A few years ago, NetherRealm Studios released the rebooted Mortal Kombat 9 (MK9) on the PS3 and Xbox 360 gaming systems. The game was a massive success, both critically and commercially. But can NetherRealmfollow up their success and deliver a truly next-gen Mortal Kombat experience, or is this the end?
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Mortal Kombat X (MKX) is a bloody good fighting game. It balances mechanical depth with a fan-pleasing presentation, delivering an outrageous violence the series has always been known for. If you’ve played MK9, then the new iteration will feel very familiar, as 3D fighters brawl on a 2D plane at a fast, unrelenting pace, with plenty of special moves, flashy combos, and bone-splintering, X-ray attacks. The graphics are superb, with fast-paced action. MKX also mixes up the series formula by borrowing the stage interaction system from Injustice (NetherRealm’s DC Comics fighting game). Depending on what’s nearby in the backdrop, you’ll be able to vault over walls to escape the corner, or fling a poor old lady as a damaging projectile. Unlike Injustice, every fighter uses the environment in the same mildly advantageous way, making them impactful enough to add excitement to a match, without swinging it in someone’s favour. The same goes for the X-ray attack’s slo-mo internal organ destruction, which offers a satisfying comeback factor. But it wouldn’t be Mortal Kombat without the shockingly dark Fatality finishers. The Fatality finishers will turn your stomach, because they are extremely graphic thanks to MKX’s impressively polished visuals. But what really sells all the hand-to-hand combats and wince-inducing finishers are the silky smooth character animations, which look weighty and authentic.
MKX is a fantastic fighting game. The story mode is highly entertaining, and each character gets a chance to shine. With the addition of the Living Towers, the return of the Krypt, and a solid online component, MKX offers hours of gruesome entertainment. Next-gen consoles finally have a killer fighting game, and it doesn’t disappoint. MKX is violent, charmingly stupid, and completely brilliant.