When it comes to fighting games as a genre, one name always pops up: Mortal Kombat. It is a series so legendary it literally caused the invention rating systems applied to videogames. The latest entry in the franchise, Mortal Kombat X, is a follow-up to a tremendously successful Mortal Kombat 9 which revived the long-hibernated hit potential. The developers promised it would be bigger and better, and they were not lying.
Mortal Kombat X is actually set in a context that provides us with both traditional and new elements. It has a story mode, like the previous game, which serves as a foundation for re-invention of several established characters and introducing new ones. Having a story actually helps, as renewing the roster of fighters you can play as has is always tricky. MK has always depended on its unique cast, and the new game gives us what we want: inventive design, powerful moves and variation. Unfortunately, not all is well in this department. Some characters lack the on-screen charisma the original fighters had from the start. The kids of Johny Cage feel like unnecessary clones of him and Sonya. And many re-invented fighters lost a bit of their charm, like human Scorpion, who's always been about inhuman terrifying coolness. On the other hand, ageing and divorced Johny Cage himself is quite hilarious. So, there are pros and cons to the cast renewal.
The game mechanics are still the same at the core: you beat the crap out of your opponent with various moves, including complex combinations done with careful tactics and quick reaction, and then finish him off with a special move. Let's face it: Mortal Kombat is all about fatalities. Here we have a bloodbath. New animations and gore are so abundant that the deaths almost look cartooney. Hacking, stabbing, crushing, choking, exploding, blood, guts, acid - everything a MK fan can want, but not shockingly realistic. I would say the violence card is well-played. Fluent fighting itself makes for a pleasurable ride to the violence land.
Unfortunately, the balance is not as good as the style. Some fighters are overpowered, as always, others are too weak. The developers tried to avoid that by introducing an in-game store where you can buy upgrades, but that just made things worse. Perk "Easy fatalities" basically destroys the challenge of playing the game, some say. Having clunky controls and performance issues on PC doesn't help, as the port is quite terrible.
Still, the game is fun to play, both for the story and other content, of which there is so much you would need months to experience and get it all. Tournament mode, challenges, traditional and new sections - the game gives its money's worth. Just remember that even the great Mortal Kombat can have flaws.