Owners of Mortal Kombat X’s Kombat Pack will be able to download iconic Friday the 13th character, Jason Voorhees, from tomorrow. The pack also includes three character skins for Mileena, Reptile and Ermac.
If you haven’t committed to the Kombat Pack, you can pick up the Jason Voorhees Bundle from May 12.
The Mortal Kombat series has a storied history, wonderfully delighting and shocking us with its special brand of gruesome and violent combat. I have vivid memories of how intense the first games were; from the style of combat, the unlockable secrets like Reptile and blood mode, to the painstaking research and experimentation required to unlock the over-the-top, gory and highly satisfying Fatalities. The announcement of the newest game in the franchise, Mortal Kombat X, had me all a quiver, with my expectations skyrocketing.
And I certainly wasn’t disappointed; from the moment you fire up the game you are again immersed in the corny but brutal world of Mortal Kombat. In fact, the immersion starts before you even enter an arena. On starting the game you must choose which faction you want to fight for. The five factions represent the clans and organisations many of the roster herald from – such as Earthrealm’s Special Forces community, and Netherrealm’s Brotherhood of Shadow. As you play – whether online of offline – you accumulate points which contribute to the overall score of your faction. At the end of each week a faction is announced the winner and rewards are dished out, such as Koins for spending in the Krypt and even a Faction Kill, a faction-specific Fatality. It’s a great way to encourage players to return daily, especially with faction–specific challenges cropping up hourly, daily and weekly granting score boost if you conquer them, furthermore, it doesn’t force you into competing online; regardless of how you play Mortal Kombat, any action results in points for your faction, keeping everyone involved.
With the previous title in the series re-treading the original trilogy’s story and providing a lengthy and coherent narrative for the series, Mortal Kombat X, has its work cut out for it. Fortunately the story maintains its silly but fascinating appeal, continuing on from where the last one left off and making smart decisions with the introduction of new characters and keeping continuity. Throughout the 6-8 hour story you’ll jump into the shoes of the majority of the cast, fighting a few bouts as each before switching to another character. It proves a great way to introduce you to each fighter’s style of combat, and the challenge of adapting to each helps maintain the pacing and keep you on your toes. Character switching is also frequent enough so that you won’t get too frustrated if you can’t gel with a particular one. Additionally, if things do get too difficult, you have the option to skip fights and simply enjoy the journey.
Outside of the story are the usual fighting game modes of single player one-off fights and multiplayer –both online and local. Additionally, a comprehensive tutorial mode teaches you the basics and nuances of combat, meanwhile, a training mode lets you pummel an opponent to your heart’s content, with options for modifying your opponent’s reactions or activating on-screen button presses and Fatality position windows. The Krypt returns, presenting a 3D graveyard for you to explore and unlock additional content – such as Fatalities and character costumes – by purchasing tombs and gravestones with in-game currency you earn in combat. Also the Klassic Tower mode returns, pitting you to against random characters, one at a time as you attempt to climb the tower and become champion.
Test Your Luck fights activate up to seven modifiers that enhance or hamper both combatants. These take the form of raining meteors and missile strikes that damage you, power ups and health pick-ups appearing in the arena, or even the screen turning black every few seconds, as well as many more debilitating or advantageous effects. This proves a terrific way of randomly shaking up the status quo. Finally, Living Towers are a mixture of Klassic Tower mode and Test Your Luck, having you climb to the top of a tower whilst dealing with the random Test Your Luck effects. Once a tower is complete you can then challenge a friend to conquer the same tower and attempt to beat your score.
Mortal Kombat X’s combat continues its tradition of simple combos with a focus on juggling to deal extreme damage. It’s a well-balanced system that’s easy to pick up and play but difficult to master. Combos typically don’t stretch beyond three or four hits, but multiple combos can be chained together with significant speed to make them seem endless if you’re skilled enough. A power meter at the bottom of the screen for each character increases with damage taken and special moves connecting, offering you the choice to spend one of the three segments in enhancing a special move, sacrificing all segments to break an incoming combo, or spending all three to perform a devastating X-ray move, which brutally maims and mutilates an opponent’s body, breaking bones and puncturing organs in a gruesome spectacle.
A large roster of 24 characters are available, once unlocked in the main story, with several more imminently available as DLC. Furthermore, each character has three distinct combat styles to choose from that significantly changes how each one fights. Additionally each fighter feels unique, covering a diverse range of martial arts, weapons, and supernatural special moves that makes them all a thrill to use and learn. And with their unique X-ray moves, and a pair of supremely gory Fatalities each, there’s a great deal of variety to experience.
