Mortal Kombat 9 was one of the best games of the 360/PS3/Wii generation – a roaring return to the main card for a classic fighting franchise that had fallen down a few ranks in its previous incarnations. Gorier than ever, featuring the then-new bone-cracking x-ray moves, a cool story mode, and tons of content, it was my personal favorite fighter in years. It didn’t hurt that I’ve always loved the Mortal Kombat Big Trouble in Little China meets grindhouse horror aesthetic, or that Freddy Krueger showed up as a challenger. Just over a year into the launch of a new hardware generation, Mortal Kombat X has arrived, bringing with it a mostly new cast, upgraded graphics, and a swath of new features. Oh yeah, and this time, Jason Voorhees is joining the fray.
One surprising element of Mortal Kombat 9 was the story mode – it was cheesy, gory, glorious insanity, and I loved every second of it. Mortal Kombat X follows suit, and brings a new, five-ish hours of crazy, filled with drama, blood, fights, and quick time events. It’s a blast, it feels like an interactive movie, and I love that NetherRealm Studios puts so much effort on this aspect of the game when it’s mostly superfluous – fighting games are, after all, mostly enjoyed on a couch, in an arcade, or online, battling other humans.
One of the more interesting additions to the game in this iteration is the concept of fighting styles – each character now has three fighting styles available to select that allow slightly different forms of play. Scorpion players, for example, can choose between Ninjitsu which grants him dual sword attacks, Hellfire which adds some fire attacks, and Inferno which grants players the ability to summon a demonic minion.
It would be remiss not to mention Mortal Kombat’s most infamous quality: the fatalities – in X, the fatalities are probably the most gory and creative yet. For those who love that sort of thing (are there people who don’t love that sort of thing?), Mortal Kombat X is a glorious rain of blood and guts.
Of note is the DLC strategy for this title. Remember when I mentioned Jason (and pasted a picture of him)? Of course you do. Well, he’s not here in the main roster, he’s part of what is known as the Kombat Pack, effectively a season’s pass for the game. Four characters and a selection of new skins for the standard season’s pass price of around thirty dollars? Up to you if that sounds worthwhile. I’m not here to judge the ubiquitous practice of season’s passes, but it’s certainly worth considering if you’re purchasing this game solely to be able to chop up competitors as Jason.
Much like 9, Mortal Kombat X is the complete package – there’s tons of content (kontent?) here, from the online play to the classic dungeon crawler styled Krypt where you unlock items to the tower modes, exciting online, single player, local play, and a bottomless bloody pit of depth for those who are looking for it. This is the best fighting game of the current generation, and comes highly recommended. If not quite flawless, the hours of play on offer here put most games to shame. Pick it up, and FIGHT!
Rating: 9 out of 10