Mortal Kombat 11 Review – Timey Wimey
Mortal Kombat 11 is here. You know what to expect. Ultraviolence, gore, B-movie goodness and great fighting mechanics. And that’s what you get and then some.
Mortal Kombat 11 is so feature packed that fans will be playing it for a long time to come. It’s been designed by NetherRealm as a live-service title and one that intends to keep people coming back for as long as possible.
Having just been released there’s talk of Mortal Kombat 11 putting up paywalls, blocking progress through difficulty and far too many in-game currencies. I’ve not found this to be the case and I think it’s largely due to my perception of the in-game systems.
It’s going to vary person to person, for me though, Mortal Kombat 11 has been designed to keep you playing, not paying.
Mortal Kombat 11 Review
There’s lots to talk about with Mortal Kombat 11, so let’s start with the story mode. Like Mortal Kombat X and both Injustice games before it, Mortal Kombat 11 features a dedicated, cinematic story mode.
As it should be, the narrative is cheesy, silly and absolutely perfect. It would be a shame to spoil it for you but the basic premise is that that the Titan Kronika, controller of time, wishes to undo the defeat of Shinnok and recreate a new world from scratch.
This obviously doesn’t go down too well with Raiden so they work to put a stop to Kronika’s plans. For the roughly 6-8 hour runtime, you’ll be playing as a rotating roster of Mortal Kombat 11’s heroes (and villains) and progressing the plot. Every so often you’re able to choose one character over another and eventually, you reach the climax and battle Kronika herself.
Mortal Kombat 11’s story mode is just great. It includes time-travel, alternate timelines, revenge, massive battles and more. You’re also able to select which difficulty you play at. I opted for Medium and in true Mortal Kombat fashion, the end boss punished me with an insane difficulty spike. Purists will want to go harder, but really, the story mode is for blasting through, enjoying and unlocking gear.
The production values on the story mode are sky high. NetherRealm has once again proved it’s the master of the cinematic fighting game as you make your way across Outworld, Earth and the Nether Realm. There’s only an ever so slight difference between the cinematic cutscenes and the gameplay and for the most part, the transitions between the two are seamless.
The voice cast is almost universally excellent too. Ronda Rousey as Sonya Blade is the exception. Her acting skills aren’t up to the challenge of even Mortal Kombat 11’s B-Grade cheesiness and her delivery almost always falls flat. Aside from her, the back and forth between characters is well done and the skill of the voice actors is on display as they make the diabolically bad dialogue work.
Just like in Injustice 2, the facial animations of the characters are flawless and certainly helps to sell the story. Yes, it’s ridiculous and silly, but that’s the point and as it should be. Taking Mortal Kombat too seriously is a recipe for disappointment. Revel in the story and its trashiness and have some fun.
Once you’re done with the story, there’s an almost endless amount of content to play through. If you’re not confident in your Mortal Kombat skills you can head into the in-depth tutorials. There’s a basic set, advanced, strategy set and more. Basically, the tutorials in Mortal Kombat 11 will give you as much or as little help as you need. It’s actually a really useful system as often starting a brand-new game is daunting and a lot of them don’t provide enough of an introduction.
The advanced and strategy tutorials are another great addition as they teach players how to pull off kombos, use special moves and deal maximum damage while staying alive. The strategy tutorials teach you how to deal with the other characters in the game and give you strategies for how to win against a variety of playstyles.
Mortal Kombat 11 even includes character-specific tutorials to help you get a leg up when you want to try someone new or give your main a rest. Finally, the tutorial mode also includes a Fatality trainer to help you learn those gruesome finishers.
For those who love the ‘Klassic’ gameplay of Mortal Kombat, you can head into ‘Klassic’ Towers and run through a variety of difficulties. Here, you face off against enemy after enemy until you reach Kronika. Once she’s defeated, you unlock a character specific ending based on who you played as. It’s your standard fighter campaign mode and it’s another thing you can spend your time doing in Mortal Kombat 11.
Towers of Time
The other single-player mode is Towers of Time. This is Mortal Kombat 11’s version of Injustice 2’s Multiverse and is the mode that’s been copping the most flak.
Yes, the debuffs in this mode only apply to the player character and yes, some of the fights and Towers are incredibly difficult. However, I never once felt like I was being forced to pay for the content or to buy my way past these Towers. When you play any of the Towers, you can use Konsumables which provide you with a specific benefit. These are tied to a direction on the right stick and do things like refill your health, protect you from blood missiles, call in an ally and much, much more.
