I have a secret for you… I have never played a Mortal Kombat game before now.
Want to know another secret? I suck at it!
Don’t get me wrong, in my years of gaming, I’ve played many a fighting game, mostly whilst accusing my brother of cheating. But Mortal Kombat X isn’t like any other fighting game I’ve played so far. It doesn’t have the ease of Tekken, nor has it spent far too much time on jiggle physics a la Soul Calibur.
Mortal Kombat X spends its time making every fight as visceral and exciting as possible, whilst also finding as many ways as possible to punish you for button mashing.
As I’ve said previously, I spent a lot of time as a kid playing fighting games with my brother, and the fights always boiled down to this; I would spend hours practicing my combos for Xiaoyu, and then he’d button mash his way into victory. It was rather frustrating, but like most things you learn as a kid monkey see, monkey do, and I was mashing with the best of them by the time I got my hands on my next installment of the series. Mortal Kombat X doesn’t seem to allow you to button mash. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still deal a lot of damage this way, but if you can’t figure out a way to mash in a combo when your gauge is full, you’re gonna die… a lot!
It’s with that in mind that I cannot stress enough how much you should go do the training modes when you start playing. I’ve read reports of even seasoned MK veterans having trouble getting used to the new controls, so you can imagine how much flailing I had to do before Scorpion would finally throw his kunai.
That said, if you do manage to get to a stage where you can pull off your combos without your fingers falling off, the result is so very, very satisfying. True to its reputation, MK X does not pull any punches with its graphic displays of carnage. If you throw a knife into someone’s head, you get to see the sickening slice and crack as it goes in, and almost feel it as you snap someone’s arm in half. Quite frankly, I’d be afraid to see the hospital bill for these characters, even if half of them are magical super beings.
The gore might turn a few people off the game, but honestly I just see it as a reward.
You worked hard on that combo, if you don’t get to rip out your enemies heart and bathe in their blood then honestly, what was the point?
Trust me when I say that the visuals in this game are stunning. You will be able to see every bit of gore and viscera imaginable, in as many cutscenes as you can count. Not only that, but the style is so varied from the backgrounds to the characters that no one and nothing really blends into each other like I thought they would. I mean, really, when you think back on Mortal Kombat, your first thought was likely, “Do I want blue ice ninja or yellow fire ninja?” and there isn’t much variation. But this world is blending a giant blood god with cybernetics, with military men, with Chinese grandmasters who have control of the elements. Read back on that list; there’s next to no universe where all of those archetypes get close to each other, let alone complement each other, and yet there they are.
Most remarkably of all, MK X has done something I have never seen in a fighting game before. It actually has a good story mode. Never have I played a fighting game where the story mode actually made sense as well as blended the cutscenes with the fights so well.
Playing MK X‘s story mode is like playing out a (really cheesy, admittedly) kung fu movie. You’ll notice it right off the bat that the opening scene has quick time events, and I know, I hear you crying, “Quick time events are the devil!”, but hear me out. MK X does quick time events the way Telltale Games do. They’re blended in so well with the cut-scene that I didn’t even mind. Simply knowing they existed managed to keep me on point between fights, so that I wasn’t simply browsing Facebook while they got a spiel of unnecessary exposition out of the way. I was paying attention to make sure no one stabbed me in the back. During these sequences, there’s no repetition or break in the flow due to missed cues and the story keeps going at its high octane pace. In the end, every scene just flows really well between story and gameplay.
So all in all, do I recommend Mortal Kombat X? I’d say yes. It’s a nice little break that you can just drop in and out of whenever you like, but it’s just challenging enough to make you turn that five minute session into an hour long quest for revenge. My only qualm is that once the initial thrill wears off and I have no more story mode left to complete, the game will get very repetitive as all you have left is to climb the tower mode or go to multiplayer. Mind you, if you’re into that sort of competitive side, then by all means, this is the game for you.
Enjoy the thrills, spills and oh so many kills for yourself! 8/10