Mortal Kombat has been around for decades; from throwing 10p after 10p into arcade cabinets, watching the original console version regularly appear on Games Master challenges, to finally owning my very own copy of Mortal Kombat almost 20 years ago; it has also been part of my gaming life.
After being rebooted a few years ago, Mortal Kombat is back once again, only this time for next gen with fatalities in all of the P’s.
Buying a Mortal Kombat game for its story is akin to watching a Fast and Furious film for its deep, meaningful plot and Oscar winning performances, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t try. Whilst it is not the most entertaining or best written story it is an interesting enough journey and allows both newcomers and veterans to get to grips with old favourites and new faces.
However when you want to stretch plausibility and the liberty taking as much as possible you have three options. You can reboot the franchise, you can set it many years in the past or, as is the case with MK X, you can set it a couple of decades into the future.
The focus of the story is on the Cage family as, during the last 20 odd years, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade got hitched, had a kid named Cassie and got divorced (I can imagine those arguments were pretty brutal). Whilst Cassie’s coming of age story is ok, it also kinda, you know, doesn’t quite fit into the universe either. Fortunately the other elements that involve fights for supremacy and planet defending provide a much better environment for the bloody battles taking place.
Mortal Kombat X nails down the mechanics that everyone should know and love about the franchise, from simple blocks to, thanks to next gen machine capabilities, the most gruesome fatalities in the history of the franchise all via a multitude of gory X-Ray specials.
Netherealm have never hidden the fact that their violence is over the top and the first few times of seeing a fatality may induce a few winces thanks to the improved visuals that Mortal Kombat X enjoys but there are a few funny digs at pop culture, not least Cassie’s #Selfie Fatality where she takes a photo with her destroyed opponent in order to upload it to social media.
Further innovation comes in the form of the variation system where each character has three different variations which, whilst sharing the basic move set, branch out in different directions. For example Johnny Cages A List variation is almost identical to the Johnny we know and love in both moves and visuals, however the Stunt Double variation incorporates a clone in order to keep combo moves amassing.
You can blast through the single player story mode in about four to ten hours dependent on your skill level but this is only just the beginning with MK X. There are the new living tower challenges consisting of new challenges rotated hourly, daily and through special events. Test Your Luck mode throws in random modifiers that may aid or hinder you or your opponent.
MK X also has the new Meta Game – Faction Wars. At the beginning of the game you choose a faction and every match and action you take in the game count towards the weekly challenge for your faction. The winning faction receives rewards while the rest must work harder the following week. The Krypt is also back, this time in the form of a series of first person quick time events on a range of creatures.
This isn’t to say the game is perfect. Voice acting is not so much hit or miss but more to do with the fact that some of the actors clearly had more fun voicing their characters than others. There is also the odd occasion where characters look abnormally shiny.
Overall Mortal Kombat X is the best release in the franchise thus far, not because it connects with both newcomers and diehards to the series, but because it isn’t afraid to innovate with things such as the variation and living tower systems. I wouldn’t expect to see this game fill your friends list in the way a Destiny or Witcher does but if you have any interest in fighting games you simply can’t ignore this.
MLG Rating: 8.5/10 Format: Xbox One / PlayStation 4 / PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer obtained a copy of Mortal Kombat for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 1 week on a Xbox One. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.