The Mortal Kombat series has always been flagged concerned individuals as inappropriate for the youth due to its strong violence and theme.
These elements are form the core of Mortal Kombat and gives it a purpose of being, instead of pulling it back. From that point on, every game from this famed franchise offered a little more blood and gore presence, to which fans responded favorably; Fatalities became more and more stomach-churning, brutal and of course, original. Does Mortal Kombat X offer the same experience players have had over the years with the franchise? This is what we are here to find out!
Taking place a few years after the events that led to the death of Shao Kahn, Shinnok, the antagonist of this installment declared war and attacked Earthrealm with his army. Raiden and Fujin teamed up and fought against this lord. After stealing Shinnok’s amulet, Raiden manages to imprison him; Quan Chi promptly escapes. However, after searching thoroughly, Johnny Cage and Sonya temporarily defeated him, thus restoring Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Jax to their human forms. That amulet must remain in safe hands, but unfortunately, things go sour pretty quickly.
The game’s Story Mode follows the events of Mortal Kombat (2011). Just like a Saturday morning cartoon, the dialog, as well as the plot, are both awful and silly. Although it is bad, it has enough elements to keep you intrigued and entertained. It’s presented as chapters, each of which resolve around a single character.
Unlike any other games from the series, Mortal Kombat X introduces a new element which allow players to choose one of three combat variations for each available character. Let’s take a classic fighter as an example, Scorpion. While Scorpion’s trademark moves are Spear, Teleport and Demon Fire, his skill set, as well as his costume, change depending on the variation you select. As mentioned earlier, there are three for each fighters. For Scorpion, they’re Inferno, Hellfire and Ninjutsu. While Inferno allows the icon to summon demonic minions to aid him, Inferno adds interesting fire-based moves. As for Ninjutsu, it permits Scorpion to use Dual Swords as offensive weapons. Regardless of the kombatant you choose, their variation will completely change their gameplay and their combos. Unfortunately, a different variation does not mean that you will perform dissimilar X-Ray or Finishing move.
Just like in Mortal Kombat (2011), NetherRealm Studios implemented the X-Ray bar. There are three levels to it: Enhanced, Breaker and X-Ray. During a fight, your meter will slowly fill up, which, depending on the situation you are in, allows you to consume a certain amount from it to perform helpful techniques. X-Ray, naturally, is the strongest of the three; if the hit is successful, your fighter will enter a quick CG phase where your opponent will be punished with bone-breaking and blood-gushing maneuvers. Impressive as they are, they pack quite a punch, especially when performed as a chain to your combos. Although each kombatant has but a single X-Ray, they never become dull; it doesn’t matter how many time you see it.
Finishers, on the other hand, don’t need any experience or meter to be performed. Like every other MK game out there, once you have dropped your enemy’s health to zero, you get to decide his fate. Will you let him fall helplessly on the ground, or will you feed the soil with blood? Unlike X-Rays, which are limited to one per fighter, kombatants have a variety of finishing moves to perform. Many of them require you to be at a certain distance from your opponent, others might need you to be in the air. Fortunately for those who aren’t as agile with button combinations, MKX’s feature permits players to perform ‘Easy Finishers’ by simply holding the right trigger and pressing one other button. In this Mortal Kombat game, everyone will be able to experience and perform Fatalities. Brutalities, however, are a little tricky to perform, since they require you to input the correct button sequence during a combo, all of which has to happen while your opponent is super low on health. They aren’t as impressive as Brutalities from older Mortal Kombat games, but they are nice enough to learn.
Throughout the generations, Mortal Kombat games have been an excellent setting for local player versus player. In MKX, this hasn’t changed. There were different elements being added over the years, introducing components such as X-Rays, 3D arenas and more. In this iteration, NetherRealm Studios introduced a face-off like feature. When selecting your character, right before going to the loading page, both fighters stare at each other while leaving the screen. This adds a little more tension to the fight as if you were looking deep into your opponent’s soul before the beating debuts.
