Review by reverendmeta
Fresh yet familiar, with tons to do
Mortal Kombat 11 is good overall. There is a lot to do as you can craft 5 variations of each character via abilities, gear with augments, and kosmetics which are basically skins (costumes) and recolors.
The story mode is a fun 3+ hours, and even if you don't plan on fighting a lot online or locally there are tons of different tower challenges to do, and the krypt is bigger than ever with full 3rd person controls and tons of chests to unlock, pots and skeletons to break, and bodies to hook with Scorpion's spear, plus a nice scattering of puzzles. They could probably sell this krypt mode as a standalone game for like $20 if they changed the gear and augments you find to be for the Rain-looking guy you use instead of the fighters.
The devs went out of their way to make 11 feel different from 9 and X -- characters seem familiar at first but most play differently. There is a bit of a learning curve if you're a veteran but at the same time this is likely the most approachable MK for n00bs since 3. You can tell who each of the returning characters are but the costumes, while new, are also somewhat plain and often vary wildly with their colours. There are Scorpions wearing mostly white and/or blue and red instead of just the usual yellow, making him look like Ermac or SubZero at a glance, or Kitanas wearing green or yellow, making her look like Jade or Tanya.
Since this game's main theme revolves around a titan character that controls time, you have both young klassic versions of characters as well as older veteran styles, but there is a huge missed opportunity here to bring back previous costumes that fans loved.
The biggest mechanic changes are the removal of the run feature, separate meters for offense and defense that regenerate on their own for amplified abilities rather than being based on damage given or taken, and every character being able to use a 'Fatal Blow' once per match regardless of meter, rather than an X-ray attack. There are also 'krushing' variations of moves with different properties if performed under certain conditions, for instance if you've used multiple uppercuts and land one as a counter to a special or move or jump in, it will do more damage and the camera zooms in on the carnage.
The fighting has overall been slowed down slightly, and kombos are mostly shorter while doing comparable amounts of damage to the previous few games. This results in less time waiting for an opponent to finish and a greater emphasis on back-and-forth, while also having more options for how you getup or escape from juggles.
Online has the expected features of both kasual and ranked matches, private 1v1, a couple versions of King of the Hill, and AI battles very similar to those in Injustice 2. The net code has been good and stable so far, even with pings above 250. You can opt to use custom-made variations of characters or limit them to the "kompetitive" presets, which is perfect for purists and tournament players.
MK11 is recommended to both new and returning fans, and manages to feel fresh in mostly good ways even if I do miss some characters and strategies from 9 and X. The visuals are lush and beautiful, especially in 4K with HDR10, and the sound effects and music are still very good even if being a small step back from MKX.
Supposedly many of the DLC characters have already been leaked and konfirmed, so the guests that should be coming include Spawn, Hellboy and Ash Williams, along with some long-missing older characters like Shang Tsung, Sindel, Sheeva and Fujin.
Hopefully folks that missed out on the pre-order can get Shao Kahn later, he's a blast to play.
+ nice visuals, much blood very gore
+ lots of stuff to do even in single player, the krypt is awesome
+ Jade and Kitana are my internet girlfriends
+ each character in the roster feels unique
+ more back-and-forth, less steamrolling
- I'm really pissed that Mileena's dead (not a spoiler, it happened 4 years ago)
- takes a long time to unlock even rudimentary gear and augments
- gear and skins don't do enough to vary costumes, too many re-colours
- the specials and kombo inputs feel faster despite overall pace being slower
- it's quicker and easier to grind towers with AI so you may end up watching more than playin
- I miss the ridiculous skimpy costumes from 9
- no side/mini games like Test Your Might, Puzzle Kombat, etc
Product Release: Mortal Kombat 11 (US, 04/23/19)
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