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Mortal Kombat X Review

  • First Released Apr 14, 2015
  • Reviewed Apr 17, 2015
  • XONE

It's komplicated.

With the reboot in 2011, Mortal Kombat matured from a curious fighting game series to one that's worthy of tournament-level competition, and with Mortal Kombat X, we get the next step in the evolution of its fighting system. New features such as fighting-style variations and a stamina meter enhance the chaos, giving you more to consider before and during a fight. As much headway as Mortal Kombat X has made in regards to the fighting system, the series' other mainstay trait has grown in step. Fatalities and other gruesome attacks are the series' goriest yet, and while not all of them fall into the slapstick category, there are plenty that make you laugh due to the absurdity on display.

Mortal Kombat X upholds the series' legacy, which is evident in the story mode and the return of a dozen classic characters. Once again, the focus is on the battle between realms, elder gods, and humanity. The introduction of a few new faces on the side of Earthrealm, the good guys, freshens things up, although not as much as you would hope. The inclusion of the offspring of legacy characters, like Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade's daughter, Cassie, may prove to be intriguing for die-hard fans of Mortal Kombat's lore, but with the exception of Takashi Takeda (Kenshi's son) and Kung Jin (the younger cousin of Kung Lao), most of them are too similar to their relatives and ultimately fail to stand out in a meaningful way.

What are you looking at?!
What are you looking at?!

There are also a handful of new bad guys, though "fresh" may not be the best word to describe their grotesque visages. Characters such as the insect like D'vorah and the gunslinger Erron Black inject new personalities into the series' aging roster and introduce new fighting styles. D'vorah strikes with spider-like arms that spring from her back, Erron Black uses firearms, and the fighting duo called Ferra Torr is comprised of a little girl who commands a hulking brute from atop his back. The new characters on each side of the battle fit into their respective factions, but it's the bad guys that are most notable, largely because they are original creations, rather than derivations from pre-existing characters.

If you care about Mortal Kombat lore, you will get a lot out of the story mode, which has excellent voice acting and a handful of unpredictable developments that affect long-standing relationships. It's not a story that everyone will relate to, sadly, with only a couple of scenes that deliver emotional moments. Cassie Cage may be a boring character, but she provides the necessary motivations for Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade to explore their feelings, and ultimately, grow as people by the time the credits roll.

Good luck, Takeda!
Good luck, Takeda!

Even if you don't care about the made-for-fans story, it's hard not to appreciate the new fighting engine, which is the smoothest the series has ever seen. It's not a sea change from the last game, but you quickly appreciate that combos are more fluid and that animations are more nuanced. The meter you charge by taking hits and doling out special moves returns from the last game, allowing you to power-up special attacks, break enemy combos, and perform an x-ray attack, which reveals the insides of one opponent while the attacker breaks them into pieces in slow motion, accompanied by excruciating moans of pain. The introduction of a stamina bar limits your ability to spam dashing maneuvers, which makes it more difficult for you to rely on spacing alone to win a fight. Likewise, the interactive elements in each stage, which allow you to pummel your opponent with a background item, or escape a corner by leaping off of a large object, can only be used if you have enough stamina. This particular meter recharges on its own, but it takes long enough--relative to the pace of a heated battle--to make it an important consideration during high-level matches.

Local battles are great fun, but online matches are where modern fighting games thrive in the long run. Chances are, the best players in the world don't live on the same street, leaving online matches as the true test of one's skill outside of tournaments. The netcode that drives Mortal Kombat X's online matches is fine, meaning that it will sometimes offer an experience that feels proper, but that you should expect laggy matches from time to time. When you get into a fight with a poor connection, you may as well exit and search for a new opponent, because it will be difficult to pull off simple combos and special moves. At that point, its a competition between man and machine. Thankfully, this is a rare occurrence.

One of the great aspects of Mortal Kombat X is the amount of non-traditional fighting game content. Towers are back, providing an arcade mode-like challenge, as well as a series of other themed battles that offer a wide variety of combat conditions. The Test Your Luck tower puts you in a series of fights with randomly selected modifiers, which mix up everything from terrain to physics to keep you on your toes and alter the way you approach a fight. The modifier-driven fights are also the crux of the new living towers, which offer fixed modifier sets and challenges, but are remixed every hour, every day, and every week, depending on the specific tower.

