Mortal Kombat 11 Review
Mortal Kombat X was a landmark release in the long-running skull-crushing series, selling more than any previous entry and proving NetherRealm’s fighters could stand toe-to-toe with Street Fighter, Tekken and other competitors in terms of depth and polish. NetherRealm then upped their game another notch with the almost shockingly-good DC Comics brawler Injustice 2. Ed Boon and company have gone from the silly blood ‘n’ guts guys to arguably the leading fighting game developers on the scene.
Given NetherRealm’s recent successes, Mortal Kombat 11 has a lot to live up to. Does the game continue their winning streak or is there nowhere to go but down after the achievements of Mortal Kombat X? Time to find out if Mortal Kombat 11 is a Flawless Victory or just a bloody mess…
A fighting game is nothing without good base mechanics and Mortal Kombat 11 is built on a rock-solid foundation. This is Mortal Kombat as you know it, which is to say, only four attack buttons (back punch/kick and front punch/kick) and forgiving, easy-to-remember special attack inputs. No thumb-blistering half-circle special moves here. That said, a few significant tweaks have been made.
Running has been axed, and lengthy, strung-together combos have been dialed back in favor of shorter attack chains and mixing up your specials. The Super Meter from earlier MK games has been split into separate shorter Offense and Defense meters, discouraging players from leaning too heavily in either direction. Your Offense Meter charges can be used to power up your specials, while your Defense Meter is depleted when you use specific defensive moves (combo-interrupting Breakers have got the boot this time around). It feels like NetherRealm wants players to use a wider array of special moves and techniques, rather than sticking to the same old reliable strategies. The result is a game that’s a touch slower than some previous entries in the series, but, ultimately, more varied. But not all the changes are entirely successful – the new Fatal Blows (essentially the MK version of Injustice 2’s Super Moves) are impressive, but they interrupt the flow of matches and eventually get tiresome once you’ve seen them 100 times.
Beyond the fundamentals, there’s a ton of complex stuff for hardcore competitive types to chew over. Combos, special strengths and weakness, situational strategies – it can be a lot to take in, but if you just want to throw fireballs and bicycle kicks with Liu Kang, you can do that too, as Mortal Kombat 11 has a wide range of difficulty options. The game also offers up an impressively deep tutorial that can get pretty much anybody started on their path to becoming a Mortal Kombat master. This is an admirably accessible bit of blood sport.
Once you get a handle on the basics, the first thing you’ll probably jump into is Story mode, which plunges into full-on time-travel craziness this time around. It turns out everything that’s happened thus far in the Mortal Kombat games has been secretly manipulated by an evil time lord named Kronika, but Raiden’s meddling has become too much for her to tolerate, so she’s decided to reboot time and erase the thunder god in one fell swoop. This, of course, leads to all sorts of shenanigans, as the current mostly-middle-aged MK cast come face-to-face with their younger counterparts and the Lin Kuei, Shaolin monks, and various NetherRealm factions vie for power.