Mortal Combat X. © Warner Bros Entertainment

NetherRealm Studios developed Mortal Kombat X, a fighting videogame published by Warner Bros on April 14, 2015. The game can be played on PCs, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but also has a version for Android and iOS devices. Just as the name suggests, it is the 10th installment in the franchise and it was initially planned for an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 release, but these plans were canceled.

Key facts about Mortal Kombat X

  • Mortal Kombat X brings about the classic characters of previous installments, while adding new heroes.
  • The variation system has been significantly improved, with combat being fast and smooth, with swift punches and kicks.
  • Compared to previous games in the franchise, Mortal Kombat X has a solid single player, with a compelling story mode.
  • The game introduces two new unique modes that go by the name of Tower and Crypt, where players need to overcome original challenges.
  • Gratuitous and excessive violence plagues Mortal Kombat X, with the game showcasing some of the most gut-wrenching fatalities.

The Mortal Kombat X games

Mortal Kombat X games don’t bring many new elements to the franchise, generally revolving around the same game mechanics that made previous games popular. The arenas have changed greatly however and new maps were introduced, while the Outworld universe is now ravaged by civil war. The single player campaign is a step forward from previous iterations, but it pales in comparison with the player versus player battles.

In the new installment, Fatalities return and it looks like developers put a lot of time and effort in coming with gorier ones. Some players might find them a bit too much, even those who don’t mind the extreme violence of the game itself. At times, these fatalities look a bit excessive and gratuitous violence prompted many critics to lower the review score, or recommend friends against playing this game.

The games follow the same path regardless of setting and there is no way of taking advantage of the environment. Aesthetically however, these new arenas are eye-catching and will appeal mostly to those who are intimately familiar with the franchise and previous installments. The manner in which the health and rage bars are displayed was supposed to be more intuitive, although this doesn’t have a big impact.

Story, 1 vs. 1 Ranked, King of the Hill, Survivor and Test Your Luck are some more game modes that were added to keep players hooked. There are many similarities between them, but it is still worth trying them all, as players make progress and the process itself is rewarding. The Faction Wars is even more challenging and allows players to sign up for cross-platform tournaments and earning special rewards.

Mortal Combat X Reptile. © Warner Bros Entertainment
Mortal Combat X Reptile. © Warner Bros Entertainment

What is Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X is the 10th and best fighter games in the series, with enhanced mechanics and better looking characters. The game mechanics haven’t changed dramatically, but NetherRealm Studios at the new punches, kicks and a flurry of deadly combos. New characters are added, some of them being links to existing heroes and with the game having a fully fledged storyline, these connections matter in the campaign. The game was released for PCs, Xbox One and PlayStation and iOS and Android devices.

Gameplay of Mortal Kombat X

Whether they fight against AI controlled opponents or humans, players will enjoy the same game mechanics that made Mortal Kombat famous. Each character has its own set of specific attacks and if he or she throws punches and kicks in the right sequence, combo moves are produced. These are available in all the gameplay modes, including the campaign, tower and crypt modes, as well as the immensely popular player versus player battles.

In Tower mode, players need to complete various challenges, while in Krypt mode, action unfolds in a first-person mode. Essentially Mortal Kombat X is a fighter game in which players try to achieve victory in two out of three rounds. Those who succeed will have the chance of using special character moves to inflict additional damage on the vanquished foes, which go by the name of Brutalities and Fatalities.

While this serves only a decorative purpose, the same can’t be said about the energy meter which was also available in the previous installment. Players should keep an eye on it, because when it is completely full, players can use special techniques to maximize damage. Each fighter has a total of three variations, with different moves, which leads to more offensive combinations without any new heroes.

Another popular feature that returns to the Mortal Kombat X is the sprint gauge, which didn’t feature in the previous game. Brutalities might look very similar to fatalities, but they actually serve the purpose of inflicting damage on a fighting opponent. These can be performed at the end of the rounds, but only under the right circumstances, which makes them more of a rarity.

Mortal Combat X Kung Jin. © Warner Bros Entertainment
Mortal Combat X Kung Jin. © Warner Bros Entertainment

Plot of Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X is the first game in the franchise to have a serious single player campaign and it continues the narrative of the previous installment. Action takes place two years after Shao Kahn was defeated and this time it is Shinnok that acts as the nemesis of Earthrealm warriors. A team made of Johnny Cage, Kenshi and Sonya Blade tries to restore order and they do so by opening a portal to Raiden's Sky Temple, which triggers a chain reaction.

The heroes achieve an early and unexpected victory over Shinnok but with Quan Chi on the run, they have no choice but to lay chasing. They fight increasingly powerful enemies but with each triumph, they save fellow Mortal Kombat X heroes and restore many of them to human form. The plot thickens, with a civil war taking place in the underworld and other heroes being thrown into the mix, all culminating with the defeat of Shinnok. This however is not the end and you need to fight your way to knowledge.

Development of Mortal Kombat X

NetherRealm Studios started work on the new installment in 2012 and Mortal Kombat X was confirmed one year later. Only in 2014 the reveal trailer was presented at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and the release date was set for 2015. Developers had to overcome various obstacles and organize multiple meetings to come up with quick fixes, but eventually they met the deadline. The PS3 and Xbox 360 ports were canceled, but some time was wasted trying to make the transition to these older consoles.

Where can I download Mortal Kombat X?

Mortal Kombat X was available for preorders and those who purchased the game in advanced collected some freebies. It can still be downloaded from the Xbox Games store, the PlayStation counterpart and is also available for PCs. Two downloadable content packs are also available and they go by the name of Kombat Pack and Kombat Pack 2, and add new characters, each with their own special abilities.

Mortal Combat X Johnny Cage. © Warner Bros Entertainment
Mortal Combat X Johnny Cage. © Warner Bros Entertainment

What are others saying about Mortal Kombat X?

Mortal Kombat X was well received by players, with the best reviews being dedicated to the console versions. The game runs smoothly on PCs as well, but the reviews blame the initial technical issues, although most of them were solved later on. On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the fighter game was essentially a joy ride but there were a handful of critics who didn’t like the micro-transactions or frowned upon the DLC packs.

Mortal Kombat X tournaments

As expected, Mortal Kombat X shines brightly when the game is played in multiplayer and soon after the release, the game joined the ESL. It can now be found next to League of Legends, Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm or Starcraft Heart of the Swarm. The best players in the world are competing in virtual arenas and try to inflict maximum damage upon their counterparts.

They get hundreds of hours of practice at the highest levels, while aspiring players can hone their skills and improve their technique by playing against friends or even the AI on a high difficulty level. As an eSport, Mortal Kombat X shows a lot of promise and since it was released, the number of active players kept growing at a steady pace.

Watch Conan O'Brien, Marshawn Lynch and Rob Gronkowski play Mortal Kombat X in Conan's Clueless Gamer video game review series:

My rating of Mortal Kombat X

I didn’t expect a fully fledged single player and the story mode in Mortal Kombat X, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover the narrative. Even though combat is what ultimately makes or breaks a fighting game, I found this to be a welcomed addition. At the same time, I didn’t care much for all the new fatalities and I’m definitely not among those to add review points for those gruesome scenes.

The bottom line is that I enjoyed playing Mortal Kombat X and even though it sounds as a cliché, this is obviously the best game in the series. NetherRealm Studios would’ve had a big problem if the 10th installment were worse than the predecessor. Luckily it is not the case here and this fighter game deserves every single point of these 8 out of 10 I confer.

Overall Score