Tuesday, June 2, 2015

MKX - "Tanya Impressions" (PS4)

Tanya, what a mixed bag of tricks. This Edenian troublemaker, whom we saw in the main story returns in all her glory as a playable DLC character within the MKX's many modes. While she may be an Edenian by creation Tanya bears a sort of Egyptian Cleopatra appearance that could easily be mistaken for a modern-day Katy Perry from the music video "Dark Horse". The only difference being the make-up, the outfit, and the slightly exaggerated Egyptian hairstyle. Through character interactions it is made apparent that the guys at Netherrealm wanted to show Tanya in a different way than what she was depicted as being in the story mode. What we get in the stead of the story mode Tanya is a Tanya with comedic one liners that are mutually shared, and acknowledged by the characters she fights against. Guys from the Kombat Kast hit on her, gals from the same roster sass back at her, and even Reptile adds a bit of humor in his comment towards her. Regardless of whether, or not she lived up to her story self Tanya comes to life in-game as a polished, and rather awesome looking version of the trailer model we were teased with.

The question that is probably weighing heavily on a lot of your minds is does she live up to the hype? To answer that I'm going to have to break down her three variations, her specials, and her fatality finishers in that particular order. When it comes to Tanya's variations you'll find that she has one projectile based variation, and two weapon based variations that act as combo extenders in their own unique ways. The first of the variations is known as the, "Pyromancer". In the 'Pyromancer' Tanya gains a low, and high fireball that is very similar to Johnny Cage's fireballs. They more, or less are meant to be used as zoning tools as Tanya tosses the yellowish flames forward towards her opponent at a medium speed. One is meant for an anti-air while the other is geared towards hitting a standing opponent. Like her base drill slide the fireball comes out more slowly, and travels to it's target in a slower fashion than Liu Kang's fireballs do. The best use of Tanya's fireballs are for the anti-air shots, and for combo extensions/finishers.

As far as base specials go all three variations have the same base moves regardless of their absence in each variation's listing. For the most part the base specials are tied to DPad backward to forward motions, and QCF/QCB (Ruy's Hadoken/Hurricane Kick) motions along with the "CIRCLE" button. Her fireballs on the other hand are tied respectively to the "SQUARE" button in conjunction with the preceding QCF/QCB DPad motion. The drill slide which begins quickly, and slows down dramatically as Tanya slides forward requires a quick back to forward motion via the DPad, and a pressing of the "CIRCLE" button following the inputs. The drill slide special is only effective in combo links that can catch your opponent off guard. Otherwise you will be left open for a punish if the drill slide is blocked by your opponent as it has a significant recovery animation. The same goes for her flip kick special which is activated by pressing QCB along with the "CIRCLE" button.

Aside from the standing specials Tanya also has a couple of base aerial specials that require the QCF/QCB motions along with the "CIRCLE button as a means of execution, respectively. One of the specials is a vertical dropping air drill while the other is an aerial flip kick that lands on top of her opponent. These are tricky to combo into but can be down with the proper combo link setup. Along with those aerial specials also comes Tanya's forward, and backward air teleportation moves. While I'm not 100% certain without powering back on my PS4, and loading up Tanya for reference I think these to specials are tied to the QCF/QCB motions along with the "TRIANGLE" button. They are good specials for evasion, and for getting close to a distanced opponent without receiving damage from anti-air attacks/projectiles. I think you can also extend the teleports into other special aerial attacks using the punch, and kick buttons. Timing is the key with those specials though.

Tanya's final base special, if you can call it that is her aerial X-Ray. For some unknown reason the developer made her X-Ray so that it has to be utilized from a midways distance or as an opponent jumps towards you from a midways distance. The problem with this is that everyone likes to get up close, and personal in MKX. This makes this particular X-RAY a risk, and more often than not a waste of meter due to missed contact. Like Tanya's base specials her X-Ray also moves rather slowly at a diagonal from the air slant towards her opposing target. It's easy to dodge, and easy to punish as there is once again a slight delay if you miss the target, or get blocked.