Mortal Kombat X introduces the series to Xbox One with superb results. The level of detail in the environments and characters is eye wateringly good, meanwhile, the fast paced combat doesn’t miss a beat, either offline or online. An impressive roster and some of the most brutal Fatalities and X-ray moves yet seen in the series, alone with a captivating story and intriguing hint at where it might go next makes this an unmissable fighter for the beat ‘em up crowd, meanwhile, the combat’s accessibility should easily tempt newcomers. Mortal Kombat X is brilliant, achieving a balance between technical and spectacle which seldom few other fighters do.
Thanks to Premier Communications and Xbox for supplying TiX with a promotional copy
Mortal Kombat X is but a mere fortnight away from release and the PR machine is going into overdrive. So what’s next in the way of announcements? How about a worldwide competitive program!
Together with ESL, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios are asking Who’s Next? What they want to know is who is the best Mortal Kombat player from a series of tournaments. To find out when and where these are happening, or maybe enter yourself, visit the official site.
NetherRealm Studios is a huge supporter of the pro fighting game scene and to be able to work with ESL on the Pro League Tournament allows us to take the Mortal Kombat™ X competition beyond what we’ve ever done before,
said Ed Boon, Creative Director, NetherRealm Studios and co-creator of Mortal Kombat.
We’ve seen some incredible match-ups in the past and we can’t wait to see what this next level of competition brings.
Capcom have dominated the fighting scene since the introduction of Street Fighter II in 1991. Since then, a small handful of other companies attempted to take the reins in the fighting game community. Only Namco, SNK or Midway have come close. Midway are notable as the creators of the much loved Mortal Kombat series. Mortal Kombat became a staple series with its innovative engine and never before seen gore. After Capcom’s crossover success with Marvel and SNK, it was time for the guys at Midway to try their hand at it. Midway established a relationship with Warner Bros who own DC Comics that would enable them to make a Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game. The game fell short, and aside from a brilliant story mode, wasn’t well made and became stale very quickly. Midway suffered liquidation in 2009 and things looked bleak for the Mortal Kombat name. Warner Bros acquired most of Midway’s assets, including Mortal Kombat. So in 2010, NetherRealm Studios was born with the announcement of a brand new Mortal Kombat; a reboot to the series. Not much excitement was garnered, but once it was released, people found that it was an excellent game with yet another enticing story mode. The success of Mortal Kombat along with the backing of Warner Bros Interactive meant that a DC only fighting game was finally sanctioned and that many had hope for it to be a good game. So is it a good game? Read on and see.
Since the story was so enchanting in their previous two games, I decided to jump straight into that and see whether Injustice was up to scratch. Boy, is it ever. NetherRealm have immediately shaken the foundations of the DC Universe with a tale that is almost unthinkable. It starts off in an alternate reality, Metropolis is in ruins. A giant bomb has turned the once thriving city into a desolate wasteland. It then cuts away to an interrogation. Batman is berating The Joker and asking why he did what he did. Superman blasts through the wall and completely out of character, then throws Batman to the side and pummels the life out of The Joker. Quite literally, he kills The Joker. As any fan of DC Comics will tell you, this is completely out of character. Cut to our reality (well, their reality), Earth’s most well-known heroes are amidst a battle when they are transported to a reality much like their own, but much different. It turns out that many years had passed since Superman killed Joker, and it is being run as a completely policed state. Superman now being a dictator who controls all. Live by his rules, or die at his hand. This is the fear that Superman has instilled into the world to create order. Superman runs a faction known as The Regime. They are the ones who supposedly uphold the law as Superman tells it. A group known as The Insurgency are the only ones who oppose The Regime. They are number one on the most wanted list and they are spearheaded by none other than, you guessed it; the god-damned Batman. Batman and Harley Quinn are the only ones left that will uphold justice. Perhaps the heroes who have just arrived will help them; maybe some of them just won’t be able to grasp the fact that some of the most notorious villains in their world just might be good in this one. It’s the lore of the DC Universe that makes this an intriguing story.
The story in Injustice is in a word, fantastic. NetherRealm have taken well established characters and ran in their own direction. It’s mostly the shock factor that makes it work all round. There are some moments that may genuinely leave you speechless. It also features what I would call the most shocking moment I’ve seen in a game for years. Every character has their own reason for fighting in the well-crafted story. Warner Bros made a great decision in allowing NetherRealm to officially create their own DC Universe as it gives them free rein to take limited characters like Superman and give them emotional depth like you may have never seen. The story works just like Mortal Kombat and MK vs DCU did. Each chapter is dedicated to one character. Finish your cut-scene laden chapter and you will move on to the next character. The story should take approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete and trust me; you won’t want it to end. But you will be left extremely satisfied.
