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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: In a reversal of the initial reception to their debut, a surprising number of fans were saddened, if not outright enraged, upon seeing Shujinko die at the hands of Cassie in the latter's Arcade Ladder ending, calling it exceedingly poor treatment of the character even accounting for the developers' mindset.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • Kotal Kahn: Reasonable Authority Figure who grabs the Idiot Ball hard when he's angry, or a power-hungry Lawful Stupid who's doing more damage to Outworld than Mileena ever would? Is his refusal to release Edenia as an independent realm a sensible act of solidarity or does it simply drive a wedge in what would otherwise be a peaceful rule? Is it possible Earth Realm's heroes are just a Horrible Judge of Character because Kotal Khan betrays the heroes multiple times, invades Earthrealm, tries to turn the heroes over to Shinnok, and also rules over a kingdom which executes thieves of food while building massive statues to himself? Could it be he's Not So Different than Shao Kahn?
    • In The Stinger, Liu Kang and Kitana, who would normally call out Raiden first chance they get, are quiet when Raiden walks in to their throne room and declares that he will be more aggressive in the fighting. Is this because they are actually scared that Raiden's getting serious or are they liking that Raiden's finally gonna stop going with a Villains Act, Heroes React approach?
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    • The two are now Emperor and Empress of the Netherrealm, but with their free will intact. Did they take the position to amass power and one day make Raiden pay for what happened to them, and while they're at it, conquer other realms (meaning that they've truly become Fallen Heroes)? Or did they claim dominion over the land because they realized that, with Shinnok out of the picture and the Evil Power Vacuum in the Netherrealm, if the realm was left without a ruler, its denizens would rampage into other realms, thus necessitating their status as "jailers of the dead" to keep the Netherrealm in check? (It helps that this was the best thing they could have done because, with Quan Chi's death keeping them as revenants, there was no point in trying to get back to the world of the living by then.)
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    • As a Revenant, Liu Kang calls Raiden "Earthrealm's greatest enemy." Factoring this in with some of his pre-battle quotes makes fans wonder if, in spite of being in servitude to Shinnok, Liu Kang still genuinely cares for the welfare of Earthrealm and still has some semblance of his old self? Or does he believe it will be better off under a different rule, Shinnok's or Liu Kang and Kitana's own? or does he really still wish to fight the good fight for Earth Realm...but just reeeallly hates the management of the realm with good reason?
    • As noted on the Fridge page, there's Raiden's peculiar assertion that Mileena deserves to be Outworld's ruler in a number of his pre-fight intros against Kotal Kahn. He states he's for justice and says Mileena's claim to the throne is perfectly valid, but it's possible, if not likely, that Raiden sees Mileena as far less of a threat to Earthrealm due to her insanity, relative incompetency compared to Kotal, and highly unfavorable status among the populace. An Enemy Civil War where both sides suffer heavy losses, greatly diminishing the potential risk they pose, is basically a win-win in his books. The fact that Raiden either tells Mileena he refuses to be involved in Outworld affairs or outright takes the opposite stance (with lines like "End this rebellion" or "Your rebellion can not continue") in exchanges with her is equally suspect.
    • Discussion has been raised by fans over whether Liu Kang's "I am aware of your proclivities" line to Kung Jin before a match is a showing of wariness because Kung Jin used to be a thief or because Kung Jin is homosexual. On the subject of the latter train of thought, if true, is Liu Kang disapproving simply because of Kung Jin's sexuality? Or is it because, as Shaolin monks, their vow of celibacy means any kind of romantic relationship is off the table? (Given that Liu Kang is involved with Kitana and all but married to her in the second timeline, this, of course, would make that particular assertion hypocritical.)
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Shinnok manipulated the events of Mortal Kombat 9 to make sure that he stood victorious in the next wave, enslaving many heroes. However, it looks like from just a single chapter, Raiden would take care of him when all he had was just Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade and Kenshi, sealing him again. Corrupted Shinnok, on the other hand...
  • Ass Pull:
    • There is no explanation given as to how Cassie Cage is able to defeat Liu Kang when she and the rest of the new of the new heroes were easily defeated by Sub-Zero.
    • D'Vorah working for Quan Chi. This is never hinted at prior in the story or her arcade mode.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • A possible one regarding Shujinko. The comics showed him being deceived and corrupted by Havik in an attempt to justify the decision to have him killed in Cassie's ending.
    • Possibly done to fix the Continuity Snarl surrounding it: Ermac turns on Mileena in Issue #32. Granted, said snarl is still there, but fans nagged by this error in the comics won't have to worry about it in future issues.
    • D'Vorah's betrayals in Story Mode explained by her assassination at Reiko's hands in Issue #26 of the comics. And if that isn't enough, Issue #34 shows her at Quan Chi's side as her "newest" acolyte, meaning that she was indeed at Kotal Kahn's side.
