Next week (April 14, 2015) will release the latest installment in the Mortal Kombat saga. A series started in 1992 on an arcade machine and renowned for its violence (KeZzaX also finds that fatalities are more gory than ever). This new game will be released on PS4, XBox One, PS3, XBox 360 (release announced mid-August on these last two media), PC but also iPad, iPhone and Android. After the reboot that was MK9, its sequel must debut in an equivalent of MK4 and the story mode extend for 25 years. Like any game from a strong license, its expectation is accompanied by questions, fears and hopes. Here is a small list of mine. I concede that some points may only concern me, and that I can forget others (excluding "there is not my favorite character announced").
I'll start with my concerns:
- The absence of John Tobias. Among the two founders of the saga, Ed Boon was a programmer while his partner managed a more artistic side (appearance of the characters for example). Author-designer, he was also involved in comics that had come out to present the first games of the saga. After its departure, the license experienced a disparaged / unloved period on the PS2 / XBox generation of consoles. An example of his differences of opinion with Ed Boon? In the comic of Mortal Kombat 2, it shows a very technological and modern Lin Kuei, preparing the arrival of the cyborgs of MK3. The Lin Kuei of the games where Ed Boon was alone at the controls (including MKX according to some trailers) is a group of timeless, almost anachronistic ninjas. John Tobias could therefore be compared to the MK Legacy web-series while Ed Boon would be on the side of films (and I would say the second rather than the first), with the kitsch and a little cheesy side that that implies.
- A slightly light roster. 24 characters are announced base. MK9 had over 30, MK Armageddon had over 60 (although most were barely edited covers of the previous two games). Of course, we do not play with everyone (except to unlock certain achievements). But you have to break some monotonies in arcade arcade mode. And for the story mode it's even worse. MK9 and Injustice (the studio's last two fighting games) saw some of the characters being used as a punching bag. Especially since some chapters needed fights against these punching bags to legitimize their existence. MKX will have characters that we can face in the story mode. But then why not have them finished and included in the roster?
- The DLC. The game is not released that we know the first five characters that will have to be purchased separately. The first is available for free as a pre-order bonus, but still. The others have two guests from cinematic universes, another appeared only in a side game of the franchise and the last is present in the story mode. The timetable given for their release goes until early June. A bit short as a program to add content. Does that mean that other characters will be added later?
- Some items have been announced that can only be unlocked with the mobile version and a special account shared on several media. Interactivity is good. Forcing you to buy several versions to get the full version is less honest.
Then here are my hopes for this game:
- The graphics have taken a leap forward. The first games wanted to stand out from the comic book side of other fighting games at the time, and used digital photos to give their characters a "realistic" look. What had been lost with the switch to 3D. Technology is finally making it possible to return to such a level. This promises a particularly brutal game visually since it is not dampened by cartoon effects.
- The character design of the characters has greatly evolved. In 2D games, the budget limited the outfits. With the switch to 3D, we sank into the kitsch with young ladies whose selling point seemed to be to be almost entirely naked. For these opus, the outfits are more serious. Special Forces really look like military people. And the female characters of fighters (Mileena still goes from thongs in sensitive places to a set that looks like leather armor).
- The teams responsible for Mortal Kombat games know how to renew themselves. Not necessarily by innovating (the famous variations particularly highlighted in the presentation of the game are only the extension of a system which already existed in the copies Deadly Alliance, Deception / Mystification and Armageddon). They don't always make the most expected / claimed choices, but they know how to find nuggets that keep their games alive.
- The cards have been completely reshuffled in MK9. Personally, I hate the very principle of reboot. But in the previous game of the saga, the story mode had been able to change situations without sinking into openings to anything. And in the end, almost all the characters were changed. Anything can happen to them. During its last games, the saga has put forward a strong story. Perhaps even the most important of a fighting game. So much so that in the studio's latest games, this mode has become as important as the classic arcade. So much so that several of the trailers that have appeared in recent weeks pointed to this mode. What surprises will they expect us there?
- The Factions Wars mode seems to highlight a strong online will. So a game that wants to be more community.
- It's a Mortal Kombat (perfectly assumed lack of objectivity).
I already know that this game is going to join my video library. But you ? And what do you fear or what do you expect from this opus?
As a bonus, here is the very last trailer:
And as an ultimate bonus, if you haven't seen it already, the full kasting is below: