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Mortal Kombat

PC Port Report: Mortal Kombat X

Apr 20 // Nic Rowen
Mortal Kombat X (PC)Developer: NetherRealm Studios, High Voltage Software (PC)Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentMSRP: $59.99Release Date: April 14, 2015Rig: Intel i7-920 2.70 GHz, 12GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 770 GPU When I first installed Mortal Kombat X it was unplayable. I don't mean in some sort of prissy, PC elitist "anything less than 60 FPS burns my eyes" kind of way (although you could make a strong argument that if any genre of game has the right to demand a consistent and high frame rate, it's competitive fighting games). I mean in the "this game doesn't work" way. Things went south as soon as I hit the character select screen and the fighters started drawing themselves in one painful frame at a time. Actual fighting was impossible, with the action portrayed like a garish, bloody View-Master reel. I have a fairly decent gaming PC. My processor is admittedly old, but I have plenty of RAM and a muscular GTX 770 to help it power through. I run plenty of modern multi-platform games with nary a hitch. There is no reason for Mortal Kombat X to perform this badly. My situation is far from uncommon, with mobs of flustered would-be-warriors with top-end gaming rigs complaining they were in the same bind in the Steam discussion pages. After some rooting about in support forums, I altered my settings, manually installed some drivers, and fussed about until I got the game in working -- but far from ideal -- order.  I managed to get the game running smooth enough to fart around in the practice mode and work on some combos. Even still, certain stages caused noticeable stuttering and after a few minutes the game would start to hitch and falter no matter where I fought. Oddly, when the performance dipped like this I found that performing an X-Ray move (which automatically locks the action to 30 FPS) seemed to jar the game out of it, restoring a smooth 60 FPS after the move finished (for a short while anyway). I'm about as far from a programmer as you can get, but to me this suggests the problem is less to do with system specs and more with how the game is coded. Something just isn't working right. While being able to unclog the frame rate with an X-Ray was handy during my protracted training sessions, it's also vaguely frustrating to know that a functional game is trapped somewhere inside of this rickety port job, but only accessible by jumping through hoops. Of course, the reason I spent so much time in the training mode this weekend is related to the second major problem with the PC port. The entire online component of the game was up on cinder blocks for most of the time I've played.  Online Kombat was down for the majority of weekend. Either the game would entirely refuse to access the online component, saying it couldn't retrieve my stat card (and therefore refused me entry), or it would simply leave me perpetually waiting to "find a match." Even during the periods where I was able to find regular ranked and player matches (still with large five minute plus waiting times between opponents) other features wouldn't work. The room lobby system, useful for finding similarly skilled or geographically local opponents, was up and down all weekend. Mostly down. The Faction War nonsense has been offline since I installed. Not that I thought that aspect of the game was particularly meaningful, but it's still annoying to have to wait through one more loading screen as the game fails to find the faction server and informs you of such. More annoying still, trying to view the progress of the on-going war effort locked me in an inescapable loading screen. Fun times. Of the online matches I got to play, lag seemed to be a total crapshoot. Some fights were buttery smooth like me and my opponent were shoulder to shoulder in the arcade. Others started fine but eventually de-synced and broke down. Still others were like wading through molasses from start to finish, becoming a game of chicken to see who would blink first and have the dreaded black mark of a Quitality branded upon their house. When the room feature was active, I managed to find a neighboring Toronto player and stuck through a series of humiliating, but silky, matches against a terrifying Liu Kang who outclassed me in every possible way. I worried I wouldn't find another decent online match that night and would rather face his burning fists than chance it, a fear that came to pass when he left the room (no doubt in disgust of my pathetic Kotal Kahn). A succession of smaller quibbles nip at the heels of those catastrophes. Trying to re-configure a control pad or joystick crashes the game (to turn off negative edge I had to pull every USB device out of my computer and go into the menu with the keyboard). Timed features in the Krypt are reportedly not working right. I was mildly irked to notice that the post-character-select animations (Jax slamming his fists together, Cassie snapping her gum and flipping the bird, and so on) are absent in the PC version. I suppose you could say they thought the faster loading times on the PC version would make them obsolete, but the game still drops you to a loading screen before the fight. Why not chew up those few seconds with something to look at? (I realize this is the smallest complaint of all time but this port ripped my heart out of my chest so bear with me.) Maybe this shouldn't come as a surprise. Both Mortal Kombat 9 and Injustice had troubled ports with similar problems. Distressingly, many of those issues never got sorted out. With a simultaneous day and date PC release for Mortal Kombat X though, you would have hopped they would be ready to go this time. Motal Kombat X deserves better than this slipshod port. I want to believe that NetherRealm and High Voltage Software will do right by its fans and iron these problems out, that this rough first week is an unfortunate debacle. Given its track record though, part of me fears the worst. I'll be keeping an eye on this port and will post an update in a few weeks or so to see if the situation improves. As it stands now, I can't put it any plainer: do not buy this broken port of a great game. [This review is based on a retail code purchased by the reviewer, a PC review copy was not made available by the developer.]
PC Port Report: MK X photo
Never-ending Brutality
I have never played a game that I've wanted to love so badly that seems so set and determined to antagonize me than the PC port of Mortal Kombat X. In the abstract, Mortal Kombat X is a great game. The single player content i...

Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Are klassik fatalities koming to Mortal Kombat X?


Steam certainly seems to think so
Apr 20
// Laura Kate Dale
Mortal Kombat X is a game largely about violently ripping people limb from limb. There's so many ways to viciously eviscerate your enemies that the average player will have their blood-lust satiated for weeks. But what if you...
Bloodthirsty Wayne Brady photo
Bloodthirsty Wayne Brady

Wayne Brady will rip out your spine in MK X


He's laughing just thinking about it
Apr 17
// Nic Rowen
Normally a celebrity event like this Mortal Kombat X launch tournament would be the sort of thing that makes my skin crawl. A slimy affair of glad-handing B-list celebrities on the downslope of their careers trying to appear...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Modder allows you to devastate as NPCs in Mortal Kombat X


Rain, Baraka, and Sindel playable on PC
Apr 17
// Laura Kate Dale
Mortal Kombat X has only been out a few days on PC, but resourceful modders on reddit are already finding ways to add more content to the game. Perhaps most interestingly, one modder has taken a number of NPC characters from...
DestrUKtoid photo
DestrUKtoid

The Destructoid UK Podcast 2: Super Sentai tried to kill me


Britpop, Brum, and Pat's tit
Apr 17
// Laura Kate Dale
The UK, it exists and Destructoid now has writers there. Great British Pounds. Eastenders. Steptoe and Son. The Destructoid UK Podcast (DestrUKtoid). Destructoid UK Editor Laura Dale is joined this week by Joe Parlock an...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Here's Mortal Kombat's first canonically gay character


Developer is "glad [they] have observant fans!"
Apr 17
// Vikki Blake
A tweet from Mortal Kombat X's cinematic director, Dominic Cianciolo, suggests that Kung Jin is the fighting franchise's first (canonically) gay character.  "I see people are picking up on the subtle exposition cont...
Deals photo
Deals

You can get Grand Theft Auto V PC for $14 off


Rockstar DRM, yo
Apr 14
// Dealzon
Grand Theft Auto V is out on the PC and it's selling like hotcakes (#1 on Steam and concurrent players peaked at almost 300K). This is not counting all those people who bought the game from other retailers and are playing on ...

