Mortal Kombat X – IT’S TOO GUD

4.5
Game Name: Mortal Kombat X
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): NetherRealm Studios
Genre(s): Fighting
Release Date: April 7th, 2015
ESRB Rating: M

This isn’t “Mortal Kombat 10” as in a direct sequel to 2011’s Mortal Kombat (9) reboot.
This is Mortal Kombat X, a different but more refined & polished beast of a fighting game.

The playable roster is 29 characters in total, including 3 new kids of veteran MK fighters as well as 2 guests and 1 $DLC, then there is an unplayable boss:

Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion), Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade,
Johnny Cage, Cassie Cage, Jackson Briggs (Jax),
Jacqui Briggs, Liu Kang, Raiden, Shinnok, Kano,
Quan Chi, Kung Lao, Kung Jin, Takeda, Reptile,
Kitana, Mileena, Erron Black, Ferra/Torr, Ermac,
Kenshi, Tanya, Jason Voorhees, D’Vorah, Kotal Kahn,
Tremor, Predator and lastly Goro is DLC.
(Corrupted Shinnok is a boss and currently unplayable)

Baraka, Smoke, Sindel, Stryker, Frost, Sareena, Noob Saibot, Fujin, Nightwolf, Shang Tsung, Rain, Bo’ Rai Cho and Kabal make cameo appearances in the Story mode but are unavailable to play. Jade is officially dead which sucks because she was a favourite of mine, but one of Kitana’s variations gives her the glaive & staff so it helps.

Each playable character has 3 “variations” that add or change available special moves (and sometimes the properties of normals) and this helps alleviate cases of bad match-ups or “counter-picking.”

For instance, Scorpion has:
Hellfire which gives him a direct fireball projectile and some new ranged-grabs and kombo-enders;
Ninjutsu which lets him use his 2 swords to enhance kombos or create new ones;
Inferno which lets him quickly summon a netherrealm minion to attack from different angles.

EX-attacks and X-rays are back, and there is also a run/stamina meter. There are stage interactions similar to Injustice except they are blockable here.

Kano fighting Raiden in the Kuatan Jungle stage.

Kano fighting Raiden in the Kuatan Jungle stage.

The single-player Story Mode is short and mainly serves as an introduction to the new kids (and Kung Lao’s cousin, Jin) as well as catching you up to how some klassic kombatants play–there are also some interactive cutscenes that affect what fights you have.

The Krypt is back with hundreds of tombs to spend koins on, unlocking costumes, fatality & brutality inputs, alternate stages, music and concept art. The koins are unlocked at a steady pace for doing pretty much anything in the game.

 

Liu Kang fighting Kitana in the Outworld Marketplace stage

Liu Kang fighting Kitana in the Outworld Marketplace stage

There are 5 factions in the universe but after choosing one it’s up to you if you want to contribute or not. There are towers and special “raid bosses” to fight, and doing so increases your faction points, essentially opening up a few new finishing moves called Faction Kills. You can also set unlockable icons on your player kombat card to give you more koins, profile or faction experience upon certain conditions like winning a match, performing a fatality, or using stage interactions.

Each character has 2 fatalities and they are incredibly nasty and gory; Brutalities also exist but, instead of being combos that generically explode your opponent, each character has 5 Brutalities that end their second round with a fatal hit if certain conditions are met.

For instance, if you have landed Mileena’s “ball” attack 5 times, you can hold the down direction on the last hit of the second round and you will obliterate your opponent’s legs, killing them in slow-mo with no transition to the “FINISH HIM” screen. These Brutalities are quite fun, especially when discovered on accident.

Mortal-Kombat-X-Dvorah-Attack-Screenshot

New kombatant D’Vorah attacking Sub-Zero in the Kove stage.

 

There’s a lot of stuff to do online, even without actually fighting other people. There are chat lobbies that display your player kard and let you set up ranked or player matches, or spectate on others’. You can do 1v1, Team Kombat, King of the Hill, Survivor, Test Your Luck or just Practice.

There are also specific Faction modes that let you contribute to the war effort. You can complete certain faction objectives while fighting other people to get more war points for your faction, or complete the current champion factions’ tower. The occasional “chaos invasion” raid bosses have a huge health meter–you do as much damage as you can to them in 30 seconds, and if you survive it gives you & your faction big gains.

This is the default roster including $DLC character Goro; not shown are the $DLC “Kombat Pack” characters Jason Voorhees, Tanya, Predator and Tremor.

This is the default roster including $DLC character Goro; not shown are the $DLC “Kombat Pack” characters Jason Voorhees, Tanya, Predator and Tremor.

 

TL;DR:
+ Every kharacter feels unique, 3 variations help for match-ups and personal playstyle
+ Tons of kontent both online & off makes for good value
+ Visuals are incredibly nice, good presentation and audio
+ Fighting mechanics are easy to learn but tough to master
+ Stage interactions are optional and blockable
+ AI is actually reasonable at each difficulty, even the bosses
+ Online feels pretty good overall, but…
– Netcode feels a little laggy even on good konnections
– Despite a nice-sized roster you’ll still want more kharacters
– The Run move is too easy to trigger on accident
– Some ancillary kontent can only be unlocked via mobile app
– You have to buy Goro separately of the “kombat pack”
– Most online people kick the shit out of me

Why are Baraka, Sindel and other opponents present in story mode but unplayable?

Newcomers Kung Jin, Takeda, Jaqui Briggs and Cassie Cage.

Newcomers Kung Jin, Takeda, Jaqui Briggs and Cassie Cage.

Overall I give MKX a 9 out of 10 — IT’S TOO GUD. The mechanics are good, there’s tons of kontent and the presentation is great, but it loses a point because 5 kharacters require a separate purchase.

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