Review by Nathan Miller
Available Now on Xbox One, PS4, and PC
Mortal Kombat will always cause the weak of heart to squirm all the while deliver a phenomenal fighting experience that is always doing more than its competitors. Netherrealm stuffed this game fuller than a Thanksgiving turkey with various new game modes, a massive Krypt filled with a grip of unlocks, and a bunch of characters with three different fighting styles each. Of course, Mortal Kombat would not be the game it is without the over excessive violence and blood which I can tell you is in full effect in this entry. Whether it be a Fatality or a Brutality, players will have to make sure there are no small children in the immediate area whenever they decide to do one. Mortal Kombat is not only about the violence as it once was in its heyday. There is a real depth of gameplay and technique that makes classic match-ups different and fun depending on the player's choice. Of course, Mortal Kombat X has a few flaws but as you will read in this review: The good outweighs the bad nine out of ten times.
After the events of Mortal Kombat (9), Earthrealm has lost many of its heroes to the forces of evil. The need of a new generation of heroes is answered by the offsprings and descendants of Earth's mightiest. As a fallen elder god (Shinnok) seeks to consume the Earth's life force from Raiden's sky temple, he is stopped and imprisoned by the power of his own amulet. A treaty between the realms was erected as years flew by from that near disastrous event. As a rebellion stirs in the Netherrealm, Shinnok's amulet makes its way back into the limelight. Earth realms newest heroes set out to maintain the treaty between realms as they search for the truth behind the resurgence of the amulet. Familiar faces return with both good turned evil and evil turned good which leads to many surprises and questions.
- Cassie Cage - Daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade.
- D'Vorah - An insect controlling insect-like woman.
- Ermac - The multiple souled creation of Shao Kahn returns.
- Erron Black - Gunslinger for hire.
- Ferra/Torr - Dwarf woman with brute warrior.
- Jacqui Briggs- Daughter of Jax.
- Jax - Robotic arms/Ex-Special Forces
- Johnny Cage - Ex-movie star turned Special Forces.
- Kano - Black Dragon Mercenary.
- Kenshi - Blind Swordsman.
- Kitana - Former Princess of the Netherrealm.
- Kotal Kahn - Current Emperor of Netherrealm.
- Kung Jin - Shaolin monk who uses a bow and arrow.
- Kung Lao - Razor sharp hat wielding Shaolin monk.
- Liu Kang - Earth Realms original hero.
- Mileena - Bastard daughter of Shao Kahn.
- Quan Chi - Sorcerer serving under Shinnok.
- Raiden - God of Thunder.
- Reptile - Humanoid reptile martial artist.
- Scorpion - Last Shirai Ryu clan member.
- Skinnok - Former Elder God seeking vengeance.
- Sonya Blade - Promoted to General in the Special Forces.
- Takeda - Son of Kenshi who trained under Scorpion.
As for DLC: Goro was a pre-order bonus but can be purchased either way for $4.99. Jason from Friday the 13th will be added to the mix along with Predator (Yes, the one you are thinking) as guest characters. Tanya and Tremor will make a playable return to the series as well.
Mortal Kombat X plays nearly identical to the last entry of the series, but Netherrealm added new elements and old aspects back from previous entries that have been absent for a while. Fatalities, x-ray attacks, environmental interactions, and juggling combos all come back unchanged. Brutalities have returned giving players the option to skillfully annihilate an opponent by having them follow certain requirements throughout the match in order to pull one off. For example, Mileena's Brutality requires her to do a "ball roll" attack at least five times throughout the match before pulling off the final hit with one last roll. While hitting the opponent with the final roll, the player must hold the down button in order to execute the Brutality. A huge change that adds a new depth in what character or even choice a player makes before a match is the new class variations each fighter was given. There are three class variations for each fighter that can either have a subtle change between the fighting styles or completely change the approach of how you would control that fighter. For example: Ferra/Torr is a character that consists of two people, but there is a variation where you can use Torr alone as Ferra watches from the sidelines. Ferra is usually thrown as a projectile by Torr, so this class variation makes it necessary to get close and dirty. These two gameplay mechanics make this entry a step up from the last one. Also, it helps keep the game fresh because there is more to master in the long run.
