Mortal Kombat XL (PC) Review

By Ofisil 20.10.2016 4

Review for Mortal Kombat XL on PC

Fighter PC ports: always late, always problematic, almost always rushed cash-grabbers. The good news? Wait a while and the fighter you've been spilling drool over will get polished before being offered at its best and most complete state possible. This is what Mortal Kombat XL is - the core game (read all about it here), with all DLC characters, costumes, etc, as well as some better-late-than-never netcode fixes, amongst others. Was NetherRealm's creation fun to begin with, though?

Before everything else, let fans of the series accept this little factoid: there are far better fighters than Mortal Kombat X out there. Street Fighter V constantly gets even more polished and refined, Dead or Alive 5 is fast, easy to learn, but also quite technical and hard to master, and anything from Arc System Works is bound to have jaw-dropping depth and complexity.

This, on the other hand, while pleasantly raw and very into being a show-off (and a good one at that), already feels quite dated, almost as if it's just Mortal Kombat II HD, meaning that it doesn't really feel as the series has evolved after the course of many years, and instead, feels pretty basic. Is that a bad thing? Not exactly - in fact, even Street Fighter V, one of the best fighting games of the year, is exactly like that, so what's the problem?

To say the truth, there are only a very few flaws here, because, "simplicity" aside, this is probably the best Mortal Kombat yet. The first flaw? Most characters aren't really that varied, there are only a few (especially when compared to 2011's Mortal Kombat), and while being able to choose one combat style from three when selecting a fighter adds a nice layer of strategy, it would be better if players could pull off all available moves, because this system limits an already limited fighter.

Screenshot for Mortal Kombat XL on PC

Now, this also feels slower compared to the previous instalment, where it was easy to grab a gamepad and "dance" around the battlefield. All Mortal Kombat games had a somewhat "stiff" feel, and this is no different, but is that because something is broken here? Fortunately, no. The truth is that the underlying mechanics have been tweaked; therefore, if willing to dance again, train, "study," and get better, because this is no longer a title where one can lose to an overactive button-masher.

The part where the series was always great, though, is, quite possibly, even better now. No, this is not about the violence… in fact, this is sooo over-the-top here, that it's more hilarious than unsettling, and soon becomes boring. The part where Mortal Kombat X simply rocks is its overall style and atmosphere. Without going into much detail, its dark fantasy world looks better than ever. Some (reviewer included) will surely miss the cartoony look of the previous Mortal Kombat, but it's hard to deny that the new, more realistic design is pretty darn cool!

That isn't to say that everything is perfect, because this turn to a less extravagant look is a sort of a hit and miss - Sonya Blade and Kitana, for instance, look great, because their decreased sexuality increases their other traits (military badassery/oriental grace), while others are a bit… forgettable. Furthermore, most stages, while definitely well-designed and extremely detailed, have lost their spark, especially when compared to the classic ones from previous titles. All this, however, is just nit-picking, because the attention to detail is actually worthy of applause.

Screenshot for Mortal Kombat XL on PC

Characters have tons of responses, which change depending on their opponent; therefore, it doesn't feel like the warriors just throw in a catchphrase, and instead "talk" with their enemy. This variety in voice-overs is just a taste of the overabundance in content that Mortal Kombat X has, making this one of the best fighters for solo play. Besides the standard Towers, there are Living Towers, which change over time and make things more interesting, and there is a "Test Your Luck" mode where random modifiers are applied to the match, which range from boosts to traps.

…And then there's the whole Faction thing. Players are asked to choose a faction amongst five, with almost everything they do affecting which faction wins after some time, and thus, receive some nice rewards upon doing so - and, of course, there are some Faction-specific modes to increase the incentive to try and strengthen one's team. Finally, there's also a nice story mode to try out, and while it's a bit short and not that good and epic as the one in Mortal Kombat, it's surely one of the best in the genre.

Something that some will love, while others will hate, is the way the vast amount of unlockables get… unlocked here. Instead of having a list of items to spend 'Koins' on, there's the so-called Krypt; basically a dungeon crawler mini-game where you traverse through a large spooky maze of all-things-horror, occasionally fight monsters in a QTE fashion, and then just destroy graves and statues (if the currency on hand is enough) in order to unlock something. Generally, it's cool as a concept, and its casual simplicity is surely a nice way to relax… but a simple list would probably be better.

Screenshot for Mortal Kombat XL on PC

What about the "L" near the "X," though? Well, this nice upgrade of Mortal Kombat X was polite enough to add every single DLC released so far, ranging from skin and Fatality packs, to (even better) some new characters, ranging from Jason Voorhees and Leatherface, to the freaking Xenomorph and Predator - a duo that, while not that interesting gameplay-wise, to tell the truth, is insanely cool and fits like a glove to this violent universe.

In terms of rebalancing, nothing has changed that much. Some minor tweaking has been applied here and there, but, for the most part, this offers the same experience through and through. The good news? The many bugs and glitches that plagued the PC port have been fixed, to the point that it's almost impossible to find any, and the game is no more a system hog - in fact, for a next-gen fighter, it runs surprisingly smooth… and certainly far better than Dead or Alive 5, which wasn't a PS4-era title to begin with.

Quite possibly, the most important improvement that XL had managed to make was in the online portion, because, at the end of the day, no matter how much solo content a fighter has, the vast majority of players nowadays just use it all as a small stepping stone towards the human vs. human experience; an experience that has finally reached the state it should always have. Without going into detail: connectivity issues no more, and therefore, it's time for some good ol' Kombat!

Screenshot for Mortal Kombat XL on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Mortal Kombat X remains a slightly inferior fighter compared to other titles, but mostly when it comes to depth, because, while very "old-school" and bare-bones, it's a very enjoyable experience, nevertheless. As for the XL upgrade it got, while not a game-changer, it fixes the many problems of the original, adds all downloadable content, and makes it a worthy purchase, even for those who were sitting on the fence about it.

Developer

NetherRealm

Publisher

Warner Bros

Genre

Fighting

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I don't think I've ever considered Mortal Combat to be an inferior fighting game? It's always had bags more content than Street Fighter XD

I don't like X as much as the game that came before it though.

Once you join the Yakuza there is no way Bakuza

In content, yes, it was far better, and, yes, I'm also more of a MK9 kind of guy

But... there's a reason why eSports are done with SF and not MK. MK games are fun and all, but as u go deeper in them its easy to see that they lack that extra something....

apart from "Coolage" that is Smilie

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

Smilie

Once you join the Yakuza there is no way Bakuza
Guest 22.10.2016#4

I much prefer this to street fighter. Theres a severe lack of content in street fighter. Street fighter might be better at a high level but when only 2 percent of the people who buy the game play at that level does it matter? I personally think killer instinct and mkxl are the best fighters this gen as they're easy for anyone to pull of flashy combos and have lots of content

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