Everything you buy in the Krypt is a gamble, making it easy to lose hard-earned koins.
Everything you buy in the Krypt is a gamble, making it easy to lose hard-earned koins.

Mortal Kombat X also marks the introduction of factions, or teams, that compete on a worldwide scale. Joining a faction is the first thing you do after booting up the game, and as you fight in the game's various modes, you earn points for your faction and level up. Eventually you hit milestones that open up faction kills, which are essentially simpler versions of fatalities. Every week, a faction is chosen as the winner and its members earn a reward in the form of a faction kill or a cosmetic item. Once in a while, an invasion occurs and factions compete to fight a character with extreme rules, and the more you play, the more you contribute to the team's efforts. The faction system isn't the sort of feature that will grip your attention, but invasions are nice because they make you feel like you're contributing to a concentrated effort, rather than the long-winded score chase of the weekly faction war.

As you play Mortal Kombat X, you earn currency in the form of "koins." Koins are used to unlock movelist details for secondary fatalities (by default, secondary fatalities don't have inputs listed in the movelist menu), brutalities (another form of finishing move), fan art, and character skins, to name a few. You find these items in the Krypt mode, which is a first-person dungeon crawling game. The Krypt is composed of a handful of areas that are populated with tombstones, sarcophaguses, and other treasure chest-like containers. You need to spend koins to get at the treasures within, but there's a catch: you never know what you're buying until you've purchased it. This adds an air of suspense and tension to each purchase, because you're either going to get something cool, or something lame. This would be easily dismissed if koins were more plentiful than they are, but they're currently doled out in small doses. One trip through the story mode nets you enough koins for but a small fraction of the items on display, and other modes are less generous, making the chase for unlocking the entire Krypt a long and arduous one. Like factions, it's not something worth focusing all of your effort on. Save that for learning characters and fighting styles, and go to the Krypt only as needed.

Don't worry, when you're ready to cough up some cash to unlock a character that's finished at launch, you'll know right where to go.
Don't worry, when you're ready to cough up some cash to unlock a character that's finished at launch, you'll know right where to go.

There is another option: you can pay real world money to unlock every item in the Krypt. All you need is $20 to bypass the slog of earning koins, but that isn't exactly cheap. Then again, neither is time, so it's a bit gross that the koin distribution is balanced in such a way that you are tempted to spend real world cash if you want to unlock brutalities and the like. Mortal Kombat X is a great fighting game with a wonderfully demented world and cast of characters, but when you're pressured into spending money, it's easy to lose focus on the positives. You can always ignore the options to buy items with real world money, such as awards that allow you to perform two button fatalities and the aforementioned Krypt unlocks, but the biggest item on the main menu of the game is a link to the game's store, with items you can purchase or look forward to purchasing in the weeks and months to come. You're teased with DLC for characters that you fight within the story mode, as though you aren't going to put two and two together and realize what a despicable bait and switch that is. There's so much to love about the new Mortal Kombat that it's a shame to see such blatant monetization practices overlap with your experience, whether you're looking for it or not. You can always choose not to pay out of pocket for anything, but you know in the back of your head that you're likely missing out on something.

Mortal Kombat X's lesser elements exist outside the most important part of the game: the fighting. A great roster with a wide range of diverse fighting styles and variations gives you plenty to play around with, and the new fighting mechanics add the right amount of depth to nudge Mortal Kombat X ever higher on the list of respectable fighting games. There's also the gruesome creativity, which is entertaining for its absurdity but shocking for its emphasis on acute torture. Although you can't escape it, Mortal Kombat X's violence doesn't come at the cost of great gameplay design; it's either your punishment for failure, or your reward for mastering the art of kombat.

