Saturday, February 24, 2024

Mortal Kombat X (Playstation 4, 2015)


After MK9 basically remade the first 3 games in the series, this one is a retelling of MK4. Except it does way more than MK4 does, giving us a sizable time jump and showing what everyone had going on 20 years or so later. We've got characters with grey hair, grown-up children of the old guard, and so on. It's good stuff. Also Liu Kang and Kung Lao are both DEAD. How will MK do without its Shaolin Monks?

MK11 is pretty much entirely new (and my favorite of the new crop of post-IX MKs) while MK1 (which should have just been called MK12) retells the Deadly Alliance, Deception, and Armageddon stories to an extent. So at this point they've kinda remade the first seven games all over again, over two different new timelines for some reason.

Welp, I'm almost done with the series, two left after this one. Let's go.

We've got the traditional arcade ladders, which are a total formality at this point. Notable that Tremor from the Special Forces spinoff makes his debut in the main series here, by popular demand, as the brown/earth elemental ninja. Wait, purchase?? That's right, a bunch of characters are locked behind microtransactions. This is why we can't have nice things anymore.

The meat of the game is in story mode, which picks up after MK9 with Shinnok and Quan-Chi about to attack Earthrealm. Johnny Cage and Sonya are leading a crack team of special forces.

But wait! Scorpion ambushes them and we get...a quicktime event? My God. Microtransactions AND quicktime events? What happened to you, MK?

Other than the few glaring issues, this game is solid. Looks good with the jump to PS4 (but not too good, as it also had a PS3 version) and handles very well. Pretty much the same as MK9, just more of that. Plays much the same, right down to the X-Ray mini-fatalities being a large part of your strategy during the fights.

Quan-Chi arrives, and he's not alone. He's got an entire army of...

...characters who died in MK9, reanimated to fight for Shinnok.

This leads to Johnny having to fight former allies like Jax.

New character alert: Blind Kenshi, who wields a bad-ass sword. This guy was new for MK4 and he's one of the better additions to this one.

Shinnok is cornered by the Earthrealm squad. His whole thing is that he wanted Outworld and Earthrealm to go to war in order to weaken both of them so he could conquer the remains. After MK3(9) he finally had his time to strike.

Raiden is joined by Noted Wind God Fujin, another guy from MK4. I was never particularly interested in anything Fujin-related... or anything MK4-related for that matter, but here he is!

For the final battle of the first chapter, Johnny faces off with Shinnok. He's no Shao Kahn, that's for sure, and there's a reason the series took a downturn once he replaced Kahn as the main antagonist (at least for a little bit).

After whooping him, Raiden and Fujin step in and seal him away in an amulet.

We get a tender moment as Johnny checks on Sonya after the fight and she calls him by his first name for the first time.

Shinnok is defeated, and MK4 is already done with. From here they're off into uncharted territory. The trilogy of games that led up to Armageddon never happened, and there was relative peace all this time.


A now silver-haired Johnny Cage is married to Sonya and they have a daughter. Jax has a daughter too, plus there are some other young guys here. Takeda (some guy), and Kung Jin (Kung Lao's nephew... not son, mind you, because that would require Kung Lao to shaboink with a lady and he's a monk)

This group makes up the New Generation (tm) of special forces, led by Johnny and Sonya.

Their mission is to go into Outworld, which is in the midst of some kind of civil war. And after all the work we did to free the place from Shao Kahn!

Kotal Kahn (no relation to Shao) is the new emperor of Outworld. Not sure why they named him this if he isn't related. Especially after the previous scene where we were introduced to all of the new generation kids, most people will immediately infer that this guy must be Shao Kahn's son.

(Yeah, I know Kahn is a title moreso than a name, but I'm looking at it from the perspective of The Normies)

Kotal Kahn is a bit beastly and OP, and here I discover that I can actually chain uppercuts in this game if my opponent is against a wall. Nice.

