Speed is everything in the world of online journalism. Get it up fast and get those clicks! Many reviews have been up for Mortal Kombat 11 and I could have had mine up just as fast, but after all the bitching about the Krypt and earning currency, I thought it would be in my best interest and the readers of this article if I actually spent more time with the game before I give my knee jerk reaction that you have to play 3 billion hours to unlock three Scorpion skins. So, I did exactly that and believe me fellow gamers, life with Mortal Kombat 11 isn’t that hard.
Mortal Kombat has been around for 27 years, and I still remember pumping quarters into the machines at the arcade back in the day. The over-the-top violence and gore quickly captured the attention of gamers and parents alike and even though it was clouded by controversy; the franchise would push on. When Mortal Kombat 2 was released it was the first time that I can remember when gamers were carded to buy the game, or your parents had to buy it for you. The atmosphere, violence, and gore took the darkness to a whole new level. Fast forward to Mortal Kombat 9, when the quality of gameplay rose to the levels of the blood and gore. Mortal Kombat X was more fine tuned, keeping the quality intact, and now this past week, Mortal Kombat 11 has hit the shelves and it is easily Netherrealm’s best outing yet.
The one thing that I have always enjoyed about Mortal Kombat is the button combinations. There are two punch buttons, two kick buttons, and a block button. No light, medium, or heavy button system that a number of fighting games use. It is very simple, yet it will take you time to master each character. Yes, you can pick it up right up and play, but you have to take the time to remember and accurately execute the “dial-a-combo” combinations. Tap certain buttons in order and quick enough to unleash the fury on your opponent.
This could sound intimidating if you are new to the series, but no worries because Mortal Kombat 11 has one of the best tutorials that I have come across in my gaming career. I rarely give tutorials my full attention because I’m stubborn and just suffer until I figure things out. It covers everything from the basics to the more advanced techniques. The tutorial here is so immersive that it provided to be useful and even fun to a longtime MK veteran such as myself.
The gameplay has taken a step back with the speed and also the removal of the run button. Walk speeds are slower but it makes the movement and action more fluid as well as the executing combinations easier and visually striking. I adapted to the changes much quicker than anticipated and soon it all felt seamless. The fights have become more tactical and you have to time your attacks with more effort than previous installments. Guess what people? You aren’t going to land those uppercuts like clockwork anymore.
X-Ray moves are still in the game, but now they are called Krushing Blows and are less powerful. If you nail a Krushing Blow upper cut, you get the cinematic with the bones crunching and a tooth popping out. I like that they kept the effect in the game. Once again, you can only use these moves once per match. Replacing the original X-Ray moves are Fatal Blows. You can also use them once per match and they cause 35% damage to your opponent. They are quick and very difficult to react to. I have had to plan my strategy around this move because once the computer is able to pull their Fatal Blow off, you can best believe it will happen. At times it can be frustrating because this single move can turn the odds in a match in an instant.
The story continues from Mortal Kombat X, but you will have to forgive me because I have yet to touch the story mode, so I have very little to offer here. I have heard from friends that it is about six hours long and Ronda Rousey’s portrayal of Sonja Blade is whack. I do know that the story involves a new character named Kronika who has the ability to control time and the plot is centered on another timeline reset because of Raiden altering the balance of good and evil after he beheaded the Elder God, Shinnok.
Now allow me to tackle everyone’s biggest heartache: The Krypt and customization. The customization is insane! Each fighter has at least 60 skins, 90 pieces of gear that you can customize and 10 selective techniques to add on their respective set of abilities. A lot of the skins are a variety of colors for the default outfits, but there are so many ways to make your character unique to both your visual and fighting style.
You can unlock certain items while playing through the story, which means eventually I’ll be forced to play through it. But for the most part you unlock them using currency by traveling through dungeons, purchasing treasure chests in the Krypt or by completing challenges in the Towers of Time. Think Injustice 2 when it comes to these towers. They are basically the same thing, swapping out DC gear for MK gear. You fight a select group of fighters and earn coins, modifiers, and hearts that will allow you to access exclusive chests.
The treasure chests are random, which I’m actually OK with. But if you think logically; you aren’t going to get an incredible looking skin out of a 1500 coin box. You will probably get some random concept art. So hit the higher treasure chests, people! The bigger ones will get you the prizes you desire. And yes, you have to grind! I don’t understand this complaint. There are over 20 fighters to master, more are coming via DLC. Why complain that you actually have to *gasp* play the game?!? I enjoy Mortal Kombat overall and would have killed for these different features and goodies to open up in previous installments. I just don’t get the angst over having to play the game to earn currency to unlock chests.
The Towers of Time can be tasking and difficult. Modifiers are added to a lot of them and they put the odds against you. I am not an overly angry person when I play games, but I will admit that I have come close to driving my controller into my carpet and splintering it into pieces over the outcomes of certain matches. It can be frustrating. In some cases it is more frustrating than enjoyable, but practice makes perfect.
There are also character specific towers where you unlock gear specifically for the character you choose to play as. This will cost you some coins, but you know you are getting goodies for your favorite over crossing your fingers and trying your luck in the Krypt. However, there are some tedious tasks to accomplish like nailing 50 uppercuts before certain challenge towers are unlocked. So I will allow a pass on bitching about this grind. You are grinding to grind. I did shake my head and roll my eyes when I saw this. Also, the rewards are random, so gamble with these towers at your own risk.
Online is where I will spend a majority of my time and it has been exciting so far. I must applaud the developers, since launch I haven’t had any lag. That’s right, I said ZERO lag. Not to say it won’t happen eventually, but so far so good. You have the choice of casual matches, ranked matches, King of the Hill, and play AI matches where you customize your fighters AI and pit them against someone else’s fighter and let them go at it. Of course, I have run into a million and one Scorpions, but it is always expected. Win or lose, I love playing online.
Overall, Mortal Kombat 11 is incredible. From the fighter customization to the insane fatalities, this game has it all! You do have to grind to unlock stuff, but it gives you a reason to keep playing. With over 20 characters, everyone has their favorite, but now you have reasons to venture out and try new ones. Maybe you’ll get a new favorite! I am looking forward to playing this for quite awhile, as it has been a spell since a fighting game has grabbed me like this and that includes Mortal Kombat X. The netcode is solid, the combat has depth, the blood flows red, and at the end of the day you can rip your opponent in half and do a ventriloquist act. What more can you ask for? FINISH HIM!
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