Test your might! Whoopsie! Finish him! These phrases have locked their place in history through the game franchise known as Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat is arguably one of the longest “successful” game franchises in history. It first emerged in 1992 in arcades around the world, and since then has published dozens of Mortal Kombat games in all types of formats. Mortal Kombat X is the latest installment in this franchise. I must admit, I was quite nervous to play and review this game. This style of gaming is typically not my forte and I usually get frustrated by them to an extent of wishing I could jump out of a window to just end it all now. But, like any good man, I gritted my teeth and manned up. Let’s see if this game pushed me to the brink or not!
BlueBall Score: 19.5 out of 25 balls
In typical Mortal Kombat fashion, the gameplay is generally messy. A lot of blood, guts, and sometimes nuts. So, this is not for the faint hearted.
The controls aren’t for the faint hearted either. The control system is complex to say the least. This has always been my pain-point with these types of games. To perform at even a mediocre level, you need to know each character’s combos and know how to use them to string together a nice fighting sequence. Of course, this takes sinking a lot of time into the game. So, the control system may not appear complicated (basic kick, basic punch, etc.), but it is impossible to fully enjoy this game without sinking some time in to learn the combos and how each character ‘plays.’
So, although the control scheme may be complicated, the game is still fun. The overwhelming sense of enjoyment and gratitude you get from ripping some dudes balls off is worth the 3 hours of frustration you had to bear leading up to that one moment. But, for reals though, the overall feel of the game is very fun. Mortal Kombat X is full of frustration for those looking to play it recreationally, but it is one of the few games that remains fun and full of laughs the whole time.
As I mentioned above, it is gory and bloody so it may not be the most suitable for kids, which limits the audience, but today that isn’t a big deal. Why? Because parents no longer care about what their kids consume. Back in the good ol’ days, this would be a major factor in sales and thus this review, but I digress.
Therefore, although the game is extremely fun and addicting, due to complicated controls, the necessity of having to sink a lot of gameplay time in, and a theoretical “limited audience” the gameplay section gets 2/5 balls.
The campaign on Mortal Kombat X was simple, but surprisingly deep for this style of game. From what I have played of it, you are trying to recover Shinnok’s amulet and prevent the end of the world. Pretty simple, right? But, surprisingly, the plot has a couple twists and turns. One thing to note about this game is the number of cut scenes. There are a ton of them and they are quite lengthy at times. But, this is to be expected for this genre of game to properly develop a solid storyline.
And, on top of that, you play as different characters and get new perspectives on the issue(s) at hand. The significance of this is that you get exposed to different fighting styles, learn the move-sets and combos of different fighters, and learn about this awesome Mortal Kombat universe.
Tasty, do I get to play as Raiden? Or Liu Kang? Or Johnny Cage? I LOVED those characters growing up. Well, yes you most certainly do, but those characters are not necessarily the drivers of the story. Mortal Kombat X does a solid job of being able to play as original characters (often during flashbacks), but also introducing the children and relatives of these original characters into the universe. As we all know, even demons get old so someone must take the reins. Now, I am not super knowledgeable in this universe, but it seems like Mortal Kombat X is starting to transition the franchise where the younger generation of fighters take over.
Finally, I want to make a special mention of the character development in this game. As I mentioned above, the cut scenes are quite lengthy at times. But, Mortal Kombat X seems to make the most of this screen time. You get to learn about the core values of each ‘younger’ fighter and this helps the gamer to understand them and make connections to them on a deeper level. Also, you get to learn the role(s) the original fighters played regarding this specific storyline and plot. So, the character development is surprisingly nice in this game.
In conclusion, the campaign was spectacular. The storyline is pleasantly deep for this genre of game, the cut scenes are long and valuable, and the character development is on point. For these reasons, it gets a perfect 5/5 balls.
To begin, I want to make special mention of the use of factions in this game. Before the game starts, you select a faction to associate your account with. As you progress through the game, you get “points” for your faction and after a designated period, the faction with the most points wins. This explanation of factions is over-simplifying it, and it is presented much more dramatically in the game, but this serves as a nice incentive to play the game more. It allows gamers to take a sense of pride in their work and accomplishments and allows them to feel as if they are constantly contributing to their faction (team) even after they have done just about everything you can in the game.
Next, let’s explore the varying game modes in Mortal Kombat X. The multiplayer offers a ton of different game modes. I won’t go into all of them here, but a few modes include: Versus, Team Battle, King of the Hill, and Tower modes. Versus is what most of us recreational Mortal Kombat(ers) will go for. A simple 1v1. A true test of your might. But, Team Battle is more team-oriented; Imagine that! It consists of teams of 3 or 5. And, even within this game mode, there are several variations of it (single or round robin). King of the Hill is a fight-till-you-die kind of mode. Essentially, how long can you last? As those who may know me already know, I am not good at this game mode – just ask my girlfriend… So, what are you trying to tell us Tasty? The point I am trying to make is that there are a ton of different game modes to appease whatever fighting mood you may be in on any given day.
Another thing that really stood out to me was the option to do ranked or unranked (player) matches. For those of us that are atrocious at this game, this option helps us preserve just a little bit of our pride. I feared that if there was only ranked playlists, I would get destroyed even more than what I did in unranked. I was as scared as a hog at a barbeque. But, luckily, this was not the case.
