- “Mortal Kombat 11” is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
- The blockbuster fighting game features 25 playable characters, stunning visuals, loads of playable modes, and more of the over-the-top violence the series is known for.
- “Mortal Kombat 11” completely reworks the series’ battle mechanics, but stays true to the long legacy of “Mortal Kombat” games.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Since the series launched in 1992, “Mortal Kombat” has been synonymous with video game gore, earning legions of fans with over-the-top violence, edgy character designs, and an attitude that’s almost too savage to be taken seriously.
Despite its reputation for gratuitous violence, the franchise has become an iconic part of pop culture, inspiring feature films, an esports tour for professional gamers, reality TV shows, and tons of fan-created content. “Mortal Kombat” strikes a careful balance between casual fun and hardcore fighting mechanics while preserving the irreverent tone the series is known for.
While violence has always taken center stage in “Mortal Kombat,” the fighting game surrounding the gore has steadily improved through the years, thanks to a blockbuster budget and a passionate team of developers. Ed Boon, one of the original creators of “Mortal Kombat,” still leads the game’s development team at NetherRealm Studios.
NetherRealm has worked to develop the characters they debuted nearly 30 years ago, acknowledging both fan appreciation and the need to progress beyond the stereotypes of the ’90s. The game’s time-travelling storyline exemplifies how the series has grown from its arcade roots into a perennial blockbuster.
Here’s everything you need to know about “Mortal Kombat 11,” the latest entry in the brutal fighting game franchise:
“Mortal Kombat 11” is ultra-violent, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“Mortal Kombat 11” certainly glorifies violence, but it doesn’t celebrate evil. Even the most sadistic characters in the game are undermined by a tongue-in-cheek humour that makes sure you’re not taking the violence too seriously.
In interviews, Boon has said he wants the game’s fatalities – the violent finishing moves used to kill opponents – to be outrageous enough to spark a response, but never realistic enough for someone to emulate.
“Mortal Kombat 11” also has the benefit of being designed and tested by former professional “Mortal Kombat” players, who have helped refine the gameplay to its essentials. The new game is easier to understand at a basic level than “Mortal Kombat X,” while incorporating more advanced mechanics for hardcore players to learn over time.
For casual players, there’s tons of unlockable content, options to customise your fighter’s appearance and moveset, and an endless number of challenges in the game’s single-player game modes.
The graphics and visual effects of “Mortal Kombat 11” are nothing short of beautiful.
NetherRealm Studios continues to improve its character models; every member of the cast looks unique, and their facial expressions are more realistic than ever.
Impressive blood splatter and particle effects give the game’s outrageously violent attacks some extra flair.
The violence can be stunning at times; grotesque but captivating.
Visually, “Mortal Kombat 11” is a masterpiece in motion.
“Mortal Kombat” is still a 2D fighter, so you’ll battle head-on with no side-stepping. The game still feels similar to prior games in the series, but the more advanced battle mechanics have been totally rebuilt.
You’ll choose from a roster of 25 cold-blooded killers. NetherRealm plans to add more characters in the future as well.
Each character in “Mortal Kombat 11” has a range of combo strings and special moves that require specific commands. Luckily, “MK11” lets you tag the inputs and keep them on the screen so you can learn while you play.
Cinematic Fatal Blow attacks replace the X-ray moves from “Mortal Kombat 9” and “Mortal Kombat X.” They can only be used once per match when your character is at low health.
The X-ray effects still show up during punishing attacks, which are called Krushing Blows. Each character has specific moves that trigger Krushing Blows.
Like the last 10 “Mortal Kombat” games, winning a match will give you a chance to perform a finishing move on the opponent.
“Mortal Kombat 11” features dozens of new fatalities, the cinematic signature moves used to kill enemies after a match. Each character has at least two fatalities, but you’ll have to learn the right inputs to execute them.
There are other types of finishers, too; brutalities can automatically kill the opponent if certain moves hit at the end of the match.
“Mortal Kombat 11” builds a unique atmosphere with distinct environments, intriguing character designs, and haunting music. It feels like the franchise has a living, breathing world beyond the fighting.
And honestly, that detailed world makes it even more absurd and hilarious when someone gets their brain slapped out of their head.
Learning the game is easy, thanks to the well-designed tutorials. Every character has its own set of lessons, and completing the guides will earn you rewards.
It took me about four hours to complete the story mode in “Mortal Kombat 11,” and at least half of that time was spent watching cut scenes.
While there are a lot of characters involved, the basic story is pretty simple: A villain named Chronica distorts time, bringing the original “Mortal Kombat” characters about 30 years into the future.
Some characters are forced to confront their past selves, while others find out that they don’t have a future. Fighting ensues.
The time-travel story works because “Mortal Kombat” has taken its history seriously over the years. Longtime fans of the series will definitely appreciate seeing how much their favourite characters have evolved since the 90s.
The story also does a good job of introducing the cast for new players, even as it builds on the plot of past “Mortal Kombat” games.
There are more single-player modes, too, like the classic tower mode. Players climb towers by beating AI-controlled fighters, unlocking rewards as they go. Some towers give enemies power-ups and set specific win conditions.
Online play gives “Mortal Kombat 11” infinite replay value. Like most fighting games, you can play ranked or casual matches, start a lobby with friends, or spectate others.
All of the game’s unlocks are tracked with an online server, so you’ll need to have a consistent internet connection to check-in and earn your rewards. You can also take on daily challenges to earn extra rewards.
Players can customise their fighter’s appearance and moveset to suit their taste. You can even choose different intro and outro cutscenes for before and after a match.
There are hundreds of customisation items, but you’ll need to unlock them. The amount of detail gets pretty ridiculous.
Customising your moves can make a character’s play-style drastically different. “Mortal Kombat 11” has some preset builds if you don’t want to spend the time, and ranked online modes require you to use presets.
Unfortunately, most unlocks are randomised, so it may take a while before you can unlock the items you want.
If you don’t have the time to unlock everything, the game does have an option to equip random items in versus mode, including ones that haven’t been unlocked.
Unlocking things gets even more confusing thanks to the Krypt mode. Players enter the Krypt to unlock rewards using “koins” and other items earned while playing. The problem is, you have to spend your koins to open chests before knowing what’s inside.
“Mortal Kombat” has a second currency, Time Krystals, that let players unlock specific customisation items from the in-game shop. You can unlock Time Krystals by playing, but they’re extremely rare.
Some fans are upset that Time Krystals can be purchased with real money, and offer the most direct route to the items they want. NetherRealm says they will regularly tweak the frequency of item drops to give players more rewards for their playtime.
NetherRealm Studios will add nine more downloadable characters to the roster of “Mortal Kombat 11,” starting with Shang Tsung. Characters can be purchased individually for $US6, or you can buy the $US40 Kombat Pack to get all nine at a discount, and some exclusive unlockables as a bonus.
You can play “Mortal Kombat 11” on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Just know that if you play me online, I won’t be showing any mercy.
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