My favorite video game genre has to be the fighters. As the oldest of three brothers, I had to share a lot of my stuff and that included video games, which meant that our library of games mostly consisted of fighting games and JRPG’s. But the game that we played the most was Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, admittedly for the blood and gore. Later on, I discovered the first three Mortal Kombat games at a downtown arcade, and soon, I was officially hooked on the franchise. Playing through Mortal Kombat 11, especially the Story mode has only re-ignited the love I feel for this franchise.
The story, which immediately follows that of Mortal Kombat X, finds a corrupted Raiden (Richard Epcar) attempting to destroy all of Earthrealm’s enemies, starting with Shinnok. This draws out the Elder Goddess Kronika (Jennifer Hale), who manipulates time in order to restore balance to the universe. This ends up pulling several Mortal Kombat characters from their time, where they come face to face with their future selves. Alliances and betrayals abound as heroes from across time race to stop Kronika from achieving her goals.
Fighting games are usually not known for having a deep story, but MK11 and its predecessors MKX and Mortal Kombat 2011 have changed this by telling a story that spans time and deals with the impact of legacy-for good and for ill. As such, many characters are given new depth because in this installment, particularly Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion, who urges his younger self not to follow the same path of vengeance he did.
Beyond him, we also see Johnny Cage’s daughter Cassie, who steps up as the leader of the Earthrealm Task Forces, and Raiden, who seeks to avoid the mistakes that his older self did. It’s very compelling stuff, especially for a game that’s mostly known for its gore content.
With that said, the gore is boundless as the signature Fatalities and Brutalities return, along with the new Fatal Blows and Krushing Blows. These latter two both require certain match conditions to occur. Fatal Blows are based on when your health hits 35% or lower while Krushing Blows are based on executing a certain set of moves. For example, while playing as Liu Kang, I used his Dragon Parry which consists of pressing up, down, and the X-button on the PS4.
With these and in true Mortal Kombat fashion, body parts are lopped off, bones snap and crack, and in some cases, the victims have literally been ripped apart. Kronika, in particular, has a nasty Fatality where she literally uses her powers to rip you apart and pull you back together again.
While the Story mode is fairly straight forward, most fans, myself included, have had a problem with the Tower of Time mode and the Krypt. The Towers of Time are a series of challenges designed to unlock power-ups for certain characters, known as Konsumables. However, this often results in hours of grinding, and I do mean hours. It took me the better part of two days to clear a particularly difficult Sub Zero fight.
Similarly, the Krypt is meant to reward players as they travel through Shang Tsung’s island, but ultimately it ends up being a massive pile of loot boxes-some yield treasure, others yield trash. NetherRealm has addressed these complaints with a patch that adjusts the AI difficulty curve, among other things.
Despite those difficulties, Mortal Kombat 11 will draw in players due to its stellar story and easy to grasp combat system. Hardcore fans of the franchise will enjoy it, and more casual gamers will find it to be a solid rental.
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 will draw in players due to its stellar story and easy to grasp combat system. Hardcore fans of the franchise will enjoy it, and more casual gamers will find it to be a solid rental.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.