With graphic fatalities ridden with copious amounts of gore along with impalements and screams of agony, few franchises have impacted the gaming industry as much as the Mortal Kombat series. Parents and kids alike can either curse or praise its violence, which ultimately led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB for short. In summary, the rating system used by all games in North America was the result of the gratuitous amounts of blood and dismemberment, both of which were delivered in the latest installment of Mortal Kombat X. Taking what they learned from fan feedback about their previous game, NetherRealm Studios took the great ideas from Mortal Kombat 9 and implemented them along with several new features to form this game.
From a graphics standpoint, Mortal Kombat X does not look as good as the reveal trailer made it out to be. That being said, the game truly looks and plays better on newer consoles and the PC. The game on max settings on my PC does not disappoint me in any way, but I do feel as if the developers could have done a better job optimizing it on the PC. Yet, this game still looks phenomenal. The attention to detail and careful attention the developers put into the detailed textures of the characters and environment truly returns a crisp and clean display to the player’s eyes. There are some outliers to this, such as clipping of player models and collision between articles of clothing and the characters, but that is expected in a fighting game that is so dependent on movement and animation. The animation on the other hand is executed perfectly in nearly every single way. The developers obviously took their time to use motion capture to recreate each punch, jab, and kick to best of their ability. For example, a punch in real life, if executed with the right technique, draws a lot of strength from the puncher’s legs and feet; NetherRealms took their time to model each movement as realistically as possible even when there are no punches being thrown. Unlike other fighting games that feel snappy and quite choppy when it comes to animation, Mortal Kombat X makes each fight feel like a well choreographed and incredibly violent dance. Some assets are used from previous Mortal Kombat games in regards to punches and basic attacks, but I do not see this as a bad thing. Why would the developers change something that already works? In summary, the animation is phenomenal and the graphics look great, but I was really wanting the amazing graphics from the E3 reveal trailer.
The roster for Mortal Kombat X couldn’t be any better, honestly (excluding the absence of a playable Baraka). Old favorites are still in-game, which is expected, but the newcomers also surprisingly fit in with the series’ regulars. Trademark moves also return for the most part but some of the button combos have been changed (I’m mostly talking about Scorpion’s “get over here”). New characters such as Kung Jin and Erron Black have some awesome and unique moves that actually help them stand up against more powerful characters. But most importantly, the brutality of the fatalities remains intact when it comes to character design and the overall atmosphere of the game.
This wouldn’t be a Mortal Kombat game if it didn’t have absolutely over-the-top fatalities. To be honest, they are so graphic that I wasn’t comfortable putting any in this review. All I can say is that the game uses every bit of its engine to make the gore and blood look as realistic as possible, which is honestly disturbing but cool at the same time. Some fatalities are let downs, though, but some absolutely go above and beyond and made myself cringe from the thought of these kind of attacks actually happening to a real living being. The fatalities range from simple wounds to bodies being split in half, which explains why I couldn’t put any in the article.
Story mode-wise, Mortal Kombat X has nothing to brag about. The story simply pits all of the characters against each other, but let’s be honest- nobody is playing Mortal Kombat for the story. The main appeal for this series is the idea of sitting down on your couch and beating the senses out of your friends’ characters. This game is successful in allowing players a chance to experience this. Furthermore, I will simply state that the story mode isn’t worth playing unless you have absolutely nothing else to do to pass your time by.
In summary, Mortal Kombat X plays like the other games in the series. However, the game looks better than ever and plays smoother than ever. Though it lacks a compelling story, the overall experience of the game and its brutal atmosphere remains intact and better than ever.