Mortal Kombat X is everything series fans could want from a sequel, an improved combat system, new characters, and the brutal gore and fatalities the series is known for. Mortal Kombat has actually taken the biggest leap in its storytelling so far with making the story take place several years after the events of Mortal Kombat 9. The game adds to everything that the game before it did but adds more to everything.
Mortal Kombat 9 was acclaimed for having an influential story mode that told the story of Mortal Kombat from start to finish with a reimagining of how the story went down from Mortal Kombat 1 to 3. Mortal Kombat X continues that story with what could be described as a reimagining of Mortal Kombat 4. It starts with Shinnok’s invasion of Earthrealm and takes off from there skipping back forth with most of it being based 20 years after the events of the last game. The game’s story mode still holds up as the best in a fighting game thus far with it being a cinematic experience telling the story of the Mortal Kombat Universe. Netherrealm Studios is the master of making fighting game stories right now and they’ve done their best in MKX.
The game plays great with the fighting system lifted straight from the MK9 with minor improvements to the formula such as sprinting and interactive environments like from Injustice. Both of these require use of your stamina meter that is located underneath your health bar. The Fatalities are still here and they are as gory as ever with there being a lot of unique kills this time around with also Brutalities making a comeback. Brutalities are basically game-ending combos in this game that you have to fulfill certain conditions in order to use them. It can be something as simple has hitting your opponent with a certain move so many times or having more than 50% health. Even with these conditions, Brutalities are very cinematic and very satisfying when you achieve them.
Challenge Towers return in style with all different types of towers you can try and even Living Towers that change Hourly, Daily, and Weekly to keep the game fresh and exciting for players. Test Your Luck even makes a comeback making a fun random mode to just mess around with if you want to play something really wacky. The Krypt makes a return too, except this time it’s more like a 3D maze that you have to navigate to unlock more areas to get to more chests which unlock alternate costumes, fatalities, brutalities, and concept art. It’s nice to work towards new unlocks as you play and they aren’t all nearly unlockable after one play through of the story like in the last game. Despite all these features, I do have one complaint in that the big Challenge Tower from the last game with over 300 floors seems to be missing and all the random events were really fun. Without it, it considerably cut down on the time I spent in single player.
The game looks gorgeous on current-gen consoles and really shines with the advanced lighting and shadows that really bring out the beauty of the character models and stages. The blood and gore effects are at the greatest they have ever been even as well, even if they aren’t the most realistic.
Mortal Kombat’s Online has also added something new in Factions. Factions are basically 5 different groups that are represented in the Mortal Kombat universe. When you first start the game online you are asked to choose which faction you want to represent. This changes a few things, one you can unlock special faction kill fatalities to use, you get a different background menu depending on your faction, and you get different emblems and backgrounds to use for your online profile.
There’s also faction based events like Invasion Towers, War Towers, and Invasion Bosses. These events let you build points for your faction in order to level up and unlock more stuff. Unfortunately, since the launch there haven’t been a whole lot of faction based events going on as the online has been experiencing a rocky start since launch. Almost all the online features in MK9 also make an appearance making it super simple for about any player to jump online and enjoy the experience even if all they want to do is spectate.
The online matches themselves aren’t that bad and are world’s better than MK9 and are about on the same level of Injustice for fans that have played that. What this means though is that if you are used to really good netcode in your fighting games Mortal Kombat X can either be really hit or really miss for you. Sometimes matches will play very well while other times you will have severe button delay. It all depends on your connection and who you get matched up with but honestly I am very disappointed with the way the connection can be. Other next gen fighting games like Killer Instinct have shown us that online netcode can be done almost perfectly so it’s a glaring problem that there is still big connection issues in MKX’s current state. A recent patch was released that relieved some of these problems but didn’t fix them outright making your online experience a mixed bag depending upon who you face.
The characters themselves are a wide variety of new and returning characters from the Mortal Kombat universe and each of them all have up to 3 variations that change their special moves and add certain combo moves that they can only have in that variation. What this means is that one character can play as different as 3 different ones and it’s up to the player to decide what they like to use. This gives the characters a lot more variety and allows them to be played wildly different depending on their variations. It’s a unique idea and makes you really think about your opponent is going to play their character as the 3 different styles really change up the standard character matchups.
In conclusion, the goriest fighting game is in its prime with this newest installment. Adding new features to already well established fighting system MKX has created the epitome of a sequel, with the return of their cinematic story mode, the wealth of online modes, and variations of characters and fatalities it has everything a Mortal Kombat fan could want and more.