    • The return of Stage Fatalities and the Pit in the XL update pleased fans upset over the lack of both in the base game.
    • A lot of criticism was directed at the Killed Offscreen treatment of the Cyber Lin Kuei and all the associated characters, as they are very popular amongst fans. The presence of Triborg in Kombat Pack 2, a Composite Character of the cyber ninjas, seems to reassure fans that the Cyber Lin Kuei aren't done in the story yet.
    • When the first Kombat Pack was released, a lot of fans complained that most of the characters have generic voice lines directed at both Jason and Predator instead of being at least curious who these new adversaries are. With the release of the second DLC pack, they had gave more characters more unique lines directed at the guest fighters like Johnny Cage being horrified at Leatherface's mask, or Liu Kang declaring that his face will not be hugged.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Badass Decay:
    • Every character who died in the last game and who returns as a Revanent. No matter what badass feats they had before they are all treated as jobbers who lose every fight in the game, even Liu Kang. He went from beating Shao Kahn in the previous game to being unable to win a single fight in this one.
    • Quan Chi gets hit with this particularly hard, including a scene where Sonya outright steps on his groin humiliatingly. The fact that he dies later on, albeit not before releasing Shinnok only sinks him in further.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • D'Vorah is simultaneously loved for her outwitting of everyone and being The Mole for Shinnok and reviled for killing off long-time fan favorites Baraka and Mileena.
    • Kung Jin is probably the least popular of the new characters, thanks to his bland design, dickish behavior, and ill-advised decisions during Story Mode. He's still got fans thanks to his excellent gameplay, acerbic wit, and status as the first gay character in the Mortal Kombat games.note 
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Mileena's facial redesign is a very drastic change for her character, and one would think that with her previous obsession with her looks, that this would have been explained or at least glossed over in pre-fight banter. It's never brought up at all.
    • Some of the variations can come off as this, since they give characters unusual powers that they've never had, and aren't explained. Special mention goes to Kenshi, whose "Possessed" variation comes completely out of left field. He even uses it during a match in Story Mode for no reason whatsoever.
  • Broken Base:
    • The Variation system. Some are glad the movesets of the characters are being expanded and can find that they can play a character the way they always wanted (i.e. a rushdown/grappler having a variation which is apt for zoning, and vice versa), while others think this is a lazy way to do so, and wished that every character just had one single variation with all of the moves.
    • The comics. Either they're a great way to expand on the lore (a long time coming for the franchise) and allow the game to be more gameplay-focused instead of more story-focused, or they make the game comic-dependent in order to understand everything in Story Mode.
    • Although still held in high regard compared to the narrative efforts of many other fighting games, MKX's Story Mode also has some controversial issues:
      • Of the revenants controlled by Quan Chi, only Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Jax are freed and returned to life, with a now-human but still revenge-obsessed Scorpion later felling the sorcerer before Raiden could reverse the spell binding the rest of his fallen allies, which would have undone a hugely controversial moment from the last game. Is it a good way to enforce the "Passing the Torch" theme of the game or a cheap way to keep fan favorites "dead" in this altered course of history, especially with Liu Kang, Kitana, and Kung Lao's primary outfits being "What If?" designs that still appear to be treated as canon for the sake of in-game fights and Arcade Ladder endings.
      • Fans were delighted and relieved to finally see Sub-Zero and Scorpion call a truce, with Hanzo even going as far as to admit to Kuai Liang he was wrong to kill Bi-Han out of anger. The issue lies not with this development, but the fact that Sub-Zero, one of Raiden's chosen, did nothing to try and convince Hanzo to hold off on killing Quan Chi until his allies were restored. This is especially jarring considering MK9 painted Smoke as Sub-Zero's surrogate brother, so if there was anyone whose soul Sub-Zero would try to bargain for, it'd be him. Given Hanzo's Roaring Rampage of Revenge, something not even the Special Forces or Shinnok's cronies could stop, others see the omission as Sub-Zero wisely deciding to not try and take a mile when given an inch right after burying the hatchet, realizing that, while Hanzo had come to his senses, he could not be swayed from vengeance. Or alternatively, Sub-Zero realized that Smoke truly is dead and has become Enenra, no longer the Smoke he once knew, and all those 25 years of his new life were spent partially moving on, so he's jaded about "miracles" and "restoring people back to life".
      • The return of Dark Raiden. One contingent feels the new timeline should ultimately do something different and not retread post-Mortal Kombat 4 plot threads while tarnishing Raiden's morality despite his deep regret for the events of MK9, not to mention once again ruining Raiden's more known status quo of being 'the benevolent Earthrealm protector', while another favors Dark Raiden's ruthlessly anti-heroic nature and the unscrupulous lengths he's now willing to go in "defending" Earthrealm as opposed to his "goody-goody" normal self, and more meaningful screen time due to the newer game's success guaranteeing that they will continue on with the story, while Dark Raiden's appearance in the original timeline was too abrupt and was during the franchise's hard times for him to develop better.
