First Impressions – Mortal Kombat X
I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again: I was a Mortal Kombat nut before I was an all around video game nut. I still remember playing the hell out of Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3) on the Genesis with all its built in cheat codes, and then spending long weekends over at a friend’s house and studying the differences of his SNES port. I even bought the MK3 cart for the Super NES years before I had the console myself. I did the same thing when it was announced that MK Armageddon for the Wii would include that one extra character that the other ports of MKA lacked (the female Khameleon) – I bought the disc long before owning an actual Wii. And back during the days where I couldn’t fathom what the hell I’d never need a Game Boy Advance for, I happened to spot MK: Tournament Edition and bought it on the spot without a moment’s hesitation.
There’s more. I did the same thing with MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero for the N64. This was a) already having owned and played the PS version, b) knowing that the N64 version was inferior, and c) not having an N64. In fact, it was after looking longingly at this N64 cart for a couple of months that I decided to jump on the internet and see what exactly a nice little used N64 bundle would run me. A week later I had my N64, and smiled triumphantly that I now got to watch video stills from the game instead of the FMV of the PS port.
I’ve had a chance to spend a few hours with it, and after I got over all the DLC craziness, I was able to settle in and enjoy what was available, which is plenty, don’t get me wrong!
Let’s talk about the fighting first. I’m not a leading authority on fighting games, so I don’t know that I necessarily have the right vocabulary to describe it, but for those that played the latest installment, expect something similar but not quite the same. It definitely leans towards a more brawling, semi-realistic style of fighting rather than a lot of the acrobatics seen in past games. Everything still moves nice and smoothly though, and despite the characters being bulkier and pulling off less swan-like moves, it feels more like a couple of warriors actually going at it.
A few new features have been added this time around too, though right now it’s all a little overwhelming for me to fully grasp. There are 2 meters though: the “X-Ray” meter and something like the old “Run” meter. The X-Ray meter functions as before, allowing the player to perform X-Ray attacks and more powerful special moves, though it can also be used in conjunction with the other meter for certain types of moves. There are also new types of attacks like “wake ups” and “armored attacks.” Once I get a better feel for the exact functions (and perhaps terminology as well) I’ll expound upon them in the real review.
The main one player mode is “Story Mode,” where you’re introduced to all the characters and what’s going on. I’ve kept up with the MK storyline for a very long time, trying to reconcile discrepancies from game to game, hunting down obscure facts in bios and endings, trying to figure out what’s canon from one game to the next, etc. So when Armageddon culminated in some weird flashback/splinter universe, I was kind of bummed, especially since MK 2011 basically retold the events of MK through MK Trilogy albeit with some slight differences. It also made me really eager to see what was going to happen next, and when/if it would all tie back to MKA.
Story Mode did not disappoint. It’s about 2 hours worth of “video,” chronicling events shortly after the previous installment and then introducing us to a new generation of fighters 20 years later.
Possible STORY SPOILERS Ahead!
We’re getting the same basic story from MK4, but a lot of the details are changed, some of which are quite significant in the interest of giving us a new narrative. I don’t want to give too much away, but it is nice to see the writers actually advancing the story. Back in the day, no one ever really died, and everyone just kept coming back, game after game, until we had a ginormous, unmanageable roster. This time around, shit is moving along: people are dying, time is passing, and we’re finally living in a world where these battles make a difference.
Here are just a few of my favorite plot points: Shao Kahn is actually dead, and we have a new emperor of Outworld. Defeated “good guys” are back as revenants; most aren’t playable but I’m glad that we’re getting explanations. We also get a clearer history of Scorpion in this manner. Although I don’t really have any attachment to these somewhat indistinct new characters, advancing the story this far along and putting these descendants in the forefront is exactly what will keep these games fresh. Most of all, I enjoy all the little nods to the “previous continuity.” These will likely go right over your head if you’re unfamiliar with some of the finer details of older games, or may at least seem like a bizarre comment, but it’s great for us who remember a different Mortal Kombat. For example, the Outworld and Earthrealm are governed by a sort of truce known as “The Reiko Accords;” one character comments on Outworld by saying something like, “did you expect the sky to be purple or something?”, a clear reference to MK Deception; a creature that looks a lot like the joke character Meat can be seen in Quan Chi’s stage; the final “Corrupted Shinnok” looks a lot like MKA’s “corrupted” Blaze.
There are probably even more that I’ll catch after a second playthrough. The writers of the story have put a lot of thought into the story, making for more interesting and believable characters. For the first time ever, Scorpion and Sub-Zero get oriental appearances!
End Possible Spoilers
I haven’t dug too deep into the other aspects, but I did take some time to walk about the Krypt. For $19.99, you can “buy” the entire Krypt, but I think I’m going to spend some time wandering around first and seeing how long my coins hold out.
The Krypt builds on previous interpretations while also incorporating some of the open-world aspects of MK Deception’s “Konquest Mode.” A lot of people didn’t care for Shujinko’s quest through the 6 realms (and there were admittedly a lot of continuity questions raised and some weird timing issues) but I had a lot of fun romping through reality and exploring the MK mythology a little more. The MKX Krypt recalls this somewhat, requiring the player to collect items, solve puzzles, and even watch out for timed events. I’ll have to do some more exploring to see if the rate I which I can accumulate koins balances out with how much I have to spend in the Krypt, but with so many areas of the Krypt (it’s not just a graveyard; there are tombs, tunnels, a mausoleum, even a portal to the Netherrealm, and more) I am a little weary of where all these koins are going to come from.
Lastly, there’s an online element called “Faction Wars.” When the game starts, the player is asked to join a virtual community known as a “faction,” represented by the Lin Kuei, Brotherhood of Shadow, White Lotus, Special Forces, and the Black Dragon. Leaderboards, points, ranks, and all kinds of stuff follows.
There’s a lot of stuff I want to get a closer look at, but it’ll take some time to get through all of the new features and online capabilities. So far it’s been a lot of fun though, and series continues to get better.
Also check out our other Mortal Kombat X articles:
- Mortal Kombat X – PS4 – Review
- 10 Things that MKX Did Right
- Top 10 MKX Brutalities (with Video)
- Top 10 MKX Fatalities (with Video)
- Top 10 Worst MKX Fatalities (with Video)
- Tanya Video Demo
- Jason Voorhees Video Demo
- MKX Official Fight Pad
Written by The Cubist
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