Few franchises make it past their first entry, but fewer make it to their tenth. The key to survival is to change up the formula and shake things up. Mortal Kombat X is the latest entry in the Mortal Kombat series and is the best title to date. Following up from 2011’s Mortal Kombat 9, and a series reboot, Mortal Kombat X is the sequel to that story.
NetherRealm Studios has another hit on their hands, and I hope this streak continues for a long time. Taking what worked in Mortal Kombat 9 and adding in touches from Injustice we get Mortal Kombat X, the craziest, the complete fighter I’ve seen in a long time. Adding eight new characters to the roster, and fighting variants and an assortment of hidden and unlockable content, Mortal Kombat X has something for everyone.
The core Mortal Kombat experience is still there and is as strong as ever, the twist included, this time, is variants for each fighter, each with a unique experience. Scorpion, for example, has three fighting styles to choose from, Ninjutsu which adds special attacks with swords, Hellfire which adds fire to attacks, and Inferno, which allows Scorpion to summon a demonic minion. Raiden boats Thunder God, which adds lightning based combos, Displacer, which adds a slew of teleportation attacks, or Master of Storms, which creates lightning traps to defeat enemies.
Continuing the new tradition of a story mode from Mortal Kombat 9, the story this time spans decades and spins a tale that includes old faces and new. This time, though, we get the inclusion of the offspring of veteran fighters Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage, Cassie Cage, the daughter of Jax, Jacqui, Takeda, the son of Kenshi, and Kung Jin, who is the younger cousin of Kung Lao.
The roster in Mortal Kombat X is staggering. With some optional DLC available at launch, the roster has 24 variable characters to choose from and master. The variants of each fighter add an additional amount of content, branching three ways for every combatant. This storyline, this time, is so-so and really plays out campy and like a soap-opera. There’s only so much melodrama to go around and Mortal Kombat has that down. The genre-bending doesn’t work in this case.
The game is distinct, and graphic and dense, has lush scenery, tons of detail and hidden Easter eggs to discover in the background. The characters are fluid and pack a punch, every character has an organic and natural way to them, making everything on the screen feel so damn smooth. Some characters didn’t catch my attention like others, Takeda has tons of detail on his costume, meanwhile, Sonya is plain vanilla.
My favorite returning feature is the Krypt mode included. By playing the game, Koins, the in-game currency, allows for content unlocks.This content ranges to include fatalities, brutalities, costumes, concept art, and music to use in other areas. This is a first person mode and you navigate different areas opening hidden passages searching for another costume or another brutality for a fighter. There is a ton of content to unlock that adds replay value after you’ve cleared the story mode, fought through a few ladders and more.
Mortal Kombat X returns with Tower matches each with their own set of criteria to complete. Some were easier and some were hair-pulling difficult to master. MKX returns with Living Towers, these have three tiers and have a time limit to complete each tier. First is Hourly Towers, which only last for five fights and are updated hourly. Daily Towers are harder and have eight fights to complete, and last 24 hours. Lastly the final tier, Premier Tower has the hardest and most daunting challenges for those up to the task and last for a week.
NetherRealm has added a neat little mini-game that has players choose one of the five factions in Faction Battles. Players choose from either Lin Kuei, White Lotus, Brotherhood of Shadow, Special Forces, and Black Dragon – by picking your faction everything you do has you earning points for your chosen faction. Each week players from around the world are vying for the number one spot and rewarded with finishing moves and more.
Mortal Kombat X’s online portion is solid and the experience I had was smooth. The few issues I faced were lag and disconnections, but nothing game breaking and infrequently at that. The PS4 at the time of review had some issues with input lag but has since cleared up with a patch release.
Mortal Kombat X is a sound game. Everything under the hood runs like a well-oiled machine and showcases what the current generation of consoles is capable of. The combat system here runs deep and offers an intricate level of getting dirty with opponents. With the vast roster, character variations, and new blood to infuse the series, this entry is king of fighters and has so much to offer for everyone.
EDIT April 28 – I’ve had some emails about the cons I listed and have rectified and elaborated on what I mean.
March 12, 2016: We’ve had time to try out the definitive version of Mortal Kombat X with the XL edition. Mortal Kombat XL is the core game with all released DLC on disc up to Kombat Pack 2.
Included in Kombat Pack 1 is Jason Voorhees, Tanya, Predator and Tremor and Kombat Pack 2 includes Alien, Bo’ Rai Cho, and Triborg. This isn’t all you’re getting as each pack has skins attached to them providing excellent new skins for revered characters.
This is definitely the version everyone should own as the new characters are some of best characters to grace Mortal Kombat tournament.
The first Kombat Pack includes four characters: The Ultimate Horror Pack:
- The Ultimate Horror Pack:
- Playable character Jason Voorhees
- Horror skins Vampiress Mileena, Kraken Reptile and Pharaoh Ermac
- The Klassic Pack #1:
- Playable character Tanya
- Klassic skins for Kano, Sonya and Liu Kang
- The Predator / Prey Pack:
- Playable character Predator
- Predator-themed skins Commando Johnny, Infrared Scorpion and Carl Weathers as Jax
- The Klassic Pack #2:
- Playable character, Tremor
- Klassic skins for Quan Chi, Jax and Kung Lao
These characters bring new ways to brutalize your friends. The pack has Jason from Friday the 13th, who is brutal in his approach to taking on his opponents, this guy is a powerhouse. Returning is Tanya from Mortal Kombat 4 and a slew of other titles, she’s feels like the odd character out in this pack and I find her inclusion odd, feeling she belongs in the base game and someone more deserving taking her place in the Kombat Pack. Tremor returns and brings about earth-based attacks that pack a punch! Predator make its debut here and provides an easy to learn but difficult to master skill set for those who want to play as the iconic monster.
The second Kombat Pack includes:
The four characters included in Kombat Pack 2 are:
- Bo’ Rai Cho
The four skin packs included in Kombat Pack 2 are:
- Kold War Scorpion
- Brazil Skin Pack
- Kold War Skin Pack
- Apocalypse Pack
Alien is the biggest addition to the roster, adding one of the better characters included and NetherRealm did an extraordinary job at bringing the iconic monster to the fray. Alien is lethal and quick proving to be unstoppable in the right player’s hands.
Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre proves right at home with his psychotic move set and variants, my favourite is definitely Pretty Woman, allowing for Leatherface to throw his chainsaw across the screen.
Triborg is the best of four characters, and was my go to character pick in Mortal Kombat XL. With Triborg, you have four separate characters to pick from. Triborg can take on the powers of Sektor, Cyrax, and Smoke, with a hidden fourth variation making a return that makes him one of the most diverse characters to choose from.
Bo Rai Cho is Liu Kang’s drunken master and is disgusting in a fun and efficient way, he returns to Mortal Kombat XL, last being seen in Mortal Kombat Deception. He is surprisingly agile and interesting as a fighter. I’ve never seen a combatant use his puke or farts as weapons in such an effective manner.