Mortal Kombat is one of my favorite franchises of all time—a sentiment I seem to be starting a lot of pieces with as of late. I took some time out not long ago to write about their brutal history and how much I honestly enjoyed Mortal Kombat X. They didn’t let me down with that one. I did make one fatal mistake though… I bought it on PC. It was announced that along with that netcode update, the four new playable characters would only be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One—a slap in the face. To add to this they announced Mortal Kombat XL later that same day, which overshadowed their decision not to support the PC version on all of the news feeds.
Screw you WB Games!
The company already had a history with treating their PC ports poorly, but I have to admit I was already a little irked at Kombat Pack 2, even before I heard this kick-in-the-groin bit of news. The character reveals did very little for me. For those who may not know, the first pack gave us Tanya and Tremor, but also Jason and Predator as something a little more exciting and different. These guys are characters Warner Brothers owns or has access to all the licenses for. I guess that is fine, but then the second set of characters were announced. This time around we had Master Bo Rai Cho, which is respectable, but then I saw something that was almost encouraging: a cyborg ninja. Cyborg ninjas were something the series has had plenty of good outings with, but this one looked unfamiliar. It was a new one, a mix of three of the best cyborg ninjas, in fact: Triborg. What? The pack also added Leatherface and the Alien Xenmorph—which is frankly not bad, if not for all of the other movie characters.
I know a lot of people were excited for a few of these characters. But as you can probably tell, my issue is with the lack of characters from the Mortal Kombat lore and how the spots are taken up by exhibition fights between sideshow attractions. I know this is all in DLC, and it started in MK9 with Freddy, but still. Mortal Kombat has an extensive world(s) with a ton of characters that add to it, and since each of these new fighters have their own endings, I think they could have been used to add more to the game overall. Everyone may not agree with that, but I’m speaking as someone who loves the franchise and wants to see it fully utilized, not just cheap pops and fantasy bookings.
You might think with it not coming to PC, I would be less concerned about what characters are in the new pack. I still want to take the time to point out some excellent characters that could have been included instead to help the story and give these lesser known kombatants time in the spotlight.
Fujin is a god who controls the wind and fights for the side of good. He made his first appearance in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero as a boss and was a playable character in Mortal Kombat 4, but try not to hold any of that against him. Unlike Raiden, he seems to be a god with more room for personality and character development who could prosper and give a different perspective into the gods of this universe, if given some attention by the developers. Fujin seems like someone powerful enough to truly affect the story, and a few creative goals will help make him an interesting character. He has some cool moves and a decent look, but both of those need some tweaking before making his return. And for the love of Shinnok, give this man some better fatalities. MKX teased him with a cameo at the beginning, defending Earthrealm, but someone decided that fans would not want to play him for whatever reason.
Show some respect to the prince of Edenia! Rain, a water tossing and lightning-wielding demi-god is mostly known as being a traitor to his own realm—not to mention seeking the throne of Outworld—and just generally being a dick. He is, however, a cool presence and has a neat look that I love, even if it all did spawn from a joke—“Purple Rain” by Prince. First appearing as a tease, and then fully in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, this OG ninja has had some fun storylines and one of the best character progressions for the franchise in my opinion. Rain of course appeared in MKX with not only a short but intriguing role at Mileena’s side, but as an NPC opponent for players. Ways were even found to trick the game into letting users play as Baraka and Rain, so why not just allow him in as a playable character if everything was already in there? It seems stingy, and also, I was good with him in MK9.
One of Shao Kahn’s generals, the deadly and brutal Reiko has his eyes set on the throne of Outworld now that the former ruler is out of the way. He began as a stoic ninja with a simple and striking look, but his design changed to a Kahn fanboy with his appearance in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. That all might need some tweaking, along with better fatalities and an expanded origin story to keep things interesting. But one of the reasons I want this one in so much was his move set. His specials will seem simplistic at first, but they are all easy to pick up and make for some of the most fun situational attacks and combos I have had the pleasure of landing. Reiko’s goals and reasons are already built in, as he plays a huge role in the MKX comics behind the scenes of the game and has a wonderful conclusion. It might be a little weird that he sneaks into the throne room and wears Shao Kahn’s helmet, but I won’t hold that against him.
The defender of Outworld’s people could be an important player in MKX. Li Mei is seeking refuge for her people from the effects of Mileena’s revolution against Kotal Kahn, aligning herself with Earth’s heroes for sanctuary. This sets up some intriguing political conflict that could be expanded on greatly and allow exploration for more of Outworld’s cultural aspects. Li Mei’s fighting style and special moves are interesting, but could be better, taking away the Nova Blast and focusing on her athletics and carnival style training to assault her opponents. Having her bounce around athletically and incorporate the pressure points her fatalities suggest she is good with as well would make things exciting. Not only will she add to the game, but since her biggest achievement in the series since first appearing in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance was having her soul thrown into a statue, it’s time for some kicking ass and a little redemption.
Beautiful features disguise the true demonic nature of Quan Chi’s former assassin, Sareena. She turned on him though, aligning herself with Sub-Zero, and I’d like to know how her story plays out in the current timeline. Originally appearing as a boss in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, she actually wasn’t playable until Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition for the Gameboy, and needs another chance to shine. Her moves could use some tweaking, focusing more on her knives and assassin skills, but let’s leave the 5-Star Kick move and her outfit alone, okay? Sareena does appear in MKX, assisting the forces of light in the Netherrealm, but her ties to the Lin Kuei offer up more story opportunities. I was pretty sure we would not see her as a playable character here though, as she has a history of being cut from games at the last minute.
A Shaolin monk, Kai is a Nepali fighter who focuses his energy as powerful fire attacks, training under Liu Kang and Kung Lao. His fighting style and moves are cool for the most part, but I feel like we can do better with these fireballs and get him a couple of better fatalities. I have mentioned a lot of fighters from Mortal Kombat 4, because this was supposed to be the new wave of fighters, and Kai was at the forefront before being dropped. I have no clue why. He was originally supposed to cameo in MKX, but the developers decided to use Bo Rai Cho instead, leaving him in the dust. His latest outfit and re-design looked perfect, perhaps throwing in Raiden’s lightning staff since it was a big part of his ending. He could easily be there to deal with Liu Kang as the new enemy. It just all feels like wasted opportunity.
I left a lot of people out, like Nitara and Ashra, or even the slew of revenants that were left unused, but that is to be expected with how long the franchise has been around. I had some other ideas I thought were good, like throwing in the daughter of Baraka since we saw him die, but most of those were just me creating my own characters and a lot of wishful thinking. Okay, so I have to admit the cosplay outfits for female versions of Scorpion and Sub-Zero look cool… but I’m still not giving WB Games any more money and I think they could do more for their fans.