Mortal Kombat X
Release Date: 04/14/2015
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Before you begin reading please click play on the video below to enhance your reading experience.
Did you press play? Yes!? GOOD! MORTAL KOMBAT!
Mortal Kombat X has arrived and I can’t get enough! In this review I will go over the offline and online modes as well all the other game features. I have also dedicated a section for the competitive players towards the end. Feel free to skip around or read entire review. Let’s get started!
At its core, MKX is a one-on-one fighting game. Your goal is to deplete the life bar off your opponent or do the most damage before time runs out and then FINISH HIM or HER! In addition to your life bar you will manage Stamina and Meter bars. The Stamina Bar, located just beneath your life bar, is used for back dashing and running and it replenishes at different speeds depending on your actions. The Meter Bar, located at the bottom of your screen, will allow you to Meter Burn (add armor or additional damage to special attacks) for 1 bar, use a Breaker (escape Kombos or Block Strings) for 2 bars, or use an X-ray Move (Super Move) for 3 bars. Meter and stamina management is an integral part of this game. When used appropriately, correct meter management can change the outcome of any fight. You can also now interact with various objects in the background just like Injustice.
In addition to the updates to core mechanics, each character now has 3 different style variations. Through the variations each character can be played with different strengths and weaknesses. For example, In Johnny Cage’s A-List variation he can charge all of his moves for additional damage and stun, in his Fisticuffs variation he can do more chip damage, and his Stunt Double variation allows him to play a safer-ranged game but has reduced damage yield. These variations are great because it allows you to play your favorite character regardless of their weaknesses.
Graphics and Aesthetics:
The graphics in this game are in a word, astounding. The lighting in each background gives the stage a real sense of depth. Most of the character models are incredibly detailed and look great in motion. Each character variation has a visual cue to show that you have switched from one variation to another. (Erron Black only wears his sweet hat in his Gunslinger variation…Grumbles…). There is so much attention to detail in this game: from different fatalities, to the character costumes, and dynamic backgrounds. The menus are also clean and easy to navigate.
Music and Sound Effects:
The music is atmospheric and totally appropriate for the game’s dark tone. The sound effects are great and at times can even be disgusting. I really appreciate the sounds made when characters make contact with each other. Steel weapons clash like steel, wood knocks like wood, and fists go “thwack” with great impact. (Heh heh, that rhymed) It is really quite satisfying to pummel your opponent’s face in. The voice acting is on point for all characters. The small dialogues before fights and the trash talk during fights is awesome and adds a flare to this game that many other games are lacking.
Don’t have any one to Kompete with? No problem! MKX has a variety of really cool one-player modes in the form of towers.
Klassic: This is the standard arcade mode tower that has 10 opponents culminating in an overpowered final boss fight and small ending clip for each character.
Test Your Luck: This tower puts you against 8 opponents but adds random (and often hilarious) modifiers at the beginning of each match. This mode can also be played with 2 players and can be really fun when the right modifiers are hit. (Try: Missiles, Portals, Darkness, and Hyper Speed. Non-stop laughs.)
Test Your Might: In this tower you can test your button mashing skills to break a variety of objects using only your right arm. I loved doing these in the original MK, so glad they’re back!
Endless Battle: This tower is self-explanatory. You fight an endless series of opponents until you are defeated.
Endless Survival: Same as the above mode only your health bar does not completely reset after each match.
Living Towers: These are revolving towers that change hourly, weekly, and daily. These towers require an internet connection to update though.
In addition to towers you have the option to play 1v1 vs the CPU in Standard Kombat as well as Test Your Luck. Playing these modes unlocks new outfits, player card items, and Koins.
Koins are used in the new and improved Krypt. The Krypt is your means of unlocking goodies in MKX. In this mode you wander through graveyards and caverns solving puzzles and searching for items to unlock new kontent. The attention to detail that went in the Krypt is appreciated. I actually enjoyed hunting for unblockables. The Krypt is also huge… I’ve played nonstop for a week and still haven’t even opened half of the chests.
