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The tenth installment of the famous Mortal Kombat games and the second one set in the new Netherrealms Studio timeline, Mortal Kombat X was released in 2015 for PC, Playstation 4 and XBox One, plus an ioS and an Android version. It was also supposed to be ported for PlayStation 4 and XBob, but it was cancelled. An Updated Re-Release called Mortal Kombat XL was released in 2016. There's also an online comic that delves more into the storyline itself.
The story begins two years after Mortal Kombat (2011), where Raiden thwarted Shao Kahn's definitive invasion of Earthrealm though at extremely high costs. Now he, his fellow deity Fujin and his remaining followers (Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade and Kenshi Takahashi, who joined them after the events of 9) are struggling hard to keep Shinnok and Quan Chi, who had manipulated everything behind Shao Kahn's actions, from finishing the job and claim Earthrealm with their Revenant armies. Suddenly, when things are going definitely south for the heroes, Johnny manages to turn the tides to their favor via first snatching Shinnok's Amulet, then fighting and defeating him; Raiden then takes the amulet and imprisons Shinnok within it. Other flashbacks in the Story Mode of the game show more details of the whole situation, including how some of Quan Chi's Revenants (namely Jax, Scorpion and Kuai-Liang aka Sub Zero) were released from his control.
20 years later, things are very different. On Earthrealm's side, Johnny and Sonya have built a Special Forces team that includes their daughter Cassandra/Cassie, Kenshi's estranged son Takeda, Kung Lao's younger cousin Kung Jin, and Jax's daughter Jacqueline/Jacqui; their purpose is to train the youngsters as the new protectors of Earthrealm. On Outworld's side, there is a huge civil war between Shao Kahn's "daughter" and heiress Mileena (who now has Shinnok's Amulet) and Kotal Kahn, a warrior from the lost world of Osh-Tekk who once was Shao Kahn's right-hand man and later usurped the throne. All of these interests collide as the plot advances, and then everything speeds up even further as Quan Chi reappears, now intending to again release Shinnok from his prison...
The game's roster includes the following characters:
- Veterans: Liu Kang, Raiden, Scorpion, Reptile, John Carlton aka Johnny Cage, Kano, Sonya Blade (MK1); Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao, Kuai-Liang aka Younger Sub-Zero, Jax (MK2); Ermac (MK3); Kenshi Takahashi (Deadly Alliance); Quan-Chi, Shinnok (Mythologies)
- Newcomers: Cassandra "Cassie" Cage, Jacqueline "Jacqui" Briggs, Takeda Takahashi, Kung Jin, D'Vorah, Erron Black, Ferra/Tor, Kotal Kahn.
- DLC Veterans: Goro (MK1), Tremor (Special Forces), Tanya (MK4), Bo'Rai-Cho (Deadly Alliance).
- DLC Newcomers: Triborg
- DLC Guest Fighters: Jason Vorhees, Jedidiah Sawyer aka Leatherface, Predator, the Xenomorph.
- Mobile Version only: Baraka, Jade, Kintaro, Shao Kahn (MK2); Freddy Krueger (Guest Fighter)
Regarding the gameplay, while its core is similar to MK 9, there are some modifications:
- Each character has three unique fighting style variations, based on their individual abilities.
- The return of the Brutalities from MK3, but now as One-Hit Kills that can be used only in certain circumstances. There are also Stage Brutalities where the charas can pick up stuff (and a person in one case) from the background and use them like this.
- Factions Mode: where the players can join five groups: Special Forces, the Brotherhood of Shadows, the Lin Kuei, the White Lotus and the Black Dragons.
- Living Towers: players with online connections can use these revamped "Challenge Towers" that change after hours, days or determined amounts of time.
- A Stamina meter that's used up as the player dashes or runs.
- Big Bad: Shinnok starts the game as this, leading an invasion of Earth by the forces of hell. After he is defeated by Cage and imprisoned by Raiden, his actions still drive the plot as Quan Chi seeks to freed him.
- Bittersweet Ending: Shinnok is defeated by Cassie (who also gets her mother's open approval and saves her father), but his corruption seems to have influenced Raiden and, if we go by Kotal Kahn's ending, turned him into something very similar to what Shao Kahn was. .
- Deconstruction: Outworld as a Crapsack World as shown and implied through all prior games is turned on it's head, and while still shown to be harsh, it can be reasonably prosperous and bearable... with proper leadership, like Kotal Kahn's.
- Decapitated Army: Netherrealm seems to lose the war with Earth soon after Shinnok is imprisoned inside his own medallion.
- Enemy Civil War: The Mileena vs. Kotal Khan feud pits two sides that are, at their best, intensely untrustworthy to Earthrealm against each other. The Earthrealm forces support Kotal Khan largely because of a shaky truce that Kotal Khan will break at the slightest excuse, and both sides really aren't all they much more superior morally to one another long-term, just one side has a marginally saner leader.
- Face Heel Turn: At the end of the game, after trying to purify the Jinsei that Shinnok had corrupted, Raiden had corrupted himself, and is implied he's back to his Knight Templar version of Deception.
- Fan Disservice: Like in 9, the Kombatants are often very good looking. But as they exchange blows , they also adquire increasingly painful injuries.
- Fate Worse Than Death: A central theme of the story. Being turned into a brainwashed devil soldier of Shinnok is considered universally unpleasant, well, except for the Revenants that don't know any better. And Raiden seeks to impose that over Shinnok once the corrupted Jinsei turns him into Dark Raiden.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Neither Mileena or Kotal look more sympathetic after this game is over. Mileena isn't interested in making an alliance with Earth, and Kotal back stabs Earth two times on the game, all for his realm's own benefit, that don't makes him look much better than even Shao Kahn. And from an Outworlder's point of view, Kotal looks like a backstabber by revolting against Mileena because she isn't Shao Kahn's blood daughter, when Kitana was also adopted.
- History Repeats: Not even being powered up by the Jinsei saves Shinnok of being beat up by a member of Cage's family.
- Irony: Raiden was already morally grey by the end of MK9 due to a lot of incredibly questionable and painful moral decisions, and he spends most of MKX trying his best to get back to the lighter side of things again, but winds up even more morally grey by the end of the plot. How that happens is where the irony kicks in: His attempt to purify the Jinsei, an unquestionably morally positive action, that is what causes him to inherit the corruption in the process and turns him into Dark Raiden.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted. In Chapter 6 you play as D'Vorah, which is a villain, though the full extent of her evil isn't seen until the very end of the chapter.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The final act of the story could have been perfectly avoided if Scorpion didn't get insanely obsessed in getting his revenge on Quan Chi.
- Plucky Girl: Cassie and Jacqui are two spirited Action Girls who go through lots of crap, but emerge stronger than before. And, unlike the hardened Sonya, both retain their spirits.
- Time Skip: After chapter 1, the game skips decades ahead to a time where Cage and Sonya's daughter Cassie Cage, who wasn't born back then, is already an young adult.