If you wish to test your skills outside the Story Mode, you may tackle the different challenges Towers offers. There, you can take on the classic tower with various difficulty modes, Test Your Luck, Test Your Might, Endless, Survivor, and Living Tower. While Endless, Survivor and Classic are straight forward to understand, the others offer players a little more to go by. Just like in Mortal Kombat (2011), Test Your Luck cripples you with status effect. During that time, you must defeat your opponent. If you are lucky enough, you will get something that drains your health over time. Test Your Might, on the other hand, doesn’t put you in a fighting ring; you are asked to mash buttons like crazy in order to chop and break different elements. Failing to do so will result in your execution. As for Living Tower, it is a mode that offers various challenges that change every hour.
Everything you do in Mortal Kombat X will reward you with currency and experience. The currency can be used in the Krypt, a hollow place that can be visited from the game where you can unlock artworks, new costumes, Finish Him moves, and more. This is what keeps players in the game; the want to unlock cool new stuff. Unfortunately, investing but a puny $20 will grant you access to everything the Krypt keeps secret. Experience, on the other hand, can’t be purchased; it has another utility. When you first enter the game, you are asked to chose a faction: Lin Kuei, Black Dragon, White Lotus, Special Forces, and Brotherhood of Shadow. In order to help out your clan, you must perform certain achievements, as well as gain faction experience; only then will you increase your chance to grant your allegiance bonuses. It is a war more than it’s a tournament!
Since you will be doing a lot of fighting, it was crucial for the developers to make the game as fluid as possible. Set aside the mediocre first-person Krypt exploration mechanics, Mortal Kombat X looks fantastic. Not only are the character details convincing, but the background looks as good as it is alive. Compared to other games sharing the same genre, Mortal Kombat X is at the moment the best looking fighting game, by far. Many other titles offer a fluid experience, but most of them ended up having slow-paced fighting. However, NetherRealm designed MKX to feature both fluid and eye-easy graphics, as well as a fast-paced gameplay.
If visuals were on point, then sound effects and other audio features had to be on a par. Fortunately, they are. Although music isn’t as important as it is in games from franchises such as Final Fantasy or even Gears of War, for example, Mortal Kombat X focuses on captivating players otherwise. As a matter of a fact, there is a lot of work put into special effects when it comes to bones breaking, blood gushing and fighters expressing pain through screams. It might all be within the MK universe, but the effects sound so realistic and convincing that players will be shouting “Wooshh!!!” and “OOHHH” at times.
Another moment when you will be proud enough to shout has to be when you defeat a challenging opponent online. The gaming industry promotes eSports nowadays; having a ranked leaderboard puts you as a player on the map against others. Of course, online means you are playing against strong foes; it won’t be surprising to face players stronger than any AI you have ever faced. You don’t necessarily have to put your ranking on the line when playing online, but if you take the game seriously and wish to become a lot stronger, than that is where you will have to fight from now on.
In the end, Mortal Kombat X does what it was supposed to do; it delivers a memorable gameplay experience filled with intense and bloody moments. It is by far not only the best looking Mortal Kombat game ever designed, but thanks to the variations fighters have, it is the one with the best competitive potential. Of course there are some fighters that have incredibly strong skill sets, but in general, they are pretty much balanced on the battlefield. What is most impressive, however, isn’t how disgusting Fatalities and Brutalities have become, but how original most of them are. Who ever though of breaking one’s jaw and taking a selfie with the victim before sharing it on social media must really have though about this thoroughly.
Just like most fans, I have been waiting for Mortal Kombat X for a while now; Ed Boon and his team really got me fired up for it since last year. When Mortal Kombat (2011) came out, I wasn’t convinced. However, after getting acquainted with MKX, it became my favorite. When I got the opportunity to give it a test run a few months ago, it didn’t feel complete, but regardless, I knew that it had the potential to set itself on top.
Personally, I am a Scorpion fan, so it came to no surprise to my friends when he was the first character I’ve played when the game launched. I did decide to give everyone a test run and the unexpected happened, I turned from a Hellfire player to a Bojutsu one. The fact that fighters now have three variations really adds a punch to the game. However, my new favorite feature, has to be the face-offs. After selecting your character and the stage, right before going to the loading page, both blood-thirsty warriors stare at each other while leaving the screen. Even though it’s just a game, it feels as though everything is personal, and I like that.