The Mortal Kombat franchise will forever be the ultimate fighting gaming franchise that revolutionised violence in video games, and paved the way for other fighters to step up their game. When it comes to old school console talk from the hey day of console wars, it was always “Nintendo Vs. Sega”, “Mortal Kombat Vs. Street Fighter”. Now with a richer market, and an expanded climate in genre’s we have much more of a choice in what we play. We’re definitely spoiled for choice when it comes to video games of similar tastes, but it’s what makes your personal preference unique to others. Mortal Kombat brings a vital refresh take to the series, with each launch of it’s current generation of titles, with an experience that you won’t find within other fighting franchises out there. We once again run into the bloody, violent universe that surrounds our kombatants, however it’s the gameplay that gets a deserved refresh that not only takes what we have learned from the past two entries into the series, but builds on top. For hardcore fans of this franchise, that has followed it’s topsy-turvy, extraordinary plot line, Mortal Kombat’s story is definitely an intriguing one to say the least.
Having the series reboot back in 2011, re-invigorated and the franchise, as gamer’s were clamoring for a rebirth into series. Mortal Kombat was becoming stale, with Mortal Kombat: Armageddon being the last entry into the old timeline using the Deadly Alliance engine. The main line Mortal Kombat series disappeared for over half a decade after this release (not including Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, as it was not a main line MK title), after disappointment from fans and critics poured in, claiming that Mortal Kombat was dead. However at the time, behind the scenes, Midway Games was at the forefront of Bankruptcy, and closure. This could not have been a better time for the Mortal Kombat franchise to step back into the spotlight. With not only the birth of Netherrealm Studios, came the rebirth of the franchise with a brand new engine, a brand new look, a refresh that threw the game back into the 2D realm of fighting games, and a rebirth in the story’s arc. Mortal Kombat 9 was the renaissance of the Mortal Kombat franchise. With the success of the New main line Mortal Kombat title’s, we now lead to Mortal Kombat 11, where Netherrealm’s fighting game success continues to enthrall gamers, of casual, hardcore, esports, and FGC (Fighting Games Community) community’s.
In story mode Mortal Kombat 11 leaves where it’s prequel left off, bringing fourth Dark Raiden, and his stubborn intent on protecting earth realm at any cost, even sacrificing innocent’s. Having the earth in complete disarray, we are introduced the Mortal Kombat’s newest antagonist Kronika, the leader of the Universe who can control all of time and matter, and most importantly, the mother of Elder Gods Shinnok, the Elder God of Death and Darkness, and Cetrion, the Elder God of Life and Light. With the decapitation of Shinnok, leaving him incapacitated, Kronika seeks to reset the current timeline for which she believes Raiden has ruined. Leaving no balance between good and evil in the universe, this also leads Cetrion to help her mother to restore the balance, acting as a trustee for Kronika, by not only asking for Earthrealm’s understanding in the matter, but by also killing all Elder Gods, acting in part of both good and evil. This also leads Kronika to entrust her party with the rulers of the Netherrealm, Emperor Liu Kang and Empress Kitana to help restore, and renew the timeline, and effectively kill Raiden.
This leads Kronika to merge timelines, of the old and new, bringing familiar faces back from the past, which in timeline sake was Mortal Kombat 9’s timeline, just after the first tournament. We are re-introduced to fan favorites that did not make it back to Mortal Kombat X, such as Jade, Kabal, Noob-Saibot, and the original leader of outworld Shao-Kahn. From this point, the violent insanity ensues. Through the story we’re taken through a multitude of cutscenes which thankfully, have left all quick time events absent from this entry. We’re truly given an uninterrupted cinematic experience that fans would surely appreciate. Sitting back, enjoying major plot points of the current timeline, awesome throwbacks and references to prior entries in the series, and even moments that you thought NRS (Netherrealm Studios) would never bring up again, are completely thrown in the mix here. Story Mode is definitely an unmissable experience for MK fans, especially those who have been following since the reboot.
Gameplay is as smooth as ever. Learning all the technicalities in Mortal Kombat has never been easier for new fans of fighting games. Gamer’s are definitely apprehensive to jump into fighting games these days, as we see amazing displays thrown at us by some of the best in the esports world. But fighters are for everyone, and Mortal Kombat proves this. MK 11’s tutorial mode will take you through the basics right to the advanced, to get you ready for Kombat. Each tower mode will hand you unlockables, koins and other valuables to use. With a cavalcade of fighters, the largest roster in recent memory, there is no shortage to choose from. We have returning favourites, and brand new fighters that are accessible, and easy to use. I’ve always been a Scorpion main. I do believe he is made the most accessible, and easiest to learn, purposely made for newcomers into the series, being the most popular of the franchise. I mean, who doesn’t know one of the most memorable quotes in Video Gaming history? “Get Over Here!”.