Finally, there were, of course, leaderboards. A way to publicly announce how bad one is at this game (in my case). Not only were there leaderboards, there was a feature called ‘Rooms.’ This is essentially a chat room where you can go in, talk smack, and challenge other players. It reminded me of my days when I played Pool on Yahoo; It also reminded me of my days when I spent my entire after-school day on AIM. For those of you young bloods that don’t know what AIM is, look it up. But, all of this encourages competition and drives social interaction which is what this game is all about. Mortal Kombat X found some creative ways to do this through these game modes and options.
Therefore, Mortal Kombat X’s online experience was solid. The use of factions, varying game modes, ability to play ranked or unranked matches, and the creative ways used to drive social interaction and competition amongst the players lay the solid foundation for this game’s multiplayer to flourish on. My only complaint is that, although there is an unranked playlist, it is extremely hard to just be a ‘recreational’ Mortal Kombat(er) and enjoy it. You really need to thoroughly know at least one fighter’s moves, combos, and fighting style to not get totally butt-f***ed (like I did). For these reasons, it gets 3/5 balls.
The graphics were superb. There was some room for improvement to “crispen” up the edges so to speak, such as: Making the hair look more realistic instead of “blobbish”. But, this is just ol’ Tasty nitpicking. Besides this, the graphics were superbly done. The x-ray moves were so graphic and intense. You could see the pelvis crack when you punched a man in his beanbag, or see a woman’s spine splitting in half as you slam her body to the ground. And, the characters were designed perfectly. Let’s not forget the amazing portrayal of the female Mortal Kombat fighter. Every man’s fantas… I mean dream woman… strong… independent… ”full” figured… and most importantly, she can rip spine’s out.
Welp, that took an interesting turn… Moving on past my fantasies, we arrive at the audio section. The audio was equally superb. Looping back around to the x-ray moves, you can hear each bone break, pop, and bend while you simultaneously watch it on the screen. And, this could be said equally for regular attacks. Each kick, punch, and long-range moves sounded perfect and made you feel as if you were a true American bad ass. Next, the characters sounded like I remembered them. Johnny Cage was the smart-alecky, seductive type. Sonya Blade was the strong, serious type. Raiden was the wise and calm one. Mortal Kombat X did a fantastic job of reflecting these personalities through each character’s audio. Finally, the soundtrack was amazing. The music was intense during fights and got more intense as the round(s) went on. If you were in a serious situation, the music would mellow out and get mysterious. It was always suiting to the situation.
In conclusion, the graphics and audio were almost done to perfection. For these reasons, it gets 4.5/5 balls.
As I have alluded to earlier, I would imagine this game would not get boring or redundant. For starters, it has an actual storyline and plot. And, this storyline may not take weeks to complete, but it will certainly take a few days to complete (unless you play 12 hours a day in your mom’s basement and have no life like The Big White Angus). Also, this storyline contains depth, twists, turns, and character development. You really get a chance to briefly learn about the old characters, new characters, and enjoy some awesome cut scenes. It is like watching Mortal Kombat short stories!
Also, the sheer variety of game modes offered is enough to keep you busy for quite a while. For those emo lone wolf’ers, you can choose to play the computer in single versus mode to beef up your skills, have some training sessions to just work on perfecting each character’s move set and combos, or test your might in some tower modes. And, on top of that, there are even variations amongst these modes. There are several different versus variations and several different tower variations. On the other hand, for those more cereal gamers, the multiplayer encourages competition. Although there is an unranked playlist, this game was developed for true competition; True tests of your might against other players. You can do team battles, 1v1’s, towers, or king of the hill. And, to keep with the theme, there are several variations amongst these playlists. The possibilities are endless!
Finally, I want to go throwback for a moment. Believe it or not (this may come as a shock to those younger gamers), Mortal Kombat X allows for two players to play on the same Xbox! Back in the day, before online play existed, you had to invite your friends over to your mom’s living room to duke it out in a test of your respective mights. And, this was when you had to be careful of exactly how and how much you trash-talked. Why you may ask? Because your opponent could be the linebacker of your high school football team and can crush a steel pipe with his thighs (could you imagine the ‘late night fun’ you could have if a woman could do this?) Anyway, back to the point, Mortal Kombat X allows for families to be torn apart in the living room while they rip each other’s spines out on this game. And, for us older gamers, this is always appreciated.
So, no imaginary friend, I do not believe this game could get boring or redundant. You have a ton of different game modes to play, including the option to crush your older brother (Big White Angus), and there is much fun to be had in this game. Equally, there is much competition to be had. If anything, it will take quite a long time to master every fighter’s move set. For these reasons, the boring factor is 0 and the ball factor is a perfect 5/5 balls.
In conclusion, Mortal Kombat X is a great game. It is no wonder it received The Game Award for Best Fighting Game. To my surprise, the game has a pleasant campaign, amazing graphics/sound, and it offers a ton of different game modes to play. This would appeal to just about any gamer that enjoys fighting games, but there is a bit of a learning curve. The controls can be overwhelming and complex for rookies (such as myself) and, even to enjoy this game recreationally, you will have to spend a lot of time on it to thoroughly learn just one fighter’s move set and combos. Although the multiplayer offers an unranked playlist, if you haven’t mastered at least one fighter, it is almost a guaranteed loss. For all these reasons, it gets a grand total of 19.5/25 balls.