Kotal is dealing with a rebellion led by Mileena, who claims to be the rightful ruler of Outworld as Shao Kahn's successor. I mean, she's kinda right, Kotal is just Some Guy while she can claim semi-direct lineage as a clone of his daughter.

However, Kotal has much better relations with Earthrealm and signed a peace treaty between the realms, so the Earthrealm guys rush to his defense.

Johnny and Kenshi lead the New Generation into battle against Mileena's forces.

Here's a weird-ass new character, D'Vorah, who is evidently some sort of insect. She's Kotal's right-hand minion, but is actually working for Quan-Chi (yeah, he's still around).

It seems Mileena got possession of an amulet that previously belonged to Shinnok, which has enabled her to try and conquer Outworld. Quan-Chi is also lurking about, trying to get this amulet for himself.

Kano, seen here being 20 years older, was the one who stole Shinnok's amulet and delivered it to Mileena. That rat bastard!

Of course Sonya is the one to take him on, as always. I like Sonya's look in this, she's back to her normal athletic look instead of whatever that was for a few games there.

New character alert: It's Tanya, who appeared in the mid-games in the series and everyone forgot about her. She also looks completely different from game to game for some reason. Who is she? ...I forgot.

Mileena makes a really solid antagonist for the majority of this game. I'd say she's the most worthwhile villain in this series who isn't Shang Tsung or Shao Kahn.

She also has this sweet split-legged sai throw attack.

Unfortunately that's it for Mileena, as our heroes capture her and Kotal orders her execution.

Specifically, D'Vorah plants one on Mileena and it causes Mileena to basically get dissolved by acid from the inside. Well, that happened.

Also I'm just now noticing how fetching Jacqui Briggs is.

Unfortunately, Kotal believes he can no longer trust Earthrealm to keep things stable, so he takes Cassie and friends hostage. Wat?

Speaking of Briggses, Jax himself shows up. I thought he died in the previous game? In any case, he's working on a farm somewhere and retired, but Sonya gets him to return to save Earthrealm one more time.

Elsewhere, Scorpion passes down his sword to Takeda.

Lotta torch-passing happening in this game. They're trying to get the New Generation over and I respect that.

Next we're introduced to Sareena, a fan-favorite character, who helps Jax and Kenshi break into the Netherrealm. This is an entirely different plane from Outworld, and is the home of... the dead.

Things get really convoluted around this point, and suffice to say, the good guys are trying to stop Quan-Chi from reviving Shinnok with the amulet that Mileena stole and then D'Vorah stole from her. Completely ineffectual in all of this is Kotal Kahn who spends most of his time angry at all of the constant betrayal around him. Turns out Outworld was The Swamp all along.

In Netherrealm, I get to fight a bunch of revenants of characters who died in the previous game. Quan-Chi's forces are a real threat with the likes of Kung Lao on board.

Whoa! It's Anchor Baby Sindel! She no longer looks like Angelina Jolie, probably because they didn't want to get sued.

I see why Sareena is a fan-favorite character.

Jax battles the revenant of Kitana! It's kind of depressing having most of my favorite characters be undead minions of Quan-Chi at this point. One of several reasons why MKX is my least-favorite of the modern (IX onward) MKs.

Liu Kang's revenant shows up. Kinda feels like the creators of this series just kinda wanted to shit on Liu Kang every chance they got. Then again they turn him into all-powerful Ultra Instinct Liu Kang in the latest games so IDK.

Scorpion is a pretty big deal in this game, and has a whole arc where he's pursuing Quan-Chi. At one point he fights through the good guy squad to try and get to Quan-Chi, who is hiding out in an Outworld refugee camp.

Older Sub-Zero makes an appearance late in the game, and he and Scorpion are able to actually sit down and be allies again.

This is an older version of the guy from MK3 and he's pretty distinguished now. He also has a pretty awesome ice sword uppercut.

Scorpion finally gets ahold of Quan-Chi.

