The new generation of Mortal Kombat is here and when this was originally announced I was very excited, I love the Mortal Kombat series and its arguably the best Beat em Up franchise of all time. This is also NetherRealm Studios first full release for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (not including the remaster of Injustice) so expectations have been high from fans and critics. With a lot of new characters and features coming to the series for the first time, the game sounds incredible on paper but will it all work in this Mortal Kombat X Review?
Mortal Kombat’s ultra-violent over the top story is back with a bang, following the ending of the previous title but this time it is the Elder God Shinnok who is causing all the trouble. The regular cast is here such as Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Sub Zero and Quan Chi as well as some new faces.
Some of these are very welcome to the series (D’Vorrah and Cassie Cage in particular stood out for me in the story) but some are just poor clones of the series previous characters and cant help but feel not much effort went into some of them. What Mortal Kombat X however is about is essentially the new generation of Mortal Kombat on a new generation of console, the series regulars are looking old and getting on in age so with the introduction of younger characters has brought this game a new life and they really do fit well with the Mortal Kombat Universe. I love what they have done with some of the games previous main heroes as well the likes Liu Kang and Kitana whose story has gone in a whole new direction but I don’t want to give out any spoilers.
NetherRealm have continued using the same structure for telling their stories in their fighting games for a while now and Mortal Kombat X is no different. This is the fourth game to my knowledge(Injustice, Mortal Kombat & MK vs DC) that they have used a chapter based system to tell the story of the game. These chapters will put you in charge of one of the fighters and you will have to complete normally 3-4 fights to progress through the plot. I do like this feature from NetherRealm however it doesn’t do anything new, yes it allows you to play as some of the brand new characters to the series however its the same formula as all the previous games. It would be nice to have some more interactivity with the plot but unfortunately you cant do this.
With the new cast of characters however comes a big cut to some series favourites, the likes of Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn and Scarlet do not make an appearance in the game, with some big fan favourites such as Barraka and Sindell actually appearing in the storyline(as characters you fight with their own move sets) but not making it to the final roster. A modder however has actually managed to put these and a few other characters who appear in the story but not the roster into the game, they already have programmed move-sets, voices and AI so its a bit odd that they are not included in the final roster unless they are intended for future DLC.
Overall the story was a very good experience, I would even say it was movie like I could easily go back and play the story and enjoy the plot again and again. Although predictable it did its job and as always the story modes that NetherRealm use are a welcome addition to their games.
Now this is what is most important with fighting games is how they play, the combat is very fluid and easy for casual gamers to get into the series. Difficulty levels are well balanced with the easy modes being their for people who do not enjoy a challenge where as the harder difficulties will test the most experienced Mortal Kombat gamer. Special moves and Fatalities are as varied and violent as ever and the interactive environments do make the game more fun at times.
I have come across a few bugs now and again with Mortal Kombat X however, one of Kenshi’s hits for example seems to go through the other player whenever I or the computer perform the move and even at one time I froze with a character (and no, I wasn’t against Sub Zero for that match!). I still feel Mortal Kombat have not done a great final boss in a long time with the same problems coming up time and time again for me, I am not sure if its due to bad programming or if they are intentionally meant to annoy you but I still find the main bosses in this series using the same two or three moves time and time again. Once you know the pattern and how to counter it makes them not much of a challenge and actually rather boring, a lot like fighting Raiden with that stupid flying tackle he does.
Game modes are varied with Towers again returning to the series, these are like the typical Beat em Up Arcade modes of all 10 fights and an ending cut scene, these are pretty cool at times however they do get repetitive. So they have added some more Tower modes such as ‘Test your Might’ a button bashing mini game, ‘Test your Luck’ which introduces new elements to each fight as you progress i.e. Low Gravity, Lighting attacks, etc… and Live Towers which are exclusive Towers online that are refreshed within a certain time limit. This does add a lot of replay value to the game and also with the ones that have set characters you do not have to buy them to play as them, for example one I played told the story of the Goro and Johnny Cage rivalry and I was able to play as Goro although I have not brought or pre-ordered the DLC for him, which I thought was pretty cool.
