If you walked into a public area and said, “Get over here!” in a deepend tone, almost everyone would know that you just made a reference to Scorpion from the Mortal Kombat series. The franchise has become a major staple in the fighting game category since its debut in 1992. Since then, Mortal Kombat has grown into a massive powerhouse and shows little sign of slowing down. Following the release of Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11 from NetherRealm Studios hit the shelves for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 23rd, 2019 and is the most successful game in the series at launch so far. With multiple game modes, over 20 fighters available at start, and dedicated online server, MK 11 is looking at a bright future … but is the game worth your play time?
The first thing I tackled was the campaign. MK 11 picks up where MK X left off, providing the closure that Mortal Kombat X needed. Lasting around five hours and spanning across 12 chapters, the campaign takes you to the NetherRealm to play clean-up on the remaining threats to Earthrealm. Afterwards, the timeline is placed in jeopardy by the main villain Kronika. Kronika attempts to alter the timeline so that Raiden never existed, in an attempt to undo the events in Chapter One. Throughout the rest of the campaign, you are attempting to keep hold on the current reality as it ensures the safety of your home realm.
While enjoying my adventures through time, I couldn’t help but be pulled in by the stunning visuals. The edges were clean and sharp, colors vibrant, and the detailing of the environments were so fine that I found myself studying them and appreciating the work that NeverRealm put into this title. The audio is no less impressive. The dialogue is well annunciated, the background sounds are subtle but yet noticeable, and the combat audio is extremely crisp and intense. The weight of the strikes can be heard to the point that you can practically feel it as you grab someone’s arm and snap it from the underside or bring someone down over your knee and crush their spine.
Where Mortal Kombat 11 really shines is (no surprise) the combat. The controls and combos are really user friendly. The tutorials are a nice refresh for returning fans and a quick crash-course for new players. The controls are comfortable and easy to grasp with little to no latency. Within a few matches, you will find yourself learning the character’s movesets and how to utilize their combos effectively. NetherRealm included a frame breakdown of moves for anyone who wants to learn the finer details of combat and help plan air-tight combos for online or local play. You can even tag certain combos on screen so if you don’t need to flip between menus and the game in order to learn new moves. The x-ray attacks are back and bloodier than before. They have been renamed as “Fatal Blows” and are only usable once per match and only when your health dips into the red. The only downside is you will never use it if you are really good at avoiding damage as this move is meant to be a way to level the playing field and help you stay in the fight, even when on the bad side of a combo. Easy fatalities make a return as well to help you land that dramatic, cinematic, gratuitous climax that we all have come to know and love.
Another thing Mortal Kombat 11 does right is the amount of game modes and customization available to the player. There are several tower options such as Klassic Tower, Towers of Time, and even an endless tower. The Krypt also makes a return with this puzzle-based, third person adventure where you can unlock more skins, fatalities, brutalities, etc. Of course, local multiplayer makes a return along with its online tournament counterparts and the campaign ties it all together with a nice bloody bow. One thing that they tailored is the customization. You can now select a character and pick their outfits, add or remove special moves, and change their accessories which helps make the combatant feel more unique to you.
Mortal Kombat 11 has a lot going right for it:
- Great campaign
- Easy and responsive controls
- Beautiful scenery
- Easy to learn
- Tons upon tons of customization options
- Amazing visuals, animations, audios, and voice acting
- Roster size
- The amount of game modes available to play
There was only one major drawback I personally found and that was the Fatal Blow limitation. It feels almost like a punishment to play well and not be able to unleash a powerful signature move … but those games (when you do it) become so much more rewarding as a result.
Mortal Kombat has been around for over 25 years, and they still understand what gamers want from a fighting game — to feel epic as you unleash combo after combo into a gory finishing move. It’s a formula that hasn’t changed much since it was invented and NetherRealm continues to show why they are the top choice when it comes to a great fighter. MK 11 is easily the best Mortal Kombat to date and has dethroned MK 9 from my personal favorite slot. There’s so much content offered in this one installment to the series that it doesn’t feel like a wash, rinse, and repackage. Mortal Kombat 11 earns a solid 9/10 in my book for what a fighting game should be. If you’re looking for some serious competition or just some fun on a Saturday night with friends, Mortal Kombat 11 is a great choice. You’ll be hooked after your first “Finish Him.”