Mortal Kombat X – Review
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Release date: 14/04 (PS4/XB1/PC)
Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat x marks the 10th instalment in the franchise, and the series’ first game to release on next gen consoles.
This series, which had fallen on hard times, recently managed to reinvigorate itself in 2011 with a reboot of the series simply titled Mortal Kombat, but does this sequel put up a good enough fight to keep the series relevant?
Mortal Kombat X follows the blue print of the last entry almost entirely, whilst adding a few new ideas that build upon the last games mechanics.
Mortal Kombat is a fast paced fighting game, set in an incredibly gruesome world where combat is the only way to survive, every punch yields blood and every death is brutal.
The controls are simple with short intuitive combos and easy special attacks. It plays very similarly to the street fighter franchise but is not quite as technical.
As you fight your fighter will build up their special meter which has 3 levels of charge; the first segment allows you to use a more powerful version of a special attack, the 2nd level allows the player to perform a combo breaker and break free from a barrage of attacks, whilst a fully powered meter allows you to execute an x-ray attack. An X-ray attack deals massive amounts of damage to your opponent in the form of a gruesomely detailed combination of attacks.
A new addition that has been lifted from the studios last game ‘Injustice’ is the ability to interact with certain areas and items placed on the stage, by bouncing off of walls to flip over your adversaries or by throwing an object to deal some quick extra damage. These stage elements can be turned off for more serious players who prefer a pure fighting experience.Using these contextual moves drains a portion of your fighter’s stamina bar this stops players from abusing such tactics.
Another ability that drains your fighter’s stamina is dashing which can be used to aggressively close the gap between you and your opponent.
The series fatalities make a return and they’re as gruesome as ever, featuring some horrifically inventive ways of mutilating your opponents. Alongside this the new brutality feature which is a new way to quickly and brutally end you enemies by fulfilling certain conditions and dealing the final blow with a specific attack.
The game sports a roster of 24 characters, 25 including the downloadable character Goro included as bonus for those who pre-ordered the game or available separately for download those who didn’t. Every fighter includes 3 different fighting styles which vary the characters, appearance, move sets and characteristics, this means that players can experiment and find which move set fits their play style without learning a completely new character and move set.
There are also a number of different unlockable outfits for characters which are awarded to the player by completing certain actions. Which is a nice addition being able to play as a version of scorpion that has been freed from the clutches of Quan chi and restored to his human self.
Of the 25 character roster, 17 are returning characters that have been playable at one point throughout the series and 8 brand new fighters never before seen in the Mortal Kombat universe.
The new fighters do a good job of diversifying the roster and breathing new life into a franchise that was once plagued with an over abundance pallet swapped of Ninja’s and robot Ninja’s.
One of the main features that helped the 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat stand out was the introduction of a story mode, which helped to give the characters and setting of the game motivations and context, while also providing a more in depth experience for less competitive players.
The story mode overall will last you around 4-6 hours depending how experienced you are, the mode is definitely a worthwhile addition to the game as it does a good job offering extra value for players who aren’t into the competitive online fighting scene. It does a good job of introducing you to the different characters and helps the player feel more connected to the world in which these masochistic fights take place.
In each chapter you take control of a different character for a number of fights, This forces you to learn how to use some of the characters.
It is worth noting that the story mode features 12 chapters which is actually less than 2011’s mortal kombat which featured 16. It feels odd not playing as the majority of the characters available in roster.
How it’s told
The narrative of MKX follows directly on from the previous game. The story mode this time round features some impressive details in the cinematic sequences between fights, greatly showcasing greater interactions between characters and environments. Throughout the story mode there are a handful of Quick Time Events that take place during the cutscenes in which the player is prompted to press the corresponding buttons to control the on screen character during on these sequences. These QTE sequences are good for keeping the player engaged however they do not change anything outside of these scenes and are entirely optional as these sequences can be passed without pressing a single button as there is no penalty for not correctly pressing the button and no way to fail the sequence.
Despite this they do a good job of keeping the player invested by having them interact with the cutscene rather than passively watching. although it would be nice for it to have some impact on the upcoming fight as the feature did in injustice.
However fun the story mode is, it isn’t going to win any awards for its narrative content as the dialogue is content to stay within the realm of cheesy blockbuster action, however how much can you expect from a game featuring inter-dimensional ninja’s and sorcerers.
The main issue with the story is that it does not feel a strong as the previous as it really lacks a main villain for most of the story as he only appears briefly at the being and again at the end, without much build up. As the story lacks the presence of a main villain the plot bounces around between a number of characters with no real strong goal throughout.
Despite this the story mode is still a great addition to game and it leaps and bounds in front of what most fighting games offer.
As you would expect from a fighting game nowadays Mortal Kombat features an extensive online mode offering up a multitude of different modes; standard versus matches, team battles and king of the hill all return from the previous game however there are some new additions such as factions and living towers.
When first booting up the game you’ll be prompted to join one of 5 factions doing so will allow you gain XP for you chosen faction by simply play the game, periodically all you your factions XP will be evaluated against the other groups and whichever faction has the most will win rewards for the every faction member.
The tower modes in the game have you climbing a ladder of increasingly difficult opponents in order to reach the top.
In living towers mode players are given 3 different challenge towers which will change hourly daily and weekly, these towers have you fighting up ladder of increasingly hard opponents some with a random modifier in affect such as health being thrown onto the stage.
There’s also the new challenge tower mode that tasks the player with completing a randomly generated tower and challenging friends to try beat their time.
For offline players there are traditional towers which feature the classic modes from previous games, the klassic tower is the arcade mode, test your luck a tower that randomly selects different modifiers, test your might a mode where you have to mash buttons in order to smash through different objects, endless tower which challenges you to see how many foes you can take down without losing, and survivor which does the same but doesn’t refill your health after each fight.
Also the krypt mode from returns and is more fleshed out than ever allowing you to move around in a first person view exploring graveyards and darks caverns in order to unlock new hidden items such as fatalities, costumes and more. What’s really surprising about this mode is the amount it has to offer you can find items that belong to different characters from the game such as scorpions chain or sub zeros ice ball allowing you to unlock secret areas, also whilst you exploring you have to remain alert as you can be randomly attacked by different creatures hiding behind ever corner.
Overall mortal Kombat x is a worthy successor to the last entry, as it builds on the gameplay making some worthwhile mechanical additions and introduces some interesting new characters.
The one real complaint with have with this game is the way it handles DLC (downloadable content) as the game immediately has 1 character Goro available for download which is a fair tactic to promote preorders and people to buy the game new as it’s included as a bonus in new copies of the game. But it’s the fact that even before the game has released they have advertised the games season pass boasting 5 new characters some of which you can even play against in the game already (Tanya in story mode & Goro in Klassic Tower), whether their move set is completed or not they are on the games disc already.
Also it feels like a bit of a tease playing against characters such as Rain, Sindel & Baraka that have previously been playable and seem to have a pretty fleshed out move set already. We’re hoping they’re going to be made available at a later date.
Despite this though mortal Kombat is an extremely fun game featuring a solid roster of interesting and unique characters, the story mode is great for casual fighters and the online is varied and extremely solid, in our time spent online we only encountered lag once and it was only for a second before correcting itself.
If you’re a fan of fighting games, a fan of the series or just someone who really love gore (we’re not judging) check Mortal Kombat X out!
Newcomers can get warmed up with the story whilst veterans can dive right into the multiplayer!