Mortal Kombat X
Windows, Xbox One, PS4
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
NetherRealm Studio’s super violent, bone-crunching, gore fest fighting game is back with another installment that pushed the boundaries even more. Released on April 7, 2015, Mortal Kombat X continues the franchise’s rise back to the top of the fighting genre after seeing a decline in popularity in the early to mid 2000’s. This game follows the events of the previous game Mortal Kombat (2011) with the consequences of that story being very much felt throughout Mortal Kombat X.
This game does what sequels should do, and takes a note from it previous entry and takes what went right and makes them even better while taking a look at what went wrong and making them better for the next installment.
This game features the franchise’s smoothest gameplay yet and with the physics, violence and gore all turned up to 11 and they refuse to hold back. Mortal Kombat X sees the return of the popular X-Ray moves appearing for the first time in the previous entry Mortal Kombat, only this time we see much more violent and brutal moments due to the advancement of gaming technology. The game doesn’t hold back allowing for more crazy violent combos and providing even more intriguing gameplay and pleasing punches. This installment also sees the comeback of Brutalities, the game ending murder of the opposing player mid fight. Not only are the X-Rays and Brutalities returning but we also are treated to even more of the series favorite and ESRB founding moves known as Fatalities. With this installment featuring a darker feel than the previous (yea, it’s possible)you can be sure that the finishers will fit this bill as well. With certain moves being incredibly violent and you can really hear and feel every bit of pain the receiving end of the fatality such as Kenshi’s “My Puppet”, or Takeda’s “Whip It Good” both falling into this category. Mortal Kombat X does not leave you wanting more in terms of violence.
Characters & Variations
Every gamer knows franchise favorites such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero and resident pretty boy Johnny Cage, with this new installment we are introduced to series newcomers that make their mark on the series in a big way. Stand outs are outlaw bounty hunter Erron Black who brings a pair of six shooters to a fist fight. Then you have the humanoid bug lady D’Vorah who “loyally” serves her ruler. That ruler happens to be Kotal Kahn, son of Shao Kahn, who utilizes ritualistic totems and blood offerings to bring the smack down. This series also brings a hulking juggernaut and his little blade gloved fiend in the form of duo Ferra/Torr. You also have the relatives of series veterans such as Kenshi’s son Takeda and Johnny Cage and Sonya’s daughter Cassie. Characters aren’t the only addition to this games roster however, with the introduction of a Variations which allow each character to have 3 different play styles with different powers each. Some completely changing the move sets such as any of Triborg’s variations taking the place of past fighters Smoke, Cyrax and Sektor with a secret fourth variant for Cyber Sub-Zero. Try them out and see the variety unfold.
This game’s story follows the previous installments story with most of the characters already dead and under the control of Quan Chi as his own personal revenant army. The game takes place over a different number of years after the previous entry due to different flashbacks taking place at different times. To go along with the feeling of passing times we are given new characters for the story to center around with the central focus falling on Johnny Cage’s small group of young soldiers featuring his daughter, Cassie Cage, along with her friends, Jaqui, Takeda, Kung Jin. Together these four play the role of the heroes who save the world. They fight members of the Outworld royal army such as Reptile, Ermac, and also franchise newcomers, D’Vorah and Erron Black. These fighters all fight for the new king of Outworld, Kotal Kahn. Following the fall of his father Shao Kahn, Kotal Kahn staged a coup to wrest the throne from the successor, Mileena, Kotal Kahn’s illegitimate science-project child. Cage’s squad fights to stop the game’s true antagonist Shinnok, who is brought back to life by the efforts of Quan Chi, who uses his final breath to free Shinnok from his amulet prison, having been trapped there by the other Elder Gods. While this story is enjoyable it doesn’t live up to the story of the previous entry where the stakes where much higher and was just delivered in a much better way. My biggest issue with this story is with it’s so called conclusion. Upon completion of this game you see Cassie stop Shinnok from corrupting the Jinsei chamber, which houses the earths life force, by putting Raiden in the chamber purify it of evil.
However, the game doesn’t end there, no you are shown a temple with the reanimated Liu Kang (yes… he’s dead again) and Kitana being visited by Raiden, who is seen be corrupted by the same evil he purged from the Jinsei chamber. He then tosses Shinnok’s head at them and pretty tell’s them to try him and watch what happens. The story leaves one feeling like their should be more coming but nope, that’s all. While I understand they were probably trying to set up the following game, it just comes of as what should be a false ending; except it is the true ending. The story is much shorter and I completed it in a few hours while the previous entry took a few days due to certain difficult fights. I also find that Shinnok is nowhere near as imposing a villain as Shao Kahn in either physical or mental respects. The story lacks any real conclusion and is a real let down.
What Mortal Kombat X lacks for in story and narrative it makes up for in pure, clean combat mechanics and gameplay. The story is rather lackluster for the most part, except for one moment that every Mortal Kombat fan has been patiently awaiting. The moment that Scorpion not only returns to his human life, but finally finds out the truth about his family, and the war between him and Sub-Zero comes to a close with a simple bow of respect. A small moment but one that helped to make the story worth it in some small way. Mortal Kombat X gives the player the definitive Mortal Kombat experience with delightful online modes that allow for worldwide combat, and multiple ways to play as one character. The variations at first come off as kind of a cheap way to add more variety to the roster, except it works. Some characters will play vastly different in one variation that in another, essentially tripling the game’s roster of already unique characters. The new combatants fit in perfectly with the old ensuring that they will be remembered fondly (Unlike Mokap or Meat) as the franchise moves forward with time. Plus the DLC characters for this game are pretty awesome, ranging from horror movie icons like the Predator and Alien, to franchise veterans and newcomers such as Tanya and Triborg. All-in-all a great package that provides excellent graphics and gameplay but falters on the single player experience. Highly recommended for any of you fighter fans.