We’re far from being prude here at Games Asylum, but having watched a Mortal Kombat X fatality reel earlier this week we were left thinking that NetherRealm’s latest pushes the boundaries of acceptability somewhat.
Long ago, fatalities in MK games were mostly crass – dropping an arcade cabinet onto a hapless foe’s head, and such – but in MKX they all seem…pretty disgusting. Faces are shaven clean off, brains slide out of the top of pierced skulls and intestines dribble over the floor, all in a disturbingly realistic manner. We never expect a MK game to be tasteful, but nor do we expect one to be just plain gross.
Perhaps Warner Bros. were hoping to spark some good old gaming controversy – the kind this franchise has thrived upon. No longer do elaborate codes have to be consigned to memory to perform fatalities either. Well, that’s the case for those with money to burn – the game launched alongside an IAP that allows for simplified fatalities. Two button presses instead of four, apparently – £3.99 gets you 30. Perhaps we should be grateful that there aren’t IAPs for easier combos. Simplified fatalities won’t help players win matches, after all.
Gratuitous guts, gore and grizzle aside, MKX’s core mechanics are seemingly sound. It would also seem that we’re in the minority in thinking that it’s a little too violent for its own good – VideoGamer called it “hilariously brutal” while The Metro reckons that it’s “just tongue-in-cheek enough not to offend”. Both outlets gave it an 8/10, which is the score most European sites are dishing out. A few US sites have gone for 9/10s, which isn’t entirely unexpected – Mortal Kombat always goes down a storm in the US but is mostly met with the shrugging of shoulders in the UK. The same always goes for Twisted Metal, not that we’ve had a new one of those for a while.
The long awaited PC version of GTA V is the only other retail release for this week, boasting of “eye opening” 4K resolution visuals. It’s a conversion that has been a long time coming and there’s no reason to doubt that it hasn’t been worth the wait.
Goat Simulator, meanwhile, leaps from PC to Xbox One and Xbox 360 on Friday. Don’t fence this one in with those notoriously horrid PC simulator games – centred squarely on destruction, Goat Simulator isn’t po-faced in the slightest. It even has a Flappy Bird clone tucked away somewhere.
Costume Quest 2 is another making a late appearance, this time on PS3 and PS4. General opinion when it launched on Xbox/PC that it wasn’t up to the original’s high standard of stupidity. £11.99 also seems a little steep considering it has been discounted on Xbox Live recently.
2D boss rush adventure Titan Souls (£11.99 with PS4/PS Vita cross buy) also launches on PSN this week. It has been likened as a 2D version of Shadow of the Colossus due to its focus on boss battles. Dark Souls (sigh) is another that it has been compared to – it takes one hit to kill your foes and one hit for them to kill you.
Unsurprisingly given the very nature of the game, reviews have been mixed – everything from The Metro’s 5/10 (“it feels a lot more interesting in theory than it does in the endless repetition of actually playing it”) to PC Gamer’s 87 percenter (“One singular great idea is the foundation for a smart and occasionally thrilling action puzzler”).
Other new PSN arrivals include the intriguing pixel art murder mystery Home – A Unique Horror Adventure (PS4/PS Vita – £3.99 or £2.00 with PS Plus), the colourful twin-stick shooter WE ARE DOOMED (PS4 – £7.99 or £7.19 with PS Plus) and the isometric, and dully titled, Alien Shooter (PS Vita – £6.49).
The PS3 gets a look in too thanks to Nordic Games giving Red Faction II, Summoner and Alter Echo a re-release. These crusty old PS2 not-quite-classics – formerly published by THQ – are set to cost £3.99. Summoner was a PS2 launch game, if memory serves, while garishly coloured platformer Alter Echo was one of the publisher’s uber flops. We very much doubt it has stood the test of time seeing it wasn’t all that great to begin with.
Next week: Tropico 5 (PS4) and another bunch of downloads. Happy Wars on Xbox One is a likely candidate