Continuing the ruthless and merciless chaos, Mortal Kombat X
was announced in 2014 when a short teaser trailer was revealed showing iconic fighters Scorpion and Sub-Zero duking it out in a frozen forest. Since then players have been treated to story tidbits and character trailers which reveal brand new characters to the series along with returning, and quite aged, classics. Is the tenth official installment the best fighting game of the new generation or simply a rehash of the last title?
Scorpion v Ferra/Torr
In 2011, Mortal Kombat
provided fans with a reboot of the franchise with an interesting take on the original game's storyline. Mortal Kombat X
takes place 25 years after this alternate timeline, and follows many of the new and classic fighters in the series as they battle the forces of Shinnok, the fallen Elder God. The story mode can be completed in 4-5 hours (less if a player is very good at kombating and skips cutscenes) making it feel shorter than the previous Mortal Kombat
includes fresh faces such as Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, Kung Jin, and Takeda Takahashi in a growing cast of characters, expanding the alternate universe into something more complex. The story is interesting and continues from the last game's ending presenting a fresh connection between characters after so many years. However, the dialogue within the cutscenes suffers from far too much exposition, creating awkward breaks in fighting to listen to the enemy's history at inappropriate times. Understandably, the exposition detailing the backstory between the pact with Earthrealm and Outworld makes sense to explain in the game, but character history would have been better left in a written profile or unlockable video.
One of the game's new features is the addition of quick-time events in the cutscenes between matches. Initially, this feature was a surprise, as there is no prior warning to it, but a sufficient amount of time to execute the QTE is provided. Although this adds something for the player to do during pauses for cutscenes, it is gimmicky and laughably easy to perform, with only one instance of being able to perform a Fatality during a cutscene. This could have been used as an instructional sequence for players to practice the fighters' Fatalities.
provides the same 2D plane experience as the last game, but with many new additions to gameplay. The most notable change in the gameplay mechanics are the three variations of the character you can select from. Each comes with their own fighting style which, although similar, are all unique. For example, Sub-Zero utilizes the Grandmaster, which creates ice clones that he can shield himself with or throw; Cryomancer, which allows him to create ice weapons; and Unbreakable, which gives him a defensive frozen aura and a barrier he can generate. These new variations to each character provide a new form of mastery for hardcore players, adding to the complex layer of mechanics involved while also giving a wider range of choice. Choosing a defensive variation of a character against the heavy, damage-dealing Flame Fist of Liu Kang is one of the smartest decisions that players can make.
Another new addition are the introduction of Factions, providing players with five to choose from: the White Lotus, Brotherhood of Shadow, Lin Kuei, Black Dragon, and Special Forces. Fortunately, those unhappy with their initial choice can switch at anytime. Throughout the game you earn experience and level up, but a portion of those experience points are also transferred to your Faction. That Faction XP serves a meta game which pitches Faction against Faction, with people competing all over the world in order to make their Factions better than the others. This is a fun way to compete with others as players brag about their group being more superior in the scoreboards.
The famous Krypt is also back, and with it a new horror that lurks through its graveyard. A warning to players out there to keep their wits about them while spending their hard earned koins... bring an extra pair of undies. The Krypt provides what it has always provided throughout MK
history: concept art, Fatality instructions, alternative costumes and more. Players will explore and run through the graveyard in first-person perspective, which provides an eery and dreadful feeling as creepy sounds come from all directions.Mortal Kombat X
does a fantastic job at bringing online players closer together, as well as creating a fun new way for players to challenge friends with Tower Challenges. Kombatants can create their own challenges, set with match modifiers, and issue those challenges to friends in order test their might. Living Towers is a change up from the original Towers and is surprisingly entertaining. This mode features Hourly, Daily, and Weekly updates to the randomly generated towers and gives random modifiers to the player's matches, making it feel like a fresh experience every time you climb. Players may even encounter Dragon Challenges which offer Koin rewards, giving fighters more incentive on trying to complete them under the harsh conditions of a random modifier.
Other new gameplay mechanics make their way into this new installment, such as Environmental Interactables. When an object on a map flashes, players can press RB to interact with it, which initiates actions such as boosting across the map to throwing an old lady. This is coupled with the all-new energy bar, located beneath the health bar, which prevents continuous spamming with interactables and rushing. These new additions make gameplay feel more fluid and natural as you have a better grasp of controlling the map and positions between you and your opponent.
The soundtrack found in the game provides good ambiance while also retaining the classic feel and tempo expected of a game in the franchise. The real factor that makes this game so visceral is the utilization of gruesome and horrid sound effects whilst initiating X-rays and Fatalities. Without these sounds, the game wouldn't make kombatants cringe as Cassie Cage crushes her opponent's testicles with an uppercut. MKX
does a fantastic job with noises associated with cutting flesh, bubbling blood, organs sliding to the floor and more to make the weak of heart lose their lunch.
MKX Kano v Sub-Zero
also adds a load of online match variety types like Versus, Team Battle, King of the Hill, and Tower Battles, each very similar with minor difference in requirements. These match types feel redundant, with no exceptionally different qualities that make them unique from one another. King of the Hill's Survivor mode, however, is interesting as you will continuously compete against players online with no resetting your health after a match, making it increasingly difficult to win consecutively.
Unfortunately, connection issues are crippling the online play, as many times in the match players will begin to chug or lag. In the Xbox One version of the title, mild cases of texture popping occur during entry cutscenes and when transitioning into fighting with the character's skin and outfit.
The achievements, as always with NetherRealm games, are quite intimidating. They are difficult because they are grindy and require a lot hours doing repetitive tasks. Reaching high levels and completing a massive amount of Tower wins are necessary in order to complete many of these achievements, which can make the game, as usual in the series, start to feel exhausting.
Kotal Kahn v Scorpion
SummaryMortal Kombat X
excels in the field of gory action, gruesome sound effects, gameplay mechanics, the Tower mode and building up the alternate timeline's universe. Fans of the series and players just picking up the game can enjoy dismembering one another. However, it also has its downsides which include lengthy expositions on characters' histories during cutscenes, unnecessary QTEs, redundant online match types, lagging online matches, and a short storyline which all coalesce into making the tenth installment miss out on becoming an exceptional title for the new generation of gaming.
The reviewer spent eight hours conducting violent and visceral dismemberment and gained 11 out of the 60 achievements. Sadly, the reviewer will require a lot more time to be put into dismembering poor kombatants and looks forward to sampling the Kombat Pack. An Xbox One copy of the game was provided by Warner Bros Interactive for the purpose of this review.