Review: Mortal Kombat X

Apr 14 // Chris Carter
Mortal Kombat X (PC, PS3, PS4 [tested], Xbox 360, Xbox One) Developer: NetherRealm Studios, High Voltage Software (PS3, Xbox 360)Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentReleased: April 14, 2015 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) / June 2, 2015 (PS3, Xbox 360)MSRP: $59.99 It sounds absurd, but the story of Mortal Kombat 2011 is a tough act to follow. The universe was NetherRealm's playground, offering up alliances and betrayals at every turn. There were no rules, and it did a fantastic job to the point where I'd easily call it one of my favorite fighting game story modes ever. With Mortal Kombat X, it's not quite as over-the-top, unpredictable, or even as lengthy. After Shao Kahn's attempt to rule, Shinnok is up to his old tricks again, as was hinted in the previous ending. The warriors of Earthrealm managed to seal him within his amulet, but of course, certain evil characters have an agenda to fulfill, and the realms are once again in peril. Most of the campaign takes place 25 years later, allowing for a certain degree of progeny-based storylines to accompany the new additions to the roster. I'm really torn on the new roster in general (29 kombatants, with five as DLC), not just in terms of characterization, but gameplay as well. I'm a huge fan of Kotal Kahn, D'Vorah, and his gunslinging manservant Erron Black. Cassie Cage and Jacqui Briggs iterate enough on their parents (Sonya/Johnny and Jax respectively), but Kung Jin and Takeda feel like wasted slots to me. [embed]290360:58138:0[/embed] Takeda in particular has a really horrid background involving abandonment issues from his father Kenshi, and it comes across far cheesier than the rest of the game's attempts to link various relationships. For that matter, Cassie's role in the story feels incredibly forced as well. The strength of the roster overall hides these blemishes for the most part, including the absurd DLC practices by WB, as the on-disc world of Mortal Kombat X is definitely worth exploring, no matter how brief (the story clocks in at just several hours). I think the tone overall is funnier than the last game, and the action scenes are just as entertaining. A few players though (myself included) may feel like it's a bit too streamlined, particularly due to the fact that it eliminates all of the crazy parts of 2011 (like uber-hard boss battles and 1v2 matches) and sticks with standard 1v1 bouts. A lot of you out there will probably love the lack of frustration, but I felt like it was a tad too simplistic despite it being a fun ride. The core fighting system is relatively untouched though, which I'm more than okay with. Two punches, two kicks, and a block button are at the forefront of the game's mechanics, with simple command moves offering up concepts like slide kicks, teleport punches, and projectiles. The lovely three-tiered meter is back with EX moves (powered up command abilities), combo breakers, and X-Ray supers in tow, which is not only easy to pick up, but incredibly versatile. Combos aren't terribly long in Mortal Kombat X but they are complex, and the right ones can deal a deadly amount of damage. It's good then that you can break them by conserving your bar instead of always using X-Rays, and punish with EX moves that you will have access to on a regular basis. There's even advanced tactics like meter burn canceling to avoid punishes, and environmental cues (which can be toggled on or off) that allow you to use the background as a weapon or a jungle gym. As previously mentioned the roster is a great mix of styles, from rushdown to zoning, without going over-the-top with the latter. A number of characters have really interesting wake-up games and other tactics that advanced players will relish -- in other words, this is a pretty deep fighter that you'll have to spend some time with to really stand a chance. I love the new model designs and the engine, which feels decidedly less dated at launch. Existing characters like Ermac now have a lot more personality, which is perfectly accentuated through his move set, including three variations. Yep, every character in Mortal Kombat X has a choice of three modifiers, which in Ermac's case would allow him to fly, or gain access to a set of new command moves. It's not as complex as adding three new characters in my mind, but it will easily serve as a way to vex hardcore players as they'll have to learn every frame of every variant as they spend their time in the "lab" practicing. There are modes beyond the story of course, like Faction War, a meta-game that is constantly being played behind-the-scenes, Towers, a large collective of challenge rooms, and other tidbits like Test Your Might or Test Your Luck. Towers is probably the breakout hit in Mortal Kombat X, with traditional series of fights and "Living Towers," which rotate on a hourly, daily, and weekly basis. Test Your Luck is also a standout, providing random round parameters like "no arms" or other wacky statistical changes. It's perfect for people who don't normally excel at fighting games and don't want to learn every character's ins and outs. Faction War isn't really a game-changing concept, but it is a decent way to keep hardcore people playing. You'll have the choice of joining a certain clan or group at the start (praise Lin Kuei) for a bit of extra little fluff. Each match you win will contribute to your team's overall ranking, and fun rewards like more currency or bragging rights can be yours after a certain time period has passed. Just like the new first-person Krypt mode, it's a great extra to keep you playing even when you don't feel like fighting a traditional match. My experience with the netcode has been mixed. For a good while I'll have fairly uninterrupted matches, but online play is limited by the system NetherRealm currently has in place. In other words, if you are close to someone geographically, it will play better. This sounds like common sense, but in 2015 online gaming is so massive and so global that everything needs to work comprehensively. As such, some matches stuttered -- not to the point of fully breaking constantly -- but stuttering can be the difference between a win and a loss in a competitive match. If you have a local friend to play with this is a non-issue, as nearly every mode is available offline. Likewise, if most of your Mortal Kombat buddies aren't located across the globe, you should be mostly good to go. Mortal Kombat X's impact isn't as explosive as 2011, but it's well polished and a worthy successor. I think with a more reliable netcode it will grow into one of the biggest fighting games of 2015, and as more DLC characters are added to the roster, it will become even more enticing for that Komplete Kollection purchase. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. A Goro unlock code was also provided on launch day.]
Mortal Kombat X photo
Still not ready for a series Fatality
Fighting game developers are in a really tough spot when it comes to sequels. If you don't iterate enough, newcomers will be tempted to call it a "rehash." If you iterate too much, hardcore fans may feel alienated by the vast...

