‘Mortal Kombat X’ Review

Platforms Xbox One/PS4/PC/Xbox 360/PS3

Developer NetherRealm Studios/High Voltage Software   Publisher Warner Bros

Genre Fighter   Platform Played On Xbox One

Upon starting Mortal Kombat X for the first time, players are told to choose a faction. The factions represent players worldwide all trying to score points by defeating faction bosses, overthrowing previous champions, or climbing their way up faction towers. The faction with the highest number of points at the end of the time period rewards its members with experience and koins. The global world of Mortal Kombat X is in constant combat with each faction vying for supremacy. Every action you perform in the game awards you faction experience as well as general experience, increasing your standing within whichever faction you belong to. These level increases can result in being awarded extra koins or various customization options for your fighter card, with each individual component offering additional boosts to experience or koins handed out at the end of every fight.

The story within Mortal Kombat X takes place over the course of 25 years due to flashbacks from various moments in the timeline. Initially, the approach of simply tossing the player into a well-established moment in time with very little context seems like a poor approach, however this method is actually more beneficial as the story progresses as it allows the player to experience pivotal moments when they are alluded to and gain insight into each new character’s background as it becomes more relevant rather than trying to retain all of it at the very beginning. The plot may be confusing at times to new players as returning characters have only bits of background story unveiled, but the script is well-written and the campaign lasts roughly six or seven hours in length. The story is heavily filled with cinematics, but also contains quick time events as those who played Injustice: Gods Among Us will find familiar. The story itself is approximately on par with that found in the most recent Mortal Kombat reboot, offering a substantial mode with relationships which evolve over the course of the campaign, and a difficulty which increases slowly but appropriately.

The roster size is somewhat underwhelming and franchise staples such as Shao Kahn, Smoke, Noob Saibot, Cyrax, Sektor, Shang Tsung, Baraka, and Kabal are missing. While some of the omissions from the roster are explained through deaths, some unplayable characters make appearances within the story mode and are actually opponents you must fight to progress. If these were simply cameos in cutscenes it would not feel like such a slight, and while there has been a hint at the possibility of those characters being added via DLC, it seems almost offensive that so many well-known characters have fully-functioning combat systems but are unavailable to play within the game.

New additions to the Mortal Kombat roster include some relatives of established Mortal Kombat characters as well as servants to some of the more powerful characters from Outworld, but they do not have much appeal at first. If the player does not complete the story mode, these characters will not gain much appeal beyond their attacks, but after completing the campaign, all of the new combatants become far more ingrained in the lore of Mortal Kombat. For this reason alone, completing the story mode in Mortal Kombat X is highly encouraged. For those who do not wish to complete a campaign and simply fight, there are the standard versus modes both online and local, and the towers which players may ascend with a fighter of choice. There are a number of different towers, including randomly generated towers which you can challenge your friends to best your scores in, or towers with specific modifiers attached which will change on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.

The Krypt is another feature which returns, although it has been given a complete overhaul. The player still explores a dark and creepy environment while using koins to unlock various extras, but there are multiple areas to access, each containing a plethora of content to find. There are also some items to locate, including Scorpion’s spear buried inside of someone’s head on a tree, Sub-Zero’s ice ball, and Kung Lao’s hat, all serving various purposes in the Krypt, generally allowing access to new areas or being used to gain new items. This new expansive Krypt offers significant content in an area many likely did not expect to find it. While previous titles have contained a Krypt to hold bonus content, none have been this interesting.

The fight mechanics in Mortal Kombat are obviously the crucial aspect determining how enjoyable the title will be, and following tradition, the controls are as intuitive and fluid as ever, allowing both novice and experienced players to partake in the brutal combat. The combos and special moves are simple enough that new players or those who play fighters casually will still be able to perform the necessary moves without much fuss, however the attacks and pauses after combos allow for the more seasoned Mortal Kombat players to create and execute incredible combos which are not labeled in the moves menu. While this may lead to some uneven online battles at times, it does make the title more accessible to players of all skill levels.

When thinking of what a Mortal Kombat game should include, gory Fatalities, a hearty roster, and ludicrous combos instantly spring to mind. Fortunately, Mortal Kombat X includes most of those in addition to some added features. While the game is certainly not perfect, and even taunts players with characters in the story mode they do not have access to play for themselves, the title still provides an incredibly enjoyable fighter filled to the brim with blood, brutal combos to yield, and Fatalities which fully embrace the nature of the series. The story mode does a fantastic job of introducing the new combatants, the game’s fighting mechanic continues to allow all players the ability to pick the title up and enjoy it, and the expansive Krypt will ensure completionists log plenty of hours before hanging up the controller. Fans of fighting games will undoubtedly enjoy Mortal Kombat X, although the biggest complaint will likely be the limited roster.

The Good

  • Fight mechanics allow for all skill levels to play and perform special moves
  • Variety of online game modes
  • Expansive Krypt provides large quantity of extra content
  • New characters receive thorough introductions in the story mode

The Bad

  • Limited roster size
  • Opponents in the story mode may not be playable characters
  • Faction component could be explained more thoroughly

The Score: 9.0