Many of us, I’m sure, remember the good old days of stumbling across a Mortal Kombat machine and spending all our loose change on it. Only to find out that we ran out by the time we got to Motaro and that the end of the game would forever remain a mystery.
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Developer: Nether Realm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Avg Game Length: 6hrs for campaign. The rest of the game’s features – as long as you like!
It is very cool to see just how far the franchise has come and it’s with a big thanks to NetherRealm Studios, after buying the properties of Midway, for revitalizing the franchise. With Mortal Kombat 9 we enjoyed a new brand of story telling through a fighting games medium. Of course it was a welcome change as most fighters are devoid of any comprehensible story and, by the time I finished MK9 I was hungry for more. So did MKX deliver? Lets find out.
Strictly speaking, the quality of Mortal Kombat X’s story is pretty top notch. However, you have really good quality and not so great content. It is like a really expensively made movie that was enjoyable while you watched it but unfortunately fell short of expectations. Kinda like a film that you still love while walking out of the cinema but as the days go on, and the more you think about it, the more you realize you were actually just let down and are now slipping off the hype train.
That may seem quite harsh as, MKX’s story is just as engaging as it has ever been. It is worth remembering that the last game was a remake of the original three and all the content was there on a silver platter. Also, half of the heroes were killed off so NetherRealm Studios had to get creative, introducing new characters, with their own story arcs and ongoing lore going into unexplored Mortal Kombat territory. Please do remember that, when you start to slip off the hype train.
Things Could Have Been A Lot Worse
With these things in mind, I’d say NetherRealm did a good job with the story as they are obviously setting up for further next-gen installments of the franchise and had far more work to do this time around. There was one glaringly obvious piece of the story that, in my humble opinion, NetherRealm could have used to very strong advantage but threw away a golden opportunity instead. I’ll leave you to figure that part out for yourselves when you buy the game.
There are many new characters added to the roster, most of whom are sufficiently explored throughout the story and are, just by the skin of their teeth, given enough depth for us to care about. I shan’t go through all of them but the four you see in the image below are (from left to right) Kung Jin, Cassie Cage, Jaqueline Briggs and Takeda Takahashi. Fans of the franchise will recognize these names and I am sure that these characters’ fight styles will satisfy when compared to their predecessors. With the introduction of new characters in a licence that has had the same beloved heroes since the very beginning, they are up against some tough scrutiny. However, they just about hold their own with strong ties to the surviving heroes of previous games and quick flashback sequences.
Nut Punchin’ Kranial Krunchin’ Kombat
Now to the good stuff. The reason we’re still playing Mortal Kombat after all this time. The Kombat, duh. There’s plenty of old school Mortal Kombat stuff retained in the fighting. NetherRealm Studios, impressively has not completely buckled to sell out to a wider audience as, more complicated kombos remain quite demanding. You’ll be looking at your aching digits, cursing them for not moving fast enough. However, such demanding button inputs will keep die-hard fans happy, even if they do dominate during online play.
Mortal Kombat X has ridiculously satisfying fights. Players will see their opponent’s limbs bending and breaking under their blows, hearing them snapping and crunching amidst a furiously fast paced fight. Indeed, the fights are shorter than in previous installments but this has just given way to a greater sense of fluidity and momentum. Whether that’s a good thing or not is entirely up to you.
Of course, we still have fatalities and, just when I thought Ed Boon and his team at NR Studios couldn’t think up any more gruesome finisher moves they have delivered once again. I won’t spoil these for you as they are delightful in their unashamed levels of gore. Let’s just say you’ll be laughing at how through-the-roof some of them are.
We now have an alternative to fatalities called brutalities. These are an extension of a normal kombo and must be executed under certain conditions of the match. ‘You must have more than half health’ etc etc. These are super tricky and super satisfying when you finally pull one off. Lastly, the X-ray camera is back and, let’s face it – we’re past the point of going ‘Oh c’mon you’d be sooo dead after that’. I mean, this is Mortal Kombat after all
Lastly, are you getting value for money? Well, the story is frustratingly short but that is not all MKX is offering here. We’re here for the fight, not the politics. MKX delivers plenty of fight for you to explore. Each character takes a very long time to master as they come with three separate fight styles, each with respective kombos to learn. Every fight you win or lose earns you koins than can later be spent in the Krypt. Here, you can unlock new fatalities, character skins, stories to read and the list goes on.
It turned out to be a total surprise that the Krypt actually doubles up as a minigame where you must navigate a maze and find items to unlock further sections, in turn, unlocking more stuff for your game. Then of course there’s the Living Towers, still around since the very first Mortal Kombat. These see you progressing up rungs of the ladder until you get to the top. NetherRealm Studios are constantly releasing limited time only challenges that you can choose to get your teeth into while they’re around. So yeah, good value for money indeed.
In conclusion, MKX delivers almost everything the fans are after.
Mortal Kombat X – GET OVER HERE!
I wonder if they made it an ‘almost’ job just to keep us hungry for the next installment. It is unclear to me whether or not they have big plans or are now in the territory of making it up as they go along. Time will tell. While we have this installment of MKX, however, we should expect plenty of fun and many hours of honing our skills. It is a very polished game with wonderful backgrounds and, honestly, I didn’t see a frame rate drop even once.