    • The PC version was considered the worst version until the October patch. With the free patch, Kombat Pack 2 was finally released, along with the XL update package.note  The fanbase was divided over how this was handled. One part of the fanbase felt that Kombat Pack 2 ought to be given for free for those who had to wait this long just for the PC port to be on par with the console versions. The other part expressed their satisfaction that they finally got Kombat Pack 2 at all, and was even offered either package for half off the regular prices (as a limited time promotion), and the free content included with the patch (the Pit stage, more brutalities, costume packs, etc) was a nice touch. Still, others refuse to purchase any more content under the notion that WB Games only fixed it (despite the seven month gap) just so they can generate hype for Injustice 2.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • For those who really detested all of the problems Quan Chi caused for the heroes in the last game, getting to brutally beat him down with Sonya in Story Mode, complete with a QTE that ends with her boot in his crotch, is highly satisfying. Playing as Hanzo four chapters later and sealing the deal? Even more so.
    • If you absolutely hated the Elder Gods after the events of MK9, Shinnok's ending showing them being eaten by the One Being is pure catharsis.
    • Much like Freddy from the last game, players can now dish out fatalities on Jason, Leatherface, Alien and Predator as a means of giving them their own medicine. Although, in Jason's defense, it is a little less satisfying to kill Jason than the others.
    • Did your online opponent just disconnect on you? Watch as their character's head explodes for a Quitality. It takes some of the edge off of having a legitimate match taken away from you.
  • Character Rerailment: After the previous game brought Scorpion's rivalry with Sub-Zero back with a vengeance, this game sees Hanzo burying the hatchet with Sub-Zero, with the two actually having an almost friendly conversation. The fact that Hanzo finally sees some closure with his vengeance against Quan Chi also helps.
  • Crack Pairing: Kung Jin and Erron Black apparently has a huge following on Tumblr, despite only a handful of interactions within canon (all of which provide zero tension).
  • Crosses the Line Twice: If you don't find relative-on-relative Fatalities to be more disgusting than the usual, you might think it's this. Cassie Cage is especially good for this, as her Fatalities are comedic already. Smacking Sonya in the jaw so hard it nearly falls off, then uploading a picture with her and her mother's dead body to social media can be considered fiendishly hilarious, deeply horrifying, or both. Kano in particular adds a whole new layer of line-crossing when two of the selfie comments that can pop up are "Say hi to your mom for me" and Sonya herself commenting on how gross it is.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • Plenty of pre-match dialogue exchanges present scenarios that aren't explored in the main storyline, but provide just enough meat to envision an Alternate Continuity where the setup and consequences of said bout can exist.
    • Erron seems to get hit with this hard, since he's older than he appears and he's got the whole mysterious vibe going for him.
    • The Arcade endings provide scenarios for all sorts of post-Story Mode tales.
      • Even The Stinger at the end of the game could provide scenarios for possible events, such as Raiden (who's now corrupted) going after a battered Outworld and Kotal Kahn trying to stop him, and with Liu Kang plotting to conquer other realms.
    • Cassie's team is rife with it. Interactions range from Cassie's ordinary life aside of the Special Forces, Jacqui and Takeda's relationship and Kung Jin's homosexuality issues. Their past missions in Darfur, Iran, and Kurdistan also have potential.
    • As nothing specific is given for Kotal Kahn usurping Mileena's throne aside from her refusal to ally with Earthrealm, a full behinds-the-scenes look/extrapolation of her allegedly troubled reign could justify or vilify either side.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Street Fighter V and Killer Instinct due to all having similar DLC update models and MKX and KI both launching updates within a month of SFV's release. This has gotten to the point that both MKX and KI can often be found getting dissed in online comments by Street Fighter fans, much to the chagrin of both games' fans.
  • First Installment Wins: In contrast to the previous game's movie Guest Fighter, Freddy Krueger, who was mostly based upon his 2010 film outing, the film fighters in MKX are modeled after their earlier and more beloved franchise installments. Jason Voorhees is based on the nigh-invulnerable character prior to the 2009 reboot, and the Predator uses its original design and features references to the original movie, with his introductory trailer utilizing narration similar to the original film's own preview, Jax getting a uniquely voiced costume of one of the film's stars, Carl Weathers, and both Erron Black and Bo' Rai Cho giving a nod to one of Dutch's most iconic lines. Additionally, Leatherface's outfit and moveset recall his first appearance and the Xenomorph, while having some original elements with the Tarkatan blades, shares visual elements by variation with the drone alien from the first film (Acidic), the aliens from the second film (Tarkatan), and the Praetorian caste from the expanded universe. It also has a Fatality featuring the Queen from Aliens.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Johnny, Sonya, Jax, and Kenshi are playable alongside their kids, but the idea of pulling off a Fatality on either one using Johnny or Sonya (for Cassie), Jax (Jacqui), or Kenshi (Takeda)... At least Sindel and Kitana had the justification of Sindel being resurrected as an evil entity.note 
    • After the death of Prince, Tanya's ending became this. Why? In said ending, Rain, a character inspired by Prince, is burned alive. Prince was cremated.