Back To Top
The Good
The best fighting mechanics of any game in the series
Interesting character designs pop thanks to great-looking visuals
Variations virtually expand the character roster in a subtle but effective way
A story that will please fans of the series
Living towers deliver a wide variety of challenges to tackle
The Bad
Some new characters fail to stand out
Monetization mixes with in-game currency in a frustrating manner
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Peter got his first taste of Mortal Kombat with the original arcade game, and with only a few exceptions, has kept up with the series since. He spent the majority of his time with the PlayStation 4 version of the game for this review, taking his profile to level 38, and his faction profile to level 36.
502 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for rob00000

I think all fighters at all including all the mortal kombat characters made sould be on mortal kombat x and xl and mobile version without adding a kombat pack just adding the characters on alone would be good tell me if you agree in a reply all fans and gamers tell me what you think and comment reply below me ok no more skin packs just characters here's some fighter add on ideas are below in order

1. Freddy Krueger

2. Hellboy

3. Kratos

4. Shang tsung

5. Kabal

6. Stryker

7. Shao Khan

8. Cyrax

9. Sektor

10. Jarek

11. Jade

12. Sareena

13. Noob saibot

14. Fujin

15. Rain

16. Smoke

17. Baraka

18. Kintaro

19. Mintaro

20. Reiko

21. Onaga

22. Camellion

23. Kamellian

24. Ryu

25. Swamp thing

26. Darksied

27. Blue beetle

28. Bane

29. Robin

30. Green arrow

31. Green lantern

32. The joker

33. Harley Quinn

34. The flash

35. Aquaman

36. Superman

37. Batman

38. Batgirl

39. Supergirl

40. Lex Luther

41. Cheeta

42. Wonderwoman

43. Catwoman

44. The thing

45. Spencer

46. Wesker

47. Tron

48. Frank West

49. Firebrand

50. Nemesis type o

51. Jill

52. Viewtible joe

53. Arther

54. Haggar

55. Felica

56. Crimson viper

57. Chris

58. Green goblin

59. Ant man

60. Black widow

61. Sandman

62. Black canary

63. She hulk

64. Magneto

65. Pheniox Wright

66. Pheniox

67. Ghost rider

68. Iron fist

69. Drumma

70. Doctor strange

71. Doctor doom

72. Hawkeye

73. Captain America

74. Captain cold slash marvel

75. Thor

76. Iron man

77. Deadpool

78. Wolverine X-Men

79. Spider-Man

80. Hulk

81. Modak

82. The flash I like the flash

83. Hulk Hogan

84. The undertaker

85. Jhon cena

86. Roman rains

87. Seth Rollins

88. Big show

89. Jon Jones

90. Alexander ghousttuohsn

91. Ronda rousey

92. Captain Spock Spock fights for freedom

93. Darth Vader

94. Darth maul

95. Kylo ren

96. Darth sidous

97. Count dooku

98. Ashoka tanaka

99. Yoda

100. Luke Skywalker

101. Qui gon jinn

102. Pinhead hellraiser

103. Michael myers

104. Buzzsaw

105. Rosemary zombie

106. Demonia

107. Ghostface scream

108. Frankenstein Boris koloff Frankenstein

109. Chucky doll

110. It the clown pennywise

111. Frank the clown dog pennywise

112. Pumpkinhead

113. Headless horseman ikabad crane monster

114. Devil Satan I do not like the devil at all

115. Cyborg

116. Nightwolf

Avatar image for renisyafitri

Thanks for the information, Very useful

Manfaat olahraga untuk penderita batu ginjal

Avatar image for renisyafitri

Thanks for the information, Very useful

Benarkah Daun Ngokilo Berkhasiat Menghancurkan Batu Ginjal?

Avatar image for renisyafitri

Thanks for the information, Very useful

ciri gejala dan tanda penderita batu ginjal

Avatar image for joey2010

Character roster is VERY SHORT OOO!!! No one really gives a S about the story...the tournaments most certainly won't

Dear Netherrealm,

Please bring back the characters and take back your story

...and where the F is Kabal?

I thought he was the star of the previous game?

Avatar image for jimabadon

@joey2010: they're not going to scrap the story just because you and some people don't like it. There are people who enjoy it, lol.

Avatar image for acc3ptd3fault

Mortal Kombat is one title, no matter how awful, I'll always come back to it.

