Published on May 1st, 2015 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
Mortal Kombat X [Review]
Title: Mortal Kombat X
Developer: Netherrealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Many of my earlier gaming memories were spent with the likes of Ninja Masters, Hollywood stars and Special Forces soldiers tasked with defending the Earth from takeover. While there was an underlying story somewhere behind the madness, it played second fiddle behind the chance to give your opponents the ultimate, and final, humiliation — often in the form of organ or limb removal.
Here we are, some 20-odd years later, and while plenty of things have remained the same, many have changed. The changes, though, make this iteration of Mortal Kombat the best one yet.
Mortal Kombat X lets you know that its different from its predecessors right off the bat. The very first option you get on startup is to choose a Faction, and there are five of them: Black Dragon, Brotherhood of the Shadow, Lin Kuei, Special Forces & White Lotus. Each of them has an important role in the history of the franchise, and every point you earn in-game (which you earn by doing just about everything) affects your Faction if your console is connected to the web. You can also unlock Faction Kills after leveling up your faction that give you a nice boost to your points in addition to rewards if you’re in the winning Faction every week.
Once that’s done, you’re at the menu. If you’re anything like me, you’re immediately compelled to start the campaign, and you should not be disappointed. That’s because Mortal Kombat X has an impressive campaign mode that covers a lot of ground with the story as well as getting you used to a reasonable amount of the game’s fighters.
Each chapter focuses on a single fighter, and though some are repeated you get just enough time with each fighter to figure out if they’re for you. The story starts with familiar ground for Kombat fans, as once again the Earth is in trouble from another realm, but this time there are multiple threats.
As always, there are some fighters that feel a bit overpowered, but at least in my mind those are the fights that get you a lot better with the fighter you’re using. (Ermac: I hate your guts) Another neat little add-in are Quick-Time Events that require you to hit the right button in time. While it seems the fight will start either way, your interactions with them are what shape the way the cutscene plays. You’ll find that there are no fatalities in the campaign (likely for continuity reasons), but the mind-boggling X-Ray moves can still be completed, doing massive amounts of damage during your battles if you can connect.
If you remember Mortal Kombat like I do, you remember when it was basically just fighting individual matches either going up the ‘campaign’ tower or playing arcade mode on a non-stop basis. That’s no longer the case. Just on the single player side of things, you’ve got five options:
- Campaign – Detailed and has a decent length.
- Living Towers – Three towers that change on their own intervals daily, hourly and weekly.
- Single Fight – Essentially old school arcade mode.
- Test Your Luck – Similar to Arcade, but adds modifiers like adding elements to certain moves or instant kills if you use an X-Ray.
- Training – Take your favorite fighter into a room and train.
The multiplayer is really where Mortal Kombat shines, as always. While the time I’ve spent online isn’t very high, there are plenty of options to keep you in battles for as long as you like:
- Krypt – This is a very cool mode. You unlock more fatalities, concept art and skins for your character by playing through a dungeon once you have enough Koins to unlock krypts.
- Kustom Kombat – Basically “Test Your Luck” except you pick the modifiers.
- Team Battle – Think Tekken Tag Tournament, except with 3v3 or 5v5 matches. There are also Faction Battles that are the same concept, just locking players of a faction against players of another faction.
- Test Your Might – Mortal Kombat themed mini-games that are pretty cool when done every now and then.
- King of The Hill – Have you ever played with friends in a rotation and that one guy continually destroyed everyone in the room? That guy was the King of the Hill. Everyone else passed the controller for a chance. This game mode is awesome for taking breaks, too! Comes in Klassic & Survival modes. Survival keeps your health bar where it is at the start of a new round, while Klassic resets them.
- Tower Battle – Same as single player, but done for Faction Points.
Long story short: Yes, Mortal Kombat X will keep you busy.
The DLC Dilemma
One of the most contreversial things about the game, Mortal Kombat X has more fighters planned for future release — which are still being worked on, as per Ed Boon:
— Ed Boon (@noobde) April 17, 2015
Those characters & packs are:
- Predator (Predator/ Prey Pack)
- Tanya (Klassic Pack 1)
- Tremor (Klassic Pack 2)
- Jason Voorhees (Ultimate Horror Pack)
Now, the contreversy isn’t that these characters exist, but that the additional four characters cost an additional $29.99 as a DLC pack called the Kombat Pack. Of course, you can likely purchase the individual packs — that include three themed skins for other characters as well — on their own, but at a price that would be higher than the pack as a whole. Add to that, fan-favorite Goro was only available on-disc if you pre-ordered the game. Otherwise, he costs $5.
So the dilemma lies in that you’re paying half the price of the full game — $5 more than that if you want Goro — for four additional characters when the roster of characters on disc is 23 (24 if you pre-ordered). While that may not seem like that big a deal to everyone, there are plenty of us gamers that can have issue with this.
On the bright side, if you can find a copy of the Limited or Kollector’s Edition of the game, you get the Kombat Pack as a part of your purchase anyway.
Mortal Kombat X: The Final Truth
If you’re a fan of fighting games, which I assume you are by the fact that you’re this far down the page, the question isn’t really whether or not you should buy this game, but when you should buy it. If the additional five characters don’t matter much for you, you very likely either have this game already or will have it soon.
On the other hand, if you expect that playing as Predator or Jason Voorhees is a must for you, but don’t want to pay more than $60, it wouldn’t be too surprising for the game to be updated down the line in a “Komplete Kollection” of sorts that includes all the characters for the standard $60 or less. The downside is that if something like this were to happen, you should fully expect a good looooong wait before it happens — if ever.
Having said that, I think the game is a blast and get the feeling you will, too.