Mortal Kombat 11 is the latest in the long running Mortal Kombat franchise which originally started with Mortal Kombat 1 in 1992. Mortal Kombat 11 was developed by NetherRealm Studios and is published by Warner Bothers Interactive Entertainment. The game is available on the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC.
For much of this generation of consoles, I’ve not really been so into the fighting genre of games. This year’s Dead Or Alive 6 was actually my first fighting game in a long time that I went and purchased and while I’ve always been a Mortal Kombat fan, I have actually missed the previous two titles in the series. The trailers for the game that I’ve seen and even the one I shared above never actually really caught my attention, even on release day. But what did happen on release day, was a lot of streamers started playing through the story mode and I started to watch it on the train on the way home, what I saw in the first half an hour intrigued me and I ended up purchasing the game later that evening on PC.
The story of Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the most well put together plots for a fighting game that I have seen. With so many characters in the game to follow, things felt well balanced and many of the characters got adequate time in the storyline. As a long time fan of this series, it brought me great joy seeing so many of the characters in game again. This game also features quite a lot of throwbacks to the 90’s character designs, which were what I used to play with the most years ago and I loved seeing those designs in game and in cut scenes yet again, with newer and far better graphics.
What happens in this story essentially is that Raiden has become corrupt by Shinnock’s power and has gone mad after killing Shinnock in battle. This makes Kronika very angry and as the God of Time, she starts messing with things to punish evil Raiden. This is what causes the past characters to come into the future and interact with their future self. I don’t want to tell anymore as I don’t want to spoil anything. But while it does all sound quite mad written down like this, actually it’s rather good. I was so hooked on the story, that I ended up not being able to put the game down for about 4 hours or so, which is about how long it will take you to get through it, granted you can beat the opponents quick enough. As a fighting game, I don’t really expect such a long story, but what we have here in Mortal Kombat 11 is basically almost a 4 hour CGI movie, featuring every character in the game and I loved every moment of it.
The gameplay is interesting. Compared to Dead Or Alive 6 which is a recently released game in the fighting game genre, there’s one main difference. In Mortal Kombat 11, fights are two dimensional, with the player only allowed to move their character backwards and forwards during fights. In a game like Dead Or Alive 6, fights are three dimensional, so characters can move in any direction, allowing them to dodge moves at times by shifting a characters position. If you have played the older Mortal Kombat games, a two dimensional one would have been Mortal Kombat trilogy, whereas Mortal Kombat 4 was three dimensional. Having the gameplay in this two dimensional format’yet again, helped to compress the fights and add pressure onto the player, you can’t simply run away. This means that players need to place greater emphasis on blocking and counters when facing tough opponents. In particular online matches, this 2D style made things feel particularly competitive with me and my opponent baiting each other constantly by blocking, unblocking and trying to find an entry point for attack and this pressure felt even higher when I was low on health and needed only 1 more hit to win.
Apart from the story mode, players can participate in a tower game. This is where AI opponents are stacked in a tower, with a final boss at the top. Like classic Mortal Kombat games (Mortal Kombat 4), you pick a character and fight every other character on the way up the tower until you beat everyone in the lineup. Reaching the end will give you rewards, such as currency to unlock certain things in the game.
While playing the game, you will earn points. These points/currency can by used in the game’s Krypt. The Krypt is the oddest part of the game I felt because basically what happens here is you are playing as a character in a three dimensional Shang Tsung’s island. In there, there are chests which you can open, you won’t know what’s inside. Some of them might cost you 10k. 2k, 5k etc of the currency you have earned and inside them are little prizes like art work, fatalities you can unlock, character skins and much more. To me, these chests just felt like loot boxes and I really would like to just use my currency to unlock items on characters I like to play. I would love to have more things for Cassie Cage, but instead I’ve gotten a whole bunch on Kabal items from the Krypt and I’ll probably never use it. It’s disappointing that the currency is used in this way as it takes time to earn it and I’d rather choose how I spend what I’ve worked for, not just get random stuff for my efforts. Who wants to grind and do all of this? It’s ridiculous!
In the game, the things that you unlock can be used to customise your character. You can change things like a character’s skin or you can choose different special moves that you can take into battle. I quite like this variation and it makes the online matches quite interesting to see what moves players have decided to equip for their characters. The customisation component of the game makes facing popular characters like Scorpion for example more unique, as the moves aren’t always the same every single time, different players have different move sets and I like that.
The online component of the game is a place where I have spent hours playing there. So far my experience has been good with my only frustration being that I am not good enough to win as many games as I would like. I’ve had a few games where me and my opponent are fairly matched when it comes to our skill level and this is great. But I’ve also had a bunch of one sided games where I could just not do anything to my opponent, they just keep somehow doing special moves and massive combos and I can’t even stand up. This happens too much at times and with players being so good in such a short time, I do wonder if they’re cheating somehow, it is online on PC so it could be possible, but I don’t really know.
There is an online ranking in this game and I am keen to see how I do when it opens, I am in no way a great player, I’m average at best, but I still want to give it a go. Hopefully something can be done to balance matches in the Kasual 1v1 mode, I cannot tell if it’s just random opponents or if anything is even balancing the matches for players. So far it seems like overall, matches are just with random players based on my experience so far.
Aside from the main fighting game modes, there’s also a practice game mode and tutorial area. This area is very handy for players that are new to fighting games and as a long running franchise, it is good to see that the makers of Mortal Kombat are still trying to do something to welcome in newcomers to the franchise and this training area helps to train new players in what to do.
The graphics in this are rather good. I have never seen Mortal Kombat look so well, although on PC, I did have some issues with hair textures. Some characters’ hair looked a little weird and something was wrong with it. Animations were rather good, fatalities and in game animations are also done quite well. Locations are also very interesting to look at and their textures are very nice. In general, Mortal Kombat 11 is a very nice looking game.
Overall, I loved my experience with Mortal Kombat 11. The game brings fans the best of the Mortal Kombat series by having both the classic characters and present characters all playable in the same game. The story component is about 4 hours long, but is much more than I expect from a game of this genre and the tale told was quite interesting to follow. Graphically the game looks brilliant. There were a few hiccups though, like the online matchmaking being a little unbalanced for me at times and I had a problem with the hair textures. I also do not really like the whole Krypt system for unlocking things, it’s honestly ridiculous. But overall, I had a great week with Mortal Kombat 11 and spent hours playing online. I’m happy to recommend this game to fans or newcomers to the series as it’s quite welcoming for them too. Mortal Kombat 11 was one of the better fighting game experiences I’ve had in recent years and I’m keen to keep playing for the next couple of weeks.