Avatar image for Smaug317

Visually, it's a great game. Roster is too small for a $60 game. The kombat felt good, but not balanced enough.

Back to Dead or Alive 5 for me.

Avatar image for naturalbornkane

A full point off..



Avatar image for gamestud34

I think this is a great game with superb graphics and really good fighter...

Im just not impressed with the roster and think some of the fighters are kinda lame, and I really miss some of the old fighter from MK9.

I dont like how the guy at gamestop asked for an extra $30.00 for a more complete roster...wth.

Mark my words... In a years time they will have another complete edition with all the DLC for half the price.

I bought a used copy but im going to take it back and either wait for a complete edition, or wait till the price goes down.

Like I said... Great game with stunning visuals, but not worth full price.

Avatar image for Gravity_Slave

I liked this MK but I got bored with it fast. Seems there are two types of players. One just mashes buttons frantically with the hopes they'll do something "awesome" and the other are the people who only use the same character and the same unbreakable combos and brutalities, because that's all they know.

Either way, every fight just devolves into a frantic jumpy mess that still looks awkward and stiff. Meh.

Avatar image for syndicateempire

So Kung Jin is suppesdly gay

Well I will certainly enjoy killing him over and over!

Avatar image for feleas

Great game. My only complaint is the community. They only do what they know gives them an almost guaranteed cheesy win because they're too scared shitless to try and give the game an actual challenge. I pity them when they get bored of the game fast when those around them realize their high records are hollow haha

Avatar image for sargentpsgamer

@feleas: That's why I always try new characters and try to experiment. I get kind of annoyed when playing friends though and they play Scorpion 99 percent of the time because they have no idea how to use anyone else.

Avatar image for Gamod

@sargentpsgamer@feleas: << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> and what's wrong with that? Learn to play vs scorpion with any other character... if that's your wish... but dont obligate people to stop playing their fav character just because you get bored... they enjoy scorpion, what's wrong with that? If you don't, then don't pick..and learn to play against scorpion...It is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen... it really reflects the beautiful community these days... whining coz someone is playing the same character.... enjoy the game in the way you want it... if you go online, be prepare to face full time scorpion or 100% subzero... deal with it. I also like play scorpion and sub-zero since the previous MK... and it is been my main picks since MK1... and what's the problem with that?

Avatar image for RogerioFM

@Gamod@sargentpsgamer@feleas: You....... brother?

Avatar image for sargentpsgamer

@Gamod@sargentpsgamer@feleas: Lol, I'm whining? Did you not read the initial comment? People pick the same character and never step out, so THEY get bored.

The problem isn't me learning, it's me learning and them repeating the same thing over and over and over, so THEY get bored. Plus, yeah beating the same character non-stop is boring too. At no point did I suggest I struggle against any character, so who knows where that thought came from.....

So, Nice job turning my comment into something negative, all I said was I wish more people would try new things so they can fully enjoy the game. Now tell me, whats the problem with THAT? Try to talk down to me (and a whole community) because you feel your opinion is so superior, yet you admit you can't step outside of Sub-Zero and Scorpion and get all offended when I say I wish more people did? Ha.

Guess what, Scorpion is my go-to as well, but will I be him 10 matches in a row? No because I know how to use Cage, Kitana, and Mileena as well and like to have FUN. I hate that for some reason people on the internet can't see that their OPINION on something is not a fact and can't just simply have a discussion. Instead they have to try and downplay another OPINION and be all negative.....

Avatar image for consolebundle

most played games on internet,the best one to play the detail about the game helps the player to buy.

Avatar image for Too-DementeD

I definitely agree it's an 8/10 game, but I can't agree with the statement that "Some new characters fail to stand out". Most (albeit, not all) of the new MK Characters between Deadly Alliance and Deception felt really bland to me, with no purpose or reason. Meanwhile in MK10, thanks to the story mode and traditional tower mode endings, it paints a perfect picture of what each of the new characters are like. They feel like they fit right in, and weren't put there for the sole sake of adding "new characters".

