If NetherRealm's good at one thing, as proven by their efforts with 2011's Mortal Kombat (or Mortal Kombat 9) and Injustice: Gods Among Us, it's giving single-player fighting game players something to do. In MK9, the story mode and lengthy Challenge Tower gave players something to play on their own against the A.I, in addition to the online competitive modes. Injustice followed the same trend, although, instead of a lone tower, there were S.T.A.R. Labs missions and Battles - a mode that tasked players with taking on a random set of enemies, with many incorporating their own unique rules: Fight the entire roster with one health bar or Fight the Villains only, etc.
Heading into Mortal Kombat X, NetherRealm is once again expanding on the single-player experience, which sees the return of the Challenge Tower, but with a few tweaks to make it last longer while still feeling new. As reported by Polygon, these are now Living Towers, which can best be described as an ever-changing, consistently updating version of MK9's Tower.
Challenge Towers Evolved
How well do you remember the Tower from MK9? There were 300 stages that had their own fight criteria in addition to winning the match (ex: land hits to earn health). It was a fun thing to take part in after finishing off the story mode, but, as the name suggested, it was difficult at times, to the point that many didn't even finish the whole thing. Speaking to PCWorld, NetherRealm's Brian Goodman noted that more people than expected finished the mode, but a decent amount also abandoned it part way.
With Living Towers, however, the goal is to give players a reason to coming back to MKX. Unlike the one set of challenges in the previous game, Living Towers will be three different tiers that stick around for different lengths of time and range in difficulty.
The first tier, Quick Towers, last for five fights and will be updated every few hours. Daily Tower is a bit harder, consisting of eight fights, and will be switched out every 24 hours. The last tier, Premier Tower, offers up 15 of the most challenging matches, and is reserved for special events, like holidays or, we suspect, the anniversary of past Mortal Kombat titles. According to Eurogamer, Premier Tower will run for a week before moving on to the next iteration. If this particular tower will, in fact, be the hardest of the three, a week should be just enough time to players to figure out how to overcome it.
NetherRealm isn't stopping at a new version of the Challenge Tower, though, and is incorporating a very interesting meta game known as Faction Wars. Upon first loading up MKX, players will have to choose between five factions to join - Lin Kuei, White Lotus, Brotherhood of Shadow, Special Forces and Black Dragon - and following that decision, everything done in the game earns players points that feed back into the faction. The names themselves don't change or restrict anything, as any character within the roster can be played under any faction.
Mortal Kombat X's Meta Game
The hook of Faction Wars is that the participating players and their faction are competing for the top spot every week, and the top faction will be rewarded with in-game bonuses like finishing moves, "cosmetic items" and more. More points can be earned by completing individual special challenges, but they're optional and easy to step back from. It's a separate mode that doesn't require people be exceptionally good at the game in order to progress and help their faction. Instead, it's been described as a more social endeavor. Seeing as how MKX also allows for 5v5 battles, expect players to form their own groups within their faction and duke it out with other 5-man teams. Special faction vs. faction matches at EVO, perhaps?
Unfortunately, among the many details about the living Towers and Faction Wars, modes like Test Your Luck have yet to be revealed. Regardless, Mortal Kombat X is shaping up to a be a worthy following up to Mortal Kombat 9, and since the latter was already a great game, getting more of the same from MKX doesn't sound bad at all.