Mortal Kombat made its triumphant return to form in 2011 with smoother gameplay and an impressive fighting system. Mortal Kombat X improves on everything in terms of the fighting. The combos feel smooth, the game is visually stunning and, of course, the fatalities are the goriest yet.
It’d be easy to forget that under the gorgeous visuals and violence is a really great fighting system in Mortal Kombat X. It’s still not as complicated as many of its contemporaries but thanks in part to the new fighter variations, choice and approach are things to consider. Every fighting in Mortal Kombat X has three different fighting variations that change some of their special attacks. While some persist across the three, the changes allow for different approaches to a fight. One may be more suited to an all-out attack while another may be conservative or for ranged attacks. It’s interesting to see the same character feel slightly different.
Mortal Kombat X features some new characters also and it’s the best implementation of new characters in Mortal Kombat in a very long time. Time has passed since MK9, about 20 years, and some children of the series favourites are present. Each one feels much more fleshed out than previous attempts at bringing is waves of new fighters.
Mortal Kombat X has taken many risks to which all of them have paid off incredibly well. One of the biggest places that this can be seen is in the roster selection. Out of the 24 characters available, not including DLC characters, one third of them are completely new. Each new character feels different and fits right in beside the series legends. The visual design of the new characters are inconsistent however as some characters look much more detailed than others and it can be clearly noticeable but it doesn’t detract from the excellent fighting.
The story is where you’ll see how well implemented the new wave of characters are. The story in Mortal Kombat X is silly, as expected, but it’s enjoyable for what it is. Neatherrealm have honed their craft of creating a story in a fighting game that began with MK vs. DC and then further so in MK9. It’s for a single playthrough that you enjoy while it lasts, try out some characters and then move on to the meat of the game.
Mortal Kombat features a large list of modes to play through. Regardless of what you do, you’ll earn koins. These koins are used to unlock concept art, costumes, and more from The Krypt. The Krypt this time around is a first-person adventure game that is quite fun considering all you’re doing is unlocking little extras as well as new fatalities and brutalities. It’s surprisingly big and will take quite a while to earn enough koins to unlock everything.
Towers return and unfortunately there’s one thing that’s missing: The Challenge Towers. In the last Mortal Kombat, there were two challenge towers that had hundreds of fights with small changes to each one that got progressively tougher. It was an incredible implementation that is unfortunately absent from Mortal Kombat X. To rectify that, Living Towers exist and although adds some length to play, it just doesn’t compare as it feels as though modifiers are just randomly switched around.
The depth of the combat is surprisingly deep and is seen at its strongest when you take the game online. The ceiling of the highest-skilled fighters is surprisingly high and casual players may feel out of their depth against a lot of these players. Each character has three variations and this almost feels like the game has triple the roster as each one requires different approaches to excel at.
The netcode holds up rather well in my testing. Never felt as though lag was a contributing factor to my losses. You can join a faction that you join with other players online and if your faction wins, you earn koins and become the faction to beat. It adds more incentive to play online but it doesn’t seem as important as it could have been.
Mortal Kombat improves on the last game in every single way. The fighting feels much smoother, it’s deeper, and looks incredible. While there is plenty of content, the lack of those massive challenge towers are sorely missed and the replacements don’t seem quite as deep as MK9’s challenge towers. Learning is what will keep you playing as you find your best style. You’ll be grinding for a long time to unlock everything in the Krypt, or, in an ugly move, pay €20 to unlock everything in the Krypt up front. Apart from its questionable DLC from Day one, Mortal Kombat still trumps all negativity with incredible combat, stunning visuals, and a roster that is one of the best in a long time.