It’s hard to believe that Mortal Kombat – one of the most popular (and, in its early days, controversial) video game series ever – is 23 years old. For many gamers, the blood-soaked exploits of Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Johnny Cage and friends remain some of the greatest in the fighting genre: combining distinctive characters (which some competing titles simply can’t match, no matter how good they are), an expansive, rich mythology that grows deeper with each new instalment, and accessible-yet-rewarding gameplay, the Mortal Kombat franchise has a huge fan-base around the world.
Back in 2011, the ninth main game in the series – again titled just Mortal Kombat – was released to much fan- and critical-acclaim: with the mythology containing dozens of characters, some of whom had undergone significant changes, and the gameplay firmly placed on a 3D plane, NetherRealm sought to take the series back to basics to make it more accessible to new players. Characters now fought on a 2D plane, and the story returned to the events of the first three games (albeit slightly altered versions), enabling gamers to enjoy ‘purer’ incarnations of their beloved combatants.
With the next instalment in the series – Mortal Kombat X – fast approaching, fans have plenty to look forward to: NetherRealm is promising new features, new and returning characters, and lots more to keep the franchise feeling comfortingly familiar but fresh at the same time.
Let’s take a closer look at what to expect.
“Get Over Here!“
Developers working on long-running series face a difficult task when building character rosters: players want to dive into the world they enjoyed before with the same fighters, but they also want something new. Typically, NetherRealm has done a fantastic job with this delicate balancing act – Mortal Kombat: Deception and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon boasted massive rosters, combining much-loved faces with new characters (all of whom fitted comfortably into the mythos).
With Mortal Kombat X, players will be able to enjoy another great blend of old and new characters. As the story is said to deal with the events of the previous game as well as jumping 25 years into the future, we get to see more seasoned versions of the characters we love, as well as their relatives.
For example, as well as the mighty Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, gamers will now get to play as Cassie Cage, their daughter; alongside Jax Briggs, players will also get to enjoy Jacqui Briggs, his daughter; Kung Lao’s younger cousin, Kung Jin, will also be a playable character. Staples of the series, such as everyone’s favourite spear-slinger Scorpion, his icy nemesis Sub-Zero, thunder god Raiden, and sinister Kano, will all be included in the roster.
Additional characters will also be made available via DLC, including guests like Jason Vorhees (from the iconic Friday the 13th film series), Predator (also from a well-loved franchise), Tremor, and Tanya (both from previous Mortal Kombat instalments and spin-offs).
New Gameplay Features
Since the last Mortal Kombat game, NetherRealm had a hit with the epic, hugely-fun Injustice: Gods Among Us (based in the DC Universe, pitting such characters as Batman, the Joker, Harley Quinn, and Wonder Woman against each other in brutal combat), and so the interactive environments featured in that title will cross over into Mortal Kombat X. While other entries in the series have also incorporated weaponry and multiple tiers within each stage, gamers will be able to bounce enemies out of one area into another, and use parts of their surroundings in combat.
The gory “X-Ray” feature will return from 2011’s Mortal Kombat, providing players with a view of breaking bones and ruptured organs when special moves are activated. Even more impressive are the three variations available for every character, providing players with a range of fighting styles and looks for each fighter: for example, Scorpion is available in a Ninjutsu form (wielding two swords), a Hellfire form (based around fire-themed special moves), and an Inferno form (which can summon minions from Hell to assist him in combat).
Game modes will include Story (sure to be as deep and compelling as in previous instalments), 1 VS 1 Ranked, Survivor, Living Towers and 5 VS 5 battles; tweaked versions of previous game modes will also appear, including Test Your Luck.
One of the most exciting new modes is Faction Wars, in which players must choose to align with one of five factions (Special Forces, the Lin Kuei, The Brotherhood of Shadow, Black Dragon, and White Lotus), and take part in an ongoing online competition against the others – as each faction wins points, individual players rank-up and achieve special rewards (said to include finishing moves specific to each faction).
Graphically, Mortal Kombat X looks stunning, with highly-detailed fighters battling in richly-textured worlds. The fatalities will be as bloody and extreme as ever (violence in the previous game was so extreme, it was banned throughout Australia), while the different variations of each character will help to boost the game’s longevity.
Hopefully, this will deliver everything Mortal Kombat fans want, and more – helping to keep the series alive and well for another 23 years!