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Mortal Kombat X

All the way back in 1992, the entertainment world was shook by the arrival of the very first ‘Mortal Kombat’. A controversial take on the fighting-game genre, where you could win a match by literally killing your opponent. Cue the screams of angry parents around the world as they tried to have this ‘sick filth’ banned from our shelves.

Fast-forward 23 years, and the sick filth is still going strong. Having spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs, MK is back once again for its current-gen debut, ‘Mortal Kombat X.’

Mortal Kombat X

The story picks up two years after MK9, with most of the series’ main cast dead. As a result, you begin play as one of the few survivors and Mortal Kombat alumni, Johnny Cage, as he fights to stop the evil ex Elder God, Shinnok.

You’re not stuck with Mr. Cage for long, however, as NetherRealms’ unique story mode allows you to play at least half the game’s total roster across an entertaining, 12-chapter long narrative. The series’ plot has never exactly been Oscar material, (especially considering how many holes and ret-cons there are) but it does hold a slightly silly charm, which benefits greatly from not being taken too seriously.

An impressive roster of 24 combatants are playable in the vanilla game, with an additional 5 currently (or soon to be) available as DLC. Each one comes with 3 style variations, making for a total of 87 potential fighters to play with. Thankfully, the variations are subtle, changing each characters move-set slightly, but not so much as to feel like you’re learning someone completely different. For example, Sub-Zero’s ‘Cryomancer’ variation allows him to create weapons from ice, mid-combo. Whereas his ‘Grandmaster’ variation lets him create ice clones of himself, making for a more defensive strategy. It’s an inspired twist on the old formula, and one that allows for tremendous variety in fighting styles and match-ups.

Mortal Kombat X

In terms actually of pulling these moves off, MKX feels more unforgiving compared to the likes of Street Fighter, KI, and it’s predecessor, MK9. Timings are stricter and can sometimes get frustrating when inputting combos or special moves. But that’s not to say the system can’t be mastered of course. The Internet is already littered with videos showcasing some of the finest combos by the industry’s experts. So there are ways to look stylish while thrashing your opponent, but the road to doing so isn’t easy.

Thankfully, pulling off fatalities is far easier than in previous games, and it seems like NRS really want you see all the cheesy gore they’ve got lined up. ‘Brutalities’ also make a welcome return, with each fighter having up to five at their disposal, providing a quick way to finish the match with a bit of finesse and a dash of blood (or a pint in some cases). And MK9’s iconic ‘X-ray’ moves are also back, offering a deliciously detailed view of every snapped bone and crushed organ you inflict on your opponent. Believe us when we say that violence has never looked so beautiful.

Mortal Kombat X

The stages have also benefitted from current gen polish, looking slick and busy with some gorgeous dynamic lighting effects. To go with that, the entire interface has been given a much cleaner overhaul, opting for simple fonts and icons over the previously more obtrusive theme. Overall, it feels as if MK has grown up.

The game boasts a decent selection of modes to keep you interested and invested. Apart from online and offline 1v1, you can spice things up with the new ‘Kustom Kombat’, allowing you to choose from various game altering modifiers. Of, if you want the mods to be random, then head into ‘Test Your Luck’ and just see what happens. King of the Hill mode also returns, giving you the chance to earn respect points in a lobby of up to 8 players. Finally, there’s ‘Towers Mode’, a series of floor-by-floor gauntlets with an arcade flavour. Those online will also benefit from Living Towers; custom towers that change daily, monthly, and weekly, and provide opportunities to earn more Koins’.

Mortal Kombat X Towers

Amass enough Koins and you can head over to the Krypt to cash in your earnings. This feels like a mini-dungeon crawler in its own right, letting players move in first-person around various areas, unlocking new costumes, fatalities, and plenty more. New areas can also be unlocked by finding special items. For instance, in the Spider Caves, you’ll find Kung Lao’s hat, which can be used to cut down a bridge which let’s you progress further. As you explore, you’ll even be attacked by enemies, earning you more Koins if you react quickly enough to the on screen prompt. Additional content can also be unlocked through the new ‘faction wars’, MK’s online meta-game. As you level up in whichever faction you choose, you earn bonuses, koins, new fatalities, etc. And at the end of each week, the winning faction’s members are all collectively rewarded.

Mortal Kombat X is by far the best in the series to date and a fantastically well-rounded fighter overall. Games like Street Fighter and Tekken have traditionally been the most popular amongst the community, but this latest iteration of MK looks to be inspiring a wind of change. With a plethora of games modes and characters to choose from, Mortal Kombat X has some real longevity and is sure to keep players coming back for more. It’s certainly not a beginner’s fighter, but with a little practice, you’ll be performing the goriest Fatalities in no time. So, if you want to Test Your Might, pick up a copy and prepare for some Brutality.

9/10

Nick Petrasiti
Consummate professional, lover of video games and all-round hero that can be found doing a podcast, writing about games and also making videos. Oh, I have saved the world 87 times and once hugged Danny Trejo. You're welcome.

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