Mortal Kombat X - Critique
Let's get right to the point: Mortal Kombat X is the best Mortal Kombat, period. It successfully manages the feat of being both more in-depth, with richer mechanics, while having more features than the 9 games released previously. And above all, the developers at NetherRealm Studios have chosen to take risks by adding 8 entirely new characters, introducing a fun twist of novelty. Each of these risks paid off to varying degrees, but in a way they also helped highlight the franchise's lack of evolution. Overall, Mortal Komat X is a great fighting game, and the best of the eponymous series.
The first element that allows MKX to innovate and arouse the curiosity of both old fans and more casual gamers is the complete overhaul of the interface. Before the DLC even kicks in, MKX sports a respectable number of 24 fighters, and a third of them are new characters with authentic characteristics; it's not just about color changes or improved alternate versions of old heroes. Few fighting games with such a committed community to its characters have dared to achieve so many transformations, and that makes MKX so much better. Of course, I'm happy to fight with Kabal or Smoke, but new faces like Takeda or Kung Jin bring a revival to the gameplay, so it's hard to miss those absent.
Thanks to the improved animation quality, each fighting style looks more effective than in any NetherRealms game. Injustice was already a first step in the right direction to fill in the shortcomings of the 2011 version, MKX has come the way that remains: for example, fast movements and keystroke animations no longer seem like a simple hit. of fate. Little details like this often distracted me in combat, and I'm happy to see them finally fixed.
It helps to see MKX as the smoothest gameplay title in the saga. Races are more impactful, basic moves are more useful, and with the amazing new system that allows each character to choose three skills early in the match, there is more to explore, discover, and exploit than ever before. . Liu Kang has a variation where he can switch on the fly between healing and attack stance, new fighter Torr employs a secondary character for duo fights, Kotal Khan can place totems to grant himself buffs temporary - it's a kind of mechanic that's mostly used in games like Persona 4 or BlazBlue, and seeing NetherRealms dare to use it is refreshing.
Apart from the excellent fights, a small negative point concerns the differences in design quality between the characters. Some fighters, like Scorpion, or new recruit D'vorah, are stunning, with an impressive number of little details on their faces and costumes. Others, like Sonya and Jacqui, seem much less realized, with relatively simple textures. This stands out due to the high quality that MKX achieves at its best. With two of the most beautiful characters fighting in one of the magnificent backgrounds, this is one of the most dazzling console games around, so it shows strongly when everything is not at the same level of quality.
However, the inconsistency is most noticeable in the content of MKX's story mode, which seems to be uncorrelated from the dark and repulsive aesthetic that the Mortal Kombat series has built up over the years. Again, NetherRealms has done a tremendous job for single-player game fans, but it's far less successful than previous attempts when it comes to providing sane context during bloody brawls. Uneven writing and voice acting are largely to blame, but the real problem is the inconsistency of portraying families and young adults in a world of death and brutality. Without the depth of storytelling to do something interesting and unpredictable, it's simply a failed adjustment.
The chapters that take place in the middle of civil war-torn Underworld fit perfectly into Mortal Kombat's tone, but it's just impossible to reconcile the beautiful story of a single dad who loves his daughter in story mode with the image of the same character happily tearing her chest and showing off proudly in front of her still hot body in all other modes. Yes, of course, Mortal Kombat is ostensibly linked to Fatalities, which are moreover more gory and satisfying in this title, but the story mode also wants to deepen the characters by detailing the family ties that unite them: fathers and sons, separated lovers , budding romances, and the resolution of old family rivalries. Adding all of this drama to a series that began with a story of lone warriors fighting to the death for various personal reasons in strange and dangerous places, leaves a feeling of confusion.
There's part of that internal conflict in the excellent combat engine as well, but luckily it's a lot less impactful. The two-way guard button is back, and after being released from it in Injustice, it just feels limited. Shout "sacrilege!" as much as you want; the guard is too limited a mechanism. It completely takes away the interest of the famous left / right jump-sequence technique in 2D fighting games, thus eliminating an entire slice of tactics without offering anything of interest in return.
There is still a ton of things to do on this side! Each character has a long list of attacks and combos that all serve a different purpose, from mixes of low and high attacks to chain strikes to counter the guards, or even aerial combos. X-Rays, the Mortal Kombat equivalent of Super Moves, have been revised to be more efficient considering the resources used to launch them, mugs can be canceled along the way but they can also be included in full combos, allowing you to have another efficient way to gain advantage. More importantly, the possibility of choosing between 3 versions of each character implies that there will be specificities depending on the matchup. For example, playing against Sonya in a martial art version with the Special Force skin, will not prepare you for the “Oki tweaks” she can create with her Demolitions style.
That's what's really important at the end of the day. Of course, the 3 or 4 hours of story mode aren't the most exciting, but you don't play a fighting game for story mode. The interest results in the endless nights in front of the game and the joy of outwitting your opponent in 1v1. Mortal Kombat X will give you that with a gradual improvement of the training mode (reminiscent of Injustice), and a solid base of additional downloadable content. . Best of all is the “King of the Mountain” mode which will allow you to play and chat with other players while training or watching a live match. It's a fun and social way to play and learn with other players.
The netcode is mainly dedicated to keeping the online combat smoother, but there was usually enough lag to interrupt my combos or punish bad timings when this is not the case in local play. Despite that, it's a huge improvement over Mortal Kombat 9 and while the online mode isn't a substitute for competitions, it's close enough to serve as a practice for quite a while.
One last element that makes you addicted is the return of the Krypt where you can unlock humorous costumes, Fatalities, Brutalities and a lot of other things. More than ever this interactive and unlockable menu gives us the impression of a game in its own right. We get chills every time we spend our hard earned "Koins" to open a chest in which the reward is totally random.
That excitement goes down pretty quickly when you know you can just buy a pack that unlocks everything for $ 20. Unfortunately this is not the only thing that has been monetized: new configurations for easy executions, 2 buttons for Fatalities or being able to complete the story or even the combat tower, all this requires tokens to be able to be done, tokens sold on PSN and XBL. I never felt pressured to buy on any of the things mentioned above, but between all of that and the “press X to buy Goro” message that pops up every time the cursor hovers over its silhouette on the screen selection is a bit too much in-game marketing for me. It didn't really impact my enthusiasm, but if there had been more it would have been. In the end, it's sad that we have crossed this border.