  • Genius Bonus: Does Tanya and Kung Lao's intro dialogue sound familiar? It should — it's a modified version of the famous "Do you bite your thumb at me" exchange from Romeo and Juliet!
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the original timeline, Liu Kang reluctantly denied Kitana's offer to rule Edenia at her side in MK4, only to die at the hands of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in Deadly Alliance, whereupon Kitana tearfully mourned his loss. Following their deaths in the previous game, the ending of this game reveals that the two are now the Netherrealm's Emperor and Empress. It's as ironic as it is twistedly sweet.
    • Think the whole potential of a ­­"child killing parent" event in the game happening is bad? Skarlet takes it up to eleven by corrupting Cassie and Jacqui and pit them against their own parents in the MKX comics.
    • Ermac's gaunt, emaciated look here is a result of him no longer being sustained by Shao Kahn's magic. Considering there were no visible indicators of deterioration in any of Ermac's other post-MK3 appearances, this subsequently makes Kahn come across as unkillable in the original timeline, culminating with his victory in Armageddon.
    • Cyrax's ending in MK9 has him betraying the Lin Kuei clan and being offered sanctuary at the Wu Shi Academy in order to become a warrior of peace. In the MKX comics, after Kuai Liang manages to de-corrupt the cyber Lin Kuei, Cyrax's last act is to autodestruct himself and all the robowarriors so Kuai Liang can start the clan anew.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • Johnny Cage's and Sonya Blade's interactions with each other in MK9, in lieu of Cassie Cage being part of the roster.
    • Jax recruiting Kenshi for the Special Forces in Kenshi's MK9 Arcade Ladder ending. At the end of X's Story Mode, it's implied that Jacqui, Jax's daughter, and Takeda, Kenshi's son, become a couple.
    • Scorpion and Sub-Zero's endings in MK9 become canonical in this game. In Scorps' he finds out that Quan Chi is the real culprit responsible of the death of his clan, and several dead Shirai Ryu warriors assist him in burning the sorcerer to the bones. In Subs' he makes an alliance with Scorpion. In this game they both bury the hatchet after the truth is revealed, and Scorpion kills Quan Chi, though not with fire. It's implied that after all is said and done, both clans may finally live in mutual peace. By extension, Scorpion's ending in MK4 also becomes this.
    • In a twisted way, Liu Kang and Kitana's mutual interactions in MK9 (and even the original timeline) are this, as they end up not only being a couple, but also being emperor and empress of a realm. Granted, it's the Netherrealm, and they're both dead, but still.
    • One of Scorpion's Clash quotes in Injustice: Gods Among Us was "For my family and clan!", revealing that he at least kept part of his humanity all of this time. In this game he gets all of his humanity back.
    • To some extent, Sheeva's ending in MK9, where after taking control of Australia, the Shokan vow to protect Earthrealm, while her queen became one of the greatest leaders in Shokan history. In the MKX comics, she's a revered queen, and by standing against the Big Bad Duumvirate, she's one of the few non-playable survivors after the events of both the comics and the game.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The Xenomorph is named for its film of origin, Alien. Same for the Yautja being named "Predator, although somewhat justified since its species name is only ever used in supplementary material.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • Had Raiden and the Elder Gods stripped Shinnok of his power and forced him to live as a near-motionless head, the destructive events within MKX would have never happened. Shinnok would have never came close to destroying Earthrealm. Quan Chi would have been at a much weaker state due to his inability to tap into the full potential of the amulet. The infiltration of Quan Chi's fortress would have reversed the spell that bound the revenants hostage. Due to Raiden's then-guilt over Liu Kang and Kitana, their fates as emperor and empress of the Netherrealm would have never happened. With Raiden now corrupted, it is hinted that he will try to destroy Outworld to prevent any attack from them on Earthrealm, despite Kotal Kahn's leadership trying to stabilize his own realm rather than conquer other realms due to unstable civil wars within that realm. It is unknown, however, if Raiden's corruption happening earlier would have been a huge issue and made him the bigger threat.
