Before I start digging into this game, I'll get the positive points out of the way. Of all the games I've played in the series, I believe Mortal Kombat X is the best. It has an insane amount of content for single player, which is appreciated because many fighting games do not. The variation system is brilliant, allowing you to find something you like about any character in the game due to their diverse movesets. Despite all the variance, it's surprisingly balanced and I've never fought a character that felt frustratingly overpowered like Martian Manhunter or Batgirl were in Injustice. The combo system is very lenient and easy for beginners to play.
The reason I started making “I Suck At Fighting Games” blogs was to analyze the genre from the viewpoint of a new fighting game player. I want to show the games that are easy for people to pick up so they can get into it and start enjoying the genre.
In terms of teaching new players and giving them the basic skills to succeed, Mortal Kombat X is incredibly lacking.
You get the option to play the Tutorial when starting a new game, which looks like this.
I like parts of this tutorial for giving you basic fighting game info like
-mid attacks can be blocked high or low
-low attacks must be blocked low
-overheads must be blocked high
-How to gain meter
-Benefits of EX Special Moves
-Reversal & Wakeup attacks (props for putting "Reversal Window" and "Wakeup Attack" on the screen. Every other fighting game, do this)
And explaining some of the game's weirder systems like
But there are a few flaws with the Tutorial. It doesn't explain how Kombo Attacks work: you have to input the button combination (usually three buttons) as quickly as possible.
It doesn't explain that Tech Rolls not only give you space after a knockdown, but that they are faster than normal wakeup. It also does not explain that Tech Rolls cannot be performed after every knockdown (can't do it after being thrown, for one example).
It doesn't explain how very important the Neutral Jump Punch is. Every character in the game can do a combo if they connect with a Neutral Jump Punch, as the move causes a huge, dramatic ground bounce. Most characters can even hit their X-Ray cleanly after a Neutral Jump Punch. They make the player do a few combos with Neutral Jump Punch but do not stress its importance as part of regular play.
My biggest issue is the complete lack of character-specific tutorials.
Injustice: Gods Among Us had bad character-specific tutorials. They were buried in S.T.A.R. Labs and you had to unlock the tutorials for characters, instead of having them all available from the start. However, each of these tutorials was still helpful. They gave you a handful of combos for your character and let you practice the inputs for special moves. It's better than nothing.
Mortal Kombat X has nothing like this. There's Fatality Practice, regular Practice, and Tutorial. That's it. I'm not expecting every fighting game to have character tutorials on par with Skullgirls because that particular bar is way too high. But MKX is a step back even from Injustice's flawed system.
Developers can't keep doing this. This game is already unique and very different from Capcom fighting games, and the extra layer of “there's no character tutorials” makes it even more inaccessible for new players. I want the fighting game scene to grow, and putting the tools into the game to teach new players isn't just “a nice thing to have” any more. It's essential.
How to do it right
One more negative point: in the move list for each character, there's a “Move Data” section that gives you...a bunch of data on the move! I feel like it should be fleshed out more though. A handful of the moves have text that tell you unique properties:
But not enough of the moves have this text. If a Kombo Attack hits low then overhead, put some text in there that says “First Hit Low, Second Hit Overhead”. There should be more data in there for more of the moves.
Aside from the poor tutorials, I think Mortal Kombat X is quite accessible. Tagging moves, a great feature from Injustice is back.
You can have any move in your list tagged to appear on screen. Trying to remember a combo? Just tag it and it'll stay on the screen. I've used this to remember certain combo string while online because I tend to freak out and forget.
The Training Room has pretty much every option you could ask for, unless you're asking for hitbox displays :)
But you can customize the AI to “auto-block” to see if your combos are legit. You can program them to do any of their special moves or Throw as a Reversal or Wakeup. You can change your Variation within seconds, not even having to back out to Character select. You can even set the “restart point” to a certain side of the stage, but I do prefer Persona 4 Arena Ultimax's method of just pressing Select/Back + a direction to teleport into a corner.
The actual gameplay itself is easy to pick up. Instead of having to time your button inputs precisely and do one frame links, the Kombo Attacks are basic, dialed in strings. You just have to hit the buttons as fast as possible. Once I got better at the game, I found it very easy to do interrupts by only inputting half of a Kombo Attack. Connecting Kombo Attacks and Special Moves feels very natural. With only four buttons and the way the system feels, Mortal Kombat X is remarkably easy for new players to pick up and get into.
The gameplay of Mortal Kombat X is easy enough for new players to get into, but the tutorial material is severely lacking.
Each character should have a specific tutorial for each Variation. The Move Data section could be filled out more. The tutorial itself doesn't go far enough and left out important details like how good Neutral Jump Punch is.
Even though I am disappointed with the tutorial materials, I would recommend this game for new players. There's a TON of modes for solo and multiplayer, there's so many characters to choose that you'll probably find at least three you like, and the basic gameplay is easy enough for the average person to get into.
And that's all I got on Mortal Kombat X. Even if you never get “good” at it, you can at least punch someone in the nuts so hard that their eyeballs fly out.
If you're looking for a good Mortal Kombat X tutorial because there's none in the game:
SupermanSajam has general tech tutorials and character specific ones.
UltrachenTV has a long series of MKX tutorials.