Variation number two, otherwise known as "Kobu Jutsu" is Tanya's bladed tonfa combo link/extension variation. By doing specific combos tied to the "SQUARE", and 'TRIANGLE' punch buttons Tanya will swiftly strike her opponent with the spinning straightforward, overhead, and sweeping tonfa strikes. Surprisingly this variations tonfa combo additions really pay off as they do significant damage quickly, and are extremely good for CQC (Close Quarter Combat) mix-ups. You can definitely keep the opposing player guessing with the amount of slight combo mix-ups that can be pulled off with the "Kobu Jutsu" variation.

In a similar fashion as the 'Kobu Jutsu' variation number three, known as "Dragon Naginata" introduces yet another weapon that acts as a combo link/extension. As the title suggest you'll be using a 'Naginata', or bladed polearm that extends forward, and overhead when utilized with combos using the two punch, and kick buttons. The Naginata combo extension can also be used with certain special attacks like the flip kick to add reach, and additional damage to the combo, or attack. Perks for using the 'Dragon Naginata' variation come in the form of extended reach by simply adding a DPad direction plus "TRIANGLE", and some good mix-ups when it comes to switch up the combo links, and extensions.

Out of all three variations the 'Kobu Jutsu', and the 'Dragon Naginata' are the most viable in Kombat scenarios. The only thing offsetting their usefulness is the recovery animations from certain base specials. As I mentioned briefly before due to these recovery delays most of Tanya's specials are unsafe unless combo'd into. She is easy to punish in any variation due to these significant handicaps, but the 'Kobu Jutsu', and the 'Dragon Naginata' do offer up enough resources to give Tanya players a fighting chance. If I were to rank Tanya according to skill level I'd say she's better suited for intermediate, or skilled MKX players. Her combos while easily pulled off in a basic fashion will leave a button spammer open to punishes frequently due to the stalled animations if you do not follow up a combo link on time. There are plenty of mix-ups to use with each variation of Tanya, but at the end of the day most players will benefit from using the 'Kobu Jutsu', and the 'Dragon Naginata', especially pro MKX players.

Fatalities for Tanya are unfortunately an entirely different story. While her pin, and stomp execution (forgive me. I know not the name) is easily pulled off with only a pressing of several sequential DPad motions her coolest fatality (the one where she slides right through their guts, and holds their still beating heart) is damn near impossible, because Tanya dashes forward, and backwards too easily. Nine times out of ten I was unable to pull off her second fatality due to the almost immediate dashing after the 'Backward-Backward" to "Forward-Forward" motions. It definitely needs a patch to function the way it should. As far as Brutalities go I've yet to try them out, but will let you know via Twitter if they are easy enough to pull off. I think all of Tanya's finishers come unlocked upon purchase, and download, so there's no need to backtrack through the Krypt to find them all.

The Verdict ...

As it stands Tanya is a highly punishable character that can pull off a lot of different combo mix-ups. For the most part her specials, and combos are easy to use in each variation, but require skills beyond button bashing. The main problem with Tanya, and said specials lies with the recovery delay of some of them, and the speed at which they travel. If blocked, or missed your Tanya can be open to a world of hurt. On top of that the X-Ray is rendered almost useless as it requires a distance from your opponent to execute. The issue with this is that MKX has evolved into a mostly CQC (Close Quarters Combat) fighter making such attacks unreasonable in most circumstances. Everybody wants to jump in, and bash the ever-loving hell out of your chosen character. It's just the way the game is. When it comes to the variations offered up for Tanya she definitely has an interesting variety, but as I said most players will more than likely stick with the two weapon based variations as they are the more efficient ones in a Kombat scenario.

When it comes to appearance the final version of Tanya polished up quite nicely, and looks rather sexy with her golden costume fabrics, and her Cleopatra hairstyle. Even her flexible poses are enough to make a gaming geek drool (you naughty, naughty boys!). As far as attitude goes she's an entirely different person from the Tanya you knew in the story mode, so prepare to be surprised by that. Expect humorous one-liners, and some complimentary character quotes delivered at Tanya in a similar fashion.

Well, I think that wraps things up. Tanya is not all that bad, but she's not exceptionally great either (unless you are a pro level player). Sorry guys, and gals. It's just the way it is.

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