I used to love Mortal Kombat when I was younger, though I was playing it again last night and realised that I was much better at it back then than I am now.
I used to defeat Shao Khan on a regular basis and now I’m getting my ass beat by reptile on the first part of the tower.
Four years ago the plot based reboot of Mortal Kombat that was Mortal Kombat (2011) was exactly the game we wanted. More structurally sound than the Kart racing and a better script than the movie, Mortal Kombat X is a wonderful step in reinventing the violent, funny over the top ridiculousness that is Mortal Kombat.
The story mode has better acting than in the previous game and is based, initially, two years after MK and then enough years after that to grey Cage’s hair. Decorated with ATEs that somehow actually add to the playability, by being a knock on your head to remind you not to get bored while the cutscenes are happening, the story mode is much more fluid than in XI and the gameplay reminds me more of Injustice than Mortal Kombat. The addition of R1 to grab an old lady and batter the crap out’ve your opponent with her, for example, makes the fights feel more alive, though I felt a big gaping hole missing in the shape of moving from one stage to another. In Injustice but as early as Mortal Kombat 3, I believe, I remember being able to punch people through the roof, or chain-punch them from the Bat-cave to a Nick Cave faster than a Mexican Wave.
The addition of Factions is a welcome idea, where you earn experience points for your chosen faction that unlocks bonus gifts, that I have to yet to achieve. There are also special fatalities that relate to your chosen faction, the special forces send in a drone to shoot a hole in my enemy for example. There is also the reintegration of Brutalities, where if you time a super special move correctly, such as Kung Lao chain punching me in the face every chance he got, he will continue to chain punch past the Finish Him until my head disintegrates in his hand like some papery jam.
The fatalities are truly brutal, but with a hint of humour that the originals had. My favourite is from the Goro DLC wherein he squeezed Cage’s head through his neck and into his stomach, and then ripped off his front flesh revealing poor Cage’s head looking all confused like a bloody Krang from the turtles.
There is a generous amount of characters, though I must stamp my feet a little, like a Goro, when it comes to excluding characters that are fully developed on the disc, such as Rain, or Sindel, for inevitable future DLC. Yeah sure, add Jason, and Predator in that’s fine, it would be hard to crow bar that into the plot line. Maybe Jonny Cage and Sonya Blade got divorced because Sonya was sleeping with Jason Voorhees in a cabin in the woods and Cage called in a hit from a Predator that he met in a jungle while doing a film with Carl Weathers. It just seems a bit cynical to charge us for something later you could’ve given us now.
Fighting games used to be the only thing worth playing when I was younger, I don’t know why they don’t have the appeal they used to and they are having to add increasingly more RPG-esque elements into them just so they can keep your attention. Even teenage boys seem to have grown tired of the voluptuous bouncy breasts with women attached to them from the Dead or Alive series, all in favour of, as far as I cant tell, WWE and UFC games. Personally it’s Tekken, Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat for me every time and I really loved playing this. It’s a great way to kill some time with a few friends, but even people who I’ve known for years who have obsessed over Mortal Kombat have already moved on from this one so maybe the beat-em up is losing the battle and soon to be slotted along side of Point and click adventure games on the shelf of ‘Things that were once awesome’.
As Mortal Kombat games go and fighting games in general it’s still a bit unbalanced, and a bit button-bashy, but if you go online and fight someone who knows what they are doing, you will soon learn to utilitie those Kombos and that Block button, worth buying but won’t convert anyone who doesn’t already love MK.