Mortal Kombat X is a Great Game for Many Reasons but the Powerful New Roster is Something That Nearly Slipped by Unnoticed.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen any meaningful additions to the roster of Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat (2011) gave us a few re-imagined characters and a couple of guests.
Skarlett was the best addition and even she didn’t survive the move to Mortal Kombat X.
While much of the roster expansion died after the loss of palette swapping, the latest instalment has reversed that trend and given us new characters that we can really love.
What is it, though, that makes these ones in particular so successful?
Mortal Kombat X Character Design
The effort that has gone into the design of these characters is evident in every detail. It ties in well with the cinematic story mode – a major marketing point for Mortal Kombat X. Although certain characters, such as D’Vorah, featured more heavily than other, for instance Ferra/Torr, we got a chance to see them in action. Netherrealm Studios has taken the opportunity to develop the characters’ personalities and how they fit into the game’s universe.
As they develop their personalities, we get to fall for them in a way we didn’t way back when. Each character’s idiosyncrasies make them a unique addition, expanding their role outside of just being a punching bag. D’vorah’s constantly referring to herself as “this one,” Cassie Cage’s chip on her shoulder, Takeda’s conflict between respecting his father and his Shirai Ryu family all serve to make them charming additions to the story.
Having said that, Mortal Kombat‘s story is quickly becoming as convoluted as Soul Calibur‘s. It’s becoming difficult to know what’s going on and I sincerely hope they don’t try to make another movie. God knows how they’ll condense this mess into a two hour film. So the fact that these characters can stand out in the events is truly a testament to how well they’re designed.
Even the underused characters shine in their fight introductions. Playing through the Klassic Tower as Ferra/Torr, I was caught in the magic of how these two characters relate to each other, behave, and interact with their opponents. Not since Mortal Kombat 4 on the SEGA Dreamcast have I been so enamoured with a character in this franchise.
New Characters As Fighters
Mortal Kombat X has taken many steps to ensure diversification in their fighter pool. The variations that each character offers, to some degree, triples the potential choices. Roster additions follow this trend and bring something unique to the franchise.
Ferra/Torr is the first true fighting pair to debut in the series. Noob/Smoke in Mortal Kombat: Deception were more of a tag team affair whereas Ferra/Torr really shine in this role. Erron Black makes for an interesting fighter; taking the outlaw approach in a different direction to Kano.
The star characters, Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, Kung Jin, and Takeda, are some of the stronger additions. Which is fortunate as there is a lot of pressure on them to succeed. For Cassie and Jacqui specifically, as reinterpretations of existing characters, they toed the line between amazing and redundant. Cassie herself represents both the styles of Sonya and Johnny Cage and she combines them into something new and amazing.
Netherrealm Goes Into Detail
I think most of all the best part about the roster this time around is the amount of detail that has been put into each of the fighters. It is very clear that Netherrealm has taken the time to cut the numbers down but set themselves up for success by adding so much detail to those who survived.
This is shown in so many ways. Costumes, variations, the voice acting, and the intros. Fight introductions are where the culmination of these elements really shines. I’m yet to find a combination that hasn’t, in some way, got its own dialogue. Okay, sure, there are a few that have “filthy Earthrealmer” or something generic but it’s still a nice touch. Mortal Kombat X becomes all the more gripping because it’s not two people proclaiming how much they’re going to win.
Kung Jin’s quips are the star here for sure. Netherrealm is not above having these new stars take on their core characters outside of the players’ hands. It’s refreshing. It’s dynamic. It makes the game fuller. Speaking of Kung Jin, if the rumours are true, it speaks even more to the detail that the developers have put into their latest creations.
I’ll concede that my personal favourite character is not one of these (although Ferra/Torr is very close). Having said that, however, I cannot deny the marked improvements that a series as tenured as Mortal Kombat is making in every game they release.
This improved roster is worthy of applause.