Mortal Kombat X Review

Encounter with a dragonScreenshot from Mortal Kombat X

The release of Mortal Kombat X on PC turned out to be a test on Steam, for some unclear reason, but continuing to hypnotize the developers-publishers with the method of downloading content “in pieces”. Like, you can download, let’s say, 5 gigabytes out of the total 30 from the network, and while the rest of the data is being downloaded, have fun on the only available training arena with three characters that managed to download. As you can easily guess, this idea turned out to be a failure, causing a two-day stupor even for the fully downloaded client, and a storm of indignation from buyers who did not expect such a maneuver.

Even if we put aside the sad release bug with the inaccessibility of the plot, the system worked poorly. After downloading several initial content packages, you can launch MKX, but it won’t go beyond the main menu. I managed to get into the first training fight after ten-something portions of game data, which, according to my personal calculations, is eight packages later than it should be. If the client doesn’t provide anything decent before the first ten gigabytes are downloaded, then just send those 10GB as one piece. Or come up with a smarter way to set up this background installation.

The “live” installation pleased me only once, when two-thirds of the game was loaded and the local crypt opened. The trophy storage, artwork, button combinations for fatalities, and other happiness grew after MKIX and, firstly, really acquired a crypt, and secondly, was supplemented with a quest “Collect all the magical junk, open all the hideouts”. And quick-time events with wolves, spiders, and zombies. Can’t do without QTE. To unlock all the locations of the crypt, you need to spend at least ten minutes if you know the quest route in advance, and much more if you explore the area honestly. There is something to do while Steam is distributing the final portions of content.

Well, when everything is downloaded, you can finally start fighting.

Another image from the game

The triumphant return of Mortal Kombat in 2011, among other things, presented the greatest gift to all fighting games, showing how to detach the game’s plot from the millionth Tournament of the Best of the Best. However, the MKIX itself still partly revolved around the old-fashioned competitions in the Outer World under the patronage of Shao Kahn. It was difficult not to accept and love the excellent remake of the classic story (in general, in which fighting game is the story more lively than in MK 1-2-3?), but with MKX, such a trick, of course, would not have passed. It was finally necessary to take a full step forward, and NetherRealm Studios did it.

The storyline campaign of Mortal Kombat X is a full-fledged fantastic kung fu action movie with an extraordinary concentration of pathos, stunning nonsense, and an implosion of accumulated mythology over two decades. The Special Forces continue to fight dragons. Johnny Cage and Sonya got married, divorced, and gave the world Cassie Cage. Liu Kang (and many others) is now a fighting zombie. Scorpion has risen from the dead and is training Kenshi’s son. Mileena has assembled a guerrilla squad in the Outer World and is fighting for the throne, where all the new characters hang out. And then Shinnok and Quan Chi burst in.

Mortal Kombat remains true to itself – blood spills over, and at plot twists, it veers into some particularly trashy ditch. It is impossible to watch this without tears of tenderness and a slight hysteria, but it cannot be denied – there is something old-school and soulful in the story of MKX. Plus, the details, nostalgic details! It turns out that the previous part did not pass through all its “places of glory”. What is worth one Rain (for whom, by the way, you still can’t play without modding crutches), sending your fighter through the screen with his kick just like back in the old days!

More action from Mortal Kombat X

What is really wonderful, the new characters turned out to be not uninteresting dummies. We are not talking, of course, about cloned children-relatives of Cage, Jax, Kenshi, Kung Lao, and Sonya, but about the villains who debuted in MKX. First and foremost, the kung fu wasp mother D’Vorah, but the rest of the company from the new Kano, the Ferrat-Torr duo, and the otherworldly (in terms of inhabiting the outer world) cowboy Erron Black also look decent. And with the above-mentioned plot, we could easily get five new Molochs.

However, completely cardboard newcomers should not be expected in the series in the near future. In parallel with the introduction of new characters into the game, NetherRealms found an elegant way to simultaneously diversify the fights and not stamp out worthless debutants with the same techniques. The developers took their old idea of different fighting styles from Deadly Alliance and replaced the frantic rotation right in the middle of the fight with three slightly different presets, from which you need to choose one before the match and fight with it until the victorious (or not so) end. As a result, each character in the tenth “Kombat” became equal to about one and a half to two standard fighting earthmovers.

The high-quality reworking of old ideas in general brings the revived series remarkably much benefit. Take the same advertised interactive arenas before the game’s release. Enthusiasts of fighting games have seen various wall jumps and brick throwing many, many, many times, including in the same Mortal Kombat, but nowadays the designers have focused not so much on sprinkling the battlefields with as many stabbing-cutting objects and trigger scripts as possible, but rather on making sure that the aforementioned happiness is in moderation and that this happiness is appropriate.

It turned out, if anything, great. Especially pleasing is the level in the jungle with vines and an Aztec slab in the center, which can crush the opponent’s head.

Different combat scene

However, mechanically the new MK from the 2011 model is not much different, and that’s great. After a decade and a half of attempts of varying degrees of failure, Ed Boon and his comrades have finally caught their wave in the world of 3D fighting games, and for now, they wisely don’t rush with new sharp turns. All the basic strikes and moves in MKX, as well as the signature x-ray grabs and fatalities, work almost exactly the same as in MKIX. In the first few hours of gameplay, you only notice the difference in combo execution. Four years ago, the main hand-to-hand combos were entered at a pace that was strangely different from the outstanding picture on the screen. The Xbox 360, which your humble servant bought specifically for MKIX, required a quick input of the required sequence of characters; all three planned strikes had to be executed during the animation of the first one, and then you could enjoy the remaining pokes and jabs for about a second. It was difficult for an old fighter, accustomed to careful timing and animations of the classic X-X-A-C-Z-←+Z, to get used to this. MKX has somewhat corrected the situation. The internal timings of local combinations are not fully perceptible to the visual perception, but (subjectively) it is noticeable that they have become closer to the fighting picture.

The designers also managed to slightly tame the endless spam of super moves. Slightly. Ermac and Kano are even more annoying than before (especially the former), but most of the other characters are burdened with relatively slow animations of their hadokens. However, you still can’t dodge a smartly thrown fireball in MKX.

The balance, of course, is far from ideal, but there has never been a game in history where the multiplayer was balanced right from the release version. For now, people are predictably building deadly combinations and spamming, the question is how quickly and carefully the designers will trim the wings of this nonsense.

The online innovations are mainly aimed at keeping buyers interested in the active game until all the DLC characters are released. “War of the Factions” with group weekly marathons based on accumulated points does not generate much enthusiasm, but regularly updated challenge towers are great.

Additional gameplay action

Having more or less satisfied with the battles of MKX, your humble servant began to think that the next installment should still show the public something really new. It’s just difficult to come up with any more classic gameplay elements or background details or familiar online modes that can be improved in the style of the last two installments. In 2015, we got the whole Mortal Kombat that we had been waiting for so long. With good fights, the signature atmosphere, bloody spectacular fatalities, and a couple of new colorful characters.

Fortunately, the developers now have time to decide where to go next. The colossal work on fixing the mistakes is finally completed, and you can easily spend n years with the tenth part of “Kombat” until the new series is released.

Mortal Kombat X
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, Multiplayer
Warner Bros.
NetherRealm Studios
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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