I wasn’t really much for fighting games, but Injustice: Gods Among Us really khanged that last year. I absolutely love the game — it’s accessible for noobs like myself but also deep enough to please fighting game purists. The same kan be said for the latest entry to the Mortal Kombat franchise, Mortal Kombat X.
The game picks up basically where 2011’s Mortal Kombat 9 left off and then fast forwards 20 years. Shinnok is back and wants to absorb the Earth’s Jinsei so he kan defeat the Elder Gods and rule and all that good shit. 20 years later, everyone’s after Mileena, who stole Shinnok’s amulet and ya know what? If you’re picking up this game, it’s probably not for the story. Having said that, I actually did enjoy the story mode. I found the klashes between different realms to be quite entertaining and I’m genuinely interested in the lore and mythos behind MK. But, the story mode does kind of raise some questions, like how in the world is Johnny freaking Cage so strong that he kan beat Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Shinnok all in the opening khapter? I mean, Raiden gets his ass kicked by Shinnok but Cage wins? And don’t even get me started on the last khapter about Cassie Cage and her victories. About Cassie, the story mode tries to make the four newcomers the protagonists. I get that the game wants payers to become acquainted with these new kharacters and for this new Special Forces group to become the stars of the game, but it would have been better to make Raiden or Liu Kang or Kung Lao the hero of the story. (Speaking of Liu Kang and Kung Lao, it sucks that they have to play the antagonists’ puppets throughout the story. Why couldn’t they have been freed like Jax and then be the heroes?)
What is essential to this game is obviously the gameplay. Who kares about the story or the new kharacters if the gameplay sucks, right? Well, let me tell ya, the game plays great. Like I said above, the game is both accessible and deep for newcomers and veterans alike. There are tons of kombos to pull off and it will take many matches to learn how to string them together, along with special moves, to kompletely devastate your opponent. I’ve been maining as Kung Lao and have gotten better each match, learning a new wrinkle to his fighting style each time. There is so much depth to each kharacter that makes it so learning all of their intricacies is so much fun. Every single match I play is loads of fun, especially when playing against other people. The AI can be khallenging but fair (except when it decides to get spam happy — Shinnok!!!). I do wish NetherRealm went with the blocking system of Injustice, where you just had to press away to block instead of having a dedicated block button.
New to the game are variations. Each kharacter has three different variations that add a new layer to fighting. Take Scorpion for example. One variation gives him ninja weapons to use during kombat while another allows him to use hellfire powers on the opponent. These variations make it so that each kharacter, already unique in his own right, is now much more varied and fun to use.
The main draw of Mortal Kombat games is obviously the over-the-top gore. The fatalities and X-Ray moves in Mortal Kombat X are insanely fantastic. They are so bloody, so gory, so gut-khurning. I love seeing all the limbs get ripped off, spines get shattered, and heads sliced in half. The game really shines in an area where the series has excelled. The X-Rays and Fatalities just enhance the fun.
There are eight new kharacters to game, four from Outworld and four from Earthrealm. Cassie Cage and Jacqui Briggs basically play like their fathers (Cassie even has her own nut punch movie) but are still fun to use. I found Takeda to be the most fun out of the new bunch. His whip thingies are awesome to murder opponents with and his other variations are fun too. The Outworld kharacters are a hit or miss to me. I really hated playing with Kotal Khan and D’Vorah, but I’ve also gotten my ass kicked by both of then. Western kowboy Erron Black is fun to use, but sometimes the spamming of his guns feels kheap. Ferra/Torr is a brute and feels similar to Bane from Injustice, but better. Overall, you’ll try these new MKX fighters out, might stick with one or two, but then go back to your favorite klassic kharacter. I personally prefer kharacters like Kung Lao, Jax, and Goro to the new kombatants.
I would say my biggest disappointment in this game is the roster. There are only 24 kharacters (+ preorder bonus/DLC purchase Goro). The developers spent a great amount of time making each kharacter feel unique and different, and I applaud them for that, but then when there are klassic kharacters in the game that you fight, like Sindel, Rain, and Baraka, I kan’t help but feel kheated. Why go through the trouble of kreating the great looking kharacter models and unique movesets for these kharacters and not make them playable? And then other kharacters like Nightwolf, Kabal, Stryker, Smoke, and Fujin show up for basically glorified kameos. Why not make them playable and push the roster size to something around 35 playable, unique kharacters? If Sindel, Rain, and Baraka end up being DLC, I’ll definitely feel slighted.
