Game Review: Mortal Kombat X

I’ve had a tonne of fun playing Mortal Kombat X; probably more fun than I’ve ever had playing a Mortal Kombat game, to be fair. Granted, it’s been a while, […]

I’ve had a tonne of fun playing Mortal Kombat X; probably more fun than I’ve ever had playing a Mortal Kombat game, to be fair. Granted, it’s been a while, but it just seems a lot more full and satisfying than ever before; there’s definitely more energy than in any of the previous nine games I’ve experienced; the graphics are richer, and the gameplay modes are smoother to play through, and more challenging on the whole. NetherRealm have done a nice job developing new characters too, as adding cool additions to the well-established ones and it’s very, very refreshing on the whole. It’s difficult to take risks with such an established brand, and change things up. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a complete overhaul, and there are lots of similarities to past games making Mortal Kombat X a supreme, proper fighting experience.

Predator and Jason

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Mortal Kombat X will excite both old (particularly with regards to the combat-style, which hasn’t been changed in like…forever – more on that later though), and new fans – the graphics are absolutely awesome (and very engaging), for story mode stuff, particularly. Of course, adding to the excitement is the addition of (upcoming – you have to wait until the end of this month for the DLC to activate) guest “stars” Jason Voorhees (ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha – see what I did there, with the sound? No, okay..well), and the almighty Predator (not sure how to make that sound, though?), but even before that, there are loads of (24) kick-arse fighters and a few intriguing new characters; while D’vorah looks the best, Kung Jin is definitely the best new fighter, in my opinion and he fights with a raw, quick-paced and utterly smash-mouth ninja style, and a real swagger that I can’t help but dig! And yes, they are proper new characters, with their own moves that are substantially different to other, more established characters on the roster. Killer, eh?

So yeah, the developers have done a pretty damn good job of reinventing the gory ol’ wheel here. All-in-all actually, each character moves better and more dynamically than in prior games (to my memory) thanks to the improved animations. I still go back to Injustice because I enjoy it so much – it was definitely a move in the right direction and a solid way to move MK into the next generation of consoles. Here, again the animations are so clean, and any flailing and glitchiness that has been there in the past is now gone. Cool edits like this will make the world of difference to established gamers, as well as those who are new, or only slightly equated with the brand.

As stated before, everything just feels a lot smoother and more controlled in this game on the whole, really – it’s quality and quantity all around. The walking doesn’t look clunky, and it’s a lot quicker; kicks and punches feel like they have more impact and value during fights; there’s seems to be more to this game to discover (on that note, the Krypt is fucking weird to get around), and engage with (particularly in the cutscene fights – with the button hits that determine how the game develops) than any time before. These are exciting times indeed for the evolution of the MK franchise.

The story mode is definitely the game’s strongest asset in my view although, longtime gamers might disagree! While the story isn’t particularly dark or heavy as many fans might have come to expect from previous story modes, it gives the player something to really sink their teeth into – it’s deep and embraces new characters and the legacy of Mortal Kombat.

How does the story bit work then? The chapters are split between Outworld and Earthrealm and move nicely between the two, with the player having the chance to play as outworlders (notably Kotal Kahn and D’Vorah) as well as Earthrealmers (at the forefront, of course are Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade and Jax [Briggs] who play the parents and act as guidance for the aforementioned emerging characters [Cassie Cage, Jacquelin Briggs]) and and all the while, experiencing their individual stories that are built and developed pretty well throughout the game around short fights that help to effectively shape the story.

It is true, that every man and his dog expects the Mortal Kombat universe to be always and forever mainly (or just) be about “fatalities”, and while…it is, this games shows that there’s so much more to the characters – a real sense of vibrance and diversity that’ll engage casual players most of all.  This mode is about how the characters are connected to each other, and the struggles that they face (particularly with regard to Jax and Sonya’s friendship), and a lot of people can understand and relate to that type of stuff. For the first time, in my view, Mortal Kombat embraces its heart, without crushing it instantly, and that is no bad thing. Of course, in the beginning, it was about a bunch of weird, misfit humans battling it out with scary as fuck alien-type assassins and giants for supremacy, and that’s all good, but everyone (by now) knows each individual (old) characters stories and backgrounds. Also, let’s face it, evolution is important.

Once again, MKX marks the revolution, and evolution of this universe and its characters. Next time though, it’d be cool (for me, at least) to see some developments in the combat styles – I know it’s cool to be retro, and things have improved over the last nine games to a decent degree, but I’d like to see a version of Mortal Kombat where whole fights match up to the graphics used in the cutscenes and fatalities. A big job, yes, but Tekken and Street Fighter have managed something similar. Do you agree? Leave some comments for us below!

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Dom Smith

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