    • Scorpion's failure to kill Quan Chi immediately without hesitation. Instead, he decides to mindlessly fight Quan Chi fair and square, which gives time for D'Vorah to temporarily save Quan Chi at the cost of her appendages. While Scorpion still kills Quan Chi, Quan Chi was still able to chant the spell that frees Shinnok. Had he killed Quan Chi immediately, Shinnok would almost never been freed. "Almost" being the key word: due to the stipulation that if the amulet is destroyed, it would have freed Shinnok once again, though that knowledge was known only to the Elder Gods and Raiden.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: There is a group of fans who feel this about fatalities, as they are still inputted exactly like they were 20 years ago and that they've either become too boring and/or pointlessly gory for the sake of being gory. These guys tend to prefer brutalities over fatalities, since they are activated in a more modern and challenging way and don't slow down the game, and there being no closeups or slowdowns makes them look all the more more shocking when used to finish a game (especially online) since their combo integration can cause them to come out of nowhere.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • There's something sadly pathetic about the fact that Mileena has no genuine supporters in her faction. Of those that did support her, Baraka is dead, Rain was purposely driving her to destroy herself with Shinnok's amulet, and Tanya only supported her for Edenia's sake. Despite her instabilities, she still seems devoted to serving out her 'father's' will, and it seems at times she only wants to rule because she was explicitly created as Shao Kahn's heir. The fact she's so completely obsessed with pursuing a hopeless cause, with no support, for the approval of a dead man, who likely saw her as nothing more than a tool, seems rather pitiable. Then she gets her head devoured by insects.
    • The revenants. Sure, they were resurrected and brainwashed by Shinnok and Quan Chi to the point of extreme hatred despite retaining much of their original memories, but anybody can feel sorry for the state they're in. And with Hanzo (who, along with Jax and Sub-Zero, was revived) killing off Quan Chi without understanding why he was needed to revive the fallen heroes dashed any hopes of Raiden reviving them. Also, with Raiden gone rogue after Shinnok's defeat means any chance to restore the revenants to the side of goodness is very slim (Though Kung Lao's and Kung Jin's arcade endings indicate that there is a possibility for the revenants to embrace positive emotions and be revived, it would be nigh-impossible to do so with Quan Chi not around).
    • Sonya Blade. Sure, she does marry Johnny Cage and has a daughter named Cassie, but being Married to the Job puts a strain between the relationship - this is what causes Cassie to resent her mother. The MKX ending shows that all three have since reconciled, while the comics show that she still cares for them despite not getting along.
  • Memetic Badass: Blanche, the Outworld Marketplace old lady has her moments for being an interact able stage person. It helps that she lives in Outworldwhich is also in the middle of a brutal civil war at the time — and has two brutalities to her name: one where she collides with the victim and obliterates their upper half, the other where she beats the shit out of them.
  • Memetic Molester:
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Sonya... got CAGED!" became one when fans caught wind of Cassie Cage.
    • "Blanche is getting real tired of your shit," is another due to her taking a level in badass. This caption can be seen with a close up picture of Blanche bleeding on the ground looking very annoyed.
    • A couple of videos from professional player Tom Brady stating that Sub-Zero's Ice Clone does not work properly is starting to gain memetic status.
    • Sub-Zero being referred to as Khaleesi after his Klassic Tower ending.
    • All Quan Chi wants is friends.Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon: Liu Kang, as Emperor of the Netherrealm hasn't crossed this yet, but he'll do so under the right circumstances. If you want proof, look no further than Jason Voorhees' Arcade ending. Liu is actually impressed by Jason's killing spree, and is perfectly okay with recruiting the serial killer to take even more lives. Too bad Jason had other ideas: he strangles him with his own entrails.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Tanya's Kobu Jutsu combos sound like musical chimes when she performs them.
    • Triborg's synthetic voice has gotten a large amount of praise for being intimidating and badass.
  • Narm:
    • This dialogue exchange almost sounds like a Saturday Morning Cartoon moral about The Power of Love and/or Friendship.
      Sub-Zero: How many souls do you harbor?
      Ermac: We wield the might of thousands!
      Sub-Zero: Yet you have no heart.
    • The skeletal hands of Necromancer variation Shinnok — intimidating and creepy, or entertainingly silly because they look too tiny or insubstantial? Said variation also has specials where Shinnok summons giant skeletal hands to attack his opponents. Again, creepy, or too reminiscent of Master Hand to be taken seriously?
    • In Chapter 15 of the comic, Sub-Zero expels High-Pressure Blood and the splatter forms the Mortal Kombat logo. Meaningful symbolism, Rule of Cool, or improbable goofiness?
    • Kold War Scorpion's mask somewhat resembles a Snifit's mask or a Deku Scrub mask/face.
    • The scene in which the revenants surround Raiden when a revived Shinnok invades the Sky Temple. It's hard to take the scene seriously when the revenants start chuckling and lightly push Raiden as if they were a bunch of schoolyard bullies.
    • It's somewhat hard not to let out a chuckle after seeing The Stinger when Dark Raiden tosses Shinnok's still-living head to the floor at Liu Kang and Kitana's feet. His grimacing can look like he's making derp faces.
    • An unfortunate instance brought on by Mondegreen, in one Tanya/Ermac pre-match interaction, the latter says to the former "You will die for aiding Mileena!", but many people in the comments hear "aiding" as "eating." Considering the Ho Yay subtext between the two as stated above...
