Mortal Kombat X review

mortal kombat x -  johnny cage

NetherRealm’s newest installment in their most popular franchise is back featuring Scorpion, Sub-Zero and 23 other Mortal Kombatants. The fighting game is back for the most visceral and over-the-top deadly kombat that has ever been seen in Mortal Kombat.

Mortal Kombat X is the series’ first time on the new-gen consoles and by all means they did not disappoint with extremely detailed visuals featuring the most customizable experience ever. Features such as online modes, a fleshed out story mode, and even the the Krypt return. New features include Faction Wars which enables a more social experience and rewards the players that are a part of the winning faction, and Living Towers, an always online mode which changes on fixed time schedules and add more variety to the normal tower experience from past games.

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Story

Mortal Kombat has no fear when it comes to messing with time while telling a story. While the previous entry had Raiden using his powers to change the past, this time the story is set over 20 years in the future while being augmented with flashback segments showing events that have forged the characters into the spine breaking, throat slitting warriors we all know them to be. The story is centered around the new generation of kombatants and a civil war between the NetherRealm and Outworld, as well as former elder god Shinnok and his Sorcerer/Necromancer Quan Chi and their plot to revive Shao Kahn, so that he may once again rise back to power.

The story mode consistently splits my opinion of it. At times I would find myself completely involved with characters and the plot, and then there were moments where the story often became too convoluted and uninteresting, or just too predictable. While Netherrealm did a good job of putting together an overall plot and cast of characters, the time spent with each of them is so short that it prevented any chance for major character development. Since the story mode only clocks in around 3-4 hours, it serves its purpose of having you sample as many of the characters as possible to find a character that matches your play style in a low stakes environment. The story definitely qualifies as the smallest portion of the game as is the case with most fighting games.

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Gameplay

This is the bread and butter of fighting games and can ultimately decide whether or not fighting games sink or swim. Thankfully Mortal Kombat succeeds in this area while the pacing of the combat is slower than its multiple rival franchises. It succeeds in improving upon the mechanics from both Injustice and previous MK installments. Environmental interactions are back and more creative than past games, and can range anywhere from the jumping off walls to get out of a corner or my favorite option of  grabbing innocent bystanders and using them as your weapon to bludgeon your opponent.

For me the biggest and most unwanted change to the combat is the addition of a block button. Whereas most fighting games have you pressing the back button, MKX decided to go with a button to hold when you want to guard yourself from incoming damage. (Fans may love the classic addition.) This by far played the biggest role in the adjusting to the game. However, the combo system is more fluid than ever. You have the ability to cancel out of certain combos to extend the chain in multiple ways, and that is the beauty of the system. However, for fans of other popular fighting franchises, the input system for Mortal Kombat X is very different and may lose newcomers to the franchise. There are also a few controller options that can deter some fighting fans such as release check, alternate controls and input shortcuts. While those terms will seem like gibberish, they all have a profound effect on performing combos, especially for the newer players. I myself had a rough time with learning how to chain together multiple combos together because of the release check option, which alters how and when you have to input your combos from traditional means.

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Features

The roster of characters is sometimes the most anticipated part of a fighting game. With it being a Mortal Kombat game, we all knew to expect staples such as Scorpion and Sub-Zero; however, NetherRealm turned the character dial up to 11 with MKX. With one third of the 25 character roster being completely new characters ranging from Cassie Cage, the child of series veterans Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, or Ferra/Torr, a netherrealm child and giant that have formed a symbiotic relationship to fight for and protect each other.

Along with the respectable cast featured, each character comes with 3 variations, each of which give the character extra unique moves, combinations, and even special brutalities. These subtle changes help keep the game fresh because you can’t always use the same strategy against each variation. The same opponent you just bested 2 rounds in a row can surprise you with a move that you may not have realized they had.

The main menu is one thing that did bother me. For those of you who didn’t pre-order the game, the main page will tease you with purchasing the four-armed giant known as Goro. There are also 4 more characters on the way via DLC including classic characters like Tremor and Tanya as well as guest appearances by both  Predator and Friday the 13th’s famous killer Jason Voorhees.

