In 2011, Mortal Kombat finally grew up. Yes, a game that featured more mutilations and blood spatter than ever before, grew up. Our beloved gory fighter took a step up and finally became a game that was worthy of professional competitions.
The fighting system got slicker and more intricate, and the addition of X-ray moves added an extra dimension to all of the blood-soaked chaos. And now, after an endless series of trailers, gameplay footage and demos, Mortal Kombat X is here.
It’s really pointless to dissect the story of a game like Mortal Kombat, but such as it is, realms are at war. The elder gods and humans are at odds again and fighters from each side need to engage in Mortal Kombat to tip the scales in their favor. There are loads of classic characters who are making a comeback, and there are several new characters who’ve been added to the roster. Johnny Cage and Sonya have a daughter now, and she’s called Cassie. Kenshi’s son also finds his way into the roster, as does Kung Lao’s cousin. There are several additions to both the good and evil sides of the roster, and most of them have intriguing designs. The creepy D’Vorah, who uses her many limbs to gut opponents and Erron Black, a wild-west type character who uses guns (obviously) are some of the notable additions to the roster. There’s also Ferra Torr, one of the most unique looking additions to the franchise, which is basically two characters – a little girl who sits atop a giant ogre-like character and commands it.
If you’re into the story aspect of Mortal Kombat, you’ll have a lot to chew on here, because the voice acting is thoroughly stellar and there are a few interesting plot developments. There aren’t too many moments which will resonate emotionally with you. But then again, that’s not what this game is about.
The Combat System:
Is the best it’s ever been. Mortal Kombat X builds on the already excellent system of its predecessor and adds more fluidity and detailed animations, allowing you to rack up even more devastating combos. You have a meter that is charged up via combat. Once this meter is sufficiently full, you can unleash special attacks, combo breakers and even devastating X-ray moves, which slow down the action as you see the bone-shattering impact of your strikes. There’s a new stamina meter now, so you can’t spam the dash button to keep your opponent at range. In addition, you can use objects in your surroundings to unleash more damage upon your enemies or leap out of a corner. To do this, you’ll have to save up enough stamina, so make sure you use it judiciously. The introduction of the stamina meter ensures that there will be even more nail-biting matches in multiplayer mode.
Multiplayer is where fighting games separate the men from the boys. Online matches allow you to pit your skills against combatants from all over the world. Luckily, the game doesn’t have too many connection issues, so you can expect to have fairly even matches with players who’re geographically distant.
Mortal Kombat X also brings back the towers. Towers, if you’re unfamiliar, are a ladder like structure where you fight against a series of increasingly difficult opponents, often with special stipulations active during each fight. There’s also a new “Test Your Luck” tower which randomizes fight modifiers, so you can keep things fresh.
Another new feature is the introduction of factions. Factions are global online communities which battle each other. Each time you win a match or unlock an achievement, you gain points for your faction. Once you’ve got enough points, you can unlock faction kills (which are less gory fatalities). The points are tallied each week and a faction is declared a winner, granting each member of the faction a cosmetic or the aforementioned faction kill. There’s also a raid-like system at play here in the form of what the game calls “invasions”. During an invasion, your faction fights together against opponents with the odds stacked against you. This is a fun, if ultimately minor feature.
The in-game currency is called “koins”. You can use koins to unlock additional fatalities, brutalities, cosmetics and other things in the game. If you’ve played the previous game, you’ll know how these work through the Krypt. The Krypt never tells you exactly what you’re getting until you’ve spent your koins, so there’s an element of mystery there. You’ll need to go through the game several times to gather enough coins to unlock everything, so there’s plenty of incentive for you to play the game repeatedly. The game also offers a one-time in-app purchase of $20 which allows you to unlock everything. Depending on how much time or money you’re ready to spend, you might choose one way or another.
Mortal Kombat X is a fantastic entry into a series that regained it’s footing with the last game. There’s a tremendously entertaining roster of characters, each with distinct fighting styles and fatalities. Even if you don’t head online, there’s plenty of content here to keep you entertained for dozens of hours. If you do want to test your skills online, there’s a thriving community of players awaiting your arrival. The in-app purchases might be a dampener for some, but you don’t have to spend money if you don’t want to. Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, Mortal Kombat has never been better. Get this game and start slicin’ and dicin’. The realm is counting on you.