Mortal Kombat X wants to reinvigorate the world of 2D fighting games.
NetherRealm Studio’s has pumped this latest installment in the legendary series full of blood, gore and fatalities. A slew of new features are meant to offer players more to latch onto than sheer brutality. There’s now a proper Story Mode and interactive arenas to button bash your way around.
Does this mean that Mortal Kombat X has handed an up to the likes of Tekken and Injustice? It has certainly given it its best shot.
Mortal Kombat X’s story mode spans 25 years of MK history, with a narrative that connects characters from old and new. You can play as one of 28 playable characters,including the offspring of the series’ biggest names, like Cassie Cage - daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. There’s also Jax’s daughter Jacqui Briggs.
With each character possessing three different variations, you have 84 possible sets of moves to choose from. For example, everyone’s favourite Scorpion has a Hellfire variation for the pyros amongst you, where he uses mostly fire based moves. Or you can go for his Ninjutsu variation where he wields two swords.
This all adds up to a fairly layered story mode for a fighting game. So there’s subtlety to MK-X, as well as the ability to rip your opponent’s head clean off. One of the games major positives are the cutscenes, which are used to showcase the newly improved graphics as well as giving the fights some context.
The best of the cut scenes definitely being Kotal Kahn’s fight with Baraka’s followers, Mileena and Rain upon a rooftop. If you came for the gore, then wait to see what happens between D’Vorah and Mileena!
However limiting the user interaction in these scenes to the occasional press of a button should either be expanded on or removed entirely.
THE GREAT INJUSTICE
Crucially for MK-X, NetherRealm has now introduced the ability to interact with your surroundings based on where you’re fighting. This is a feature taken from their popular, DC-based fighting game Injustice: Gods Amongst Us.
Fighters are also able to bounce off certain areas to get out of close encounters, or use parts of the environment as weapons. Our favourite is the ability to use an old lady as a club to deal out some serious damage to your opponent.
The new and improved graphics in MK-X only work to aid this chaotic, endless violence we’ve come to love and expect from the Mortal Kombat series. MK-X now runs at 1080p and 60fps, this means you see every collision, drop of blood and shattered bone at a level of clarity never before seen on a MK game.
LIU KANG DO IT
As you’d expect, MK-X offers the usual array of gory game modes such as 1 vs 1, Ranked, King of the Hill and Survivor. There are however two brand new additions.
Faction Wars allows you to compete online in a cross-platform competition against others, with the chance of unlocking new finishing moves - such as Lin Kuei’s ‘Smoke’s Revenge’. It involves smoke taking human form, before dashing forward and beheading your opponent. You choose your faction from five possible choices when you start the game and everything you do contributes to winning points for it.
Living Towers is another a new online mode, where the Kombatants (geddit?) encounter various in-battle modifiers that change every hour. For example if you’re on the ground at certain times, it is electrified and can do damage to your character.
NEW SCHOOL VS OLD SCHOOL
If you’ve followed Mortal Kombat character from the SNES onwards, or somewhere in between, you’re bound to have a favourite character. Thankfully, MK-X has kept almost all of them, from the frosty Sub-Zero to the charged up Raiden. In addition to this, there are eight new playable characters, including the aztec inspired Kotal Kahn who’s the new emperor of the Netherrealm. Our favourite new addition though has to be Ferra/Torr, a young girl sitting on the shoulders of a masked brute, whose collaborative moves provide a new and fiendishly addictive style of gameplay. No other character on the game provides you with the opportunity to tag team your opponent, let alone throwing a knife wielding child at them.
There’s plenty of DLC available on Mortal Kombat X, including the chance to download the four armed Hulk look-alike Goro, Jason Voorhees and Predator from the eponymous movie. Fingers crossed Arnie’s featured in the next game because that is a clash we’d love to play.
In MK-X the fatalities are just as gory as ever, with more body parts being broken, separated and twisted than ever before. For example, Jax’s fatality includes removing three of the opponent’s ribs and stabbing them through their head, before twisting their head 180 degrees. Necessary? We think so.
The energy meter returns which means so do X-Ray moves which give you an ‘inside’ look at which bones you’re breaking or organs you’re splitting. MK-X includes two new finishing moves: Quitality which is to prevent you from angrily leaving multiplayer matches - you’ll have to watch your character get killed in a brutal and creative way. The aforementioned Faction Kills are also specific to whichever faction you’ve dedicated yourself to.
Mortal Kombat X verdict
After all this time, the Mortal Kombat games are just as addictive as ever, and MK-X is the best there is. The much improved gameplay, combined with better graphics, more variance and a well developed online component make this the ultimate 2D fighting gorefest.
Netherrealm has clearly worked hard to keep everything that people have loved from the previous editions, whilst adding on even more opportunities to break your opponent apart in different and creative ways. The interactive cut scenes aren’t great and, like all fighting games, combat can get repetitive after time.
Still, MK-X offers some of the violently addictive fun I’ve had in a long time.