The debut trailer for Mortal Kombat X is here, and more details are probably to follow in just a matter of days, at this year’s E3. Sure, we could wait and offer our impressions after the fact, but we feel that it would be interesting to provide our expectations and wishes based on the initial reveal at this very point, and then see how much of it is satisfied. Possibly, this will serve to imply how we feel about the features that we see at E3, or maybe our minds will actually change.
By the way, my name is Mikee (not a typo, just weird) and I insist on writing the rest of this article in first person, as myself instead of the “we”. You see, even though I don’t particularly enjoy MK games anymore, I am still probably one of the biggest Mortal Kombat fans alive so this is personal.
Oh, my credentials? Well, I bought and played (to death) every single Mortal Kombat game ever released, and before you scoff at that statement, know that this includes Mortal Kombat Special Forces. I have also read every kind of written Mortal Kombat fiction, drew and wrote MK comics of my own, collected every piece of merchandise that had anything to do with MK, watched every episode of MK: Conquest and the animated series, bought the movies and their soundtracks, and actually paid money for the following:
Today, I may not be nearly as into MK as I used to be, but if a new MK game rolls around, it goes without saying that I buy it. It’s sort of like seeing an ex, whom you used to be very close with, join Facebook. You just are going to click on that page and check out those pictures, and the fact that I just made this analogy should leave you with no doubt that I am nerdy enough about MK to talk shit.
Having said all that (regrettably), for whatever it’s worth, I did not like the new trailer. It has the same awkwardness about it as did the trailer for 2011’s MK9. If you remember, that trailer showed us a CGI Shao Kahn put on his helmet and step out against a CGI Raiden, before we were treated to a compilation of ingame fighting. I could never understand what the point was of the CGI part, since they could simply have the ingame characters come out and fight just as well, without the sudden graphical transition. Here, take a look for yourselves and maybe you can explain it to me:
It’s like someone wanted to make a fully CGI trailer and then said “fuck it” when Raiden’s scream kept coming out all weird like that. There is not a hint at a story or any kind of grand setup for what’s going on, really, just beefcakes beating the shit out of each other. But at least, it had gameplay. Now, we have two dudes going at it for no apparent reason, in what I am certain is CGI (if it isn’t, now that will be a reveal!) and it’s not exactly clear what that’s all about. Again, I’d buy the game if the entire trailer was Scorpion and Sub-Zero smashing dongs to ‘Who Let The Dogs Out‘ but it could have been better than it is.
So, let me start with my wish list, and the details of what I gather from this trailer will become clear.
Cool Things Down A Bit
This is not some obscure Sub-Zero pun; this is something that’s been bothering me for awhile now. Somewhere around Mortal Kombat 3, the MK series injested excessive amounts of meth and the high has been fluctuating ever since. Don’t get me wrong, Mortal Kombat is certainly synonymous with craziness, wackiness and even camp but I feel like the balance has been distrurbed as of late. I can’t exactly tell, from the new trailer, whether things have been finally dialed down (gameplay would have helped, right?) but I really hope that characters like Mokap and fighting styles that incorporate farting are done with. Also, I could really do without the bouncing or the juggling during combat.
What is that anyway? Who thought that it should be possible to slam your opponents into concrete hard enough to make them bounce up into the air and then keep hitting them so they pop back up? Are fatalities even necessary after something like that? I don’t even mean logically, I mean they really lose their effect. It’s just not as shocking to see a decapitation of something that looks (more on this later) and behaves like a goddamn plastic dildo. I really wish they’d go for a slightly more grounded feel to combat this time around. More brutal, less silly is what I’d prefer to see on screen, is what I’m saying.
Rethink X-Ray Moves
X-Ray moves was a fantastic idea for MK9. It looked cool and painful as all hell, which made it a perfect fit for the series. I never even realized it but I wanted them to do something of the sort ever since I saw the following TV trailer for Tao Feng Fist of the Lotus, which by the way, was a game created by John Tobias, one of the fathers of Mortal Kombat. I don’t think I’m wrong to assume that it was an inspiration.
Anyway, from the MKX trailer, it looks like X-Rays are coming back. I really hope that Boon and co show a litle restraint there too. As cool as those things were, they got old real fast. There wasn’t enough variarion for the freqency with which the X-Ray moves usually happened in a fight. I wish that they were a little harder to execute or if they were only possible to do once in a fight. That would make them more of an event, and that way, they could have actual consequences that made sense. It would be great if seeing your characters’ leg break would cause him or her to limp, or if crushing an organ would cause health bleeding throughout the fight. Seeing someone simply brush off getting stabbed in the eyes requires just a little more suspension of disbelief than reasonable.
I absolutely love, love the new art direction. It’s a little darker and more no nonsense than the recent “fabulous” MK designs have been. It may just be the color tone of the CGI movie but the costumes actually remind me somewhat of Vincent Proce’s awesome reimagining of MK characters (I’m not going to post any here so that you click on the link and check out his work). Though obviously, it’s still different, you have to admit that there is a hint of a common vibe, when you compare his Scorpion to the official one:
If I am honest, as the series progressed, I have really grown to dislike how every MK character started looking like a damn Christmas tree, with their glossy badges, elaborate leg shins and armguards, enormous belt buckles and shoulder pads. Seriously, why would someone like a deadly ninja asssassin need more shiny trinkets on his suit than Edward Scissorhands? Although the characters do not look very plain in the new trailer, they do have somewhat of a toned down, dark style, which is fantastic so far. Whether the new generation graphics are finally going to put an end to the plastic sex doll look that all the 3D MK characters have been suffering from remains to be seen.
Don’t Mess With Music
If you saw the trailer, this is the elephant in the room. The choice of music there is certainly controversial. Like many fans, I was caught completely off guard but it was just so unexpected that I decided to give the creators credit for the balls. Now, after having really thought about it, I decided that they should have left their balls alone. The choice is still brave and I’m sure that there is something to “get” about it, but well, I don’t get it and I don’t want to. The music is terrible and it’s not just because I don’t like the song. The grim electronic music has always been the staple of Mortal Kombat. It’s as much a part of it as “flawless victory” and has always given the series its’ identity:
While I am sure that Mortal Kombat X won’t have rap in it, the thought makes me so uneasy that I want to make sure that this gets mentioned.