Do you remember the first time you pulled someone’s heart out in the Mega Drive version of Mortal Kombat? It was an anticlimactic feeling, because there was no blood and the heart looked kind of like a potato, because in this part of the world we like our videogames like we like our movies: thoroughly censored.
I have no idea how Mortal Kombat X will get rated anywhere, and it'll take an especial feat of corporate prestidigitation to smuggle it into Australia. In our behind closed doors demo at E3, we spent a lot of time poring over the gorier aspects of the upcoming fighter. I saw many people’s faces removed in graphic detail, with a gratuitous amount of blood spouting from new and exciting locations.
The care put into Mortal Kombat X’s fatalities would impress even the most discerning gore-porn afficianado, and it's backed by a budget that would make the creator of The Human Centipede 2 weep. The sound designers clearly had their work cut out for them, as the visceral, abject sounds of bones breaking were exactly that. These sounds showed up in the x-ray mode, where a combo triggers a cut-scene akin to those in the theatrical classic Romeo Must Die, featuring then-budding young thespian DMX.
Aside from the things that made Mortal Kombat renowned in the first place, there is also gameplay. There are three variations on each character, which wildly change your playstyle in some and slightly modify it in others. In the case of Sub Zero, one of his variations buffed his ice attacks. For one of the newer characters, Ferra and Torr, Ferra being the lady riding atop the troll-like Torr, it completely changes the gameplay. Their team-based attacks are emphasised in one gameplay variation, though Torr can entirely shed Ferra and becomes a strong close-combat fighter in another.
The environments also have elements of interactivity, where weapons can be retrieved from them, such as a charming bobbing corpse in the dock-level. The environments are sizable, moving towards a Street Fighter-esque level of background distraction. In some you can jump off tree limbs, rip them off and use them as weapons, but in others we saw or discovered little.
Regardless of the quality of this game and your particular preferred flavor of fighting game, Mortal Kombat X is visually impressive, true to the latter entries in the Mortal Kombat franchise, but for fans in Australia, it's hard to be optimistic about how much of the original game will make it past the classification board.
Mortal Kombat X is due for release in September 2015, coinciding with the release of the film franchise reboot starring TV’s favorite libertarian Kiefer Sutherland. The game is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.