Mortal Kombat has been a staple in the video game industry for the better part of a quarter century. That’s crazy to think about in full perspective. There have been fighting games that have come and gone, completely forgotten throughout the past 26 years of Mortal Kombat’s existence. Yet here we are, in 2019, and Mortal Kombat is here still going strong 27 years later this coming October. It’s history has spanned cartoons, movies, and games alike. The latest entry of the series, Mortal Kombat 11 still brings the blood, gore, and creative fatalities that we know and love. But what makes this version of Mortal Kombat really stand out is the fact that this latest release is bar none the best in the series to be released.
With tight controls and exquisite gameplay, Mortal Kombat 11 has set the standard for fighting games and what to expect while playing them. Every movement within the game feels convenient and satisfying. Completing a special move followed by a combo is not only satisfying, but rewarding as well. Fans that aren’t attuned to the controls of the game will find themselves button mashing to find which moves and combinations work best with the game. Oddly enough, doing this will help players learn some basic combos after trial and error, but if players aren’t interested in button mashing and actually want to learn how to play the game properly, Mortal Kombat 11 contains a tutorial that helps to teach basic maneuvers, special moves, combos and much more.
The Nintendo Switch version of Mortal Kombat 11 is slightly different than its console counterparts. The graphics take a serious dip versus what the PlayStation version offers. As well, the controller for the Switch is not as well suited for fighting games like this, which can make pulling off combos quite difficult. However, even with these drawbacks, you are probably buying this version of the game if you are looking for some pick up and play Mortal Kombat action. Making a game like this portable is a huge upside and is the only reason you might want to pick this version up. It is the same game, with the same unlockables, with worse graphics, but you can take it anywhere. Take it for what it is, but I love having the option to kill some time waiting on the train with a AAA title like this. Kudos to all the companies that help port this out, it is blazing a path for more and more big name titles to release on the Nintendo Switch.
Unlockables within Mortal Kombat 11 are aplenty, and most of these unlockables are found through the game’s Krypt. The Krypt is an open exploration area based on Shang Tsung’s Island (voiced by the original actor of the live action film by the same name). Tsung welcomes you to his island and encourages you to explore his island and take whatever treasures you find. And boy, there are A LOT of treasures on this island krypt. Items to be unlocked within the game include costumes, artwork from the game, power-ups to use within the game’s towers and more. The treasures can be unlocked by the coins that you collect within the game by engaging in matches, and the game’s story mode.
The story mode once again is short but still intriguing at the same time. With time traveling currently trending hard right now with movies, it seems to fit in quite nicely within the Mortal Kombat 11 stratosphere. The story serves as a humorous mini-film which followed the events of Mortal Kombat X and serves as a trilogy chapter dating back to the Mortal Kombat reboot from the previous generation (MK9). If you’ve followed the story from that point to where we are now, you’ll be in for a treat. The story however is difficult to follow as I had to remind myself what had happened since MK9 up to where we were in MK11, and how it associated with what was happening to the characters on screen. So the storyline is somewhat of a challenge if this is your first run in with Mortal Kombat. If you are picking up this game, and diving directly into the story, you will be lost as to what happened in the past, but picking up on things shouldn’t be too bad, minus a few minor details with character relationships and development.
Mortal Kombat 11 will have long-term replay value with the pledge of future downloadable content coming from NetherRealm Studios. The first set of DLC (date not yet announced) will include Shang Tsung and others upon release. There was a leak of DLC characters as well, which is rumored to have the entire list of DLC that will be released, but time will tell if it is indeed the list of characters NetherRealm decides to have in the final version of DLC.
Micro-transactions are a big controversy right now within the video game industry and Mortal Kombat 11 seems to have fallen into that drama with this release of the game. Prior to the game’s release it was noted that characters can be purchased that can actually be unlocked while playing the storyline of the game. This was frowned upon harshly by the video game community and I must say that I recommend that players simply play the game’s story mode to unlock the character. In addition to micro-transactions, you must be connected online at all times in order to unlock trophies/achievements, gear, and other items within the game. Not too much of a big deal, but for those who aren’t interested in connecting their game to the internet will not be rewarded as nicely as those who are.
Negativity aside, Mortal Kombat 11 is a beautiful game to watch and play. A bloody poetic justice of fatalities, gore, and humor, it works as a phenomenal work of art. Utilizing high dynamic range, the game has superb detail and that is shown by the outrageously well-done and highly detailed fatalities. Let’s be real here for a second – if you’re playing Mortal Kombat 11, you’re playing it to pull off and see these barbaric, and humorously outrageous fatalities. And the team at NetherRealm has once again out done themselves with the creativity of these finishing moves. If you’re a longtime fan of the series, you won’t be disappointed.
Mortal Kombat 11 is a historical achievement in fighting games that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. With tight controls, dynamic graphics, an intriguing short story, and entertaining fatalities, it fits right in the stratosphere as one of the best fighting games released this generation. Coupled with this success is a promise that this franchise will continue to be successful for this industry. I hope to still be yelling FINISH HIM 26 years from now as the franchise continues down the road of immortality. For more on all things Mortal Kombat, make sure you keep it locked right here to Mammoth Gamers!
Mortal Kombat 11 is available now on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch consoles, alongside Microsoft Windows as well. This review was completed via a retail copy of the game purchased at a major online retailer. The Nintendo Switch take was provided by Mammoth Gamers’ content manager, Ken Borter.