    • Triborg's "Death Machine" Fatality is supposed to be brutal and horrific with his three bodies combining into a torture device that has the end result of turning the opponent into a cube of gore, but the bright coloring of the bodies and the shape and animation of the thing makes it look more like a child's toy.
    • Scorpion's "Who's Next?" Fatality is pretty gruesome, but the way that the victim's eyes completely roll back in their head coupled with the way their mouths hang open during the win screen makes their heads look more like they belong to surprised anime or manga characters out of some sort of violent comedy, rather than someone who's met a grisly end.
    • In the story mode, some people (e.g. Raiden and Quan Chi) spout gibberish when invoking magic or using their abilities. Having the captions on can be good for a chuckle, because these sayings are written just as nonsensical as they sound.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Tanya's dialogue and mannerisms toward D'Vorah before their battle have an odd but entertaining high school Alpha Bitch vibe:
      Your people believe we avoided your island out of respect for your solitary nature. We just didn't like you.
    • Both of Jason's Fatalities, though done intentionally to make them resemble kill scenes out of a B-horror movie.
    • The Klassic Fatalities, komplete with klassic victory poses.
    • Tremor practically exemplifies this, with his ridiculously cheesy battle quotes doing little to detract from how awesome his Dishing Out Dirt abilities are.
  • No Yay:
    • Much of Kano's pre-fight dialogue with Cassie is flirty and suggestive. The problem with this is that he's a criminal sleazebag in his 50s, while Cassie is the daughter of his worst enemy and barely in her 20s.
    • Leatherface's attraction to Cassie in his Arcade ending goes into this due his killing of her friends and family. Him killing her and wearing her face like a mask? Even more so.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The PC version at launch did not fully download for 8 hours after launch, even then, online and Story Mode were unplayable as were Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Goro until a Day 2 patch. The PC version still suffers from poor optimization on the Sky Temple Stage even after a 15GB patch intended to fix that issue and periodically crashes during load screens and in the Krypt. There are also artifacts which appear as text in other languages when scrolling through menus. All of this and the PC version still being 2-3 patches behind the console versions understandably has people pretty miffed. Making matters worse was the announcement that Kombat Pack 2 and Mortal Kombat XL would be for PS4 and Xbox One only and that PC users won't be getting the updated rollback netcode for online play, effectively rendering the game worthless from a competitive and playability standpoint.
    • The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were cancelled apparently because they felt they couldn't avert this.
  • Reformulated Game: The mobile tie-in is a plotless Action RPG with fighting game interface instead of the same game.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • At the end of MK9, Scorpion was on his way to entering Scrappy territory thanks to his Wolverine Publicity status among other things. The comics, and then MKX proper, fleshed out his personality in a more tolerable way, with his revenge quest being toned down after being brought back as a human and taking Takeda under his guidance, better moves in all of his three variations, and the scene where he killed Quan Chi was among the most satisfying scenes of the entire game, were it not for dooming the revenants to such status forever and inadvertently aiding Shinnok's unsealing.
    • Though all the guest characters had their fans and haters, very few people came to defend Leatherface's inclusion in the game, citing him as unnecessary because of Jason's presence. However, many warmed up to him once they saw his moveset in action and his disturbing Arcade ending.
    • Bo' Rai Cho was, and still remains, a Base-Breaking Character, yet many one-time detractors came around to him after seeing his new gameplay mechanics (Drunken Master in particular being an embodiment of Difficult, but Awesome), and the more complex and badass personality displayed in his character intros.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • Kotal Kahn's Arcade Ladder ending, wherein the Elder Gods reinstate the Mortal Kombat tournament on the behalf of Kotal in response to an aggressive Raiden's preemptive strike against their depleted forces, is seen as one of the most intriguing Sequel Hooks of the game due to the Perspective Flip it sets up. It helps that Kotal is a Noble Demon who is genuinely concerned with the welfare of his realm and subjects, has some pretty cool cats on his side, and is up against a thunder god who not only asserts the legitimacy of Mileena's rule in a few of their pre-fight intros but has canonically returned to his Dark Raiden persona.
    • In an inversion to the above, some that oppose Kotal Kahn would rather side with Mileena, given that we know so little about her supposedly troubled reign aside from her refusal to ally with Earthrealm. Depending on how poorly one views Kotal Kahn, Mileena herself comes off as a Jerkass Woobie at worst. Even if one doesn't support Mileena's claim to the throne, her Edenian supporters and their bid for independence have a sympathetic streak.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: There's a lot of extra content in the console versions that can only be obtained by playing the mobile version of the game. Thankfully, the app is free and has been updated to the point that you only need to install and run it once to get all the console goodies, but it's a very large and resource-heavy game that needs a relatively powerful device to play. Don't have a gadget capable of running the mobile game? Welp, sucks for you then, because you're never unlocking those extras without it — they're not included with the Updated Re-release and there isn't even a "Just let me have the shit!" option to buy them as paid DLC.