As for gameplay modes, online multiplayer returns with 1 vs 1, king of the hill, survival, and a few special modes like "Test Your Luck" (which adds special elements like falling meteors to matches). The hot new game mode added for MKX is the faction war. When you initially start the game, you are given the choice to pick from five factions that are within the MK universe to fight for. As you battle and complete challenges in the game, you earn war points that bolster your factions status in the war. The more points you earn, the better your faction will do. After a certain amount of time, an invasion of earthrealm will occur and the leading faction will be dubbed the champion of the war. During the invasion, players can fight against an invasion boss, do a special invasion tower, or continue doing challenges in order to hopefully lead their faction to victory. It is a very unique game mode that adds opportunities to unlock special faction kills (fatalities) and other special content. On top of that, there are living towers that change daily, hourly, or occasionally (premier) that have special conditions added to 5-10 opponent battles. There was a premier tower for Mortal Kombat 1 that gave you a special emoticon, border, and background for your name if completed. It is important to equip those unlocks because they will provide you with bonuses depending on what is important to you. Some give koins for doing a fatality and others provide extra experience for completing matches.
The tremendous amount of content and unlocks pushes the value of Mortal Kombat X past its competitors. Netherrealm took no shortcuts in delivering a full packaged game that does not depend on downloadable content to keep the player interested. The kyrpt of unlocks pushes players to do living towers or play versus friends, so they can gather up enough koins to continue their mini-adventure for loot. The krypt was done in a way that is reminiscent of old school PC adventure games where you need to find special items scattered throughout to fully explore every nook and cranny of the area. That is one example of the many awesome details that were poured into this game. Whether it be the character interactions, easter eggs, or appreciation of their roots, Mortal Kombat X recognizes what players want from a game and not just a fighting game. It is not cut and paste experience that can be compared to other fighting games. The story mode is fleshed out and continues the lore that makes its characters stand out, the online modes take into account the longing for something original, and the button mashing madness of Test Your Might is always welcomed by me.
The important aspect of any fighting game is the fighters themselves. The new additions are fantastic and vary from difficult to easy to use. Even though a lot of the new characters are related to current roster fighters, they have their own distinct fighting styles which is very important. You cannot just reskin fighters like companies used to do, and Netherrealm shows just how easy it is to create unique new characters. The current roster is the most diverse group of characters Mortal Kombat has ever had and that in itself is an amazing thing. Mortal Kombat X has the most game modes I have seen in a fighter for quite some time, and it introduced new ones that separate it from all other fighters currently available. The game makes it easy for new players to learn how to play through different tutorial and screen input options, and I have played with friends who are not big fighting game buffs yet still do fairly well regardless of that. The game holds nothing back, blood included, and the new class variations are what make this one of the best fighters currently available.
The gore and the violence can be a bit much. I remember playing at my friend's place (who has a child), and he was horrified that his kid might witness somebody getting ripped apart into pieces. This will not an issue for everyone, but it is one to consider. I had issues with the servers during the first invasion of the faction war that made it impossible to play. It still occurs in a lot of the online modes, but it has gotten better through updates and will not be an issue much longer. Earning koins can be a pain because some modes give way less than they should which makes unlocking items in the krypt frustrating at times. It takes a lot of grinding which makes the DLC to unlock everything tempting. It lead many to question whether the company made earning koins difficult purposely in order to cash out on impatient players. The story in this entry is weaker in comparison to the last game, but it is not that terrible. My main issue with the story is fighting against characters who are not even choosable. Rain is an important character in the story that you fight, yet he is not playable at all. There are a few characters like that which made me question why they were made exclusively for the story and not for versus combat.
Mortal Kombat X has returned with some of the best visuals to date and fighters as well. Even if not all those fighters are currently available, this game is not lacking in content in any shape or form. There is plenty to do and hundreds of unlocks waiting for whoever is up to the task. The faction war adds to the online component of the game and to the offline modes as well thanks to the challenges given for general play through. Living towers help give players something new to do everyday, and the violence (whether you like it or not) is there in all of its glory. Mortal Kombat X freshens up a roster most are familiar with by adding class variations and fantastic new characters. This is a fighting game anybody can get behind.