1992… That’s when I had my first taste of playing a game called Mortal Kombat. That was when video game arcades were everywhere. That was also when the letters “ABACABB” were etched in to my brain.
Mortal Kombat is one of the most iconic games of all time. Sure, there have been so many fighters before and after MK, but none have the following, the draw, the pure personality of MK. Even Injustice can’t match the might of MK.
Here in Australia, the original 1992 version of Mortal Kombat was the reason for a video game ratings system to be formed. This though only allowed games to be rated up to M15+. Anything above that rating was banned in Oz. Somewhat ironically, MK9, released in 2011, was the reason for Australia to adopt an R18+ rating for video games (and it was also the inspiration behind us forming this site).
Fast forward to 2019 and we now have Mortal Kombat 11. Straight up I will tell you that my heart will always belong to MK2. I personally did own a genuine MK2 arcade machine after my local arcade shut up shop. Unfortunately, due to financial needs nearly 2 decades ago, I no longer own this piece of iconic gaming history. Yes, it kills me to this day that I had to sell it and it is my one and only piece of gaming treasure I ever regret selling.
I digress, As I said, my heart will always belong to MK2 and while MK has always gotten bigger, it has not always gotten better. There have been some missteps along the way… Here’s looking at you MK4 and Special Forces! Thankfully MK11 is far from a misstep.
Thanks to today’s console and PC processing power, MK11 was always going to be graphically superior to its predecessors. But remember, just because a game looks good, doesn’t mean it is good. However, the amount of content packed in to MK11 is phenomenal!
Firing up MK11 for the first time, most of you would jump feet first in to VS fighting, whether it be local or online. My first stop was the story. I have previously enjoyed the story in MK and MK11 has taken the story to a whole new level. If you take out the fighting parts, you have one hell of a good Mortal Kombat movie even if…
The Krypt is back and loaded with content and hidden items. The Krypt is based on Shang Tsung’s island and no expense was spared in making the best Krypt experience ever.
The Fighting mechanics in MK11 are some of the best I’ve played. One of the constants with the MK franchise are the special moves. For seasoned MK players, you will find that even without looking at the moves list, you can mostly figure out each character’s special moves. Some might say this is a rather stale way of doing things, but I say it makes the game that much more enjoyable and that little bit easier to simply pick up and play.
VS battles also now have the addition of fight modifiers for your character. I am split on this one. I am not sure if these were needed or not, but they do add another level to each fight. These modifiers or “Konsumables” are earned by fighting or found in the Krypt. You have the option of adding Konsumables at the beginning of your fight and can enable many different advantages such as having Shao Khan jump in and help you fight, restore health, add armour, shoot blood rockets at your opponent or even have Bo’ Rai Cho fart on your opponent. There are many, many more konsumables to use so go and experiment.
Towers are also back. There are the classic towers of which we all know and love. Simply fight your way to the top and win! A new addition to the towers section are the Towers Of Time.
The Towers of time are somewhat of a cross between Injustice 2’s multiverse mode and MKX’s towers mode. There are several different tower challenges to complete that are constantly changing and offer up some very tough challenges to which some bragging rights will be attached.
At the time of writing, there has since been a patch released to balance the difficulty of these towers for the better. Prior to the patch, to complete some of these towers required some major character mods and konsumables. Character customisation is also at all-time high. There is so much available to be able to customise your character and your AI. Yep your AI.
Your AI fighter is your CPU controlled character in Mortal Kombat 11. This allows the game itself to take over and play instead of you. It is only available in certain game mode though. This makes it easier to grind koins and soul fragments, but perhaps takes away from the point of playing the game to begin with.
For some, one issue will be the requirement of a constant online connection to keep the towers updated, access some game modes such as the Krypt and character gear. This is not a massive issue and to be honest, is almost expected these days. It is also needed to keep the game fresh and updated in real time. For players on the Switch that are mobile, you will still have access to all the other parts of the game while you are offline or off the grid but requiring internet connectivity for some parts of the game should not be a big deal.
