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Mortal Kombat 11 Review | (Nintendo Switch/PS4/Xbox/PC)

Mortal Kombat 11 Review | (Nintendo Switch/PS4/Xbox/PC)

With an astonishing 27 years under its belt,
the Mortal Kombat series has gone down in history as some of the most brutal violence
in video games. Most commonly known for being the game to
piss off the U.S. Government to the point of creating the ESRB,
Mortal Kombat has been working to not only be known for its violence but for its gameplay
too. Recent iterations starting at Mortal Kombat
9 show a push toward more modern fighting mechanics and MK11 is a true refinement of
that formula. On average, fighting games aren’t too well
known for having great and memorable stories. Mortal Kombat 11 is trying to break that stereotype
and to some extent it does. It’s not to the levels of game of the year
narrative-driven games but on part with something from the Fast and the Furious series, absurd
action that makes for a good popcorn flick. This story takes place right after the events
of MKX. After Shinnok was defeated, Raiden went through
some dark power changes that caught the eye of Kronika, the elder god of time. Wanting to rewrite the events of the timeline
under her own rule she sets out on colliding the present and past timelines together for
a complete reset. As far fetched and wild as that story sounds,
it creates some of the best moments for the MK series. Suddenly characters are meeting their past
selves and the reactions are fantastic. Young Johnny Cage seeing just how much of
a family he becomes in the future is historical. Equally as funny to see is present time Johnny
Cage realize how obnoxious he used to be. Their juxtaposition scenes are easily the
best moments in the story but it’s not just that. What Mortal Kombat 11 does so well with its
story is making sure each character gets some sort of spotlight time. While yes, I would have loved to see some
characters more than others, it’s still great to see characters who traditionally
have been background characters, at the forefront. The six-hour campaign feels like it hits its
sweet spot of balancing out interesting character match ups with full-on cinematic cutscenes
not so common in fighting games. For anyone riding the Mortal Kombat hype train
wanting to get into the series but haven’t played the previous games, you might not have
any connections to the characters but the flat out chaotic action is still easy to follow. Even for those that just dipped their toes
back during the arcade era, you’ll see some recognizable faces that I’m sure you’ll
appreciate. Narrative aside the real attraction of any
fighting game is its combat and that’s gotten some changes with MK11. Running has been completely removed from gameplay
with short dashes replacing them. It ultimately makes matches more strategic,
forcing you to analyze the distance of your attacks and your opponents. The special meter from previous games is now
two separate meters dedicated to amplifying either offensive or defensive moves. These replenish faster too making them a much
larger part of fights and comebacks. The x-ray moves from previous games are gone,
replaced by fatal blows. These can be activated once during a set when
your health is nearly gone. They’re essentially a last-ditch effort
to turn around fight. In the best of times, they come off as a mechanic
that makes the closest matches only more stressful but also more satisfying. They can also feel a bit cheap since they
deal a decent amount of damage but usually felt the former more. Overall these mechanic changes are a welcome
part of the combat that made fights more entertaining in my opinion. With that said, I can understand someone that’s
new to the series watching this review may thinking, this all sounds complicated. Don’t worry, MK11 offers some great tutorials
and features for both basic and advanced mechanics. You can stick move set lists on the screen
during matches offline to help you memorize your favorite characters moves. It’s a great way to prep for online matches. There are even tutorials for specific characters
so there’s something here for everybody wanting to learn how to play. Now a trend in the recent Mortal Kombat games
has been customization of characters and that’s no different here. With every character, you get customization
of their costume, weapon cosmetics, and more. Each character has two custom slot presets
and slots so that you can save your favorite creations for easy picking. With a story mode spanning across different
eras of Mortal Kombat, there’s plenty for you to unlock. That brings us to the two main game modes
outside of the main story and online, these are classic towers and towers of time. Klassic Towers has you take on a series of
cpu opponents leading up to fighting the story’s main antagonist. It’s like a playlist feature but for fighting
games. Tower of time, on the other hand, is more
of a challenge mode that activates modifies on matches. This can something like giving the enemy more
health or weakening your attacks. Regardless of the modifier, you’re usually
always at a disadvantage and it is brutal. This is the same mode you try to complete
to earn currency for the krypt mode. The krypt is where you spend your currency
to unlock chests filled with cosmetics, concept art and more. A lot of complaints online have stated that
this is a push for microtransactions and I don’t entirely agree. Making tower of time hard pushes you to invest
more time into the game, I have no problem with that. It’s more that the difficulty doesn’t
come off as challenging but rather unfair. You do have the option to buy currency online
with real cash but even then individual items for purchase outside of the krypt are on rotation. If I wanted a very specific item, buying the
currency with cash wouldn’t even guarantee me being able to buy the item if it’s not
in rotation. Netherrealm has stated that they’re working
on patching the towers of time to be more challenging than unfair and have even sent
out server-side updates already. Lastly, there’s the online mode which I
played both on Switch and Xbox One. Both experiences were similar. I have the option to rank match, private match
or even practice with friends across the globe. The online performance seemed mostly stable
with only a few hiccups with opponents with a slightly high ping. Luckily you get to see your opponents ping
before accepting their match so you can always turn them down if they’re not to your qualifications. Mortal Kombat 11 is one beautiful looking
game. Despite running on a customer version of Unreal
Engine 3, this game can easily fool me into thinking this was the first Unreal 4 Mortal
Kombat game. Any time I jump into a match I’m taken back
not just by the action at the forefront but also the attention to detail in the background. Inside the military base stage, you can see
soldiers in the background cheering on while the shadows of the fighters are cast on the
soft looking tarp. There’s a lovely bloom coming from the sunshine
outside the base that reflects on the many objects in the background. Those objects are interactable too, not just
the actual ones that you can use to attack. For example, moving back and forth in this
stage, you can see the bones on the floor actually reacting to your movement. Little touches like that really help make
gameplay feel much more alive. You’re just not two fighters over a nice
looking background, it comes off more as watching a live fight from the side view. The cinematic cutscenes throughout the campaign
are marvelously framed to come off like you’re watching a Mortal Kombat movie. That’s a good thing because you’ll be
watching a lot of these cutscenes for a large chunk of the campaign. Character models have a ton of detail to them
and you really see it for yourself anytime you get a fatality or fatal blow. I’m sure fans of the gore and violence will
be perfectly content with all the mayhem on display. Now let’s talk about the Switch version. I played both the Xbox One X and Nintendo
Switch version and shockingly, they don’t look the same. Ok, sarcasm aside, yes the Switch looks worse,
it’s tablet so of course. How does it look in comparison to other Switch
games though? Well, it’s alright but certainly not a great
looking game. Characters and stages have a lot less detail
to them as expected. I think that’s fine but what I think starts
to bother the visuals is the smoothing of characters. Models have this smooth effect over them and
so any gruesome attacks shown end up looking censored without actually being censored. For example, Scorpion’s fatal blow here
looks like it does more damage on the Xbox than on the Switch despite both being the
same scene uncensored. With that said, everything on display with
the switch version is recognizable which I think is the most important factor with this
lower tech version. There are fewer details here but characters
and stages are still recognizable and feel the same as they would on other platforms. I mean I played on both the weakest and strongest
consoles for this review and I was easily able to transition between the two. Frame rates across board run at 60 fps regardless
of platform. The resolution, on the other hand, varies
a bit more. PS4 Pro seems to run the game at 1440p while
the Xbox One X hits 1800p. The base consoles run at a lower 1080p resolution
while the Switch uses a dynamic resolution to maintain its frame rate. In dock mode Switch usually hovers around
720p depending on the scene, handheld mode, on the other hand, can dip below that. Pausing the game and looking at it, it can
honestly look like an eyesore but in actual practice, I was more focused on playing than
I was looking at the transparency of a character’s hair. While I haven’t been too into the Mortal
Kombat music for a while now, this is a step up from Mortal Kombat 10 for sure. You’ll find a few classic themes from previous
iterations mixed with some new tracks. What really stood out to me was the amazing
voice work. Across the wide character roster, just about
everyone with the exception of Rhonda Rousey really brings their game to their performance. Rhonda sadly just doesn’t really feel like
she knows how to voice act with a delivery that feels a bit forced in moments that are
supposed to be emotional. It came off as fake to me. Now, something I do want to commend NeatherRealm
on is their implementation of hd rumble on the switch version. It’s so well done! Punches, jabs, special, everything has this
added sense of momentum that makes the most brutal moments only more impactful. In an odd way, it actually makes the Switch
version stand out a bit more when playing on the go, distracting from the lower quality
visuals. Mortal Kombat 11 continues modernization trend
of the recent entries in the series, creating a fighting game the balances out an entertaining
story with well-balanced combat. Those who invest the time into it will surely
be rewarded with extra content for their favorite characters. Although technically that was sort of a problem
at launch. Luckily Netherrealm has begun to tweak a lot
of the grinding complaints from launch promising a full patch next week. I think it speaks a lot to NetherRealm wanting
to do right by their players. The grinding complaints aside since the fix
is pending, Mortal Kombat 11, as it is now, is a superb experience that’ll have you
getting over there for months on end.

