Mortal Kombat 11
   

 
ABOUT
Mortal Kombat 11 was officially announced on December 6th, 2018 at the
The Game Awards 2018. The game was released worldwide on April 23rd, 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Like MK9 and MKX before it, Mortal Kombat 11 features several "big name" guest characters from other popular franchises. The sequel to 2015's MKX (which added big-name horror guests like Jason, Alien & Leatherface), MK11 pushes the "mainstream" hype by bringing in movie icons: Rambo, Terminator, Joker, Spawn & Robocop... characters that even make sense in a gory fighting game.
 

Graphics!  Confirmed: Mortal Kombat 11 will have graphics.

    
Custom Character Variations return from MKX and give players a few new ways to customize their fighters. Visual customizations cost in-game currency called "Time Krystals" which players pay for with real money... (yes, NRS's dreaded Microtransactions are back). Like in MKX and Injustice 2, players must grind offline modes against the CPU to unlock visual character customizations. The loot system offers a visually stunning variety of costumes and colors for each fighter. However, these unlockables are rotated randomly and only become available a few at any given time, so hours upon hours of grinding may be required to unlock specific items you might want. (P.S. That's a lot of gore to take in if you're not accustomed to this level of violence and disassembly of the human anatomy.)


Fatal Blow
is a new comeback mechanic that can quickly change the pace of a fight, becoming available when a character's health is below 30% - (initiated by hitting LT + RT). Fatal Blow attacks literally "blow" through anything the opponent is doing, so it's an easy comeback mechanic with little risk that even button mashers can quickly understand. Of course, successful Fatal Blow attacks result in cinematic, brutal series of attacks - some of the most stunning in the game (usually involving explicit gouging, ripping, and breaking - just so characters can keep fighting after dying) and take a very large chunk of health away from the opponent similar to "X-Ray Moves" from past installments. Using Fatal Blow at the end of any basic combo can lead to ridiculous combo damage.


Offensive / Defensive Meters:  Mortal Kombat 11 features two meters for use with special moves: a horizontal meter for offensive attacks and a vertical meter for defensive maneuvers. Amplified Special Moves return from Mortal Kombat X and simply require an additional button press to power up the attack. Defensive abilities that require meter, include: Breakaways (for escaping combos), Getup Attacks, Getup Rolls, and Flawless Block Attacks. Flawless Block is a new defensive system where a perfectly-timed block will create an opportunity for counter attacks.
     

Raiden will make them walk to Gamestop to buy this game.

   

The Krypt
returns in Mortal Kombat 11. Players are transported to "Shang Tsung's Island" on a quest to discover puzzles and secret passages where they will find treasure chests containing loot like in-game currency, concept art, alternate Fatalities, and more. In the Krypt, you control a unique character and roam around highly-detailed environments to open chests, smash things, and experience some fun Easter Eggs for long-time fans of the series. All treasure chests requires in-game currency to open, which can be earned by playing through the different modes.


In my opinion, while The Krypt is a novel idea, looks cool, and features some Easter Eggs for old school fans... "hopelessly wandering around" The Krypt and "breaking random things with the giant hammer repeatedly" isn't exactly my idea of fun. While taking in the ridiculous amounts of polish NRS put into this mode (especially pretty in 4k), The Krypt in MK11 strikes me as a major distraction from the actual game... and just seems unnecessary. It comes off as less of a reward system and more of a chore. Sure, let me open this chest that unlocks 1000 Time Krystals and 37 types of other in-game coins (*ehem* koins) that I don't give a shit about. My opinion might seem unfair, but this is coming from a person who would rather put hours into actually playing / mastering a fighting game (and numerous characters in said fighting game), not running around in some linear 3rd person game as a generic avatar breaking things and opening chests. 
 

   
Mortal Kombat 11's brand new multi-chapter story mode features the most engaging and polished cinematic story of the series to date. You can check out the official Story Prologue Trailer below.
 