Collecting koins from battles, you may enter The Krypt, where you are welcomed by Shang Tsung to his Island (potrayed by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Shang Tsung, from the 1994 Feature Film, Mortal Kombat). The Krypt has been revamped from previous entries, allowing a fully immersive, third person experience, where you can unlock other valuables, skins, weapons, sound effects, and other awesome extras. There has been some criticism towards this feature, as fans have claimed that this mode can be a little too grindy, and time consuming. I concur, to an extent. I believe having the option to unlock all features in-game, rather than having everything given to use definitely brings back that old school presence we loved in Video Games from the hey day, something I definitely appreciate. However, Mortal Kombat is and forever will be classified as an arcade fighter. Unlockables during main line Tower fights should be larger than a few skins and koins.
None the less, I definitely am impressed with the titles new ways of unlocking features, even presenting us with the option of switching out announcers. Something the PC modding community requested, a while back now. We currently have a choice of three voices in the original announcer, Cetrion, and Shao Kahn. It is rumored that each Kombat Pack we receive, will have a new announcer with Tagawa’s Shang Tsung being the part of the next entry, which would be amazing. Mortal Kombat 11 expands on it’s unique features, by not only introducing a way to customise each fighters repertoire, but customising your characters skin, in the way you like. You may now choose from a different variety of presets given to you, with different attires to suit your tastes. Making for your fighter to remain unique, when heading online for Kombat. It’s almost an extension of the Kombat tag feature from past games, but with an extensive spin on it. Over 400 skins collectively, can be unlocked for all kombatants.
Fatalities are back, and bloodier than ever. There is definite inspiration here from the Injustice series in each way a fatality is animated. You will notice now, instead of an awkward silence after each fatal blow to your opponent, each animation will now end with a slow-down freeze frame, sampling the bloodiest blow that kills off your opponent. MK 11 delivers the best fatalities of the series, from the hot chains of Scorpion splicing your opponents in half, Sub-Zero decapitating opponents frozen in a block of ice, to Johnny Cage hilariously ripping his enemy’s in half, controlling them via their spinal cord, and puppeteering them like a ventriloquist. They seriously have some of the most creatively sadistic minds at NRS, coming up with insane stuff like this. I love it.
Graphically, the game is stunning. The most realistic graphics in any entry thus far, down to the pores and imperfections in skin detail, making each graphically bloody scene even more cringing than the last. The scenery designed in each Kombat zone here is incredibly designed with interactive’s to use to each characters advantage. From flinging worms and spiders in the background, using chainsaws to gut your opponents, crushing your enemy’s ribs with a two-by-four, right down to swinging off hanging ropes to deliver a crushing dropkick. The detail inserted into each level is insane. The game runs at a smooth 60fps as I experienced on the PS4 Pro, with almost no notice of framedrop or lag. The online experience runs just as steady.
Much like Mortal Kombat’s history, the game’s soundtrack does not let us down in this entry. The OST is perfectly orchestrated here with an amazing score that steps it up a notch from MKX, with each moment of the story mode’s presence felt with more impact thanks to soundtrack’s amazing timing. Once again a great score that mixes with intense action, that personifies what we experience in bloody pumping action is what makes Mortal Kombat stand out from the rest. It’s rough, it’s intense, and purposeful, and it’s appropriate for what we receive in this series. The voice acting throughout the game is amazing too, with some of the best in the industry present here. Troy Baker returns as the gunslinger Erron Black, Richard Epcar as the Thunder God Raiden, Steve Blum as the Iconic Sub-Zero, Erica Lindbeck steps into the role of Cassie Cage (originally voiced by Ashly Burch in Mortal Kombat X), and the ever talented Jennifer Hale plays our “beloved” antagonist, Kronika. Definitely the cream of the crop here in Video Gaming VA’s.
Mortal Kombat 11 brings us the ultimate fighting game experience this year. The game delivers non-stop action from the word “FIGHT“. The franchise embodies and delivers what we all love in a great action game. Blood, guts, gore, and glory. It’s replayablity is infinite. It’s fantastic for old lovers and newcomers to the franchise, and a great entry point to anyone looking for a quick fighting game fix, but would also love to experience the immerse genre of fighting games. The most accessible, and also, the most extensive fighter out right now. Mortal Kombat invites all gamers out there to experience what is great in the fighting genre, and it’s latest entry is definitely proof of it. Mortal Kombat 11 is definitely the best fighting game I have ever played.
Mortal Kombat 11 – WB Games