31 comments on “Mortal Kombat 11 Review | (Nintendo Switch/PS4/Xbox/PC)

  1. Apparently not all modes allow you to save without an internet connection, which is fine everywhere else, but a shocking decision on Switch 🙁

  2. This is probably the last giveaway in a review for a bit haha 😅

    Happy to have been able to get some codes for some lucky viewers with these last few reviews!

    Have a great day! ♥️

  3. Quick tip
    I turned down the sharpness on my TV to improve and minimize aliasing. Turning off match recording helps performance a slight bit too

  4. So awesome 🙂
    The microtransactions thing is a big turn off from me to be honest…
    I might give it some try after they do the proper adjustments to the grind

  5. Do you think if panic button instead handled this switch port of mortal kombat 11 it would of turned out a lot better.Also could a future update like choosing between a quality and performance mode help things or is the game held back by the hardware limitations of the switch.

  6. #MK11 looks beautiful here even on the Nintendo switch which I thought which was going to suck knowing that this is on a Nintendo handheld here so good job to Ed Boon & his team for creating a great game in 2019.

  7. Hey Luis, we didn't get to play this one but well looking forward to it! Great review man, really enjoyed it. Thank you!

  8. I still miss the old graphics from Sega Saturn and ps1 lol but that’s just me being an old geezer I guess! Great review 👌😁

  9. Picked up the game on the switch and it’s really good tho sometimes in handheld I can see some jagged edges around the characters

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