What a classic, sorry “klassic”, game series Mortal Kombat is. As someone old enough to have played the original when it released, I have an affection for the game. My Mortal Kombat 11 review was had to write for just wanting to keep playing.
For me, I think this is the best action in the series. One that hits a balance the series has lacked in the past. Its only flaw for all formats, PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch is really the “grind” factor. While now patched somewhat to make it less like it’s pushing you into microtransactions.
I still think it’s overly driven by money and not fun. Still, there is a lot to love about the game outside of this problem.
How Does Mortal Kombat 11 Play
How much do we all love a good 2D fighter? It seemed for a long time back in the 3D graphics world of Tekken, Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive, all great titles that are still going of course. But it felt like the age of great 2D fighters was gone.
NetherRealm has had other ideas for some time. What with Injustice and Mortal Kombat raising the standards with each sequel.
In MK11 you have that classic best of 3 rounds gameplay by default set in the 2D arena.
There are the usual interactions we’ve seen in the series before where a tap of R1/RB in certain positions will let you hit your opponent in different ways. Or just quickly get out of a tight spot.
Mainly, it’s you VS the other character and you have to balance punches, kicks and throws with your special abilities to take them down. All hitting with a real sense of impact that’s relative to the attack.
Plus, the big hits sometimes get you a bone-crunching x-ray view of the impact. Ribs crack and organs burst in slow-mo. Happening at just the right frequency to feel really cool when it happens.
While there has been a number of titles in the genre all about unleashing different levels of super moves, MK11 breaks that up somewhat.
You don’t build up multiple super bars or have constant massive move sequences going on all the time. It’s much more grounded than that here.
You have two bars for defence and attack modifiers. These are in the relevant character corners. These allow a limited number of additional powers to your attacks.
For example, during my MK11 review time, I played towers with Sub Zero. He has a special ice shoulder change that can be amplified with a click of R1/RB that makes the move hit harder and longer. But I can only do this a couple of times before the bar needs to charge up by inflicting normal damage.
It’s a nice way of making special moves more than what they are.
Fatal Blow is the big move here that only unlocks when you are in your last section of health. Once you manage to land it, you can’t use it again for the duration of the fight.
While there are some balance issues that I’ll get into later, I personally think the gameplay for MK11 is a standard setter for 2D fighters right now.
Presentation And Graphics
With fighting games, you are always expecting something a bit impressive. There isn’t all that open-world stuff to render around you. No really big events and set-piece gameplay moments to script either.
So, when I say Mortal Kombat looks amazing you would be fair in thinking it damn well should do. What else are they doing with all that power, right?
But what I love about MK11 is the detail in the animations, sound and the beautiful yet subtle lighting.
Each character and whomever they confront give great illusion it’s a real fight. Like there is something genuine there rather than two skins on screen. Little comments and interactions and how the animations to all attacks seem so fluid and unique, it all just flows so perfectly.
Sound and lighting bring this altogether too. The crunching of impacts really do make you feel them, especially with some high-quality headphones or speakers.
Combine that with the sequences and lighting effects on some of the brutal moves, it can genuinely make you really feel some of those big Punish impacts.
I was quite surprised that getting my MK11 review done took so much time to explore everything here. NetherRealm has put a lot into this game, even if some of it is there to drive you towards their microtransactions.
The story mode is another win, with some outlandish moments and a cool plot to keep you entertained. Suspending of disbelief is required of course, and ignoring Endgame time-travel logic!
But with a new enemy in Cronica, played very nicely by Mass Effect legend Jennifer Hale it all plays out really well. With everything going very dark the timeline is manipulated and the 90s original MK characters mix with their new counterparts.
It provides some really cool moments and one or two sad ones too as things don’t work out for all characters here. The end though is worth the journey and leaves the series in a good place for new ideas going forward.
Yes, the towers! They are back and I really do enjoy me a good tower to climb and challenge to take on. What I also like is where NetherRealm has really put some effort into making the characters really deep and customisable.
This includes gear that you can equip and make you better at certain attacks or defence. Plus, cosmetic changes that do nothing but make you look cool. All good.
The problem the game suffers from is making it feel like it’s going to take so long to achieve you may as well pay for them. Which I get in modern gaming is always a balancing act between the pay and the grind. It’s just in this case it was leaning wayyy too close to the pay side of things.
Thankfully it’s better from patching but it’s still some work to get all the stuff you can do out of the game. Although, I do quite like The Crypt mode that sees you solve puzzles and explore to find chests that drop random items.
Add to that an excellent multiplayer experience it’s all full of things to do and lots of characters to enjoy.
Some do feel somewhat overpowered but again I think there is some patching going on to get the balance right. You will have your favourites though and you’ll hopefully not see them nerfed!
Should You Play Mortal Kombat 11?
I had a blast doing this MK11 review, a game I really enjoyed. Yes, there are some issues with the game being on the grinding side and I do hope work on these continue with patches incoming all the time.
But with an epic story, with choices and different options to make you go back for more. Loads of towers and great online play. Plus, really deep character customisations and options. Mortal Kombat 11 packs quite the punch in terms of content.
Gameplay wise, it hits you right where it hurts every fight! You really feel it, and the game sets a really top gameplay standard for 2D fighters right now for me.
Gamers how would suit this game
The game is very much an 18/Mature so it is only for people who don’t mind some rather gory scenes. Bloodthirsty gamers out there be really happy, because this is for you.
And anyone who loves a good 2D fighter either to play solo, local multiplayer or heading online.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Immaculate gameplay||Pay or grind||None experienced|
|Great story and characters|
|A lot of content|
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About this MK11 review
Game Reviewed: Mortal Kombat 11 digital edition, provided by the publisher.
Review Format: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC, Switch
PEGI Rating: 18