The new great evil in Mortal Kombat is called Kronika, and she is causing a ruckus by tampering with time and rewriting history. The characters are obliterated or clash with their past, while new alliances are formed and new ones created – this is the kind of chaos that is ripe for conflict. Nothing that has happened to Mortal Kombat before matters more; the series gives itself a clean slate, and not just with the lore of the story. This is our Mortal Kombat 11 Review.
Mortal Kombat 11 Review: About
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, Windows
- Developer: NetherRealm Studios, Shiver Entertainment, QLOC, Shiver
- Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Genre: Fighting game
- Release Date: March 2019
Mortal Kombat 11 Review: Gameplay
It’s hard not to get excited about the storyline in a NetherRealm game, given the studios’ history of tinkering with involved stories, and not surprisingly Mortal Kombat 11 delivers an entertaining and polished blockbuster-style cinematic experience with its story of Kronika’s time-breaking antics. Combat is interwoven with several cutscenes, but you’ll probably spend more time watching well-choreographed action instead of joining in.
But the story is an excellent introduction to the more popular characters in the series. The joy of Kronika’s time manipulation means that even if you’re a transient fan and don’t know all the things that have happened in the universe lately. You can get a kick out of seeing classic versions of familiar faces, who are as stunned as you are about what has happened to their future selves since then.
Watching the character’s interactions between young and old themselves is a highlight. Except for a somewhat flat Sonya Blade, the solid performances are endearingly sincere with some unexpected moments of introspection. By the time it was over, I was more eager to embarrass Johnny Cage by his younger self, much more of the bromance between Liu Kang and Kung Lao, the juicy dynamics between parents and children.
But the storyline touches that perfect balance of being just enough and not staying too long. The storylines are often ridiculous, especially when family members and loved ones end up in fatal tiffs, but it’s a wonderfully bombastic and bizarre visual spectacle like no other. Mortal Kombat 11’s eclectic lattice contains a robust selection of the series’ iconic fighters, along with some of Mortal Kombat X’s great additions such as gunslinger Erron Black and the insectoid D’Vorah.
Three new characters do their best to make the line-up branch out-Geras is an imposing heavy one with the ability to rewind and manipulate time, Cetrion is an older god with flashy elementary projectiles, the Collector has a wonderfully disturbing and bamboozling six-armed demonic design – and they all add diversity to the familiar roster of ninjas and military guys. Character variations also help keep things diverse.
A recurring concept of Mortal Kombat X, each character can choose between different sets of special moves that change their style of play. You can now customize loadouts in MK11; however, only two pre-defined movesets are acceptable for a competitive game. Still, it means there are a few things to consider when choosing which fighter to use. Some crucial changes streamline the mechanics of MK11, resulting in a fighting system that feels more active and aggressive than its predecessors.
The unique meter system has been simplified, allowing reinforced maneuvers to be used at almost any time – the idea of having to stop two or three bars of a meter and save to perform a specific type of technique. Separate meters for defensive and offensive techniques, along with fast charging speeds, meaning they can also be used more freely. The “Fatal Blows” replace MKX X-ray techniques and serve as a last-ditch comeback mechanic that can be activated once per game when your health is running out, creating an increased tension when it comes down to it.
Significant block damage discourages you from being too defensive while learning the perfect-timing requirements of the “flawless block” system is encouraged to limit some damage and open up turnaround possibilities. Walking and endurance meters are removed, and the distance between dashes feels shorter, so the MK11 always concentrates at a striking distance from the opponent. All these adjustments mean that there is rarely a low moment in a Mortal Kombat 11 fight.
Character-specific tutorials also exist and are more than a simple enumeration of all available techniques. These useful lessons focus on the most valuable and practical skills and combos for a specific character and give you ideas on when to use them, their pros and cons, and what you could follow up on. What’s more, the in-game movement lists are incredibly extensive, with all kinds of useful data for each movement’s characteristics, so you can easily distinguish which one of your character’s actions starts the fastest.
It’s valuable information and knowledge on which NetherRealm has built in the last few games and which is presented at its best in Mortal Kombat. Of course, if you’re the kind of player who doesn’t worry about the advanced stuff and just wants to jump into it to see blood flow, Mortal Kombat 11 can undoubtedly be just as entertaining. Pre-determined combo strings, flashy special moves, and humorous over-the-top barbarism mean that the game is a pleasure to watch and participate in, whether players are just messing around or taking the game seriously.
In addition to the storyline of the game, MK11 sees the return of Klassic Towers. In this more simple single-player mode, you fight against a range of opponents before eventually facing big boss Kronika. But the real flesh of the single-player offer is the Towers Of Time, MK’s version of the limited-time ladders, which feature unique modifiers that can affect the playing field, the fighters, and mechanics.
As they stand at the time of writing the Mortal Kombat Review, the Towers of Time manage to provide an endless, immersive palette of single-player content to tackle once you’re done with story mode. The difficulty curve and the number of challenges you face are reasonable enough always to have the prizes at the end of a tower, and the end of an entire island of towers, at your fingertips. What used to be a frustrating experience at launch is a week later a compulsive one.
Even the boss’s demanding combat style challenges require you to go through just one round before being showered with the payouts offered. The Konsumables above, character cosmetics, and large denominations of the various currencies needed to open chests in the Krypt, MK11’s third-person quasi-puzzle adventure mode designed to unlock even more collectibles, are also tempting.
The Krypt in Mortal Kombat 11 is a fully restored recreation of the island of Shang Tsung, the location of the very first Mortal Kombat game from 1992. Exploring the place where items have to be found to open paths to new areas, is an exciting experience in itself – it’s a pure joy to simply take in the visual splendor of specific locations, especially if you keep memories of Mortal Kombat’s stages.
A mess of treasure chests is spreading across the island, requiring one of three currencies to open them, but the catch is that in addition to the chests that require “Hearts,” the rewards you get are entirely randomized. Regardless of their asking price, crates can provide you with something exciting, such as new costumes or brutality finishers for a particular character, or something as necessary as concept art.
There are, of course, a variety of online multiplayer modes, including leaderboards and occasional contests, a king-of-the-hill mode, and upcoming seasons, as well as private options such as lobbies and the ability to use practice mode with a friend. Mortal Kombat 11 also features tools that help you have some control over your experience in casual matches; you can see your opponent’s win/loss ratio, your estimated chance of success. Information about each player’s internet connection and the game, fortunately, allows you to refuse a match if you think you’re going to have a wrong time.
I didn’t experience any significant problems with online play during the first week of the game. I even found match-ups reasonable in most cases, which means that the battles were often heartbreakingly close. The robust online options make it worth choosing a fight without the modifiers of the Towers Of Time.
Mortal Kombat 11 Review: Conclusion
MK11 is not only a sequel for series fans and NetherRealm fans; it is a gateway to the realm of fighting games for anyone who has a passing interest in watching ruthless warriors beat each other. The streamlined mechanics keep the fighting furiously exciting, regardless of your skill level, and the extensive tutorials encourage you to delve into the nitty-gritty. There’s a varied roster with new characters and playing styles, and the storyline is an entertaining romp. The randomness of the Krypt rewards and the game’s strange problem may occasionally take your patience away, but Mortal Kombat 11 strikes where it counts.
MK11 is not only a sequel for series fans and NetherRealm fans; it is a gateway to the realm of fighting games for anyone who has a passing interest in watching ruthless warriors beat each other.