Developer: NeatherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Review Context: Mortal Kombat has been a mainstay in gaming for me since I was a child. I still remember my mom catching me and my brother playing Mortal Kombat on our Sega Genisis, and the hell that ensued with that. That also means I’ve been with Mortal Kombat through thick and thin, and yes, I am talking about Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
Date of Playthrough: July 24, 2015
When I think of the Mortal Kombat series I have mixed emotions… Obviously I think back to my childhood and remember constantly being destroyed by my brother on Sega Genesis. I also think back to playing Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, which is where I thought the series would die. After the success of the franchise reboot, Mortal Kombat (2011), I was really excited to get my hands on Mortal Kombat X. I was really curious to see if Mortal Kombat X would continue to lead the franchise back to its glory days.
My first major concern with Mortal Kombat X was the fact that NetherRealm Studios was introducing eight brand new fighters to the franchise. Usually when a new fighting game is coming out from a series you expect to get the normal two to four new fighters. Mortal Kombat X breaks that trend and dedicates a third of the roster to new characters. It’s a bold move that pays off really well for the series. I enjoyed playing with the new characters and learning all of their new moves. Mortal Kombat X also adds three variations for each fighter. Each variation has its own special moves and different costume looks, and with each variation also comes new strategies for each specific variation. Both of these new features really help move the series forward instead of staying stagnant.
Fatalities are back, and I honestly believe they are better than ever. Not only are fatalities back, but brutalities are also back. Each fighter has multiple fatalities and brutalities, a lot of which have to be unlocked through the krypt. The krypt is not just an area where you unlock secret items, but the krypt is now a full-fledged minigame with a lot of puzzles. I remember hating the krypt in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance because of how simplistic it was, but that has completely been changed in Mortal Kombat X. Now when you load the krypt up it is a first-person adventure where you have to uncover all the secrets and watch out for enemies that pop up at random times, all while opening treasure chests which contain some of the many unlockable items the game has.
I loved the campaign in Mortal Kombat (2011), and was expecting to get another helping of a great campaign. The story in the campaign was what you would expect of Mortal Kombat (minus the boss not being Shao Kahn). But Mortal Kombat X takes a step back in campaign this time around, simply because this campaign is shorter than the campaign was in Mortal Kombat (2011). This was a major letdown for me because I could not believe how quickly I ran through the campaign. If you sit down with full intent on running through the campaign, you can easily go from beginning to end in approximately four to five hours. But it is not all about the campaign, the new ‘living towers’ feature is a nice touch. It goes back to the roots of Mortal Kombat, with you starting out the bottom of the tower and working your way up. The new twist is that now there are weekly and daily towers, which both have been a lot of fun. I was surprised that I was able to play the tower that forces you to play as Jason, which is a DLC character that I did not buy, but the game let me play the tower as much as I wanted during that week using Jason for free.
I think my biggest surprise with Mortal Kombat X was the amount of microtransactions that are littered throughout the game. I think sadly in today’s world, most of the time when we buy a new game we already know that we are going to need to spend more on the season pass or any DLC. Mortal Kombat X is no different; there is a season pass that will give you every fighter, and all the extra costumes, as you would expect. But then there are different things you can buy, such as easy fatalities. An easy fatality is done just by pressing a button, as long as you have an easy fatality token. Even if you are out from the five free ones they give you when you buy the game, you can just buy more tokens through the game. On one hand, I get that some of the fatalities can be a pain to do, but really how can you justify spending money on what is a four or give button combo?! Sadly, I do not even believe easy fatalities are the worst. I think the worst microtransaction is unlocking the whole krypt for a whopping $20. Seriously, why buy the game if you plan on buying the krypt unlock? I thought one of the big points to a game like this was to go through and unlock everything yourself. This takes all of that work out of it, and to me, it takes all of the fun out of it as well. For my review, I went ahead and picked up the season pass, and I love all of the characters that you get with it. Obviously Jason and Predator fit perfectly into the fold and are really fun to use. The fatalities for these two fit both fighters perfectly, and has me excited to see who the future cameo fighters are.
The online in Mortal Kombat X has seen improvements since the last entry in the franchise. I feel the most fun in online comes from the king of the hill mode. You get to queue up with friends and chat, all while two players fight and the others practice until their turn. This is where I found the most fun online; it feels like you’re just in a room with your friends seeing who can last as the champion the longest. There are still lag issues at times, but nowhere near as bad as they were in Mortal Kombat (2011). It was still noticeable enough to throw off combo timing a few times, but still an improvement nonetheless.
It is great to see Mortal Kombat continuing to come back to prominence and to see Mortal Kombat make its rounds on the tournament and pro gaming scene. All in all, I believe that Mortal Kombat X can easily take home multiple awards this year, and rightfully so, because it is a great game. Mortal Kombat X has set the bar a little higher for the next installment of the Mortal Kombat franchise, and I will be curious to see if NeatherRealm Studios can take that bar even higher.
Similar Games Liked:
Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360)
Similar Games Disliked:
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (PS2)