This is probably the main feud of the second half of the game. Scorpion wins and actually beheads Quan-Chi, but apparently his Shinnok Rezz Spell was finished seconds before Quan-Chi lost his head.

And lo and behold, Shinnok is back. Again. Inside of the same game! This is like MK4 on Super Shredder steroids. They really got the most out of this Shinnok guy.

Oh my God! It's BO RAI CHO. I haven't seen his black ass in ages!

Next up we play as Raiden for the third-to-last chapter. Wonder who will get top billing over him, since he's been the top good guy for a couple games now. He's got a pretty great X-Ray move where he electrocutes his foe.

Shinnok (now basically Super Shinnok) takes control of Quan-Chi's revenants.

Jacqui Briggs takes over for the 2nd to last chapter. Her whole thing is boxing, so most of her attacks are punches.

Kotal Kahn decides to kill the Earthrealm crew to curry favor with Shinnok, thinking Shinnok can't be beaten so he may as well join him. I knew Kotal was a useless l00zer.

So our heroes dispatch him and the other remaining Outworld guys. RIP Kotal, we barely knew you. Well, he doesn't die, he retreats to Outworld like a little punk. So much for the Outworld/Earthrealm alliance.

Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei (now faces again) show up at the end to run off the last of the Outworld minions, freeing up the Earthrealm crew to go after Shinnok.

Final chapter is... ::drumroll:: Cassie Cage. They really went all-in with pushing the New Generation here, though by the next game and especially the one after that they're right back to emphasizing the OG cast. Maybe the metrics showed that not many people were playing as the new stars in comparison, I don't know.

In any case, this final chapter is just taking on Super Shinnok and his revenants.

Since the revenants are reanimated, if one were to make love to Sindel, would that be necrophilia? Asking for a friend.

Cassie has a Stone Cold style Lou Thesz Press with punches.

Cassie is like 2A Marian in that one Double Dragon game, and proceeds to just whip out a pistol and blast her opponents. She doesn't have time for all this hand to hand combat stuff. I would say this makes her the smartest character in MK, except most of these characters can shrug off bullets.

She also has a rising version of Johnny's Shadow Kick that knocks her opponent into the air, which is pretty cool. One thing I really like about the New Generation( characters is the way they tend to have abilities that make reference to what their parents had.

Shinnok finally shows up again at the end, now all mutant and corrupted. This is our final boss and he's a real beast.

So in essence, this game is a very long retelling of MK4 that extends it forward 20 years and finishes the story there. As for Shinnok, he isn't much of a challenge compared to the likes of Shao Kahn and his minions, even in this super form.

Cassie wins with a Johnny Cage Split Punch, followed by...

...BLAM BLAM BLAM to the face. Shinnok was 833.

And that's it for MKX, everyone lived happily ever after and went home. Except that the ending leaves no doubt that things are going to continue:

Raiden visits Netherrealm, which after Quan-Chi's death is now ruled by revenant Liu Kang and Kitana.

He then informs them that any attempt by Netherrealm to attack Earthrealm will be met with overwhelming force, before dropping Shinnok's severed head in front of them.

Damn, Raiden.

So this game ends with Outworld basically in shambles with Kotal trying to put things back together. Netherrealm is just kind of there, with new leaders. Earthrealm is just reigning supreme for now.

The indication is that the next game will have the revenants as the villains, facing off against the New Generation, but MK11 quickly abandons all of that in favor of a time travel storyline that lets them bring back all the characters they've killed. Again. I give MK11 a lot of credit for a lot of things, and one of them is that it gives us an entirely new storyline rather than retelling earlier games.

As for Mortal Kombat XL, that wasn't a new game at all, but rather a version of this game that included all of the DLC and came out a year later. Wasn't worth covering it as its own post, since it's the same exact game with a bunch of extra characters for versus mode. The extra characters can get pretty weird, like Jason Voorhees.

Next up: MK11. Fun fact, it's the only one I ever covered on here before I started doing the full series.

Other Mortal Kombat Posts

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