Developed by:NetherRealm Studios Published by:Warner Bros. Interactive Ent Genre(s):
  • Fighting
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1-2 (2 Online) Release date:April 14, 2015 Reviewed on:PS4

    Mortal Kombat X

    It’s no secret that NetherRealm Studios know how to make a fighting game. Not only have they been doing this for some time, Mortal Kombat 2011 (MK9) and Injustice: Gods Among Us were smash hits that raised the bar for fighting games in general. Of course, a lot of this was due to the polished mechanics, iconic characters and extended feature lists. What really stood out though was NetherRealm’s implantation of a cohesive story mode, something most if not all other fighting games lacked. So naturally when Mortal Kombat X was announced it was meet with pure excitement from fans. Since release I haven’t been able to put the game down and for good reason – NetharRealm has another great title to add to their already impressive collection!

    With so much to talk about let’s start with what made the recent NetharRealm games so memorable, the story. Taking place sometime after the events of MK9, the former elder god Shinnok is trying to take over Earthrealm using Outworld monsters and undead versions of past characters. During the invasion, everyone’s favorite movie star Johnny Cage is shown leading a Special Forces strike team along with Sonya and Kenshi. After clashing with Shinnok’s forces, Johnny is somehow able to defeat the fallen god. This allows Raiden, god of thunder and lighting, to lock Shinnok in a magical amulet. Twenty-five years later the amulet keeping Shinnok imprisoned goes missing and it’s up to the new Special Forces team to figure out what happened.

    If you’ve never played Mortal Kombat before, what I mentioned above might seem confusing. The good news is that it isn’t that hard to follow in-game. Even though the story is obviously written for those who are familiar with MK’s lore, it’s still possible for new players to follow along. Especially considering all of the new characters the twenty-five year jump adds to the table; they don’t really have back stories to worry about, which make it easier to focus on the here and now. Take Cassie Cage, the daughter of Johnny and Sonya. When we meet her she’s already leading her own Special Forces team under the guidance of her dad. Whether she’s seeking her parent’s approval or learning how to work with newer teammates, her growth as a character is front and center. Basically, it’s easy to relate to the “coming of age like” plot even if you don’t know why there is such a thing as a realm.

    The cast of characters, both old and new, are really interesting. There are twenty-four total, sans the DLC extras – a decent roster for today’s fighters. What’s really cool though is that each character has 3 variations or versions of themselves. These variations change how a character plays by giving them different combos, special moves or even special properties. For instance, one version of Sub Zero allows him to use ice weapons, extending his reach while doing extra damage per hit. He also has a variation that gives him the ability to cover his body in ice to negate some of the damage he receives in battle. Regardless of which version you pick, all of Sub Zero’s base moves will be the same. Essentially what this does is offer up a slightly different playstyle while allowing the player to stay as their favorite combatant. It also helps in terms of counter picking – choosing a character that has an advantage when placed against certain opponents – because there isn’t just one version of each character. Now you don’t have to worry as much when playing against rivals…at least until they’ve learned the ins and outs of every fighter.

    Outside of the character specifics, the fighting is similar to the most recent NetherRealm games. There are environmental attacks (like breaking off a tree branch to crack a foe’s skull), dialed combos, enhanced special moves, combo breakers, and X-Rays. Longtime fans will notice that the execution of combos seems to be a little more strict then previous titles. It’s not insane like some fighters, but it’s definitely going to require some practice to get used to. Of course, it wouldn’t be a MK game without Fatalities and X has the most brutal finishers ever. Brutalities have returned as well, though they aren’t the ultra-combos that end with your opponent exploding into a pile of bones. To do one, you have to meet certain criteria and then get the killing blow with specific attacks. The results vary depending on which Brutality you do. For example the heavy weapons variation of Jax gets a rocket launcher he can shoot at enemies. If you happen to hit your opponent out of the air for the final attack you’ll just blow them to bits. It’s a quick, yet satisfying way to end a match.

    Another thing that made its way back is the ability to run. While it’s great for following up on juggled opponents, it isn’t locked to one button anymore. To start running you have to hit the block button while dashing forward (double tapping forward). It’s a little awkward but still a welcomed addition as it offers more offensive gameplay. That said you can’t just spam the move. One must have enough stamina before they can do certain things. For instance, breaking a combo will take two super meter bars like before as well as your entire stamina bar. So you won’t be able to dash/run in to follow up after stopping your opponent’s barrage of attacks. For the most part, the game does a decent job of explaining these things to newer players. That said the tutorial isn’t as good as other popular fighters like Killer Instinct. You’ll have to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to learning the ropes.

