Graphics:
8.8
Gameplay:
8.5
Sound:
8.7
Control:
8.4
Replay Value:
8.9
Online Gameplay:
8.2
Overall Rating:
8.6
Publisher:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer:
NetherRealm Studios
Number Of Players:
1-2
Genre:
Fighting
Release Date:
April 14, 2015


If you’re old enough, you remember when Mortal Kombat debuted in the arcades 22 years ago. You probably also remember the ensuing fallout; it was arguably the most controversial video game of all time. Until then, parents just assumed all games were simply variations of Mario Bros. and as such, entirely harmless. But MK started the wheels turning and the process resulted in the ESRB, the industry’s first rating system (akin to the MPAA for movies). Now, the most visceral, brutal, ambitious franchise entry arrives and it’s just about everything you could hope for, with a few minor drawbacks.

The graphics smack you right between the eyes, as well they should. Mortal Kombat X isn’t just bloody; it’s outrageously gory, especially when you enter the shockingly violent world of Fatalities and Brutalities. But beyond that, the animations are super smooth, the frame rate never stutters, and some of the backdrops are particularly impressive. Perhaps most surprising is the quality of the cut-scenes; as NetherRealm wanted to present players with a more robust narrative, cut-scenes play a large role in the story experience. And you know, they’re freakin’ sweet. I suppose I could complain about the all-encompassing and often oppressive darkness but really, it’s an effective atmosphere.

Some of the sounds you hear when playing MKX are so disgusting they’re downright comical. I heard about the developers using a wide variety of interesting techniques to get the effects they wanted (like using toilet plungers and smashing fruit, for instance), and now I know why. The game’s rockin’ soundtrack matches the do-or-die action and propels the combat forward, while the voice performances range from decent to great. Once again, the technical elements shine during finishing moves, or during particularly hectic cut-scenes. But overall, the slick visual presentation and solid overall sound cements an impressive production. The entire game, from top to bottom, is designed to have a giant impact.

MKX is a direct sequel to the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, so the story starts after Shao Kahn’s death. We find out that Quan Chi is an agent of Shinnok and he sets out to free his master, who is trapped within a sacred amulet. The story is much more involved than one might think, even though it won’t last you longer than five or six hours. You control a variety of characters and fight in both Outworld and Earthrealm locations, which makes for a well-paced and entertaining adventure. New faces as well as old jump into the fray and you’ll get a chance to experiment with a bunch of distinctly different fighters. The only problem is that unless you’re an expert on series lore, you might end up getting lost. Yeah, I never thought they’d make a fighting game narrative that could prove confusing but NetherRealm has managed.