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One of my favorite and least favorite things about MKX is that even new players can feel the joy of pulling off the over-the-top flashy X-ray specials which are all set to simply pressing two buttons. This also means that it can be used at nearly anytime by anyone regardless of skill level, so this 30+% combo is more of a “when your opponent will use it” than if they can.

MKX didn’t stop at making X-ray specials with simple inputs, they also included ways to skip fights or perform Fatalities with simple 2 button combos as well. However you are limited to these simple inputs by the number of fatality tokens you own. After draining your initial supply you can replenish them by exploring the Krypt or through micro-transactions, compared to just learning the extra 2-3 inputs and performing the fatality normally as in the past.

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After clearing the story you really have two options, either jump into the online arena and use what little combos and special moves you may have picked up in the short 3-4 hours you spent there, or you can test yourself in the tower mode that you can use to practice your combos on computer opponents that will scale based on the difficulty of your choosing.

Also the Test Your Might and Test Your Luck Towers make a return, giving you a way to take a break from the normal game modes and give you a bit of variety. The Test Your Might Tower challenges you with 10 levels, breaking objects that increase in size by button mashing as fast as you can within the 10 second time limit. It starts off slow with small blocks of wood and goes all the way up to a titanium MK emblem that for some will be frustratingly difficult. Now the Test Your Luck Tower allows you to fight with the ability to have up to 7 random modifiers that will either buff or debuff both fighters or even alter the environment that you will be fighting in. These random modifiers can range from health regens, ice fists, random earthquakes or portals and many others that will either make you laugh or infuriate you to no end.

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Now the online arena is where MKX shines the most, featuring multiple game modes ranging from your standard 1 V 1, team battles, all the way to its best mode, King of the Hill, which allows you to join up with groups of players and fight to see who can win the most matches in a row. In between your own matches, you have the choice of watching the current match, practicing on your own, and socializing with other players in the room via expression wheels with predesignated phrases. For every beating you give your opponents, you also earn points for your faction for the ongoing faction war. These faction wars are decided by the players. Each person is given the choice of 5 factions to choose from, and as your faction accumulates enough points, they will unlock features for the players of that faction.

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Now if I had to pick one feature in the game that stood out above the others, it would definitely be the Krypt. While many games have you select unlocks from a menu, MKX has you exploring a digital Krypt to spend the coins you have accumulated in other game modes. Progressing through this mode you will be able to unlock costumes, brutalities, fatalities, concept art, and music as well as the new currency of simple fatality and skip tokens. Also in order to fully progress, you will need to collect various items such as Raiden’s staff and Kung Lao’s hat in order to traverse through various parts of the Krypt. Also occasionally while exploring you have the opportunity to earn more coins in the form of surprise attacks from spiders, wolves, and other supernatural enemies that will randomly attack you from time to time.

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With this being the 10th installment for NetherRealm’s flagship game, it appears they have held nothing back. While I haven’t had time to explore everything the game has to offer, I have put in enough hours to make my judgement for this extremely gruesome fighter. Unfortunately the story this time around was lacking with its most interesting parts only coming into the picture during the last few chapters of the game. This is the least important part when it comes to fighting games. Key features of the game are a strong online mode that will grow as more time passes, a fast and fluid combo system, the interactive unlocking Krypt system, along with new characters and some of the best fatalities the series has ever seen. While early hours with Mortal Kombat X were difficult to adjust to with the changes made to the fighting system, others and I learned the new features and each acclimated to the system well enough to understand what we were doing well enough to stand on our own and enjoy what we were doing and keep us coming back for more. Mortal Kombat X is currently available for PS4, XBox One, and PC and will be released on PS3 and XBox 360 on June 2nd.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

4 Atoms

 

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Jada Griffin
Jada Griffin 334 posts

Legends tell of a princess captured and raised by Ninjas to be their future leader. Jada was trained from an early age to max the luck stat, always strike first and to never surrender.

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