Playing VS modes online is always fun. And frustrating. Playing a fighting game such as MK in the online world requires almost zero lag to get the best experience. Unfortunately, here in Australia, our internet infrastructure is laughable at best. At my place, I still have 700 meters of 35-year-old copper wire between my house and my “FTTN” NODE up the street.
Still, apart from getting my arse handed to me on more than once occasion, VS online was certainly enjoyable and most surprisingly, almost lag free.
X-Ray moves. They are gone… Kind of. Well technically they are still there. They are now called “Fatal Blows” When these X-Ray moves were first introduced in MK9, they were very cool. 2 games later, meh not so much. Although this is only my opinion. Look, don’t get me wrong, I like seeing my opponent getting the shite smacked out of them in close-up slow motion, but the problem with Fatal Blows is that they get real old, real fast. As did X-Rays for that matter. Fatal Blows differ from X-Rays as you only have the opportunity to use them when you are almost dead. And if you don’t, they don’t carry over to the next round. The result is that they have been balanced out somewhat. Still, I am not sure they are even needed anymore.
MK is not MK without Fatalities, Brutalities and the like, but the Fatal Blows were never a staple of the MK diet and I wouldn’t be sad to see them go the way of the dinosaurs in the next Mortal Kombat game. Maybe leave the X-Rays/Fatal Blows for the Injustice series.
I reviewed MK11 on both Xbox One X and the Nintendo Switch. This review is basically identical for both platforms. What I want to point out about the Nintendo Switch version is 95% graphical and a 5% control related.
Graphically the Switch was always going to be inferior to every other platform MK11 is on. However, I would like to point out that playing in docked mode, the graphics are fantastic! A side-by-side comparison with my X1X clearly shows differences between the 2 platforms, but unless you are hell bent on having the best graphics all the time, the Switch in docked mode is more than sexy enough to play MK11 on.
However, Handheld mode is another story. In handheld or tabletop mode, the graphics take a massive hit. They remind me more of playing on an original Wii in 480p rather than a current gen console in 720p. That said, it runs as smooth as silk undocked and while the visuals do take a hefty hit, at least you have the option to take MK11 with you. This option was last available with MK9 on PSVITA. Don’t let naysayers stop you from purchasing MK11 on your switch if that is what you so choose. It still looks a treat when docked at 1080p and still plays fantastic undocked.
— Kurt Frohloff (@MKAU_Stryker3k) April 24, 2019
As for controls, here is my one and only piece of advice for you… If you don’t own a pro controller of some sort for the Switch, buy one for MK11! The standard Switch controller deserves to burn in hell when trying to play a game such as MK11 with it.
I don’t want to drag this review on too much more as I am sure you a bored by now, but let me finish up with one last paragraph or two.
MK11 is packed with so much kontent that it will have you coming back for more and more. Fighting games can be a hard nut to crack for developers to keep them fresh and to keep gamers interested. Being connected online helps MK11 stay interesting and fun. The story is well worth your effort even if you aren’t big on story/single player modes in today’s games. There is character customisation that allows you some control on your chosen characters’ attributes and how you perform and survive in battle.
Konsumables are a nice addition, but I am not sure if they are necessarily needed from a gameplay perspective. I am a little biased when it comes to mountains of additions and addons in fighting games, especially Mortal Kombat as I have and will always prefer simplicity. I am a simple man after all.
My final word on Mortal Kombat 11: Straight up it is one of the best, if not the best Mortal Kombat to date. It is jam-packed with content, has a wonderful and gripping story line, the voice acting is top-notch and most of all, it is just so bloody fun! Mortal Kombat fans will buy this regardless, but if you are new to the MK franchise and are wondering if you should buy it… wonder no more, just buy it!
- Great Story Mode
- Packed Full Of Kontent
- Ever Changing Towers
- Stunning Visuals
- Top-Notch Voice Acting
- Not Convinced Fatal Blows Are Needed Anymore