Title: Mortal Kombat 11
Developer: Netherealm Studios
Publisher: WB Games
Platform: Xbox One
Audience: Mature 17+ Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £54.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
“Continue the epic saga through a new cinematic story that is more than 25 years in the making. Players will take on the role of a variety of past and present characters in a time-bending new narrative that pits Raiden against Kronika, the Keeper of Time who created existence at the dawn of history”
Mortal Kombat 11 is the latest game in the 25-year history of the franchise continuing from the massive success of the last few titles under the helm of Netherealm studios. It’s been four years since MK10, and we have had Injustice 2 in between which has had an impact on the way we play this current title, for the better of which I will cover later on in this review.
What the developers have achieved in the story-driven element of the past games has moved forward for the better set 2 years after the shocking events of the ending to MK10. Raiden has taken a step to the dark side in trying to protect Earthrealm from being destroyed through altering the timeline to stop events matching the complete and utter devastation from the Armageddon game.
Currently featuring a roster of 26 fighters with 7 more over the next few months, new modes and detailed tutorials, there is a lot of meat to Mortal Kombat 11.
I have been a huge fan of the Mortal Kombat franchise since day one and to see how far the games have come always puts a big smile on my face.
Audio and Visual
In the long history of Mortal Kombat, each game has taken a different direction in how the characters, environment and the User Interface are implemented. What is striking about how Mortal Kombat 11 delivers its vision is how much detail has gone into the story, and the characters look, feel and how they interact with the environment. HDR has undoubtedly helped the lighting effects making it more vibrant although even without it enabled you don’t notice much in terms of a downgrade.
Cut scenes are very impressive in telling the story of the game and in what surprised me zero frame rate drops and clipping. Set 2 years after the events of MKX some of the characters look a lot different which is hard to understand. You can notice the difference in Sonya Blade, Scorpion and Sub Zero, apart from Sonya Blade who is voiced by Ronda Rousey, the others have the same actors. So why change the facial complexions to make them look younger?
Speaking of the voice acting in Mortal Kombat 11, there are strong performances which make the story gripping and believable. Raiden who has been the staple of the whole franchise has the deep, strong voice that you want to take seriously and to be on his side and Jax who with the visual side makes you want to cry for his backstory and his beliefs. Contrast that of Johnny Cage both younger and current made me want to laugh to the point where I would be in literal stitches.
Translate this into the regular gameplay the sounds of the punches, special moves and weapon hits makes each fight believable as if you are there, a big step up from the last game as there is a lot more to sink your teeth in with new combos and environmental interactions. The UI has also had a change. New bars on the bottom of the screen show your special meters for Amplifiers and how much defence you have. Going with an all gold look and font changes for the top meters, the menus are clearer than before and Easier to navigate although the tutorial section takes longer to pick a new fighter after one is competed taking 30 seconds longer than I would have liked.
Gameplay and Replayability
Just as important as the visuals, the gore and the acting it’s how long the game can be played for and how the game plays which will make or break any fighting game. Luckily, Mortal Kombat 11 will keep the casual player intrigued for a while. It will keep completionists, esports and regular online players hooked for even longer, although there is some controversy regarding unlockable customisable options for fighters.
Looking at the story first and as mentioned in the introduction the game continues where MKX left off with Cassie Cage beating Shinnok and Raiden wielding control of his amulet making a bold statement that he will do anything to protect Earthrealm. If this were wrestling you could say he’s taken a heel turn, red eyes, lightning and dark attire from the get-go he takes actions that upset others above the Elder Gods namely the time manipulator Kronika. Her goal is to reset the timelines by strangely bringing the past versions of the roster to the present and to pit them off against each other while she alters history.
There are a lot of twists and turns that ultimately delivers in the end and leave you feeling for some of the fighters while leaving you laughing at some of the comedy from Johnny Cage. Expect to be playing this mode for around 7 hours which is comprised of some lengthy cut scenes and a final battle that is a huge challenge comparable to Shao Khan from MK2. Mortal Kombat 11 lends some of its choices in chapters from Injustice 2 where you can choose a particular fighter to face the opponent in, although I found it not as effective and altering the timeline which is a shame.
Away from the story, there is still a lot to do, battles against AI opponents in vs matches, online matches against players around the world of which you can play other online gamers offline characters through their skill level, so you always get to have a match and earn rewards. King of the hill returns which has always been a popular mode amongst friends and even work colleagues for bragging rights and voting to respect the quality of the match they have. Returning from MK11 are match modifiers that have dramatic effects on how a game is played, whether that is through playing upside down, projectiles constantly coming at you and turbo mode where the match goes that quick combos are hard to pull off. It often gets a mixed reaction, but for me, I welcome its return to this game.
Towers return both living and classic of which you could also argue is the “arcade” mode from the past, completing them with different characters will give you their ending. I’m not going to spoil them here, but they provide emotional and impactful end stories to life after the story mode and the impact of the time manipulation of characters from the current and/or past timelines. With 26 fighters this will take you a long while to complete.
Much like Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat 11 features living towers called “Towers of Time” which comprises of regular live towers giving unlockables and different challenges based on skill while mixing up the fights with boosters or environmental changes. You can literally spend days on this and not anything else in the game.
Much like previous games, the Krypt returns. This is the go-to place to unlock new costumes, fatalities and brutalities, artwork and other delights. With each of the character having over 60 different skins and lots more items it provides so much more options to boast about online and to provide nostalgia, the Krypt is challenging to get around, and the developers are working on a patch to make it easier.
That being said, controversy surrounds Mortal Kombat 11 which is somewhat disappointing as the argument of Loot Boxes and pay to play returns as you can buy currency to unlock items and take the short cut. I have a simple motto for this. Although it takes grinding and playing matches to unlock the currency, it should be seen as a positive to unlock this way and be proud if getting said costume or item. If people want to pay to get it, then that is their choice and is not actively forced on the gamer.
It is without a doubt that Mortal Kombat 11 is the most comprehensive fighter around today and is one for the ages. This history of the franchise spanning over 25 years, the depth of the customisation with the fighters, the longevity of the multiplayer, eSports and future DLC make Mortal Kombat 11 a must buy! Where Netherealm studios decide to take future games from here will be tough, but I am sure it will be a huge success.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
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You can purchase Mortal Kombat 11 on multiple platforms at the following link,https://www.mortalkombat.com/purchase