  • Shocking Moments:
    • Dark Raiden returns in the ending and cuts off Shinnok's still living head as a warning to the now Emperor and Empress Liu Kang and Kitana.
    • Tremor from Mortal Kombat: Special Forces being revealed as a playable DLC character was quite surprising to fans thanks him being a very Unexpected Character.
    • The reveal of Triborg in the second Kombat Pack by having him collect Sektor's severed head and morph into Cyrax.
    • The Bait-and-Switch reveal in the second Kombat Pack involving Baraka appear, only to have a chestburster emerge from him as a unique Tarkatan-Xenomorph and make the game an extension of Alien vs. Predator.
  • Signature Scene: Dark Raiden warning reverent Liu Kang and Kitana by tossing Shinnok's living head to the ground. One of the most memorable and talked about scenes in the entire franchise.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Be supportive. Kotal Kahn and Johnny Cage in separate ways demonstrate why this cannot be stressed enough:
    • Johnny was always supportive towards both his daughter and his SF team, even in the darkest times. The power of father/daughter love actually manages to save Earthrealm itself and was instrumental in the defeat of Shinnok, an Elder God, as their hidden power could only be unlocked by witnessing a loved one about to die. This extends to the rest of his team, all of whom were responsible for the outcome of the game's story as well. As a proof, there's his dialogue with Sonya at the beginning of her chapter:
    Johnny Cage: This is what split us up in the first place. You disappear in your work. Never time for me and Cassie.
    Sonya: I had responsibilities. Sorry you couldn't be the center of attention.
    Johnny Cage: There was a time when you cared more about your family than your job, General.
    • In spite of all of his mistakes, Kotal Kahn always has the respect of those who follow him, which allowed him to not only restore Outworld to some extent, but also allowed him to regain the respect and allegiance of the Shokan, a race hellbent on conquering. Only one character in the entire game, out of millions of followers, actually manages to betray him, and that's only because said character was a mole all along, revived in order to work for another evil entity, and not out of selfishness. Compare this to Shao Kahn's several resistances and betrayals of entire realms he had to endure. The man himself (and his right hand) even makes that point in Issue #19:
    Kotal Kahn: If I cannot protect the Capitol, I am unfit to rule. If dying is my duty, I will die.

    D'Vorah: Reptile defended Kotal with conviction beyond that of any servant or slave, and I knew tyrants rule with fear, but Kotal Kahn leads with respect. You are the only leader This One has ever truly respected.
    Reptile: D'Vorah speakss for uss all.
    Kotal Kahn: My sacrifice tomorrow... will save thousands of lives. THAT is leading with respect.
  • Squick:
    • It's a given, but of particular note are the Fatalities where the victim chokes on their own organs: Ermac pulling out your stomach through your mouth, Takeda yanking out your spine from the same, and Liu Kang feeding you your own throat.
    • Mileena's death scene in the Story Mode is definitely this. Having someone else vomit insects down your throat which then proceed to tear you apart from the inside, including your face, is most certainly not a way to go.
      Cassie Cage: Well, thanks for that. I know I'll never eat again.
    • Johnny Cage's maggot eating near the end of the Story Mode is also this. Apparently, someone at NetherRealm Studios was watching 1000 Ways to Die.
    • Leatherface's ending features two lovely shots of him holding Shinnok and Cassie Cage's cut-off faces.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The shuriken thrown in the Lin Kuei Shuriken Storm Faction Kill look untextured and unfinished.
    • The skeletons in some of the various kills look out of place due to improper lighting.
    • The Predator has black sclerae surrounding its Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness that it shouldn't have in Raiden's Bug Eye Fatality, which comes across as making it look ridiculous.
    • The blood effects for Jason's intros seem to be determined by the color of his opponent's blood. In the case of the Predator, this results in Jason having bright green blood in his neck wound, or dragging a victim onto the battlefield and leaving behind a bright green trail, as if the victim bled glow stick liquid.
    • When performing Jax's Jax the Ribber fatality on certain characters (i.e. Liu Kang and Ermac), their head is visibly detached from their body, making it look like it's floating in the air.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Downplayed: While Hanzo's actions were intended for his own selfish gains, killing Quan Chi would've destroyed any chance of Shinnok being freed. However, Shinnok was freed anyways (albeit barely), leading Hanzo to his (yet to be confirmed canon) arcade ending.
    • Dark Raiden is set to lose his status as a hero, but there's some truth in his speech. A lot of grief could have been avoided had the heroes been killing the villains when they had the chance, rather than either explicitly letting them go or simply neglecting to finish them off and giving them a chance to escape. The major villains in the story are usually monstrous enough to deserve it and almost always make the heroes regret letting them live before the day is out, let alone in the long term.
