“Mortal Kombat X” review

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Games like “Mortal Kombat X” come with a pedigree that reaches back years. Fighting games have such an ingrained presence in all of gaming that many people only associate video games with “Street Fighter” or “Mortal Kombat.” Couple that “MK’s” history of gratuitous violence, and you’ve got a game that is impossible to pass up for folks in the review community.

“Mortal Kombat X” takes up the story of the “MK” universe after the events of “MK9,” twenty or so years after in fact. A new Khan has taken over Outworld, the Netherrealm is prepping for the return of Shinnok, who plans to end our reality, and Johnny Cage is training a group of young fighters to combat all of this insanity.

What follows is a somewhat predictable story about stopping Shinnok, but it’s certainly entertaining. In fact, the new characters and locations make it a fun ride.

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There are a lot of new fighters to play around with.

Single-player has the usual towers and challenges. Each character has three different combat styles to choose from, giving the player a lot of tactical options and play styles to mess around with. They take some getting used to, but once you find one that works for you, it’s always good to stick with it. It wouldn’t hurt to have a couple characters and fighting styles in your back pocket for multiplayer, though.

Multiplayer functions the same as it has in the last few iterations of the series. Online matches, some king-of -the-hill type situations and lots of fun to be had. The Faction system is new and allows the player to choose one of several groups from the “MK” universe to reside in. Once selected, Faction Challenges and leader boards are created to make a sort of community competition daily. Faction rewards include Faction Fatalities, experience points and more. While not working in tip-top condition, this is a nice little addition that gives a greater sense of just how large the “MK” community is, and allows you to be a part of it whether you like fighting online or not.

Fatalities and Brutalities are really where the game gets its flair. Of course it is gorgeous, the stages and characters look fantastic on the new systems, but the blood and guts really do make you see why “Mortal Kombat” has such a reputation. Though, I will say that sometimes the Fatalities can be a bit annoying due to the fact that they are a little complicated and you have to memorize them, but that’s the game for you. The Brutalities are a little more complicated as they’re conditional. For example, one of Johnny Cage’s Brutalities can only happen if you’ve connected four nut punches in the fight and the last hit in the fight is also a nut punch. The result is your enemy’s head popping off hilariously, but still, those are five hits that you have to plan out. Others are more complicated, but you get the idea.

The game’s not perfect, but this could very well be my personal favorite “Mortal Kombat” game. This also may be one of the better games in the series. What may be marring it is the digital purchases. Yes, you can buy easy Fatality coins online for a fee. While I understand that the Fatalities are complicated, and you can get these coins in game, buying them seems a tad much.

There will also be some characters available for download in the future including the Predator, Jason Voorhees and two additional “MK” characters from the universe. All of those, plus some outfits related to Predator and Jason, are available as a part of the season pass for the game.

“Mortal Kombat X” is available right now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. There is also a mobile tie-in game right now that is available to download on iOS devices (and Android devices sometime soon) that can unlock some costumes in the console game.