guarantees your opponent won't be coming in from above whilst the animation is active.
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Once you've worn your foe down with a series of the specials Spawn can equip to dominate about three-quarters of the screen, you can use another of his equippable abilities to deal some nasty damage early in the fight.
Spawn has the capability to start his Fatal Blow at over 30% health with the right build, and that means you can very quickly end a fight if you're smart about baiting and punishing enemies that aren't expecting such a heavy onslaught so soon into the battle.
And Spawn has a lot of utility when it comes to making that happen, too.
One of Spawn's punishing blows is activated from a really easy three-hit combo – 1, 1, back+2 – and if you land it on a counter hit you take a nice healthy chunk of life from your foe.
The startup of that combo may be a little lethargic, but if you know your enemy is coming in with a slow, powerful move and timing is on your side, you can do some nasty damage.
Some of Spawn's more advanced combos work on hit confirms, and you have to be sharp if you want them all to connect. But get it right, and Al Simmons' alter ego has the devastating potential to strip off nearly 50% of the enemy's life with a few enhanced specials thrown in.
The fact you can start most of Spawn's most devilish attacks from a good distance from your foes with a couple of pokes from his chains means he'll be a great match-up against players and characters that like to get in close.
Spawn, basically, will let you dominate the mid-range game – he hasn't got too many moves that'll connect at fullscreen, but if you can pressure the enemy into trying to get close and punish them when they come in, you're onto a winner.
As the last character in the first Fighters Pack (Ed Boon teases there'll be more to come!), Spawn will find a niche in players that are adept enough at the game to take advantage of his precise combo timings, but that like to bait opponents into his occasionally awkward range.
He's a great finale to the first set of DLC, and proves that NetherRealm didn't use up all its good ideas in the base roster.
A fine mix of approachable and advanced, Spawn kind-of feels like a distillation of everything NetherRealm is aiming for with Mortal Kombat 11 – and that can only be a good thing.
Spawn swoops into Mortal Kombat 11 on March 17 for early access players, and March 24 for everyone else.
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