Fatalities (the highlight of the series for most) again are back with a bang this time round, with some really gruesome, gory and some funny finishing moves making their débuts to the series. Again like with most Mortal Kombat games a lot are hit and miss but they are very creative and again will have you going ‘I cant believe they just did that’.
Multiplayer modes are varied, with the new faction mode also you can help earn you faction points and enter into competitions online. There is really lots to do here(although too many people do use Scorpion) and it does add a lot to the life span of this game. One thing that I am slightly disappointed about however is how easy it is to change factions, you can just swap around whenever you want which I feel is a bit cheap rather then limiting the player to have many times they can do it.
The Krypt also makes a return this time as a 1st-person experience where you wonder round the Krypt with some quick time events from some monsters as well as some basic puzzle solving. This is nothing to really write home about and to me is more time consuming then anything else, it is nice that they though they could improve the krypt but it really is more of a hassle then an enjoyable experience.
Overall the gameplay is outstanding, with mastering certain characters being easier then others it really is a welcome addition to the series and is a lot of fun to play.
Graphically Mortal Kombat is a mixed game for me, I don’t think character designs are as good as I thought their were going to be and some come across as rushed or like not much effort was put into their final design (Kitana and Jacqui are the worst two culprits), some other characters have been redesigned and I was not a fan (Ermac and Scorpion) however saying that one character Mileena has gone through a major character redesign and in all honesty looks amazing arguably one of the best designed Beat em Up characters of all time.
Some of the new additions to the series do look amazing as well D’Vorrah I am very impressed with and Ferra/Torr was an excellent inclusion to the franchise as it made for a very unique character to play as. All characters are voiced perfectly, I think the casting director did an amazing job and they all delivered their lines to the perfect Over the Top Mortal Kombat style very nicely.
Fighting arenas for me were lacking, some are very well designed but their needs to be more. Some you really are happy to fight in and have unique interactions but once you have done them they all seem the same after a while which is disappointing.
One new feature I loved for this game however is the intro’s to the fight where characters do have conversations with each other that are unique between the combatants. It also isn’t the same thing each time, there are several different interactions these characters have which make them all that more enjoyable.
Music again is perfect with the familiar Mortal Kombat style.
I blasted through the storyline on one of the easier difficulty settings I have to admit, this took me 3 hours but on the harder difficulties it should take more. Their are 12 chapters in all and I really enjoyed it making it well worth a replay.
The Tower modes and Multiplayer do add a lot more into the length of this game and really should keep most of the beat em up fans busy for many months to come. Especially with online competitions coming up in the future.
Krypt mode does get you wanting to unlock as much stuff as you can however I feel that they could have really included more stuff to unlock such as characters and Easter Egg items (who else remembers Cooking with Scorpion from the first MK game that had a Krypt mode). NetherRealm do really seem to have a lot of potential here but aren’t using it as effectively as I might like.
Any fan of the Mortal Kombat series will see this as a very welcome addition to the franchise. Gameplay and Story are solid and have the distinctive Mortal Kombat style. Fatalities are as fun to pull off as ever and the amount of content again included is on another level to most other games from the genre.
DLC however has me very disappointed at the cost with current prices being £25 for two characters (to be released at a future date Jason and Predator) and two character skins. That is a shocking amount of money baring in mind the full game with a ton more of characters and costumes only costs £20 more than that. I cant help but feel NetherRealm have a major habit of overpricing DLC, compared to other game franchises from the same genre such as Dead or Alive or Killer Instinct which are both considerably cheaper.
But outside of the odd costing and constant requests to spend real money in the game, it’s simply an outstanding 2D fighter that is going to take some beating, Who’s Next to take on this quality fighter? Well if you haven’t got it yet, it should be you!
Mortal Kombat X Review Format: PS4
Developers & Publishers: NetherRealm, WB Interactive
Gaming Platform: PC Games, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Fighting, Multiplayer
Mortal Kombat X Review
Graphics - 9/10
Story - 9/10
Multiplayer - 9/10
Game Modes - 9/10
Gameplay - 9.5/10
Fun Factor - 9.5/10
Mortal Kombat X is the new generation of the series in more ways than one. I loved it and is an essential purchase to any Beat em Up fan.