I still remember the chill when I first played Mortal Kombat 2 and since then, that game became one of my favorites. It’s been a long time since I don’t feel a chill like that and the first time I put the disc of Mortal Kombat X and start playing, I felt it again.
Mortal Kombat X is the latest observation of NetherRealm Studios and the successor of Mortal Kombat (mostly known as Mortal Kombat 9), released in 2011. It took awhile for the creators of one of the most important fighting games to go back on track since the “dark ages” (from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance to Mortal Kombat: Armageddon), but with MK9 they took a big step and this new release is the culmination of a great job that most fans don’t want to end.
This game is not just the logical successor of Mortal Kombat 9, but it’s also its spiritual one in most of its ways: the story, gameplay, blood, gore, and such. Of course, there are more aspects in Mortal Kombat X that people have to see when they play the game. For instance, when you are in the story mode you’ll see what happened in Eearthrealm, Outworld and Netherealm, twenty years after the events of MK9 and, of course, what happened with the remaining characters and the ones who died during the previous game. This time Shao Kahn is not the main villain of the story, the bad guy is the former Elder God Shinnok, who wants to destroy Earthrealm and become its absolute ruler and it is time for the old and new pack of fighters to stop him and save the worlds and all of that.
If someone ask me to define the story mode of MKX in one concept, I would have to say “family”. The main characters are the Cage Family: Jhonny, Sonya and their daughter Cassie. This turned the story into something deeper, more fluid and with a greater importance than the previous versions. The only problem the story mode has is it took me about six to seven hours to finish it. Back in MK9, sometimes you have to fight against five or seven characters per chapter and some of them where Goro, Kintaro or Shao Khan, extremely powerful fighters and that made you take more time than needed to finish it. In MKX the amount of fighters per chapter are more balanced, about three per chapter, and that makes you going faster through the storyline. That’s why it feels shorter than MK9.
The gameplay has also had more improvements compared to the previous game. There’s been a huge influence of NetherRealm’s Injustice: Gods Among Us. You can primally see this in the interaction the players have with the environment of each stage. This makes the fights to be faster and more dynamics into this standard 2D fighting game style. The fighters are faster too, and the combos and special moves are very alike the previous MK versions. Even though sometimes I felt a bit clumsy trying to land more complicated combos and special moves into one big hit, just like in MK9. You need more practice to do that if you’re not an expert or competitive Mortal Kombat fighter. The fighting styles of each “kombatant” tried to inject more dynamic and customization for each, but in some cases it felt like the guys in NetherRealm took a whole set of combos and special moves and splitted them into three.
The finishing moves, by the other hand, are the most brutal and stunning moves we have seen in a Mortal Kombat game so far. You can feel the pain when an X-Ray is executed. There is so much detail when it comes to bone fractures, that you think the guys at NetherRealm were advised by real traumatologists. The new brutalities and faction kills add more spice into this hell of a bloody soup, making you feel that you’re not safe until the end of the fight, and —last but not least— the fatalities are the true kings here. There is none of them you see and don’t make an astonishment face. They are so beautiful in their gore that you start to forgive the fact there are no funny finishing moves such as babalities or friendships, or stage fatalities. Anyway, when it comes to blood in Mortal Kombat, more is funnier.
The other aspects of the game are very similar to the previous MK. The towers, or ladders are the backbone (no pun intended) of the game. They are the same: fight with lots of characters until you fight with a semi boss and the final boss at the top. Now more versions of towers were added, but in the escence are the same. The “Krypt” is also back, just a bit more expensive than before. The best new feature added in MKX is the faction mode, now the player can feel identified even more with the clan they have always liked fighting against the other clans. Well, I guess that’s the main objective of Mortal Kombat: fighting until the last drop of blood has been shed.