When Mortal Kombat X was released back in 2015, it made the game feel fresh when compared to Mortal Kombat (2011) by not only displaying a whole new look in graphics and new film based story, but it also displayed whole new fight mechanics that some would say put other games to shame. Matches felt longer, combos moved faster and much more unique; it felt like a totally different Mortal Kombat game than in recent years. With Mortal Kombat 11, Netherrealm studios manages to exceed past that even further. Dating back to when it was first released, a staggering 27 years ago as “that fighting game that you rip people’s head’s off” it, of course, is still that but since then has become so much more. This is by far one the most fully featured fighting games out there with both single and multiplayer modes that can last the casual and hardcore gamers quite a long time.
One of the few things that remain to its core roots, while still adjusting at the same time, is the game fight mechanics. It still has traditional block button, interactive and grapple buttons as well as its ex meter bar as the previous game, but this time around all those features have been newly modified to bring more thrill and balance the battlefield.
Unlike the previous two Mortal Kombat games where you are given three bars that build up as you connect hits to enhance special moves, break combos or perform x-rays, all that has now been put into four bars each split into two separate bars for defense and two for offense. Defensive bars can be used to trigger interactive and escape rolls while the offense bars can be used to enhance special moves which can also help in extending or set the player up for a combo, as well as performing wake-up attacks.
Some new things you may notice are that in this game meters no longer build up upon attacks like before but are now refilled over time and they no longer have any affiliation with x-rays either. X-rays in MK 11 are placed into certain attacks now called Krushing Blows that, when triggered, can add some extra damage to a simple combo that the normal version of that combo would not, and can even work in some ways like enhancing a special move as they on occasion extend a combo if timed perfectly. On top of that, the classic X-ray super move itself — now Fatal Blow — no longer work in the same way as they have been in the past. In most cases you fill your meter up fully so you can add some major damage to your opponent when the time was right; though it basically still works the same way but are only prompted when you’re at low health and can now only be used once per match making it that much more crucial towards the end of a round or match giving it a more risk/reward value to it.
Other new mechanics like the ducking to evade mid/high attacks, quick jumps that are suitable for dodging mid/low attacks and give you a small window to attack, and flawless blocks that reduce block damage are just some of the many new fight mechanic and changes to name a few.
For its story, one thing that Netherrealm studios has always had nailed down is its delivery in its storytelling, which is the video game equivalent of an action-packed popcorn movie. It’s 6+ hours big, over the top ridiculous, and for the most part, well acted. What’s great about it is that it gives each of the characters a proper amount of spotlight, especially those who’ve deserved it most.
The story follows after the events of MKX and quickly introduces us to the game’s new, all-powerful, magical being named Kronika; who is revealed to be the architect of all the events leading up to now and looks to restart the occurring events by setting the plot down to yet another menacing timeline due to Raiden’s decapitation of the elder god, Shinnok, upsetting the balance between good and evil. It’s here where the fun and joy of the game comes into play, as both past and present merge together, allowing past versions of current characters to be confronted by their former selves which for the most part have some of the best moments in the game. Two of the characters in particular that stand out and steal the show are the Johnny Cages with their witty banter of the side by side comparison of the two’s completely different selves.
Touching on its customization with a sense of individuality being the main focus of MK 11, its customizable options go through the roof. Each of the 20 characters on the starting roster have at least a staggering 60 skins, 90 pieces of customizable gear, and a selection of 10 techniques that you can add-on to their core sense of abilities and though a few of those are just some re-skins and colors, the number of ways that you can make your fighter more to your liking is nearly endless. How you get said items, however, is probably the lesser interesting aspect of the game.
First off you have the Krypt which has traditionally had its treasures placed in various locations till you eventually collect every item, but this time items are now randomized which in the end makes the Krypt nothing more than a giant dungeon with loot boxes and some random occasional jump-scares and a rather disappointing one at that.
Following behind that, are the Towers of Time and Character-based tower which work the same way as the Multiverse does in Injustice 2 and essentially is a collection of challenge towers that is filled with modifiers that really make you grind to win various challenges to earn extra points for you to go out and spend to acquire new items; some being more overwhelming than others, making the experience more irritating rather than fun from time to time, it makes the effort for some players, not all that worth it.
Fortunately for those, not every tower is all that bad as new challenge towers pop in and out every few hours (hints the name being the Towers of TIME) and jumping out of one tower and starting a whole new one has no punishment towards you whatsoever.
It’s one thing for the story and it’s another for online, as its online mode truly stands out above the rest and will have you coming back to it time and time again.
Mortal Kombat 11 has a fairly superb net code that you could ever find in any fighting game to date, even matches with low quality 2 bar connection on WiFi have very few if any, noticeable lag. All your beloved modes like ranked, causal, and King of the hill are still here, but now you can even play some weird but oddly fun AI matches where you can set up a team of your own customized characters against someone else’s and watch each of them fight it out. Rank matches however now only limit you to strictly 2 variations now, rather than 3 from MKX , which is a bit of a letdown, but causal matches on the other hand grant you more freedom for those who just want to play as their own specific custom characters, so in some ways, it plays out.
Not often do you get a fighting game that ticks just about every box as efficiently as Mortal Kombat 11 does. From its well-designed combat to its well-crafted story, to its strongly stable net code, all the way to its comprehensive tutorial are extraordinarily exceptional. It’s only when you go through its drawn-out progression system that things can make you turn the other way. Even the Nintendo Switch version of the game manages to keep up with every detail in the game. The only minor, if any detail at all, to the characters have been slightly decreased to keep up with the Switch console in both handheld & docked to the T.V, but it’s not any adjustments that interfere with the actual gameplay experience as a whole. Even its story mode holds with all its graphics surprisingly well. Though I do have to mention that despite the switch version being able to run MK11 at 60 fps is a shocking success given that there was no gameplay footage prior to the game’s release, certain aspects of the game’s playability and how you earn rewards does, in fact, have its fair share of problems.
With the Mortal Kombat 11 being playable on the go making the game more convenient and fun how you progress does unfortunately get the shorter of the stick in return with nearly every mode, signal, and multiplayer modes, the Krypt, and even towers, requiring you to be connected to the internet in order for you to receive any kind of items you might have earned along the way. One situation that I came across in particular was when I was playing one of the Klassic Towers and at a random point as I was just about to complete the shower I get a popup saying I was disconnected to the servers completely losing all the challenges and items I had won and ultimately starting the whole tower over from the beginning. It’s really the one issue that makes earning and upgrading more of a mission than rewarding. It’s still a great game nonetheless but when it comes to the switch it might be a little frustrating if you’re constantly on the go and are trying to level up.
To its credit, Mortal Kombat 11 may still be “that fighting game where you rip people’s off”, the series continues to one-up itself through each installment, demonstrating that there’s real fighting depth beyond its notoriously gruesome and gory fatalities. It’s a fatally good time and it’s only improving itself as the years go by.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Mortal Kombat 11 Review
Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Replay Value - 9/10
User Review( votes)
The series continues to one-up itself through each installment, demonstrating that there’s real fighting depth beyond its notoriously gruesome and gory fatalities. It’s a fatally good time and it’s only improving itself as the years go by.