A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mortal Kombat X is an extraordinarily violent fighting game with some of the most extreme depictions of characters killing one another ever seen. Fighters can do things such as punch holes in opponents' chests to reveal their spines, use swarms of bugs to eat flesh to the bone, and cut skulls in half to let their brains ooze out. Killing enemies is up to players, but even nonlethal attacks mid-match can show graphic depictions of blood and gore, including X-ray shots of bones being broken and organs getting shredded. All the combatants clearly take pleasure in carrying out these gory attacks and executions. Players also will encounter strong but infrequent profanity, including "f--k."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
MORTAL KOMBAT X -- the first of NetherRealm's popular fighting games to be released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (plus Windows PC) -- sticks to its immediate predecessor's format by rendering environments and characters in lush three-dimensional graphics but restricting movement to a two-dimensional plane. Fighters can move left and right and jump but can't move into the foreground or background. As usual, players must learn complex button combinations to make characters carry out intricate attacks and execution moves. Though it has a short story covered by context-oriented fights with several characters, most players will spend the bulk of their time in other modes, including online matches against human players and classic tower challenges against computer-controlled foes. There's also a persistent meta-game where gamers join and earn points for one of five factions over the course of a week, as well as a Krypt mode where players spend virtual coins earned through fights on extra bits of content and special features, such as easier button combinations for fatalities.
Is it any good?
Mortal Kombat X is clearly not intended for young players. Its extraordinarily violent attacks and fatalities -- which somehow manage to trump even those of its 2011 predecessor, Mortal Kombat, in their imaginative gore -- could prove difficult even for some grown-up gamers to stomach. But beyond the blood and viscera is a very well-made fighting game that's accessible to casual players and simultaneously rewarding for more dedicated gamers who invest time in learning each character's seemingly endless array of attacks.
New character variants, which grant special themed styles and moves to specific fighters, allow players to experiment in fun new ways. Plus, there's no shortage of side modes and challenges -- the faction-based meta-game is especially clever -- to provide brief distractions, should players grow tired of butting heads against other humans on the couch or online. Plus, it's easily the most graphically sophisticated fighting game yet made, featuring deeply detailed character models and silky smooth animations. For older fighter fans mature enough to tolerate the cringe-inducing violence, Mortal Kombat X could be a real treat.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Is the violence in Mortal Kombat X tolerable because it's so completely over the top? Should games never go as over the top as this game does?
Discuss the depiction of different genders, races, and apparent sexual orientations. Does it matter that one of the characters, Kung Jin, is rumored to be gay? Do you think he conforms to or runs against homosexual stereotypes? Do the other characters fit stereotypes of their races or genders?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Release date: April 14, 2015
- Genre: Fighting
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.