Story mode isn’t the only place it’s at. The game also has several Battle modes. Classic Battle is basically the equivalent to Arcade mode which is in all fighting games. Defeat a series of characters before taking on the final boss which will unlock your character’s ending. There are also several other Battle modes to choose from, all with different settings and options. If you need more on your plate, each character has 10 S.T.A.R. lab missions each. It’s a sort of trial mode that helps you learn how to play each character, very similar to Mortal Kombat’s Challenge Tower. Each S.T.A.R. lab mission has 3 stars to obtain; trying to get all the stars will completionists busy for hours upon hours.
Multiplayer offers up a nice range of modes for you to duke it out online with. There’s the classic 1vs1 mode that never fails, survival is a new mode that sees you fight with one health bar until you finally lose, and king of the hill makes a return from Mortal Kombat. The net-code is almost a mirror of Mortal Kombat’s. If you and your opponent don’t have a perfect connection with each other, you’re in for a bad time. It’s a disappointment as online play is the only thing that keeps a fighter going after the initial gust of casual players give up on the game. The game may not survive in a tournament setting due to the lack of stable connectivity online.
The graphics are nothing to shout about in the game. They’re not bad, they’re just, meh. Scenery and backgrounds are pretty damn good. The sunny skies of Metropolis and the dark backdrop of Gotham City are captured beautifully. The stages look fantastic and are completely destructible and interactive. The graphical problems in the game stem from the character models themselves. They are poorly rendered and have no definition. It’s almost like when you open up a create-a-character mode on a wrestling game and are greeted with the generic default face at the start. It’s a shame as every costume has beautiful detail and has clearly had a lot of work put into them.
The voice acting is wonderfully done in the game. You can see that NetherRealm have invested heavily in getting people who can really play the roles. Although Mark Hamill would not reprise his excellent work as The Joker, Richard Epcar does the role justice. Kevin Conroy returns as the voice of Batman, a role he has been doing since the 90s. Tara Strong returns as the down-right scary Raven and the insatiable Harley Quinn after doing splendid work on the Arkham franchise. Even Stephen Amell who plays Oliver Queen in the live action Arrow show lent his voice acting skills to Green Arrow’s alternate costume. The score goes with every action and emotion throughout the story and the fights and complements everything within the game.
The core gameplay is truly the heart of a fighting game, and may I say that Injustice might just be NetherRealm’s best work yet. It’s easy to pick up if you’re not familiar with fighting games and even NetherRealm’s rigid control process can be altered to match the smooth motions and easy to handle inputs of the Street Fighter series. NetherRealm have clearly put in the time to make this game accessible to casuals while still making it deep enough for the hardcore crowd to enjoy. The new control system is very much akin to Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s. The X and Y buttons are now simply light and heavy attacks while the A button is now a special attack button that can set up launchers, overheads, and wall bounces. The B button activates your special character trait. For example, Nightwing’s special trait means that he can combine his two escrima sticks into one staff, bringing a whole new play style and move set to the character. The game handles very much like Mortal Kombat, strings and combos are a tad easier to hit in this iteration, however.
The newest inclusion in the fights is the stage interactions. There are three character classes that dictate how you will interact with them. For example, a car in the corner of a stage can be bounced off of and used to escape by an acrobatic character. A gadget character will attach an explosive to it to make it blow up. A power character will just pick that car up and slam it straight on your opponent’s head. Most stages have a centre-piece that you can kick your character into for a sort of interactive wall bounce that will extend combos. Another new feature is the inclusion of stage transitions. One well-placed attack can send your foe hurtling through the air or through buildings into another area of the stages. All stages but one have a couple different areas that you can run to if your current setting is boring you. These are good as the stage transitions in themselves lead to high damage and add a whole other way to play the game.
The inclusion of the frame data in the move-lists is quite frankly a beautiful addition. No longer do you have to trawl through internet forums trying to find specific data to see if you can combo this thing into that thing. Being able to string combos together that I hadn’t thought possible before with the help of a simple pause menu is the most helpful thing that has ever been included in fighting games. The hardcore players will appreciate this more than anyone else.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is by far NetherRealm’s most well-made game. The combination of a huge cast of characters, with several alternate costumes keeps things fresh. A 2-3 hour long story mode combined with S.T.A.R. Labs and Classic Battle mode will take weeks if not months to complete. Working to unlock all of the costumes will keep you busy all by itself. Injustice: Gods Among Us is the epitome of fan service, and a damn good game.