- Game: Mortal Kombat 11
- Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
- Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: NetherRealm Studios
A Mortal Kombat 11 review code was provided by the publisher.
NetherRealm Studios seems to have adopted a powerful mantra that’s evident in everything they do, which is “go big or go home.” Ever since the introduction of Mortal Kombat back in 1992, Ed Boon and his dedicated team of developers have found a way to up the ante with each successive series entry. Mortal Kombat X appeared to be the end-all, be-all of the world’s most popular violent fighting game, but everyone figured that even a massive sequel such as that one could easily be surpassed. With the arrival of Mortal Kombat 11, that prediction has undoubtedly come to pass. The treasure trove of modes, clever character customization system and fresh changes made to the combat mechanics come together to deliver the most feature-rich Mortal Kombat ever made.
Mortal Kombat 11’s approach to combat differs greatly from the last installment. Mortal Kombat X’s focus on fast-paced fights that rewarded players who properly pressured the opposition has been altered in a major way. MK 11’s somewhat slower pace gives way to a more footsies-based approach that focuses more on proper spacing and the utilization of new defensive options. This combat refresh doesn’t hold the game back in any way though, so longtime fans have nothing to worry about. Each and every member of the 25-member launch roster is provided with a bevy of classic maneuvers and brand new abilities that do a whole lot to make each fight immensely enjoyable. The addition of counter-based Krushing Blows, the last-resort Fatal Blow super move, and the Flawless Block mechanic stand out as the finest signature elements of MK 11’s combat stylings.
With such a diverse cast of franchise characters to choose from, MK 11 certainly had a tough task ahead of it when it came to building a proper launch roster. The latest batch of combatants presented in this sequel is largely a home run. Several fan favorites make their return alongside three new fighters who fit the series overall theme like a well-worn glove.
Geras is a badass brute who can use time manipulation powers to aid him in battle, The Kollector is a multi-limbed trickster who’s full of surprises, and Cetrion is the most vicious representation of Mother Nature in all of gaming. The most fun that comes from interacting with MK 11’s roster is the custom variation system. Getting the chance to customize your favorite character by altering their moveset, costumes, Brutalities, etc. is just as addicting as the fights themselves. This feature does an awesome job of building upon the comparable systems last seen in MKX and Injustice 2.
Of course, there’s a whole bunch of other activities to busy yourself with besides tinkering with the custom variation system. Players can once again embroil themselves within the outlandish universe of Mortal Kombat through this installment’s story mode. It’s quite evident that the world has no need for another live-action MK film – the devs at NetherRealm Studios have topped themselves once again and given fans an awesome tale worth playing (and replaying) through.
Kronika’s plot to reconfigure the balance between good and evil results in present versions of each character interacting with their past selves. The story beats that are delivered with this theme in mind will please the most diehard MK fanatics. The big-budget feel of the cinematics is backed by an impressive graphics engine, cool dialogue moments between the game’s cast, and big-screen worthy action sequences. The playable fights that are dispersed between each cutscene are as fun as you’ve come to expect them to be.
The other mode types that are put on display here are perfect for those looking to primarily enjoy themselves offline. Besides the traditional arcade towers, you can take on the challenge of the Towers of Time. These special ladder battles constantly present players with fight changing parameters and surprises that keep its replay value high. The battles you’ll involve yourself in here and the other playable modes you’ll participate in regularly award you for your playtime. Both offline and online players will certainly be satisfied with the constant bombardment of goodies that comes their way from simply enjoying everything the game has to offer. The new 3rd-person take on the Krypt is especially rewarding – its clever use of series callbacks, mysterious puzzles, and a massive collection of worthwhile items are further proof of MK 11’s strong mode structure.
MK 11 damn near reaches perfection, but a few issues prevent it from reaching God-tier status. The overwhelming list of new offensive and defensive options can certainly be daunting for both beginners and expert players alike. The extensive tutorial does a good job of explaining basic fighting game terminology and the game’s newest mechanics, but there’s just so much (perhaps too much) stuff to wrap your head around. The barrier to entry here may be too high for some to overcome.
Being forced to spend your main source of currency when it comes to crafting consumables is kind of annoying, too – your hard-earned Koins are better spent on opening Krypt treasure chests. Using another currency type to mix and match your consumables would have been a much smarter decision to incorporate. The path to unlocking new skins is a bit too grindy and can feel like excessive busywork at times. And finally, the absence of certain MK favorites may be a bit deflating for some. The exclusion of Mileena, Kenshi, Ermac, and others is hard to ignore. Future DLC should remedy this problem sooner rather than later, however.
Mortal Kombat 11 Takeaways
As far as 2019 fighting games go, Mortal Kombat 11 easily tops the competition. While it slows down the combat pacing last seen in MKX, this sequel still manages to retain the exciting fights and jaw-dropping elements the series is known for. You’ll never grow tired of this feature-rich fighter thanks to its huge assortment of playable modes, Easter Egg’s, Krypt secrets, and addictive custom variation system. If this is truly NetherRealm Studio’s franchise swan song, then Mortal Kombat as a whole couldn’t have gone out on a better note. Simply put, Mortal Kombat 11 is a series and genre triumph worth playing over and over again.
Our Mortal Kombat 11 Review Score: 9.75 out of 10
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