Mortal Kombat is one of the most influential games, and the newest entry in the brutal fighting dynasty has a lot of people very excited. If you haven’t played an MK game in a while, you might not know what’s going on in the story, or what to expect from the game. Here’s everything you need to know.
Warning: the videos in this article show some pretty brutal gameplay footage. If you don’t like excessive violence or gore, I’d recommend not playing the videos (and you probably won’t like the game, either).
Mortal Kombat tells the story of the fighting tournament established by the Elder Gods—the inhabitants of one of the eighteen realms could only conquer another realm if their champions defeated the best fighters the other realm has to offer in ten tournaments in a row. The first Mortal Kombat game tells the story of the tenth tournament. Outworld had won nine tournaments in a row, and was prepared to claim victory and invade Earthrealm.
The following games continue to tell the story of the battles between realms. Outworld continually tries to defeat Earthrealm’s warriors, but is repeatedly rebuffed by the heroes of the series: Raiden, guardian of Earthrealm; Liu Kang, Earth’s greatest champion; and a cast of supporting heroes like Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Nightwolf, and Kung Lao.
Outworld’s brawlers include Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Scorpion, Baraka, and Reptile. Edenia, a realm of beauty and longevity, is represented by Kitana, Jade, and the evil Sindel and Mileena. Quan Chi, the tattooed sorcerer, and Onaga, the Dragon King, frequently represent the Netherrealm. Even a dethroned Elder God makes an appearance, with Shinnok attempting to conquer Earthrealm and regain power.
In 2011’s Mortal Kombat, also known as MK9, the series was rebooted through a bit of time travel. In the future, Shao Kahn and Raiden are the only two combatants left alive. As Shao Kahn prepares to finish Raiden, the lightning god sends a vision back to himself in the past, shortly before the beginning of the tenth tournament (which took place in the first game).
Raiden changes his course of action in an effort to prevent the catastrophic events of the future, but ends up creating a worse situation when many of the original heroes die, including Liu Kang, who Raiden accidentally kills. At the end of MK9, it’s shown that Shinnok and Quan Chi had been planning this course of events all along. (And the trailer below makes it look like they found a way to bring Liu Kang and Kung Lao back—it also introduces a few new members of the Shaolin clan.)
What happens next? We’ll find out on April 14.
What Have You Missed?
If it’s been a while since you’ve played a Mortal Kombat game, you might see a few things that surprise you. For example, characters have been given different fighting styles. After choosing your character, you’ll choose one of the variations. Each one includes the same base moves, but also includes specific strengths and specials. This wasn’t used in MK9, but it’s back for MKX.
One of the big additions in MK9 was the introduction of the super meter, which can be charged by landing hits, getting hit, or blocking hits. Once the first level of the super meter is full, you can unleash an enhanced version of one of your specials. At the second level, you can break out of a combo initiated by your opponent. At the third level, you can hit your opponent with an X-ray move, in which you see what’s happening to the inside of your opponent’s body as they’re being attacked.
If you haven’t seen an X-ray move before, you might be taken aback by just how brutal they are. You can see one of Ermac’s X-ray moves in his MKX trailer:
Pretty disgusting, right? Just wait ’til you see the rest. Fatalities, as you might expect, have also stepped up their game. Heads are ripped off or crushed, spines broken, bodies torn and sawn in half, organs spilled on the ground, and pretty much anything else you can imagine—as well as things you almost certainly can’t. This game is not for the squeamish (which is sure to get it banned in some countries).
Brutalities are back as well, and there are some really good ones. My favorite so far is Cassie Cage’s ballbreaker, which causes the opponents head to fly off their body. It’s a perfect example of NetherRealm’s over-the-top sense of shock humor. Check ’em out here:
What’s New In Mortal Kombat X?
Mortal Kombat games have come a long way in the last few iterations, but NetherRealm Studios wants to push it even further with the latest entry. Ed Boon (@noobde), co-creator of the MK series, has stated that there’ll be a very interesting non-linear storyline that will continue where the last game left off and move 25 years into the future to showcase new characters.
So far, we’ve seen a number of new characters, including Cassie Cage, the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade; D’Vorah, a humanoid insect queen; Ferra/Torr, a combination of a large brute and a small woman who controls him; and Kotal Kahn, an Aztec-inspired blood god who now rules Outworld. You can see Cassie Cage and Kotal Kahn fight it out in this video, which includes Cassie’s rather unsettling fatality:
Erron Black, Jacqueline Briggs, Kung Jin, Kuna Lao, and Takashi Takeda have also been confirmed.
As for returning characters, Baraka, Ermac, Johnny Cage, Kano, Kitana, Kung Lao, Mileena, Quan Chi, Raiden, Reptile, Scorpion, Shinnok, Sonya Blade, and Sub-Zero have been confirmed. Boon has said that the game’s main antagonist has yet to be revealed, and that it’s a “surprising returning character” (I’m hoping for Shang Tsung). Goro was recently revealed as a pre-order bonus playable character.
And let’s not forget DLC characters: we’ve seen Jason Voorhees, the Predator, Tanya, and Tremor. The DLC packs also include new costumes for other characters included in the game. The Ultimate DLC pack will run $30.
If you’ve played Injustice: Gods Among Us (which we reviewed on Android), you’ll be familiar with how NetherRealm allowed players to interact with the environment—sometimes using it to quickly change position, and to attack an opponent with an object. This has been brought into MKX, as can be seen a couple times in this video, which features Ed Boon:
As you can see, the stages look extremely detailed and beautiful, and I have high hopes to see some really impressive ones. The Destroyed City looks especially cool.
Mortal Kombat X is only a day away! We know we’ll see new characters, new moves, new stages, new fighting styles, and new fatalities, but exactly what they’ll be—and what else we might see—remains a mystery. However, it’s clear that MKX is an ambitious undertaking by NetherRealm, and it looks like they’ve done a great job.
Are you looking forward to Mortal Kombat X? Who are you looking forward to playing? What do you think of the new features from the last couple games? Share your thoughts below!