by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PC
One of my favorite things about MK9 and Injustice were the stellar story modes. Where most fighting games are content to provide a short intro and outro cinematic for each character you win with, MKX continues NetherRalmís tradition of delivering a full blown, honest-to-goodness compelling campaign. It helps if youíre a bit familiar with MK lore, or if youíve read the (extremely entertaining) comic thatís been running for a few months now, but newcomers can jump right in and enjoy the ride. I really wish there was a tutorial mode ŗ la Street Fighter to walk new players through combos, but the campaign becomes the next best thing. While you enjoy the appropriately over-the-top story, you get to fight a few matches as a bunch of different fighters, letting you find out who you like and who you donít.
Beyond the campaign, modes are about what youíd expect. You can fight your way through progressively challenging stings of enemies, do one-off fights, or even ďTest Your LuckĒ and fight in matches with random modifiers like faster speed or randomly dropping explosives. The Krypt is also a mini dungeon crawler all in itself now, where you can adventure through a small crypt area solving basic puzzles and using coins to unlock art, moves, costumes etc. Itís a cool, engaging alternative to normal unlocks. The only mode thatís a bit disappointing right now is the faction battle. The idea is that when you first boot up the game you pick a faction. Playing matches online, or, even better, playing the occasional faction battle event, will earn points towards your faction. Everyone in the winning faction at the end of the period gets some kind of reward. The problem is that it doesnít do anything to account for certain factions having a ton more raw numbers. Right now Lin Kuei has well over 50 percent of the player base, Special Forces has under 10, and everyone else is somewhere in between. That being the case, obviously Lin Kuei is dominating everything. There needs to be some kind of ďpoints per memberĒ or something to balance things out and make it remotely competitive.
The last thing that needs to be addressed, since itís been getting a lot of attention since the gameís release, is the DLC situation. Thereís a number of things available already. First are the characters. Goro was free for anyone that pre-ordered, but costs five bucks for everyone else. Then thereís the combat pack, which is a season pass of sorts that includes four characters, Jason Voorhees, Tremor, Tanya and Predator, each with a related costume back. This costs 30 bucks and the characters are not available for download yet. Iím ok with the combat pack. Itís way too expensive for what it is, but I donít feel cheated. It is a completely optional thing that is clearly made after the game was done. Cool. Goro strikes me a little bit harder. He was available day one, and heís a pretty popular fighter. It feels like a cheap shot. The other DLC getting a lot of flack are the Krypt unlocks and one-time-use easy fatality buttons. Again, Iím not sure I see what the big deal is. The Krypt in no way feels like itís intentionally made difficult to promote buying unlocks, and the fatalities are literally three directional buttons and one strike press. If someone thinks itís worth a few cents to skip a few presses to get literally the same result, then let them. Besides Goro, the DLC selection feels fine.
Mortal Kombat X is ridiculous amount of fun, maintaining the core of whatís made the franchise successful while evolving enough to stay relevant. Itís been less than a week and Iíve already poured more hours into Ferra/Tor and Ermac than Iím comfortable with admitting. While Iím not super excited with faction battles, and Iím disappointed that Goro is paid DLC for non-pre-order customers, the solid, narratively driven campaign, great multiplayer options, and more ways to play the characters you love than ever before make Mortal Kombat X a knockout punch for series veterans and newcomers alike.
New characters are great additions to the franchise, animations are great, engaging campaign
Some new characters are visually uninteresting, faction battles are very unbalanced right now, and Goro should have been included in for everyone