“Mortal Kombat X,” the latest installment in the now 22-year-old franchise is just what you expect it to be. It stands out on its own as a great game while staying true to its predecessors. There’s more gore, a whole set of new characters, and a great combat system. What more could you want from a fighting game?
Fans of the franchise will be pleased to see the return of characters like Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Johnny Cage, though MKX brings forward an entirely new generation of fighters that might push the franchise into the future. Some of the fresh faces, with great surprise, have become my favorites. I’m especially fond of Takeda and his mix of traditional weapons and modern technology. He’s your everyday contemporary ninja, with laser swords and exploding knives.
It’s not just the characters, though. There’s a lot of thought put into the environmental designs, and a lot of fun details to look out for. NetherRealm Studios took the ability to interact with objects in the background and use them as weapons from their last game – “Injustice: Gods Among Us” – but stage fatalities are gone. Don’t be surprised when you use an old lady as projectile!
All in all, MKX gameplay stands out as quick and agile, though that’s slightly disturbed by the visual inconsistency in the quality of details between characters. While some fighters are absurdly detailed, others are too plain, and it’s too evident to miss.
Perhaps the biggest problem I’ve had has been with the block button because it is also the key to running. You can’t dash into a block. It’s a tradition that many fans take pride in, but it’s still a terrible mechanic that murders a set of mind games and tactics.
The online Faction system grants players the ability to pick one of five worldwide factions, and then earn points for it. The leading faction wins the war and unlocks special items on a weekly basis; it really gets one hooked. The Towers are fun as well: players are timed as they get through a series of opponents in weird environments.
Finally, MKX brought along the Krypt as well, where you spend ‘koins’ on unlocking a wide collection of game material, although it’s not as fun when you realize you can just buy everything for $20. Skipping story or tower fights, as well as easy Fatalities, have also been monetized, and that’s quite upsetting.
It’s well known that playing “Mortal Kombat” requires a strong stomach for blood and gruesomeness, and MKX lives up to the traditions of the series. Sure, it doesn’t have the brightest story, but that’s never been important in the fighting genre – though tying up some of the loose ends from the previous game would have been appreciated. The overall gameplay hasn’t changed much, but it certainly has been redefined.
The greatest change has been the revival of Brutalities, but the instant kill combos are still very difficult to pull off. Each fighter has three different styles that alter their subset of moves, although their basic move set remains the same, including Fatalities. As usual, the finishers can be utterly sickening or absolutely hilarious. Much like the range of Fatalities, the character roster and online play is diverse enough for players to easily find a comfortable way to play “Mortal Kombat X” and fulfill their need for violence and gruesome dismemberment.