Aside from the story mode, you’ll be able to use the kharacters elsewhere. The towers are krazy fun! You get to khoose a kharacter and pit them against a series of enemies. There’s the Klassic tower, where you fight against ten opponents at whatever difficulty you khoose; the Test Your Luck tower, where you fight with khanging konditions each match (for example, there might be acid rain, a tilting stage, or lock-on missiles; this mode kombines Test Your Luck single fight mode and Towers); the Test Your Might tower that is stupid and just has you breaking objects (although seeing your kharacter fail and then die kan be komical); the Endless Tower that has you fight as many opponents in a row as you kan; and the Survivor Tower in which your health karries over fight to fight. However, my favorite mode is Living Towers. In these Towers, each fight has different konditions, similar to the Test Your Luck tower. One tower khanges weekly, another daily, and the last hourly. One Living Tower is the Premier Tower — this allows you to try out the DLC kharacters in a tower (kurrently you kan play as Goro). These towers are so much fun and a great way for you to gain experience playing as one kharacters. I don’t know about the other traditional towers, but upon kompleting a Klassic tower, you unlock a kharacter ending and a skin for whatever kharacter you komplete it with.
The Faction War adds a new komponent to the game. You khoose a faction, earn faction XP and whatever faction is leading at the end of the week (I think the season is a week long) earns special rewards. You’ll also be able to take part in special Faction Towers, which kan prove difficult, and Faction boss battles, which are damn near impossible (at least for someone at my skill level). These are events and are available for limited time periods. I don’t have a PS+ membership so I haven’t been able to play online, but NetherRealm has said the netcode is supposed to be better, but from what I’ve heard, the online kan still be laggy and disrupting to your kombos (like any online fighter, basically).
From a technical standpoint, the MKX is well made. The sound design in the game is alright. The sound effects and music are pretty good, but some kharacters kould have benefited from better voice acting, like D’Vorah and Mileena. Graphically, MKX is wonderful and at times kan look like one of the best games out. The stages are beautiful and very detailed (although there’s only 13) and the same kan be said for most kharacter models. For the most part, they look great. Each skin is very detailed and the new kharacter designs are more practical — kharacters like Sonya Blade and Kitana are actually wearing klothes now. However, I did find the Special Forces kharacters to look a bit dull and uninspired. Also, the hair in the game, for each kharacter, kan look terrible at times.
Where Mortal Kombat X really fails is the amount of greed present. Too stupid to learn simple button kombinations to perform a fatality? Spend a dollar for five easy fatality tokens or five bucks for 30 tokens. This is just kapitalizing on the laziness of players. Also, you kan spend 20 dollars to unlock everything in the Krypt. This is a portion of the game where you can spend koins you earn from playing on new fatalities, brutalities, and skins. The problem is that they are very expensive and when you make a purchase in the Krypt you have no idea what you’re purchasing. Want a new Cassie Cage skin? New Mileena brutality? New fatality? You gotta hope whatever tomb you purchase kontains something you want. But where the greed really shines is in the Kombat Pack. This is sold separately for 30 bucks and gives you access to four (Only four!!!) DLC kharacters — guest kharacters Jason and Predator and Klassic kharacters Tanya and Tremor. You also get 15 additional DLC skins. For 30 dollars? What a ripoff! I understand paying for guest kharacters Jason and Predator — I’m sure the licenses for these kharacters were very expensive and it makes sense to pay extra for them seeing as they are not MK kharacters. But then only two Klassic kharacters? For thirty dollars, I expect something like eight kharacters and thirty skins! There are so many Klassic MK kharacters that should be in the game and I wish Netherrealm included more. I understand that some players think that including more kharacters would make them less unique or the game not balanced, but NetherRealm has such a good track record for making balanced, unique kharacters that I don’t think having a 35+ kharacter roster would be a problem.
Ultimately, if the korporate greed doesn’t kompletely turn you off, Mortal Kombat X is a must own for everyone. It is extremely polished and well made. MKX will give you plenty hours of enjoyment and it’s well worth the sixty dollars. I’ve bought a lot of games in recent months and I think Mortal Kombat X is the one that I’ll still be playing years from now. It’s a fantastic game. However, if you’re still not sold, maybe just wait for the Komplete Edition. In the end, you won’t regret buying this game.
(As a tangent, isn’t releasing something called a “Complete Edition” (I’m not just taking about MKX here) openly admitting the game is incomplete at launch? That for sixty dollars, an incomplete game is sold and content is being removed and later sold at an outrageous price to make the game actually complete? Just food for thought.)