The MK kombatants are feeling chatty again... like addicted-to-Twitter chatty


Mortal Kombat 11's
new graphics engine presents ultra-realistic character models, lifelike facial animations, highly-detailed stages with vivid lighting. Many stage designs are based on classic locations in the series and look spectacular. MK11's next-gen visual effects during special moves and fatalities also make an impact, while taking you out of the game a bit. In-your-face win poses and dynamic camera angles are the star of the show, giving players an unprecedented cinematic experience for a fighting game. Of course, the brutality and violence one would come to expect from a game called Mortal Kombat brings gore (and controversy) to the next level.
 

The old courtyard stage has seen better days. Looks sick.

    

Movement speed and combos are designed to be simple (and do feel like the old MK games), with easy inputs across the board - something that can be viewed as both good and bad when enjoying a competitive fighting game. An "easily accessible" fighting game is a good thing for the casual audience who just likes to mash buttons... but with simple movesets and low-skill-ceiling mechanics enabling players to "master a character in 1 day" doesn't help the longevity of a fighting game. MK11's new Offensive / Defensive meters look interesting, but the idea isn't very engaging... and reminds me of some (failed) mechanics from past obscure 90's fighting games. I'll elaborate why I think MK11's gameplay is "meh" in the wall of text to the right of your screen.
   

Ohh boy... another 80's / 90's movie character. "Dead or Alive... you'll buy this game."

    

Mortal Kombat: Aftermath was the first expansion for the game released in May 2020, adding RoboCop along with other new playable characters, stages, costumes. MK11: Aftermath also adds new story content to the game. Later in the same year, Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate was announced for release on November 17th, 2020 adding Rambo, Mileena, and Rain to the roster. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X definitive version of Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate features enhanced visuals, 4k resolution, crossplay, and shorter load times.
  

Liu Kang's face..... LOL.

   

 

Page Updated: October 22nd, 2020
Developer(s): NetherRealm Studios
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date(s): Apr. 23rd, 2019
May 26th, 2020   
MK11: Aftermath 
Nov. 17th, 2020    MK11: Ultimate 
Characters Scorpion, Raiden, Sub Zero, Sonya Blade, Baraka, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Skarlet, Shao Kahn, Kano, Kabal, D'Vorah, Jade, Johnny Cage, Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, Erron Black, Geras, Kronika, Shang Tsung, Noob Saibot, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Jax Briggs, Kotal Kahn, Cetrion, The Kollector, Kitana, Frost, Nightwolf, Sindel, Spawn, The Joker, Terminator T-800, Fujin, Sheeva, Robocop, Mileena, Rain, Rambo

Featured Video:

Related Games: Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, MK: Deadly Alliance, MK: Deception, MK: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2
   

Gameplay Engine   5.5 / 10
Story / Theme   9.0 / 10
Overall Graphics   9.5 / 10
Animation   6.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects   
Innovation    6.0 / 10
Art Direction    7.0 / 10
Customization    8.0 / 10
Options / Extras    9.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation    9.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun    4.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor    8.5 / 10
Characters    8.5 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

   

   

 

First Impression:

(Full review still in progress.) For better or worse... MK11 is unapologetically everything Mortal Kombat ever tried to be. The unsettling / awkward levels of violence, the unintended quirkiness, the unparalleled polish (mostly in areas that have nothing to do with gameplay), the mainstream overhype-ness, Ed Boon Twitter trolling, and Microtransactions... yes indeed, McKombat is back. However, this Mortal Kombat has a massive budget... and Arnold Schwarzenegger versus Sylvester Stallone. NRS did it, they really did it.

So we've all lived long enough to see the 11th installment of MK. Feel old yet? (Or maybe you're a new kid playing MK11 on your Nintendo Switch... and I kinda fear for our future.) With undeniable next-gen prowess and new-ish gameplay based on old school mechanics, MK11 makes a lot of noise in the modern era of fighting games. It's a twisted visual masterpiece of sorts... with those depraved NRS devs showing us grotesque new ways dissect the human anatomy. (Get help.) First and foremost, MK11 is gore porn and celebrity recognition. It's also a movie... and third, it's a fighting game. A good fighting game? Arguable.

One day in the 2000's, Ed Boon was sitting at home in his lush home theater watching lots of old movies when he decided he wanted to make a Mortal Kombat game featuring his favorite 80's movie characters. Mr. Boon's childhood dreams play themselves out in MK11 with Schwarzenegger versus Stallone, RoboCop versus Joker, Spawn versus all of them, ohh... and Mortal Kombat ninjas. (They're still in.) MK11 is 90's Guy Smash Brothers. The novelty of these celebrities fighting one another is something. However "mainstream" gamers might not realize there's a deeper reason people play fighting games.

MK11 delivers unsettling levels of gore, previously unimaginable during the "humorous" early days of the series. NRS insists the kids get back to virtually ripping people's limbs off (and worse), live on stream. Time for that one friend who "quit" fighting games to return for a few months just to watch the Fatalities. I'm convinced MK11 was made for people who like to "watch" fighting games, not for people who actually play them long term. Your great uncle's goat's gran-gran from Australia knows the name Mortal Kombat. Old folks and casuals will get a kick out of seeing faux Arnold duke it out with Stallone and Robocop. Who really cares about gameplay? MK still has the most name recognition out of any fighting game. The mainstream movie spin-offs, heaps of Warner Bros money, and annual payments to IGN reviewers have paid off big.

NRS has adapted a systematic and "safe" approach to selling their games over the past few years, ever since their renewed success with 2011's reboot. The MK9 formula evolved into Injustice, with INJ background interaction gimmicks coming full circle back into MK. 11's "simplified" mechanics are incredibly easy-to-get-into for casuals, but IMO this game lacks gameplay depth and long-term replayability compared to other highly successful fighting games of this era. A "return to basics" is a fine idea... but many OGs don't want to go back to Pre-Algebra when they've been enjoying Calculus in fighting games for years.

While anyone can enjoy NRS games for their rich 1-player content and superb presentation (and then self-respectably quit playing in about 2 months), long-time FG guys & gals know what to expect by now. Many have hoped NRS evolves their cookie cutter 2D gameplay recipe (with a side of spam-a-projectile cheese and a McTransactions soft drink). A history has shown, NRS hasn't delivered a long-lasting, competitively-successful fighting game... something many other FGs of this generation have experienced organically. Ex: Injustice 2 saw a massive drop in players less than 6 months after its launch, dying in under 2 years in the eSports world (while certain other fighting games released before Injustice 2 - and didn't win 'best fighting game' at mainstream gaming game show awards - are still going strong in 2020. All that polish and WB money, and nobody really wanted to continue spamming copy/pasta strings & having zone wars in Injustice 2. To me... MK11 feels like a slower, simplified version of Injustice 2. Yeep. 

MK11 looks incredible. Looks. The cinematics are over the top. The violence is so fleshed out (no pun intended)... to the point that I don't really enjoy it. (It's not just me, right?) To quote Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones: "There has always been more than enough death in this world for my taste. I can do without it in my leisure time." In short, MK11 is less about "fighting" and closer to "virtual murder". It's gross. Considering how many hours (years / decades) I dedicate to playing singular fighting games, I'd rather not be force-fed distasteful scenes of stabbing, gouging, and ripping of limbs... in every. single. match. You NRS devs should get help and seek therapy. (Some even had to do just that. Google it.) Yikes. Indeed, some NRS devs working on MKX and MK11 recently made claims of having PTSD from working on this game for many months straight. If that's not pushing the envelope "too far" in fighting games... I don't know what is.

Most importantly... Gameplay-wise, I'm not feelin' MK11 or the cookie cutter everything. So many characters feel exactly the same, even if they're DLC guests from comics and 80's movies. If I'm being honest, MK11's gameplay is simplified to the point that I think it's an insult to modern fighting games. This stuff worked in the 90's, but I people who actually remember the 90's are old now. (You're old.) This gameplay is dumbed down more than I can stomach. It's too restrictive, too simple, too early 00's, and not particularly open-ended or fun. MK11 is fast food. The streamlining and simplifying of the "classic" violent digitized 2D fighting game has certainly never looked more polished-up... so MK11 will inevitably appeal to a certain type of fighting game fan. However, even MKX's combo system was more "fun" and open-ended than this (and I found that game boring in a few days, also).