This isn’t really a mode but an all-encompassing side game within the game. The first thing you do upon starting your game is choose a faction to join. Each faction represents an alliance within the game’s Story Mode. I chose White Lotus. From that point on, every action (online and offline) you take will earn faction points in what is called the Faction War. Although I am not sure what is won for winning the faction war, I am totally intrigued by this concept. In addition to the war there will be invasions from other realms where you can participate in random challenges to help your faction gain more points. I recently played a faction boss (Super OP Mileena on Speed). I got destroyed but I gained a number of points just for simply attempting to beat her. You also get access to specific faction kills. These are fatalities exclusive to each faction that grant you additional faction experience points.
The Story Mode:
The Story mode in this game, although highly entertaining, was a bit underwhelming. Without spoiling anything, I must say that it feels as though the story could have gone on much longer or had a few more character’s fleshed out. The story mode’s length is roughly 3-4 hours. As a longtime fan I truly enjoy the lore of the MK series and was hoping for something a bit more extensive. Certain events have still yet to be explained. Although when put into perspective this, game has a much better story mode than most fighting games. I just wish there was more…
On another note, one of the things I really love about this game’s story is the character interaction before a fight begins. Every character has around 2-3 dialogues for every match-up. These small dialogues are often hilarious (See Johnny Cage vs. Ermac) and/or telling of the characters past and present relationships within the story. It’s a nice touch that brings the characters to life and shows that NetherRealm Studios really went the extra mile for their fans.
The standard online modes are all here:
Ranked Match: Play players to advance your rank on the ranking ladder.
Player Match: Play someone on your friends list or random opponent. This mode gives you the option to rematch a random opponent after winning or losing; if both opponents agree it’s game on. This is really awesome because you will be able to find other players at your own skill level and you can add them to your contacts later. I’ve already made a few online contacts for specific character match-ups in this mode.
King of the Hill: Standard arcade style rotation. Winner stays loser, goes to the bottom. Players in the room can view each match and can award respect points to the winner. You can also play a survivor version of this mode, where your health does not replenish after each match.
Tower Battle: In this mode you and a group of friends all compete to complete a randomly-generated Tower within a certain time limit. The winner is determined by total score.
So how is the lag?
After playing roughly 100 matches online on a high-speed wired connection, I have to say the online experience is not up to par by today’s standards. I understand online will never be same as playing offline, but when compared to other fighting games currently on the market, MKX’s online is a bit lacking. I found myself dropping inputs and watching my character move in slow motion far too many times… In addition to the lag it takes an unusually long time to find an opponent to play when searching in ranked or player match. I really wanted to like this game’s online play but it’s just too frustrating right now. I have faith that NRS will release a future patch to stabilize the online experience.
The Competitive Review:
Should you play this game competitively?
Yes! This game was made with competitive players in mind. Combos in this game require precise inputs and attention to timing. The diverse character roster, variations, intricate meter management, and overall aesthetic appeal have won me over. This is a game that I believe will become more satisfying with age. Exploring the potential of each character variation may take years. It’s almost like this game was built to stay interesting over a long period of time. I look forward to competing in this game.
Pad or Stick?
Either is fine, but I’m using a pad.
MKX offers one of the best practice modes I’ve ever seen. I could probably write a whole essay on how amazing the practice mode is, but for now I’m just going to give a rundown of some if its best features:
-Full Frame Data for every character and every move!
-Record feature for defensive training as well as combo recordings.
-Training stage allows you to change intractable settings from the practice menu.
-Move inputs can be stamped to appear at the top of the screen
If you are trying to git gud at MKX, practice mode will not disappoint!
Should you buy MKX? Yes, without a doubt! I highly recommend this game to both casual and competitive players. You’re getting a an extremely intricate fighting engine presented perfectly with next gen graphics and sound, an immersive story mode, tons of offline modes, and a plethora of online modes. The only drawback is the current state of online connections. Despite the online issues, Mortal Kombat X is still an amazingly fun and addictive fighting game that should not be missed!
I give it 4 Crunchy Tacos out of 5!
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