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E3 2014: Mortal Kombat X

Posted on June 14, 2014 AT 10:30am

Publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.
Developer NetherRealm Studios
Platform XB1, PS4, 360, PS3, PC
Release Date 2015
You can read the rest of our Opinionated Guide to E3 2014 or head to our E3 hub for even more coverage.

The Rundown

As a follow-up to 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot, Mortal Kombat X looks to continue taking one of gaming’s most recognizable fighting franchises in new and different directions. This entry takes place many years after the previous chapter, and the roster will be filled with a host of new faces fighting against old favorites, as rivalries are born (or fueled) on the battlefield in the never-ending war between Earth and the Outworld.

The Verdict

I’ve always had a strange relationship with Mortal Kombat. When the original hit, I found it to be a curiosity, but not much more than that. When its sequel began showing up in random places around my hometown, I suddenly caught MKII fever. After that, my interest dropped off, since there just wasn’t a lot for me to like. I never thought the Mortal Kombat series was what I’d call a “good” fighting game, and most of the character designs its various chapters featured were turn-offs compared to my tastes.

When the Mortal Kombat reboot came along, however, I had to give it a lot of credit. The team at NetherRealm Studios put a huge amount of effort into completely overhauling every aspect of the franchise, and the result was a game that kept many of the elements longtime fans loved while building a really solid, enjoyable fighting-game engine around that core.

Mortal Kombat X now looks to be a more polished and expanded version of what started three years ago. First, there’s a slight shift in attitude and style compared to the previous game. This is still Mortal Kombat, don’t get me wrong, but it feels like one that will be a bit more mature in everything it does—and I don’t mean mature in a “blood and guts” kind of way. One example of this directly addresses a major problem I had with the previous game: the female character designs. Last time we saw the series, every single female sported outfits that went overboard in flaunting sexuality. So far, the two female characters we’ve been shown so far—Cassie Cage, daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, and D’Vorah, a strange human/insect hybrid—look like actual, respectable fighters instead of objects of pandering for teenage boys. Good job, NetherRealm Studios.

Maturation of what came before can also be seen in Mortal Kombat X’s gameplay. Backgrounds now have interactive elements à la Injustice: Gods Among Us, and players can pick one of three different style variations for each roster member before fights begin. Depending on which variation you choose, the character will not only have an overall different playstyle, but also specific moves and attacks that can only be used when choosing that particular variation.

Before its reboot, I never thought I’d have a real interest in getting more time in on a new chapter of Mortal Kombat. Now, with Mortal Kombat X, I’m eager to see what else is in store for the game.

…I still don’t understand how fighters can still be in the match after having their bones snapped or their skulls crushed, though.

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got started via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as can realistically be crammed in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk Eric on Twitter: @Eric_EGM. Meet the rest of the crew.

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