Reviews// Mortal Kombat X

Posted 27 Apr 2015 16:51 by
I’m going to kick this off by letting you know that by no means am I an experienced Mortal Kombat player. In fact, my Mortal Kombat experience goes as far as probably 10 hours’ worth of fights on MK9 at a friend's house. Nonetheless, I’m here to tell you what I think of MKX!

The first thing that came to my attention as I fired up the latest instalment was the jump in graphics – MKX is gorgeous. The stages range from the vitally-coloured Kuatan Jungle, to the snow-covered Dead Woods. Each stage has its own charm, and just to mix things up a bit, NetherRealm has stuck in interactive elements, such as the ability to vault off of a nearby jeep to get yourself out of the dreaded corner, or grabbing a large branch and wrapping it around your opponent's face.

That doesn’t mean to say there aren’t visual flaws – some of the characters are ripe with detail, whereas others look a bit rushed and slapped together. It’s a shame really - there aren’t many of these hiccups, so when you do come across one it really stands out.

As for the actual combat in MKX, well, it took some getting used to. I’m a very aggressive player - I like to get up close and personal and not leave my opponent much room to breathe. Because of this, I’m constantly tapping the forward button to close any gaps between us, which wasn’t a problem with MK9. Unfortunately for me, in MKX, double tapping forward makes your character run in that direction, rendering you unable to actually attack.

Once I got over my double-tapping habit and learned to use running to my advantage, the combat became much more seamless – mixing combos with special moves and finishing with an environmental interaction has an incredibly satisfying feel to it.

The character roster includes 24 playable characters with the purchase of the game, plus an unconfirmed amount of extras in the form of DLC. As you’ve probably heard already, MKX introduces a few brand new characters – some of them are relations to well-known MK veterans, and some? Well, I’m not entirely sure where they came into it.

The list features Cassie Cage, the daughter of Sonya Blade & Johnny Cage alongside Kung Jin, Kung Lao’s cousin. Joining those two, we meet Takeda Takahashi, the son of Kenshi Takahashi & Jacquie Briggs, Jackson Briggs’ daughter. Erron Black, a gun-wielding cowboy who resides in Outworld also makes his debut as well as Ferra/Torr - not just one, but two fighters on the same team. We also meet D’vora, who’s definitely the strangest of the new bunch, Kotal Kahn, Shao Kahn’s replacement as the ruler of Outworld and finally our main antagonist, Shinnok.

These new characters really freshen up the roster and add some interesting new ways to battle your opponents. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of freshening things up, NetherRealm has also opted to add three different fighting styles for each character to really make you work in order to master all of their moves & combos.

MKX isn’t lacking in game modes either, the most prominent mode being the story. Unlike other games, MKXs story doesn’t have annoying loading screens – instead, you flow through cutscenes and fights seamlessly without having to watch a little emblem flashing in the bottom corner for 15 seconds every five minutes.

My only real gripe with how the story mode works is the fact that NetherRealm felt it necessary to add quick-time events - I whole-heartedly hate QTEs in games. Fortunately, though, if you hit the wrong button during one of these segments, rather than having to start from the top, your character will likely take a punch to the jaw & continue on with the fight scene – phew!

As well as the story, the classic Tower mode returns – choose your character & make your way through 10 fights, each increasing in difficulty from the last. Just like MK9, as you complete the tower mode, you’ll see a short cutscene explaining what happened to your character after defeating the antagonist.

MKX also offers the 'Test your luck' mode in which random & ridiculous game modifiers are added before the fight. For example, you might find yourself fighting with extreme speed, but with your X-ray bar disabled. These are great for when you’ve got a few mates round and fancy a bit of gimmicky fun.

The final addition to MKX that’s worth a mention is the Faction Wars mode. As you play, be it online, offline, on the story mode, on the tower mode, wherever, you’ll earn XP for your chosen faction. There are five factions, and it’s a constant battle between them to see which can earn the most XP in a set amount of time.

Oh, and how could I forget what put the Mortal Kombat series on the gaming map – Fatalities! Not only are Fatalities present, they’re even more brutally cringeworthy than ever before, so if you’ve got small children, send them off to bed before you sit down for a session.

One of the only things I feel is missing for MKX is the tag-battles we had the option to play in MK9. Most of my time was spent finding which fighters complemented each other as a tag-team and putting them to the test against my mates.

MKX is a great game. If you’re a fan of the MK series, you’ll love it. If you’re a fan of 3D stage-based fighting games but you’ve never played MK, you’ll love it (albeit after a few hours getting used to how MK works). With only a few minor gripes, MKX is well worth the hefty current-gen console game price tag.

Pros:
+ Seamless combat
+ Flowing story mode
+ Great character roster

Cons:
- Some visual issues
- Lacking tag-team mode
- Quick time events

SPOnG Score: 9/10

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