These Konsumables are earned from playing Towers, from exploring the Krypt (more on that later) and from playing the game. The more you play, the more you unlock. Sure, you can purchase Time Gems with real-world money and buy Konsumables, but you don’t have to. If you want to play the game, you will unlock the content. If the Tower is too hard, you’ll have to level your character up, unlock more gear and get better.
Speaking of gear, there is an almost obscene amount of weaponry, armour and cosmetics in Mortal Kombat 11. Unlocking it all is going to take a really long time and most of it is randomly unlocked rather than being something you can target. However, none of the skins makes any change to your characters stats. They’re purely cosmetic.
Build Your Champion
As for weapons and armour, they each have the ability to store three Augments. These augments are what change your stats and are earned through opening chests in the Krypt and through battles in the Towers of Time. Augments provide benefits like additional damage, elemental resistances and specific bonuses for your AI fighters. There are five types of Augment and they aren’t really easy to come by, but again, by simply playing the game you’ll unlock them over time.
The customisation of your characters isn’t as deep as Injustice, but it still gives you the chance to power-up your roster of fighters and use them to earn more gear and unlock more items.
The Krypt is a huge, separate mode that sees you controlling a character in third-person as they explore Shang Tsung’s island. The island is littered with chests and doors to unlock, secrets to reveal and areas to explore. It’s both a celebration of Mortal Kombat and a way for you to unlock more gear. Unlocking chests require Koins, Souls or Hearts, all of which you earn just by playing the game.
Koins are awarded for kombos, winning fights, beating towers, playing multiplayer and well, basically everything. You earn Koins for everything you do. Souls are a little tougher to earn but are earned through the same basic methods. Hearts are earned by performing Fatalities. All of these currencies are purely in-game and will accrue over time as you play Mortal Kombat 11. It’s in the Krypt that you’ll also earn Konsumables and crafting materials to make them.
As you open chests, you’ll learn recipes for crafting or experiment with your materials to see if you can work them out on your own. This is another way you can earn Konsumables without having to resort to spending any real-world money.
The other currencies in the game are Easy Fatality Tokens, Skip Fight Tokens and Gear XP Tokens. These do as the name says. They’re not necessary to use and are purely optional. You earn these the same way you do everything else, by playing the game and exploring the Krypt.
And that’s how everything works in Mortal Kombat. I’ve read a lot about how people are annoyed by the grind but the grind is only for cosmetics. Sure, Konsumables are a little tougher to earn, but as you play the Krypt and fight with your friends or against the AI, you will earn them or the materials needed to craft them.
Mortal Kombat 11 has been designed to be played. The more you play, the more you earn and the more you unlock. It’s unreasonable and a little entitled to expect to be able to simply click your fingers and unlock everything in the game. It’s in there to entice you to keep playing. You don’t need to spend real money to get it and you only need to invest your time.
If you don’t want to invest time, you can spend money, but nobody is forcing you.
Aside from the huge amount of content, endless playability and high production values, at the end of the day, Mortal Kombat 11 is anchored by the fighting.
And it’s GOOD. So good.
While it hasn’t evolved much beyond Mortal Kombat X, it’s still tight, fast-paced and brutal. The longer you play the better you get at stringing together combos and dealing out huge amounts of damage. You can amplify your special attacks which causes them to deal extra damage or give you the beginnings of a longer combo. Experimentation is really easy in Mortal Kombat 11 and the tutorials give you a great base to work with.
One change in Mortal Kombat 11 is the removal of X-Ray attacks. Now, instead of being able to perform an X-Ray attack, players are able to perform one ‘Fatal Blow’ per match. When your health is reduced to a certain level, you can activate the Fatal Blow and if you connect you’ll dish out huge damage in a cinematic sequence. This is designed to level the playing field and give you a chance to win from behind.
Once you use the Fatal Blow, it’s gone and you can’t perform another one until the next match. It’s a much better solution and system than X-Ray attacks and makes fights feel more desperate, especially as both fighters frantically try to win using their Fatal Blow.
Overall, Mortal Kombat 11 is another brilliant entry in a franchise that has been on an upward trajectory for the last few games. Thankfully, Mortal Kombat 11 bests everything from MK9 and MKx and gives players a game they’ll be playing for months.
Mortal Kombat 11 was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by the publisher.
Game title: Mortal Kombat 11
Schlocky, high production story mode - 9.4/10
Deep, technical fighting system - 9.8/10
Easy to learn - 8.2/10
Huge Amount of Content - 9.2/10
Designed to be played for a LONG time - 9.6/10