The loot system is flawed... from the ground up, MK11 is designed like a smartphone game to entice users to spend real money. This has become a NRS / Warner Bros thing since they started making smartphone games a few years back. (Even MK11's in-game purchasing system seems like a gimmick - with menus promoting "accidental clicks" to purchase the DLC. Yeah, it's kinda that bad.) Even professional esports players (ex: Tom Brady) posted angry YouTube videos disgruntled about MK11's loot system. If you're me, you like customizing your characters "for FREE" in fighting games ever since Darkstalkers 3 or CVS2 - (something I still frequently do in TEKKEN 7 and SoulCalibur 6 as well). So what the hell is all this MK11 Time Krystals bullshit? So hype. NRS continues to bring the... most annoying shit from other gaming genres into fighting games.

Basically, MK11 forces you to grind in offline modes with the CPU for "weeks on end" in order to have any hope unlocking specific customization items you might want. Loyal players (and players who don't want to spend 50+ hours grinding in offline modes) are enticed into spending real money to unlock cosmetic items. This is a fundamental flaw in how MK11 is designed - a formula that began in MKX, evolved in Injustice 2 and "perfected" in MK11. That Warner Bros. money and their billion-dollar earning mindsets... Wow, just wow.

MK11's character models and backgrounds, again, look stunning. They are perhaps most enjoyable in pre-fight scenes and Customize mode. One can't deny MK11's in-game camera angles & special effects are spectacular and several notches above other fighting games of this era. However, while I was "wowed" by the win poses, Fatality animations, and disturbing new levels of gore... the actual gameplay (and forever stiff fighting animation) slows my interest to a halt. There are so many moments in MK11 gameplay where the characters are just "standing there with stiff legs"... not moving like a human being. (This is not how a fight looks.) Some MK11 characters don't seem to know how to throw a real punch or kick, much less walk or jump without looking unhumanlike and awkward. It makes sense for RoboCop to move like a robot... so he fits right in. 

Throws and Fatal Blow animations, which "take you out of the game"... are... impressive? However, so many "key frames" (the most important animations for a fighting game IMO) are painfully janky and stiff (example: jumping without bending knees, weak punches that would never hurt anyone in real life, ugly kicks like Arnold's infamous crouch kick meme, and so on). Even so, with "realistic" overall visuals and pre-fight scenes packed with fan service and Easter Eggs, NRS has indeed mastered their brand of fighting game presentation. They do the cinematic parts very very well. They're also experts at marketing a video game. Bring in popular characters from other franchises and you don't need much else to sell a video game.

In recent times, MK as a series steered itself away from "martial arts" and more in the direction of Hollywood movie clichés (shut up Johnny Cage), horror-movie gimmicks, gore fetishists, and plays to entice the type of gamers who like to "watch" fighting games more than play them. Watching characters talk for hours and being force-fed nonstop "virtual murders" isn't my cup of tea. (Remember, I actually like to play fighting games.) In mid-90's / early 2000's MK games, the gore was tolerable and "humorous". MK11's gore is a different category and comes off as self-serving, toxic inside jokes. All this priority on gore, and NRS couldn't bring back any halfway "sexy" costumes for most of the females (or have them show much skin)? Nice set of... priorities.

Story mode? Sure, it's "good". MK11's story mode continues NRS's tradition of insanely-polished single-player experiences that most will play through once. (Quick rant: Story modes are not why I put countless tokens into arcade machines back in the day, not why I enter tournaments, and not why I continue to play fighting games after 30 years.) If I wanted to go watch a gory C+ action film packed with overused clichés, villains predictably getting their asses kicked, and "alleged" political wokeness; then I would pay for overpriced movie tickets, crappy food, and go torture myself. However, I actually like to play fighting games. MK11 doesn't seem to be made for me.

I saw the red flags at the first MK11 reveal event when Ed Boon went onstage after the reveal trailer. He stated, "Now, we'll talk about some of the 'nerdy' fighting gameplay stuff." Wooow. Yet again, it couldn't be more clear where NRS priorities are. Alas, MK11 is painful to play (and not for the reasons most would think). Traipsing through MK11's multi-chapter Story Mode has been mostly unenjoyable for me due to MK11's clunky gameplay for dummies. I'm still trying to stomach it (along with the gore)... but I'm getting distracted by other fighting games that are actually worth playing long term. 
~TFG Webmaster  
 

 


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