Mortal Kombat X
The day this game was released, I journeyed to Best Buy, envisioning having to fight my way through hoards of teenage boys whilst appropriately leaving MK shoe imprints on various unsuspecting faces in order to effectively secure my video game bounty:
Unfortunately, the "MK" does not actually stand for "Mortal Kombat". However, these shoes still seemed oddly appropriate to wear during my MKX game-hunting adventure.
Thankfully I encountered no opposition on my quest. And once I arrived home, there existed nothing capable of tearing me away from this game. I didn’t even stop playing out of respect for whatever poor squeamish souls occupied my living room at the time (I know I had visitors, I just don’t remember who they were. Sorry friends, you were warned.).
On a technical level, MKX vastly surpasses its predecessors in the best way possible, offering a plethora of downloadable content (personally, I'm excited as hell for the day I can download Predator as a playable character). There are a handful of brand new characters that don't suck, amazing graphics, and even a "story mode". You can even earn points for your chosen side in the Faction War (White Lotus FTW). And per the complaints I've heard about the story mode lacking "meaning and depth"... Did you honestly expect a game like Mortal Kombat to reel you in with a super riveting, heart-wrenching tale of war, sorrow, love, and the true meaning of life? No. It's a fighting game. You know that. Stop whining.
Moving on. Remember Discovery Channel's show "Fight Science"? If you don't, you should look it up. Not merely because it's incredibly fascinating, but because Lateef Crowder is in it (he's also in my music video for "Leaving You Behind", hint hint shameless plug). Anyways, if you've seen "Fight Science" and you happen to recall the fantastic anatomic detail they went into to cover every possible injury sustained by the various strikes of different martial arts styles, I'd say MKX multiplies that by... uh, a lot. If only MKX had a narration feature you could switch on that would indicate the precise amount of pressure it took to break Raiden's tibia and drive it through his supernatural ribcage (no, that's not an actual Fatality so don't go looking for it).
I know... it's animated, it's fiction, it's based on a war between realms, yadda yadda yadda... but NetherRealm Studios was artfully meticulous in their creation of these characters, their capabilities, and their physiology. Therefore, if you are not desensitized to video game violence, you will probably lose your lunch attempting to play this game. If you are indeed faint of heart, either 1) Stay the hell away, 2) Refrain from eating at least 24 hours before playing this game, or 3) Grow a pair. Remember, it's just a video game.
Addressing the fairly common complaint of being able to buy characters instead of just having to earn them all... Yeah, I would love to have more time to play ALL THE GAMES and earn ALL THE THINGS! But as so many of us know, when you work most of the time to level-up IRL, and aaalllll you want to do at the end of a long-ass week is melt into your couch and experience the Living Towers as Goro... it's a really nice option to have. I mean, come on... I also buy Charmin instead of that cheaper-than-dirt god-awful cardboard-textured sandpaper they claim is discount toilet paper, does that make me a horrible person? (Maybe, maybe it does.) But if I go broke buying characters in Mortal Kombat just for a little bit of extra enjoyment to put a smile on my face, that's up to me and my future high-tech lemonade stand that will be paying my bills. Someday.
Conclusion: You love fighting games? Buy it. Play it. Now. And then we can all have an MKX party and battle until we run out of Doritos and Hot Pockets.
9.5 out of 10. And if I was Goro, I'd give it four thumbs up.
The following is included for obvious reasons, so if you are a mature adult who can differentiate between right and wrong, you can probably skip this next part:
Violent Video Games PSA: Parents, please teach your children the difference between "entertainment" and reality. This is your job, and if you don't do this then they will make their own assumptions on what is acceptable and what is not. You don't have to let them play the game (though keeping them away from it when they want to play it will probably make them want to play it waaaay more). But since we live in a world where senseless violence and many other bad things actually do happen in reality, kids need to be taught that real violence hurts and so do the real-life consequences of it.
Almost like teaching your kid not to leap onto the old school merry-go-round while it's spinning at full speed... AND NOW THEY'VE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE PLAYGROUND SO NO ONE CAN HAVE FUN. THANKS A LOT.
Yes, it is entirely possible to enjoy graphic video games and still develop a strong moral compass and have a conscience at the same time. "Entertainment" is entertainment. Real violence sucks. Get it? Got it? Good. Glad we had this heart-to-heart.
- Emily Rose Morrison