Mortal Kombat X's DLC model is a disservice to NetherRealm by Warner Bros.

Apr 14 // Chris Carter
As far as the Kombat Pack goes, there are a number of characters in the story that appear and have their own moveset, but they are not playable. All I could do is imagine a WB executive running through the story with a developer going "yeah let's gate that!" and "oh man that would make a great pre-order bonus!" Because let's face it -- WB does not have the best track record when it comes to DLC. Heck, remember when it literally told customers it would rather focus on making more DLC than fix the broken game it charged $60 for? That's partially why the $30 Kombat Pack, set to include four characters, doesn't quite sit well with me. Jason and Predator feel like completely new additions and thus a justification of more man-power, but Tanya is already in the game (yes balancing is a thing and she is unfinished, but it doesn't feel right). Goro is a pre-order bonus but if you pay now (!) you can unlock him, as he is prominently featured on the DLC splash page which is front and center on the game's flashy title screen. Plus, two characters also come with classic skins in the Kombat Pack (the other two have themed packs), which really should have been Krypt unlocks for nostalgic fans. Oh, and about that. Normally the $19.99 Krypt unlock code would fall under "optional microtransaction" just like the Fatalities, but there was a patch implemented before launch that lowered the rate at which you earn tokens -- used to unlock Krypt features. Classic free-to-play model move. The $1.99 Blue Steel Sub-Zero unlock is partially justified by a "portion" of the pool going towards funding the "Who's Next Tournament," but come on -- a portion? It should be the whole damn thing when you're peddling this much DLC on top of a $60 game. At least you could say it was for the fans. All this scheme does is push people towards the "Komplete Edition" which you know is going to happen. The last game may have also hosted DLC, but a locked-out costume and a launch Season Pass that locks out Goro behind a pre-order doesn't feel right. Now that I have access to Goro today (disclosure: with a code provided by WB) and the power to play online with the general public, I'll have my review later this morning. Luckily, this DLC issue doesn't detract from the great core fighting game NetherRealm created.
Mortal Kombat X DLC photo
Make sure you sign up for a WB login for that Raiden skin (sadface)
Mortal Kombat X has launched, and with it, a decent amount of DLC. If you count just one "five" and one "thirty" easy Fatality token pack each, the price totals $58. That's not including the $60 game purchase. On sa...

Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: EarthBound, The Last of Us, Mortal Kombat X, and more


Zen distilled stories
Apr 14
// Darren Nakamura
I wrote a thing about The Last of Us last week, and despite the use of measured language, there were accusations of extreme opinions on either side. Come on, people. That is not very zen. Find your nirvana. In this series, w...
Easy fatalities photo
Easy fatalities

Mortal Kombat X's fatalities too hard? Pay to make them easy


You're killing me
Apr 14
// Brett Makedonski
Fatalities are, in most people's opinion, the coolest part of Mortal Kombat. In a franchise about ruthlessly beating up your opponent, fatalities are when these games are at their most brutal -- a blood-drenched pot of gold a...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Get murdered in Mortal Kombat X live tonight on stream!


Four arms, four cocks, you do the math
Apr 13
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: Stream is over. Cassie Cage is the best character confirmed.] Tonight marks the launch of the ultra-bloody Mortal Kombat X, and I'll be taking on anyone who dares fight me live on our Twitch channel. I'll be playing ...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Where is our Mortal Kombat X review?


