When asked what it is you want from a Mortal Kombat game, you are likely to respond with something violent like guts or exploding bones, while balanced fighting followed by a storyline of elder gods and damnation stays at the bottom of the list.
Well, Mortal Kombat X has all these things and more. It provides players with violent and comical fatalities that cause gasps and revolting laughter. Of course, you will also have the breakneck fighting enjoyed across all Mortal Kombat installments, and a storyline.
When it comes to the gore, there is more than one might expect from fistfights or even exploding testicles. The environment shown is one of endless grisly carnage. Unlike the prior games, this installment supplies the Mortal Kombat scaffolding with a narrative. Spanning 25 years, it brings out the history of the known characters and introduces their children.
When it comes to the storyline, it would have been pointless if the fighting was not great. In comparison to Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat has always been more brutal, as it focuses more on the heavy-fisted and dirty “pub-fu” that is about defeating opponents by destroying them completely. For the moment, this is the best title by far. To add complexity, the super meter returns, – borrowed from Street Fighter – which allows you to break the opponent’s combo attack by using the two meter bars and launching counterattacks. Then, there are the X-ray moves that act as ultra-combos, ending with damaging and humiliating specials that break up the fight. You may find yourself playing with the variations of moves already familiar to you and causing extra damage by adding them to the end of your combos. Really, the only thing that this game is serious about is the fighting.
There are three variants of each fighter, which is similar to Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, but there is no option to change during gameplay. For example, Raiden tricked out as Thunder God can end almost all of his multi-hit combos with lightning attacks that deal solid damage and help build meter, while keeping the opponents at a safe distance. Displacer is best used for teleporting, while Storm Lord is the classic variation with the only addition being the ability to set Static Traps that hit Raiden’s enemies with electricity. The core specials remain the same, with added strategic thrust to the stances.
Also, you will notice they have made minor changes to some of the popular characters. You may find that summoning Thunder God is not in the build you choose, which can result in experimenting with variations for some and frustration for others.
The graphical gameplay looks as appealing and attractive as a game featuring smashed brains can get, with the X-ray moves highlighting the details of skulls and spines being shattered. The backgrounds are equally amazing, as they incorporate contextual attacks and even allow old ladies to be tossed at opponents. Although, there are some known PC-specific issues. For example, even with VSync activated on high-end machines, screen tear is noticed. There is actually no way to disable VSync in the menu. Instead, you will need to explore the application data or even mess with the graphics card to disable it. The fights run at a smooth 60fps, but drop to 30fps during cut-scenes and X-ray moves. Some have also had issues playing the game on machines that meet only the minimum requirements. These issues make a great game feel under-optimized in the PC version.
When playing Mortal Kombat X online, things can become frustrating. The ideas are promising, and there are numerous options for competitiveness, but the gameplay is quite shaky. The matches range from single-player to “winner stays” and taking part in an ongoing faction war where you pledge allegiance to an organization like Black Dragon or Lin Kuei, and points get added to weekly faction ranks. However, with the shaky gameplay it is difficult to really remain competitive.
With the technical issues put aside, there are many additional features and extras in Mortal Kombat X. The tower challenges work like arcade mode where you are put up against various opponents. “Test Your Luck” includes a new modifier each round and contains exploding enemies and tilting stages. Even the Krypt that holds the goods got an upgrade. It does take time to unlock it all, as it’s more a first-person adventure, but it covers the heritage of the series, which makes it worth the time. The pre-order characters and DLCs are a bit trickier as well.
When it comes to the content, Mortal Kombat X offers the most complete package out of all the parts, with a fully developed story behind it. The only real downside is the tech issues that require a high-end machine to experience the gameplay fully.