I think the only single character I can fault out of all the new ones is Jacqueline Briggs, as I wish they explored her childhood/younger days more. They touched on it a bit at one part, but I just wish they dug deeper to show what her childhood really was like with Jax by Quan Chi's side.

Avatar image for mighty-lu-bu

I feel like this game is really a 7 or a 7.5 because while I think the fighting is amazing, there are a lot of problems with the game itself. The new characters are pretty forgettable and the story is pretty average at best. Also, the thing that really bugged me about the story was that they made Shinnok a pretty lame villain, he's definitely no Shao Khan or Shang Tsung. Furthermore, after you beat the story, there really isn't a lot left to do and you can beat the story in one afternoon. Don't get me wrong, because I think that in terms of gameplay that this is the best MK, but everything else is a little lackluster. Also, the fact that Goro has nothing to do with the story is a little lame, and where the heck is Kintaro?!

Avatar image for MaddenBowler10

@Mighty-Lu-Bu: If you buy a fighting game just for its story, then you're doing it wrong. These games are made for competition.

Avatar image for janembadbz

@MaddenBowler10@Mighty-Lu-Bu: That said, a fighting game with a good story has a greater value if you like the lore.

Avatar image for Pacer8888

@Mighty-Lu-Bu: People have never ever bought a fighting game for a story mode before as it was pretty non existent. Fighting games in essence are meant to be played eithier online or against other real life people, thats where the replay value comes in.

Avatar image for greaseman1985

Takeda is the only new character that is fun to play and has any personality. Cassie, Jacqui, and Kung Jin are bland and not fun to play. Especially Cassie and Jacqui, I understand they're daughters of already established characters, but they are so similar to their parents they don't feel like new characters. At least Kung Jin and Takeda are different enough from their cousin and father respectively that they don't feel derivative at all. Other new characters like Kotal Kahn, Dvorah, and Ferra/Torr are garbage. I'm disappointed they took out so many fan favorites for these new characters.

Avatar image for funkerazmain

The PC version of this game is broken even after the F'in day one patch, the patch after that and the 15 gb patch which basically did nothing to improve it.I hope Arkham Knight doesn't end up like this

Avatar image for jetpil0t_01

No mention of this being virtually unplayable on PC at launch, aside from which it is still a terrible port. The microtransaction factor is even worse on PC, where the quality and quantity of what is on offer is simply laughable in comparison to anything else on Steam. Compared to Street Fighter, or the slew of other fighters on Steam right now, this game is awful. But hey "no one" plays PC games, so don't bother giving that version a mention, despite it being significantly different from the console versions and available at the same time. Professional.

Avatar image for skyline5gtr

@jetpil0t_01: I have not had a single issue on PC, plays better and smoother with my 144hz monitor then on any console

Avatar image for Pacer8888

@skyline5gtr@jetpil0t_01: Why do people who play on PC also have to pointlessly mention something irrelevant?, you just had to mention your monitor hz where its not needed. That pretty much sums up PC gamers these days, too busy jerking off to textures, resolutions and FOV sliders that they forget to actually have fun with their games.

Avatar image for blue_dude

@Pacer8888@skyline5gtr@jetpil0t_01: Sounds like ps4 gamurz too. :P

Avatar image for skyline5gtr

@Pacer8888@skyline5gtr@jetpil0t_01: The F are you on about

Avatar image for funkerazmain

@skyline5gtr@jetpil0t_01: But not for everybody. Go to steam community or the website to read all the comments posted by the people there

Avatar image for spartanx169x

I love the game but I have not bought a MK game in about 6 years. Love the game so far.

Avatar image for greaseman1985

@spartanx169x: Honestly you should play the last MK game too, it was excellent.

Mortal Kombat X More Info

  • First Released Apr 14, 2015
    • Android
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • + 3 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Mortal Kombat X combines cinematic presentation with all new gameplay to deliver the most brutal Kombat experience ever, offering a new fully-connected experience that launches players into a persistent online contest where every fight matters in a global battle for supremacy.
    Average Rating450 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Mortal Kombat X
    Developed by:
    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, High Voltage Software, QLOC, NetherRealm Studios
    Published by:
    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
    2D, Action, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language