We'll be testing online play first
Apr 13
// Chris Carter
Mortal Kombat X's review embargo is up, but we're not quite ready to pull the trigger just yet. Many aspects of the game aren't fully operational including some online modes, and select facets of the Faction War fea...
Mortal Kombat X Krypt photo
Mortal Kombat X Krypt

Mortal Kombat X's first-person Krypt mode returns, with new enemies and equipment


A perfect way to get me to unlock everything
Apr 13
// Chris Carter
Mortal Kombat X will be available tomorrow for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC platforms, and you'll definitely want to boot up the Krypt a few rounds of exploration. Just like the 2011 reboot the first-person view is back, w...
Fatal 8 Results photo
Fatal 8 Results

Mortal Kombat X Fatal 8 tournament ends with a bang


Good? Bad? I'm the guy with the gun
Apr 12
// Nic Rowen
Dominique “cR|Sonic Fox” McLean shot and stabbed his way through the competition to become the first official Mortal Kombat X tournament winner this weekend. Sonic Fox dominated the ESL hosted Fatal 8 tournament a...
Weekend deals photo
Weekend deals

Weekend Deals: $46 GTA V for PC, $399 Alienware Alpha


Sorta Steam Machine
Apr 11
// Dealzon
Update 5/12: GTA V is now 20% off with a new coupon code. See details below: It feels like we've been writing about GTAV PC deals forever. Its almost as if the game has been delayed time and time again. Hmm... On Tuesday next...

Which low tier character will I waste my time on in Mortal Kombat X?

Apr 11 // Nic Rowen
When it comes to NetherRealm's fighters, I've been in top form. I took one look at Noob Saibot, the ninja-by-way-of-Darth-Vader, and decided to main him in Mortal Kombat 9. He was fiddly and awkward at close range, while being outclassed by more dynamic zoners at full screen where he was supposed (?) to dominate. Sure, his X-Ray move was undeniably dope, but when would you ever get a chance to use it when you were so busy eating Cyrax bombs and Kabal's aerial energy blasts? In Injustice, I mained Lex Luthor from day one and never looked back, even when facing ten game (and higher) losing streaks. Lex was a giant lug of a fighter with all the size and sluggishness of a grappler and none of the damage to back it up. He was a finesse character, based on set-ups and smart use of his hyper armor in a game where the most popular characters could evaporate half a health-bar with one combo and had moves specifically designed to ignore hyper armor. I doomed myself to living under Kryptonian tyranny and had only myself to blame. So which piece of deadweight will I pick up in Mortal Kombat X? Which character will I fall in love with early and stick by, despite it becoming increasingly apparent that they are absolute garbage? What kind of destructive co-dependent relationship will I get tangled up in this time? Quan Chi Quan Chi is a dark sorcerer shitbag that nobody likes, both in the fandom and in the series' narrative. He is a universally reviled toady, unsuccessfully scheming behind the back of whatever master he is currently serving like an incompetent, bald Starscream. The contrarian streak in me that identifies with underdogs finds these qualities strangely endearing (this is also why I'm doomed to fail). Quan has a couple of bizarre fighting styles that rely on the clever use of a summoned bat-demon or cheeky portals to force the opponent into mix-up situations and generally be an annoying jackass. He also has a variation that uses weird glyphs and symbols on the ground for a variety of effects, such as nullifying projectiles or pumping up his damage. Because that kind of gimmick couldn't possibly be a pain in the ass to try and use while Lui Kang pelts you with fireballs and bicycle-kicks right? Another trick-based finesse character that requires a lot of momentum to get going and can be shut down with a strong offense? Sounds like Lex all over again -- sign me up? I don't know, maybe I just have a thing for bald guys.   