MORTAL KOMBAT XL
Steam PC Game Review
Back in 2015, I reviewed the latest Mortal Kombat fighting game, Mortal Kombat X. In March this year, an updated package was rolled out for PS4 and Xbox One titled Mortal Kombat XL, providing players with the Mortal Kombat X game along with Kombat Pack and Kombat Pack 2 DLC. The DLC brought horror icons Predator, Xenomorph, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface to the game, which as a horror fan I couldn’t wait to get my hands on, but unfortunately the XL package was purely for consoles.
October 2016: PC gamers finally get the news they’ve been waiting for: Mortal Kombat XL unleashes on Steam.
In this review, I’m not going to talk much about the base game as I’ve already done that in my Mortal Kombat X review. Instead, I’m going to talk about the updates we’ve seen to the game as a result of Mortal Kombat XL.
So, I will start off where you horror readers are surely itching to hear about: the horror film characters. Who would have thought you could play as the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface from Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or masked killer Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th franchise in one of the world’s best-loved fighting games. Whilst we saw Freddy Krueger in the previous installment, it was a welcomed addition to bring these horror movie killers into the Kombat fold along with the creatures from two of the biggest franchises, Predator and Alien. Long have we been arguing who’s the better species, Predator or Xenomorph, and now we can finally settle that argument with a good old fashioned bloody brawl in a variety of locations complete with brutal Fatality finishes. But what is it like to play these icons of horror?
When I first launched the game playing as Jason Voorhees, the inner fangirl inside of me squealed with delight. Being able to slash opponents as one of cinema’s boogeymen really appealed until I finally got to play as the character against the series regulars such as Sub-Zero and Johnny Cage. His movement is stiff and lumbering compared to the fluid opponents and I found it hard to put up a solid fight. When I did manage to get the upperhand, the fatality was hard to execute which often left me with a lacklustre finish. Playing as Leatherface was a better experience as his chainsaw became an extension of his own arms and his swinging around made a much more entertaining fare. However, it’s the two aliens of the group that seem to be better adjusted to the gameplay I enjoy with enhanced flexability and movement compared to their human counterparts. Whether it’s because they’re based more on animals in terms of movements (Xenomorph, definitely), I’m not sure, but they seemed to have better handling than the killer humans whilst retaining their own trademark fighting style. The characters are faultlessly designed though, looking incredibly like their film counterpart which makes for some rather satisfying gameplay!
Horror icons aren’t the only playable characters that have been unleashed as part of Mortal Kombat XL. We also get some cool regular characters in the shape of tonfa-wielding Tanya and the hardcore Triborg to name just two. These characters, including the hulking Goro and the rock-smashing Tremor, are a thrill to play as and really open up the roster of characters that you can get stuck into. As someone who enjoys stringing strike combos together, all four of these characters appeal to my style of gameplay.
The overall game itself is still as enjoyable to play as on first release, whether it’s the storyline, online player battles or the tower challenges. There’s so much to do that it’s hard to get bored. The gory animations are a joy to behold and the simpler, faster kombat mechanics just seem to work much better than Street Fighter who’s controls are often too hard to master unless you spend every gaming minute dedicated to that particular game. The thing I like about Mortal Kombat is that you don’t have to be a dedicated player to be able to jump in and have a good fight. Of course, practice makes perfect and those who do play more often will reap rewards over those who play less frequently.
I noticed a bit of lag. possibly from the recent update, in single player mode which I hope will resolve itself in patches to come though this only seems to affect the character selection screen animated cutscenes and thakfully doesn’t affect the gameplay.
So, is Mortal Kombat XL worth buying over the base game? It depends on what you’re looking for. Owners of Mortal Kombat X who are looking for extra characters and fatalities will no doubt lap up the extra DLC that XL has to offer though the double price point for XL over X may be a bit too steep for newcomers to the game at this current time. However, the game itself, in whichever guise, is more than worth the money with endless brutal entertainment to be gained from breaking bones, smashing skulls and tearing the innards out of your opponents.
Mortal Kombat XL is pure, unadulterated kick-ass goretainment!