    Beyond normal VS matches and the story are extra modes to keep you entertained. There are the living towers where you’re set against AI opponents with special properties (like upside down fights, random missile strikes, etc.) to keep you off balance. What’s really cool about them though is that each one changes its content at different times; hourly, daily, or premier. The hourly and daily towers will change as you’d expect (every hour and every day) while the premier tower is a weeklong event. Each also comes with their own leaderboards to compete for the best scores. Completing the tower will reward you with koins, costumes and other prizes. Because things are always changing, there’s always something new to come back to.

    There’s also the Faction Wars. The game asks you to join a faction, led by a popular character -Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei, Sonya Blade and the Special Forces, Kano and the Black Dragons, ect. – joining a team of players across the globe. Your goal is to help your Faction win wars by earning faction points, which can be gained in almost any mode online or off. There are special events that allow you to gain a significate amount of points though. My favorite is the Invasion boss fights. They are extremely difficult matches against a character with an insane amount of health, requiring the entire community of player to take down. The idea is to do as much damage as possible before you die or thirty seconds have passed. Other faction members will do the same to slowly whittle away their health. It’s fun diversion that does a great job at extending the game’s replay value. Not only that, it allows gamers to contribute without having to face real opponents online, something that can be intimidating to newer players.

    Besides just being part of a team there are some exclusives when you join a faction. When in a faction you have the ability to perform a Faction Kill at the end of the fight instead of a Fatality or Brutality. Faction kills function in the same way as a fatality in the sense that you have to be at the right distance and input the right command. There are five faction kills but they only become available as you level up in your faction. Just about everything grants faction XP so it’s not too difficult to level up. Faction kills are similar to fatalities except your character doesn’t perform the dirty deed. Instead your character will give the order to kill your opponent and depending on what you input someone from your faction will put them down. It doesn’t say exactly who does the faction kill in most but, it’s not too hard to guess who did what. If a hat comes out of nowhere and cuts off your opponent’s head you probably just got some help from your friend Kung Lao.

    There is so much to talk about when it comes to MKX. In an effort not to keep you here all day, I’ll try to run through some of the last major elements. There were definitely some improvements to the game’s online interface and netcode. The interface is a lot more in depth and gives you more control on who you want to play against. It’s possible to create rooms and title them with what you’re looking for; you can make a lobby with the title beginners to hopefully find people that are also beginners or if you’re looking for a solid connection you can name your lobby with a region such as “east coast” to find a match in close proximity for the best possible connection. If you’re just trying to jump into a match and play you still have your player match and ranked match options. King of the Hill, Team Battles, and online training are back. The Krypt also makes its return. Featuring a first person view, it plays more like an adventure mode; you’ll explore areas, purchase unlockables using koins, find items to solve puzzles leading to new places and more. There are even jump scares that prompt QTE’s.

    Almost everything in MKX is great. The key word there is almost. While the netcode is good it could be better. There were plenty of times where matches were almost unplayable due to lag. Visually, MKX looks amazing in almost every aspect from character models, lighting, particle affects you name it. One thing I did notice is how characters look when they’re wet. When you’re on one of the stages with rain it looks good until you get to the win pose and the camera zooms in on a character’s face. It ends up looking like someone rubbed a bunch of turtle wax on your forehead, leaving a weird shine in spots. It’s minor and shouldn’t really bother me, but with everything else looking so nice, it can be quite noticeable.

    All and all, MKX is the best NetherRealm game yet. And though it has issues here and there, I believe it to be as good as it was ever going to be. Of course, that won’t be the case in the future. For right now though, there isn’t another current gen fighter that competes!



    Whether it’s the great new characters, the tight fighting mechanics or the plethora of content/game modes, there’s a lot of fresh content to sink your teeth into.



    I know I said I don’t like the way the wet character models look but honestly, it’s one of the best looking fighting games around.



    Mortal Kombat has always been known for having great music and this is no different. The voice acting is a little cheesy, but it works for an over-the-top game like this.



    The great fighting mechanics, living towers and constant Faction Wars should keep gamers occupied for some time!

    Final Score:


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