Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mortal Kombat X - "Koncerns"

Me, and Mortal Kombat go way back, and I do mean WAY back. As an underage child I initially played the first game of Mortal Kombat in it's arcade cabinet form at Lakeshore Mall with friends when I could. This period of time in which I could do this was definitely the height of my fighting game career as it was the only time arcades really existed in the local area, and was the only time I got to experience fighting games in their natural form. It wasn't until much later that the home console version was released, and that I was able to sneak a copy of the Sega Genesis version home to play when my parents were unaware. From those two early pre-teen experiences my interest in the series peaked, and as I grew older (a good bit older) I made it a point to purchase every MK game that was launched thereafter, because of said experiences. Of course it goes without saying that some MK games were better than others as you more than likely know.

What you have to understand in regards to my later, more in-depth encounters with the Mortal Kombat series is that I grew up in a very strict christian home, and violent games of any sort were not permitted. In fact it wasn't until my 13th birthday that I was allowed to get my first fighter, "Street Fighter II: Championship Ed.", and that was only because I convinced my Mum that it had no blood or gore. I loved the ever loving hell out of that game, but that is a different story for a different time. As far as my history with MK goes it came to fruition more so in my late teen years when my parents let loose of their religious grip. It was a huge step in me being able to experience the video game industry's more mature offerings. You could say that Mortal Kombat paved the way for my video game freedom, and even opened up many more mature entertainment related adventures for myself ... Horror movies, and porn included!

While I'd love to rattle on about my trek into adulthood as a gamer there is a point to this article that needs to be made, and it is in regards to the upcoming release of "Mortal Kombat X". Having kept up to date, on the latest MKX news, and gameplay trailers I have some "Koncerns" about this latest installation in the franchise. Things like the mobile app, the online portion of the game, and the overall look of it definitely have me a bit worried ...

When it comes to the online in MKX, for example certain announcements of it's features from NetherRealm studios have halfheartedly hinted at the fact that the online portion of the game is not wholly important to experiencing what the game has to offer. They said in an interview that the offline portion of the game's engagements will effect the clan/faction standings in a similar way as the online engagements. Having read this my initial thoughts were that something is definitely amiss with MKX's online. This fear was later confirmed by the developer when they stated that online would be region locked, or region specific. Meaning that only US players can play against US players, and so forth, and so on. With the not so distant past release of "INJUSTICE: Gods among Us" having an outright sh*tty online experience I couldn't help, but think that NetherRealm was cutting corners, and trying to find an easy fix to the netcode issues of before.

What they fail to realize is that even if you make the online portion of MKX region exclusive it is not going to fix the problem with the netcode. The US alone is it's own worst enemy when it comes to online fighting game experiences. The quality of internet connectivity across the country is so vastly different from area to area that the netcode can still be shite if it is not adjusted properly. The added fact that they are alienating players (like myself) who wish to play against gamers from other countries is a foolish move on their part, and one that in itself could cripple the game's longevity.

I for one look forward to a fighter's online experience as it is the only way I have to play against a living human being. I'm pretty sure there are others like me out there as well who do not have a local group of friends to turn to when they want to play a fighter such as MKX. The fact that the offline was mentioned as being just as crucial to the online clan/factions portion of the game makes me think that NetherRealm is only half invested in the game's multiplayer experience. As far as the mobile version of MKX goes I feel as if NetherRealm is going to pull the same sh*t they did with the INJUSTICE app, and have certain unlockable features tied solely to it. What does a guy like me who has no mobile devices do when that happens? Nothing. We are just SOL until the "ULTIMATE" edition comes out a year, or more down the road. I'm also fearful that NetherRealm will take it a step further in a CoD (Call of Duty) fashion, and make clan/faction features app exclusive. Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer both shat on their fans when they pulled that dick move, and to see NetherRealm studios follow a similar path would devastate me, and cause me to turn my back on a fighting game franchise I have grown to love. I just hope for the developers sake, and the gamers sake that they do not make such foolish choices.

When it comes to my "Koncerns" about the graphics presentation certain story mode leaks, and official trailer releases have me scratching my head. When MKX was officially revealed through a teaser trailer by NetherRealm studios it looked more realistic, and even more darker than the earlier games in the series ever were. I was truly hyped about it. As time went on though, and more trailers were shown showcasing character reveals within the story mode I began to hate the artistic direction the game was taking. Some characters definitely had a more cartoonish appearance, and looked like something seen in earlier Mortal Kombat games. I was left wondering where the hell did all the gritty realism go? Why does the story mode look so half-assed in visual presentation? With it being so close to launch I don't know how NetherRealm could improve on the graphic details they have already shown, but it definitely needs to be improved upon for new-gen's sake. I'm also "Koncerned" that those Awesome teaser trailers that were shown early on were like the movie trailers of Hollywood showcasing the games finer moments, and leaving the viewer/gamer with a visual journey that is far less impressive than said trailers. I seriously hope that is not the case, but the more I see the character reveals, story mode gameplay, and additional trailers the more worry fills my mind.

In closing I'm pleading to you NetherRealm Studios. PLEASE, for the love of all that is sacred in the Mortal Kombat universe do not fudge this game up with foolish game design decisions!!! Don't be another studio that releases a half-assed gaming experience to your diehard fans. Please do not let us down.

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