Jax MK 9's Jax had quite the character arc in the meta-game. He was one of the weakest members of the roster on release, but a few, possibly heavy handed, patches and buffs suddenly thrust him to the top of many tier lists. A real rags-to-riches story (or a great example of why fighting game players hate patches). Skilled Jax players could be a nightmare to deal with, hassling opponents from a distance with earthquakes and projectiles while utterly dominating up-close with powerful grabs and terrifying damage. Later patches toned him down a bit and in the end Jax retired as a respectable, but not spectacular kombatant. I'm not really interested in any of that. I honestly have no idea if Jax will be a ridiculously powerful demigod of command grabs in MK X, reduced back to his meek early MK 9 low tier hero status, or find some middle balance between the two extremes. I just think he looks awesome. Jax is a guy who pummels ninjas to death with a pair of robotic arms, which has been scientifically determined to be the coolest possible way to beat a ninja to death. He has a distinguished dash of salt and pepper in his beard, and the kind of preoccupation with cigars that I'm sure Freud would have something to say about. Or maybe not, considering he likes to alternatively snuff those cigars on his robotic fists, or the bloody neck-stump-turned-ashtray of his opponent. Jackson Briggs has it going on. If I can age half as gracefully (and cybernetically) as Jax, I'll die a happy man. I know it's an odd criteria, but if basing my fighting game character choices on aspirational life goals is wrong, I don't want to be right. Kotal Kahn Kotal Kahn is my wild card. He's a new character, so there's no telling if he'll be good or bad. On one hand, he was built with MK X's unique systems and play style in mind instead of being re-tooled to fit the mold. It's entirely possible he'll be an utter wrecking machine of sun-worshiping bad-assery. On the other, he hasn't had umpteen iterative appearances to figure out his place in the food chain, so maybe longtime favorites like Kung Lao will mop the floor with him using established fundamentals (such as -- hat throw, hat throw, hat throw, dive kick). This is all irrelevant. I've got my eye on Kotal because he looks like some kind of Aztec war-god, and that's pretty tough to beat aesthetically. Why would I want to throw a silly bladed hat at someone when I could fry them with divine sun beams, or cut their heart out with one of those cool wavy cult daggers? Kotal also as a variation where he carries around one of those crazy tribal swords that is basically a wooden board with a row of razor sharp sharks teeth inset along the edges, which seems like the worst thing mankind ever devised to cut another person in two with. It would be like being paddled by a frat brother and devoured by Jaws at the same time, two of my recurring nightmares condensed into one horrific device. I don't know how Quan, Jax, and Kotal will shake out. Going by my track record, the fact that I'm expressing any interest in them at all pretty much dooms them (so maybe you'll want to take this article as a cautionary tale and stay clear of them). Or maybe they'll turn out to be awesomely powerful specimens and I'll be retroactively accused of tier-whoring whenever I select them. It will be interesting to find out in a few months when people have had a chance to dig into MK X and test their might. Until then, I'd be interested to hear what characters you're excited about. Do you plan on sticking with the tried and true like Scorpion and Raiden? Will you embrace the next generation of fighters and take selfies with Cassie Cage and her crew? Or are you going to be that one freaky dude who mains Ferra/Torr from day one and beats everyone down Master Blaster style? At the end of the day, tier placement really doesn't mean much, what matters is your skill and enjoyment. As long as you're having fun and improving your game, any character is the right choice.
Low tier heroes photo
You do it to yourself, you do, and that's what really hurts
They say you should never marry for love, but I always do. Every single damn time. I guess you could call me a romantic. If you felt like being less charitable (and possibly more accurate), you could call me a scrub. I couldn...

