Mortal Kombat: Fights to the Fatality

By Michael Ceron in Opinion

Sub-Zero uses his ice ability to create a bed of icicles on the ground behind his opponent and proceeds to kick him in. For good measure, Sub-Zero jumps on his opponent’s chest to drive the ice further in.

The match is over. The announcer proclaims Sub-Zero the winner before uttering the phrase every Mortal Kombat fan loves to hear: “Fatality.”

NetherRealm Studios’ “Mortal Kombat X” is the latest installment in their flagship franchise. The fighting game for Playstation 4 and Xbox One is the second game the studio has produced for the current generation of consoles.

The environment and characters are rendered beautifully. Every detail on the costumes are apparent. As the fight progresses, cuts bruises and blood can be seen on the characters. The background also responds to the fight, particularly when a fighter hits a wall or other item.

The game pushes the capabilities of the new systems. NetherRealm introduced environmental attacks into this game. When a player is standing next to an object in the arena that can be used to attack or evade their opponent, they are prompted to press a button on their controller. This new feature acts smoothly and adds a new dimension to each fight.

“Mortal Kombat X” introduced different fighting styles for each of the characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The different fighting styles have special attacks available. These changes add a new element to each encounter and the fighters feel balanced. Each fight brings something new to the table, which is a refreshing change of pace.

The thing that sets Mortal Kombat apart from other fighting franchises are the fatalities. The characters have two fatalities at their disposal, each one requiring its own button combination.  Input the correct combination, and a cutscene of your character viciously murdering the opponent kicks in.

The combinations are sometimes tough to nail, but the reward is well worth the effort. Some of the fatalities are cruel, while others border on comical. “Mortal Kombat X’s” fatalities have their own little reward and don’t leave you disappointed.

For the fans that find fatalities too easy, the game includes brutalities. Like a fatality, brutalities lead to your opponent’s death. In order to trigger a brutality you must perform certain actions throughout the match, like hitting a combo at a certain time or place, before nailing a combination of attacks to finish your opponent. The brutalities add another layer of difficulty, and they show NetherRealm’s continued effort to ensure Mortal Kombat stays challenging and relevant.

There is one glaring problem with “Mortal Kombat X” and that is the story mode. The story is unnecessary because  it lacks character development. The script can be best described as laughable. The entire story plays out as a series of misunderstandings and fabricating slights to get characters to fight each other. It’s all very forced. That being said, in order to unlock and use the character Shinnok, a player has to finish the story mode.

Besides the hours required to play through the story mode, “Mortal Kombat X” is a very enjoyable game. The game is a strong example of what a fighting game should be: fun, challenging and at times downright savage. This new installment is worth every ounce of blood spilled on the screen.

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