Mortal Kombat X accessibility review

Josh Straub3 minute read

Mortal Kombat X is the follow-up to the much loved 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot. The game features some great new characters as well as plenty of returning classics, beautifully gruesome visuals, enough content to keep any player busy, and a combat system that is easy to enjoy, even for those new to the genre. Happily from the standpoint of accessibility, Mortal Kombat X does a lot to ensure that anybody can enjoy it, no matter what their physical ability.

First, players with visual disabilities will have nothing to worry about. The games visuals are rendered in a bold semi-realistic style that doesn’t rely on fine detail or color. Each of the character models are visually distinctive enough that a player with visual disabilities should have no problem distinguishing between Eron Black and Reptile, or any other two fighters that might be facing each other. The one area with this does not hold true is in the rare mirror match, where both players are using the same character. In this scenario, the game does rely on finer details to communicate who is controlled by player one, and who is controlled by player two. In my hours of playtime, I only ran across one mirror match, which seems to indicate that there is enough diversity in the roster that when playing the computer, players should not encounter this barrier very often. Another benefit comes from the accessibility patch which adds a feature that gives the player audio cues when near an interactable. This means that players won’t need to distinguish the white halo that normally surrounds throwable objects, making it easier for those with visual disabilities to get the full experience out of MKX.

Second, players with fine-motor disabilities will be happy to know that Mortal Kombat X is the most fine-motor accessible arcade fighter that I have ever played. This is due not only to the fully remappable controls, but also due to other features, such as the option to have combo’s require less precision, or not requiring the player to push the stick diagonally when activating certain moves. Beyond this, previous Mortal Kombat’s have excluded fine-motor disabled players keeping them from using the game’s signature fatalities due to a lack of quick reflexes. This problem is alleviated in Mortal Kombat X through easy-fatality credits. By playing through the game, players can earn the right to execute easy fatalities, which only require holding down the right trigger and pressing a face button, instead of the spasmodic joystick manipulations of previous games. It is true that in some modes, players will be given the opportunity to execute cinematic quick time events, similar to those seen in Injustice gods among us, but in my experience these didn’t have an impact on the outcome of succeeding fights, even if I missed them, which I barely did, due to their generous time windows. The one exception to this is the ‘Test your Might’ mode which shows up in the middle of some towers, and will require fine-motor impaired gamers to seek help if they can’t manage the rapid button taps. These are in so few towers however, that they can hardly be considered a barrier.

Finally, players with hearing disabilities can rest easy in the fact that Mortal Kombat’s storyline uses full subtitling and gives the player the option to turn it on before beginning the campaign. The one slight drawback is that the subtitles aren’t labeled, so that when multiple characters are on the screen, it may be hard to tell who’s talking, but this can be determined using the context, and is only noticeable during one cinematic. Beyond the games campaign mode, nothing relies on the ability to hear, or uses sound to communicate crucial details, so those with hearing disabilities should have no problem getting the full enjoyment out of this game.

Mortal Kombat X is a great game, and even though there are a few barriers in individual modes, there is so much content, and these barriers are so rare, that I can’t help but give Mortal Kombat X the first completely barrier free rating of 2015.

Overall Rating: Barrier Free
Visual Rating: Barrier Free
Fine-Motor Rating: Barrier Free
Auditory Rating: Barrier Free
Released For: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android
ESRB Rating: M
GameInformer Score: 9.25

This article has been transferred from DAGERSystem (now AbilityPoints). Scores, formatting, and writing style may differ from original CIPT content.

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