Won't somebody think of the children?

Apr 09 // Nic Rowen
[embed]290207:58107:0[/embed] Thankfully, I had a secret weapon to get MK off the black list in my home. Aside from being a nightmarish murder simulator, I knew that MK was also fucking ridiculous; a fact all those self-serious senators stumping on the public decency ticket always seemed to forget to mention. Despite all the media hubbub, my mom was, thankfully, still inclined to give me the benefit of the doubt and listen to reason. We struck a deal, I'd be allowed to rent the neutered, bloodless SNES version under the condition that she would watch as my brother and I played it. If she felt it was too violent for our sensibilities or somehow mentally damaging, she would banish it straight back to the Netherrealm of Blockbuster Video and the veto would stand. In the end she didn't watch for more than an hour before realizing that MK was just too stupid to be considered harmful. When you break it down, MK is a game about karate men fighting each other one-on-one to save the world from a four-armed claymation monster and his boss who looks suspiciously like Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China. Even the famed gore of the series, when not breathlessly described by a dour parental advocacy spokesperson, was too dumb and cheap looking to take seriously. The production values on those original fatalities were a joke, character sprites awkwardly sticking into and through each other at angles and depths that don't line up quite right. The obvious cost-cutting steps of re-purposing animations and sprites stole a certain degree of gravitas from the executions. MK 1 has the same disarming flimsiness of a student film effort about zombies. It's hard to take stumbling freshmen in thrift store clothes splattered with red food coloring seriously -- the effect is more slapstick than sinister. My brother and I were left alone to throw fireballs and exchange uppercuts with the understanding that we weren't to tell anyone we were allowed to play MK (because who wants to have to explain that to the other moms) and that any attempt to actually rip a sibling's heart out would result in a summary grounding. I thought it was a pretty fair compromise. I felt mature. I was proud that I was able to hold my ground and defend a piece of media I thought was being unfairly vilified. But more than that, I was gratified that my mom believed in my ability to separate fantasy from reality. To know my own boundaries and limits and be able to compartmentalize what was totally rad in a game, but horrific in real life. Which is why I feel like the biggest, shittiest hypocrite in the world when I worry about kids playing MK X. It makes me feel like a crusty old man shaking his fist at those damn kids for doing the exact same thing he did when he was younger. I want to be able to extend the same charity, the same vigorous defense I gave MK 1 to MK X of the difference between fantasy and reality. But holy shit, have you seen this game? It is CRAZY. The way bones snap and break during x-ray moves, how skin will peel and tear to reveal musculature and ligaments, the fully detailed models of organs and intestines that are ripped apart and strewn about during fatalities, it's just so -- ewww. You can't say the game is too silly to take seriously anymore. If anything, if I were a kid now trying to convince my mom to let me play MK X, I think I'd probably focus on how it would be a great way to study up on human anatomy for biology class. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't the twist ending where I say it turns out all those senators and other finger wagglers from back in the day were right all along. They were wrong (and hysterically stupid) then, and they're wrong now. I still don't think MK X is intrinsically harmful. I don't think that the kids who weasel their way into playing it (and I absolutely guarantee they will) and watch Scorpion cut Sub-Zero's face off to let his brains slide out on the pavement will turn into a generation into of serial face-slicers. But I also know I'd hesitate to let a nine-year-old play MK X, especially a nine-year-old I was in charge of raising and ensuring didn't turn into a complete sociopath. I also know I'd probably feel a certain brand of ugly judgmental smugness, a lofty “tsk, tsk,” over any parent or guardian who didn't. There is a disconnect there that I can recognize but have trouble explaining, even to myself. Because at its core, I don't think MK X is really all that different from MK 1. Ed Boon is honestly just making the same game he has been making for 20 years. I don't think he is a different person now, that over the past two decades he really has taken the villain's part and is trying to corrupt young minds. The tone and intention of the MK series hasn't really changed at all, it's still all about silly ninja-men killing each other in completely ludicrous ways. But the technology behind that intention HAS changed. With two decades of graphical advancement and a production budget that dwarfs the cost of anything imaginable in 1992, MK X has reached a point where the fatalities and violence really ARE as gory and disturbing as the moral hand-wringers always claimed. This is the source of that disconnect for me. I've always defended the MK series as campy fun under the guise of gritty violence, and I still absolutely believe that is true. While the fatalities are not as outwardly silly as Johnny Cage uppercutting a guy so hard three heads pop off, they still rely on a completely over-the-top kind of violence that goes so far it loops back to comedy. When Kano cuts open his opponent's ribcage mid-match, only for his victim to promptly stand back up and continue fighting like nothing happened, I think there is still a sort of winking-at-the-camera comedy there. “Don't worry, none of this is too serious.” But the joke isn't as plain to see anymore, and it's even more difficult to articulate to others. There is a small shitty part of me that worries that kids won't “get it.” Ironically, part of the technological advancement that has made MK X slightly uncomfortable compared to its predecessors also ensures that there has never been an easier time for kids to circumnavigate any attempts to keep that material away from them. I mean, not that any of those efforts have ever worked. When I was a kid trying to play MK in 1992, my back-up plan if mom did ban the game was to just sneak off to the arcade or go over to a friend's house who had slightly less strict parents and play it there. Now, thanks to downloads, YouTube clip reels, and streaming Let's Play series, kids won't even have to leave the house to sneak a peek at a few fatalities. And overall, it's probably for the best. You can't stop culture or technology. Games will get gorier and crazier, and kids will find their way to them younger and younger. If little Johnny is going to eventually see a bisected brainpan or a perforated liver in full anatomical exactitude, he might as well see it in MK X; a game that is ultimately stupid and non-hateful (and I mean that in the most affectionate sense). So won't somebody think of the children? Well I have, and it's complicated and uneasy and difficult, but at the end of the day the old tricks are probably still the best tricks. Kids will play MK X, and it's going to be a little fucked up. But with proper parental oversight and a good explanation of boundaries and the divide between fantasy and reality, it shouldn't be anymore harmful than watching a 16-bit Johnny Cage awkwardly stick his foot kinda, sorta, into another digitized sprite. With that off my chest and out of my brain, I can get back to feeding Quan Chi to a buzzsaw-hat -- guilt free.
MK X Gore photo
Decapitations for the YouTube generation
When I was a little boy, Mortal Kombat was a tough sell around my home. Like most pre-adolescents of the era, I was darkly attracted to the idea of ninjas and movie stars decapitating each other in bouts of gladiatorial comba...

Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Milk the kow: Mortal Kombat X mobile version out now


Fatalities for your pocket
Apr 08
// Robert Summa
If you're planning on getting Mortal Kombat X, then you should know there is a mobile version of the game that will offer rewards for the main game and it's available now on iTunes. If you're not a fan of tying mobile versio...
Gross photo
Gross

Welp, Cassie Cage has a jaw-dropping (hah) selfie fatality in Mortal Kombat X


Gross
Apr 08
// Steven Hansen
God damn millennials and their social media. Just last week a police officer was telling me how social media is incredibly helpful in solving local crimes (muggings, burglaries). What the hell do kids think they're doing pla...
Mortal Kombat montage photo
Mortal Kombat montage

Mortal Kombat X Fatality and X-Ray montage


For all you sick spandex fans out there
Apr 07
// Glowbear
For those of you who prefer to watch from the sidelines or simply check out what moves are possible with your roster, we've got a cheery video showcasing seven minutes of Mortal Kombat X Fatalities and X-Ray moves. My poor delicate constitution. Mortal Kombat X: All Fatalities and X-Rays So Far in 1080p 60fps [IGN]
Goro trailer photo
Goro trailer

Remember, Goro is a Mortal Kombat X pre-order bonus


And paid DLC down the line
Apr 07
// Steven Hansen
I don't remember unlocking Goro in the Mortal Kombat 4 N64 port and that's about as far as I got with the series. Well, aside from a weekend spent with a rented Mortal Kombat Versus DC, but I'm sure plenty of voi dig th...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Hope you aren't sick of seeing Mortal Kombat X trailers


No? Good, here's another
Apr 06
// Brett Makedonski
[Update: Added a "making of the trailer" trailer, because trailers.] The PR account executive slowly walked through his boss' door. His eyes were shifted down so as to avoid the unnerving gaze of the senior PR manager; his b...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat's selection screen sure has changed over the years


Mortal Kombat X's full select screen revealed
Apr 03
// Brett Makedonski
Different people have wildly different experiences with fighting games. Someone who's unskilled won't have near the same involvement as someone who's mastered its systems. But, there is one constant across anyone who tries th...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X will have rotating free DLC characters, like League of Legends


So far there are four
Apr 02
// Chris Carter
If you're picking up Mortal Kombat X but don't feel like shelling out for the DLC, I don't blame you. The good news is that according to an interview with Angry Joe, Ed Boon has confirmed that all four current DLC characters ...
Mortal Kombat X Cowboy photo
Mortal Kombat X Cowboy

Cowboy Erron Black revealed for Mortal Kombat X


The good, the bad, and the bloody
Mar 27
// Jed Whitaker
Erron Black is the hot new Clint Eastwood-like character revealed in the above trailer for Mortal Kombat X. He's like a cooler gun-slinging version of Stryker, the silly cop character from earlier Mortal Kombat games. So when do we get to see Nightwolf appropriately kill Erron Black? Because that needs to happen stat, you hear me Netherrealm Studios!?
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X's TV advert channels the schoolyard spirit


Flagpole, 3 pm
Mar 27
// Brett Makedonski
Who could forget those special playground moments as a child? Maybe you're shootin' hoops are playing kickball, when you hear some kid scream "FIGHT!" at the top of his lungs. You drop everything immediately, because if you ...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Russian Mortal Kombat X trailer reveals evil Liu Kang


Yo dawg, I heard you like throats
Mar 26
// Jed Whitaker
Liu Kang has been revealed for Mortal Kombat X today by Maxim Russia, of all places. This story trailer features Bo Rai Cho and Raiden discussing the lost souls of Liu Kang and Kung Lao, as well as some throat-ripping a...
Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Battlefield Hardline, Banjo-Kazooie, Final Fantasy XV, and more


Zen distilled stories
Mar 23
// Darren Nakamura
Last week we took a break from the usual poetic news recaps to highlight our favorite games from PAX East, but now we are back in the swing of things. You can check out all of the past episodes on the Game News Haikus YouTub...






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