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Game review: Mortal Kombat X


Game review: Mortal Kombat X

TOP FEATURES

- Brutal one of one Combat
- Return of the classic
- Amazing story mode
- Tonnes of stuff to unlock

A note: Before jumping into the review, we need to warn you that Mortal Kombat is one of the bloodiest in a long series of bloody games dating back to the early days of gaming. So viewer and buyer discretion is advised. There's a lot of dismemberment, beheading and other gory things rendered in exquisite lifelike detail. So, don't show this to your kids folks and for god sakes, don't buy this for your kids. There's a reason a big scary ninja is on the cover. 

 

You cannot imagine the word "Arcade" without thinking about Mortal Kombat. The game captured imagination with lifelike motion captured characters in the days of pixels. With amazing depth in the one on one combat, Mortal Kombat was propelled to fame by it's graphic violence in the form of fatalities, and gruesome ways to end your opponent, which became an instant hit. Now, 22 years after the first game comes the Mortal Kombat X, taking not only the violence to the next level, but also the gameplay. 

Story and setting
The Earth and Outworld realms are rebuilt after the events of the last game. As we are introduced to the next generation of kombatants in the form of Kotal Khan, Cassie Cage, Jackie Briggs, Takeda Takahashi and Kung Jin, as well as the return of several faces from the entire Mortal Kombat canon. All of whom have to deal with the aftermath in the form of civil wars, with a greater evil looming over the horizon threatening to return. 

As expected from a Mortal Kombat game, the story is fantastic, with a good level of camp to keep things action movie-like. Weaving through multiple perspectives, the game lets you play as several characters as the story progresses, letting you learn the new mechanics as well as experience the new progressed universe. Despite all the blood spillage, Mortal Kombat is a family drama, with an ending that will make you go 'aww', then quietly look around you to see if anyone's noticed you going aww.

 

The one annoying part of the story mode though is that fights with characters like Ermac, the computer keeps spamming those annoying teleport and levitation moves, which will drive you crazy. 



Gameplay
If you strip away the flesh right down the the raw beating heart of Mortal Kombat X. The game is very deep. It's a one on one fighter, with two characters on screen beating each other senseless. Except it's so much more. Each character has a specific moveset, actually up to three movesets each character. Which you can choose and master. The attack animations are fantastic, and so believable. Once you learn the basics, each fight scene looks like well choreographed kung fu sequence in an action movie. As each move blends seamlessly into each other.

 

The kombos are easy to pull off and quite intuitive as to the movement of the player. Takes a bit of learning, but there's a helpful move list. There is a three stage meter at the bottom of your screen, that lets you perform a parry or one of the brutal X-Ray moves. Which shows you internal damage done to a character in extra gory detail, as spleens rupture, ribs get shattered and skulls get broken. While it may seem a bit excessive, however when playing with friends, it provides that "ouch" moment of one upmanship. You can also use the environment to your advantage, like in the movies, where in a market scene you can slap a hot boiling plateful of embers on to your opponent, or swing from an overhead branch for a kick. Essentially, Mortal Kombat gives you the opportunity to fight dirty, rather lots of opportunities. 

 

Even after completing the story missions, there's tonnes to do. You can either take part in the online activities, or fight your way through several of the living towers, which nets you koins, so you can unlock new outfits and other goodies in the Krypt. There's a large roster of characters you can master, plus if you have bought the DLC, you get to play as the legendary Predator, from the movies. 

Much like the story mode, computer opponents tend to spam teleport moves and execute combos to combos at unrealistic speeds. This dampens things a bit. 

The fatalities are back. Though this time around there are quick fatalities. No more memorising a bunch of button presses to execute an opponent. Except, you have to buy them in several micro transactions. Truth be told, there's a certain excitement in working for your fatality. Which are spectacularly gruesome. Rather than the old over-the-top geysers of blood fatalities of the old games, Mortal Kombat X opts for a realistic approach. So you can, boil, broil, poison, slice, dice, disembowel, burn, freeze, break and various other icky things that cannot be categorised anywhere. So hence the viewer discretion. Don't show this to your kids folks and for God sakes, don't buy this for your kids. There's a reason there's a big scary ninja on the cover. 

Online
Bored of playing with the computer, you can take your skills online. Where, unfortunately, almost everyone plays as Scorpion. One of Mortal Kombat's most iconic characters, and with an arsenal of cheap moves. Thankfully IGN has a helpful guide on how to counter the yellow ninja. 

 

In the one on one battles you can take part in the Faction Wars, which lets you pick one of five factions, and each time you perform a Faction Kill, your faction gets points. What's interesting also, is the Quitality, which executes a player who quits a multiplayer match. The living towers has an online element, with conditions that change hourly. All in all, fighting online is fun and frustrating if you come across another Scorpion after Scorpion. Tonnes of fun if you're playing with your friends. 

Graphics and Sound The graphics are so good that they will make you cringe. Characters are detailed both externally and internally, including the non human anatomies. The fighting frame-rate is smooth, and the animations seem to blend into each other. Little things like the little parries as moves connect, the whooshing of fists as they connect, the way one move flows into another without any jerks, gives a whole sense of believability. The violence is dialled up all the way, with muscle tissue giving way to flesh, then to actual bone, as rib cages cave revealing internal organs that pop and get cut. You get used to it, as the gameplay soon outweighs all the gory flash, but when you first see the moves, it's hard not to look away but yet it will make you exclaim loudly. 

That cringe is also due to the fantastic sound effects, of the bones popping. Very well done, as punches hit hard. Fist to flesh has a certain sound, and in the case of the metal armed Jax, hard hitting metal to bone, in the case of D'vorrah chitin, all inclusive of the swishes and whooshes of power moves in progress. 

Characters look fantastic, though, in cutscenes, the faces look a bit off as compared to the detail in the rest of the bodies. 

Conclusion Mortal Kombat X is one game you cannot ignore. Fantastic in every way, built to deliver maximum flurry of fun, with immense replayability. Best recommended on the PS4 or Xbox One right now as the PC one is pretty broken. Pick it up on the PC only if you're willing to wait a bit until its fully fixed. That said, Mortal Kombat X is highly recommended.

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