- “Mortal Kombat 11” will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 23.
- Players who pre-ordered the game on PS4 and Xbox were able to access a closed beta that let them try out the game from March 27 to March 31.
- The latest entry in the violent fighting-game franchise brings back fan favourite characters and continues the series’ legacy for over-the-top violence and fun fighting mechanics.
I’m a sucker for a good fighting game, so when I found out I would have not one, but two chances to play “Mortal Kombat 11” early, I leapt at the opportunity.
“Mortal Kombat 11” will release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 23. Players who pre-ordered on Xbox One and PS4 were able to play the game early during a beta test that ran from March 27 to March 31. The beta had five playable characters: Scorpion, Baraka, Skarlet, Jade, and Kabal.
I got my first taste of “Mortal Kombat 11” during an online stress test released for the public earlier in March and joined the beta for another round. Though the game was mostly restricted to online play, it was a great chance to see what’s changed about the game since “Mortal Kombat X.”
Here’s what it’s like playing “Mortal Kombat 11” so far.
Be warned: “Mortal Kombat 11” doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s still incredibly violent.
“Mortal Kombat” has a long standing reputation for gore and “Mortal Kombat 11” doesn’t disappoint. Character models look more detailed than ever, especially as they’re being dismembered. The new game makes excessive use of its impressive blood splatter effects and more than a few moves show eyes, bones, and organs being knocked out of the enemy fighter.
Despite its over-the-top violence, “Mortal Kombat” is still a standard, 2D fighting game at its core.
“Mortal Kombat 11” is a 2D fighter, just like the original games, as well as “Street Fighter.” Characters fight head-to-head on a 2D plane, meaning you can’t sidestep attacks or escape the fight. Players can use a variety of attacks, including special moves that are triggered with specific controller inputs.
Each character has its own unique set of attacks that will determine their fighting style during the match. A big part of the fun is finding your favourite characters and building an offensive or defensive strategy to suit your style.
Fatalities are still one of the best parts of “Mortal Kombat,” and each character has multiple outrageous finishers.
Like every past “Mortal Kombat” game, every character has multiple “fatalities” – ultra-violent finishing moves that can be used to kill the opponent at the end of the fight.
Inputs for the moves were kept secret in the early “Mortal Kombat” games, but the “Mortal Kombat 11” beta tells players how to kill one another upfront.
Brutality moves can bring a quick and gruesome end to a match before you have a chance for a fatality.
Brutalities are fatal attacks automatically triggered if you beat the opponent with certain conditions. For example, if you use Skarlet’s throw to win a match while holding forward, she will kill the opponent with a brutality prior to “Finish Him” flashing on the screen.
While the gruesome ending can come as a shock, brutalities are entertaining, and they reward players for finishing matches with a variety of moves.
Characters suffer battle damage during the fight, so at the end of a match, you’ll see how much damage they have taken up close.
Certain moves called “Krushing Blows” can trigger an X-Ray effect. It’s a new mechanic in “Mortal Kombat 11.”
Players were given early access to test the online service in “Mortal Kombat 11,” and it works like a charm so far.
Quality online play is a necessity for modern fighting games, and “Mortal Kombat” has some of the best netplay in the genre.
When playing online, the game shows connection quality between players, but will also display whether a player is using wired internet or WiFi. When you find a solid connection in casual match, “Mortal Kombat 11” will let you rematch the other player as many times as you like, and you can even go to character select before playing against the same person.
The beta also includes access to the classic tower mode in “Mortal Kombat 11.” Each tower is an arcade style-challenge; players fight a series of AI-controlled opponents on their way to the top.
Towers are a big part of the single player “Mortal Kombat” experience. When playing Tower mode, players fight against a series of AI opponents under specific conditions. Towers give players unlockable rewards upon completion and can provide some solid practice against a moving opponent.
“Mortal Kombat 11” has a starting roster of 25 characters, with more downloadable characters coming later this year.
The cast of “Mortal Kombat 11” has mostly been revealed; there are only a few characters left unannounced. Confirmed characters include Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Liu Kang, Jax, Shao Khan, Kano, Erron Black, Cassie Cage, Baraka, Jade, Geras, Kabal, Raiden, Skarlet, Kung Lao, Noob Saibot, and Kotal Khan.
NetherRealm Studios will continue to add to the roster with six downloadable characters during the year. Players can pre-order the season pass to access all six, or purchase them individually.
The first downloadable character will be Shang Tsung, the soul-stealing boss of the original “Mortal Kombat.”
Every character in “Mortal Kombat 11” has preset variations with different moves that change their play style. Players can mix and match moves to create their own custom variations too.
“Mortal Kombat” games have dabbled with character variations and customisable styles since “Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance” (that would be “Mortal Kombat 5” for those keeping count).
“Mortal Kombat 11” innovates on the system by letting players build their own custom loadouts using their favourite moves.
It can be hard to remember your moves as you switch between characters, but “Mortal Kombat 11” has a feature that will let you tag certain moves to practice during matches.
Players also customise their fighter’s looks. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock more than a dozen outfits to use for each character.
Players can also choose between different intro and post-match cutscenes for every character.
The customisation is detailed enough to include a personal item for each character, like Scorpion’s spear and mask.
When it releases next month, the full version of “Mortal Kombat 11” will feature a cinematic story mode.
It may come as a surprise that “Mortal Kombat” has a cohesive storyline. “Mortal Kombat 11” will pick up just after the events of “Mortal Kombat X,” pitting the game’s heroes against a time-travelling villain named Kronika. Due to Kronika’s manipulation, the cast of “Mortal Kombat 11” ends up encountering younger versions of themselves.
We’ll have to wait for the full game to drop to find out more about story mode.
“Mortal Kombat 11” will release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 23.
Those who pre-order will also receive classic “Mortal Kombat” boss Shao Kahn as a downloadable character on release.
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