  • That One Attack: Corrupted Shinnok's fire beam attack is the bane of any who fight him. It goes the full length of the screen, is near-instantaneous, cannot be jumped over, and does significant damage even when blocked. The worst part is that he likes to spam it any chance he gets.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Some fans of Ermac were unhappy at him lacking a mask in both of his launch costumes and the more corpse-like look he sported overall. Fortunately, NetherRealm seemed to recognize the divided reactions and released a free klassic MK3 costume for him, which managed to win over a lot of fans.
    • Similarly, some fans disliked the reduced ninja emphasis in Reptile's costumes before he got a klassic costume like Ermac.
    • Likewise, some Raiden fans prefer his original X-Ray to the more cinematic and acrobatic move he received in the final version.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • As an effect of their limited screen time compared to MK9, most of Quan Chi's revenants are this. Of particular note is Smoke, who is seen proclaiming himself as Enenra, not Smoke, suggesting he's not only a Revenant Zombie like the rest, but has either been taken over by his Enenra side or embraced it after his death. Judging by the ending, this lack of storyline presence may be amended in a sequel.
    • Most of the Outworld cast, including Erron Black and Ferra/Torr, are barely in Story Mode, and almost none of them get their own chapters.
    • Rain isn't even playable despite you fighting him and showing himself to be capable in a fight, not even in XL is he one of the bonus characters.
    • The Cyber Lin Kuei get the Killed Offscreen treatment in story mode, with only Sektor's remains being present. Given their status as heavy hitters in the original timeline, it's a little disappointing that they get so abruptly disposed of. The presence of Triborg in Kombat Pack 2, however, seems to rectify this by proving they're Not Quite Dead.
    • Kung Jin and Kung Lao have no fight with each other in story mode despite their clash being set up with Jin having been said to admire and respect Lao. The two keep missing one another, with one leaving right before or right as the other enters.
    • The revenants get very little screen time, and display little personality when they do. This ends with them acting as little more than generic henchmen who could be swapped out with any other characters.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • For a while since release, Summoner!Quan Chi was nicknamed "Quan Cheesy" (the name itself originating in Cassie's "Selfie" fatality) after his numerous tournament outings. Not only is Quan Chi's mix-up and pressure string very easy to set-up, it is considered extremely boring to watch. note  A video of a match featuring Summoner Quan Chi will often consist of multiple commenters bashing him or the player using him. Fortunately, he later received a nerf by implementing a delay in summoning and re-summoning the bat. The fact he's still considered a competitive character after this says a lot about how good he was.
    • Pyromancer!Tanya had been subject to this as well. She almost dominated the first major tournament to allow her (CEO 2015) where she took 4 of the top 8 slots, thanks to her fast and safe teleport and spammable fireballs. She was eventually nerfed in an emergency patch.
    • For a long time after release, you could get a lot of wins cheaply with Full Auto!Jacqui by simply spamming her machine gun blast. If someone jumped at you, you could burn meter to rocket-blast them to the other side of the screen, then resume spamming. Characters that can't circumvent this somehow, such as with a teleport, are forced to play a high-stakes guessing game to get back in on Jacqui, who has several useful tools to keep them from doing so. This isn't insurmountable and most players have figured out ways around this by this point, but the animosity towards Full Auto Jacqui remains.
    • Kung Jin has gotten some of this because of having easy access to high damage kombos while also being relatively easy to learn
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Mileena's redesign still has a lot of exposed sharp teeth, but it can close all the way and includes proper lips, somewhat like her depiction in Legacy. Consequently, she's less of straight-up Fan Disservice and edges into ugly cute/unconventionally attractive territory.
    • Torr is fairly endearing when he's having fun with Ferra and not crushing someone's head into pulp.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Due to being extraterrestrial in nature, rather than supernatural, the Predator's inclusion on the roster was very surprising.
    • While a lot of players at least expected Smoke reappearing as DLC, if not all the robots, many were not expecting Cyber Sub-Zero to be included.
    • Double subverted and downplayed. While the Xenomorph was expected, nobody expected it to be a Tarkatan hybrid.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Shujinko in Cassie's arcade ending, at least for those who haven't followed the comics. His death appeared to be intended to continue killing off poorly received characters from the original series. Unlike most of those characters he wasn't a villain and hasn't brought Onaga back in this timeline. This meant Cassie killing him came off as Moral Dissonance since he hadn't done anything wrong.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: A military general (Kotal Kahn) throws a coup in a foreign land, rules it with an iron fist, and is in a brutal civil conflict with rebels. Earthrealm looks the other way and has a secret peace accord with said dictator since the alternative may be worse. The analogies with many Middle Eastern and South American countries and their relationship with the West is certainly reflected here.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • Infrared Scorpion is widely disliked for being highly unpleasant to look at.
    • Much like Injustice, while some alternate palettes are easy to distinguish, some, like Liu Kang's Tournament and Dark Emperor costumes, are questionable due to being barely different from the defaults.
    • Gold Scorpion's alternate palette is a rather silly mustard yellow coloration.

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