Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the best selling games of 2019 so far and garnered quite a bit of critical praise, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its share of issues. I want to say up front that I personally think this is one of the best games of the year and have a lot of hours logged in the game so far. The good in this game far outweighs the bad, but the bad kind of sticks out here like a sore thumb as a result.
With this list, I'll be diving into what makes Mortal Kombat 11 awesome, at times terrible, and even touching on some of the controversy surrounding it at launch that may have turned some off. Let’s grind some koins and maybe get good gear!
Mortal Kombat 9 set a standard for story modes in fighting games and all the MK stories have been on point since. The story in this game focuses on time travel and it gets ridiculous, but it’s so much fun! Seeing Older Johnny Cage interact with younger Cage might be the best part.
A big change to MK 11 is that you can change how each character looks with gear. The bad part about it though is that you get most of it in the Krypt and it’s all random. So if you don’t play as Jade and you get five pieces of her gear in one Krypt visit, that's wasted koins!
These have been a staple of this franchise since the beginning and they are at an all-time high of crazy here! Some people find them grotesque but they aren’t meant to be taken seriously. Some of my favorite fatalities in the series are in this game with Noob Saibot and Sonya probably featuring the best of the bunch.
Hearing that this game was launching on Switch was a huge deal, but there was concern how it would run. Well, turns out that while it runs fine, it looks dramatically different and things work differently. The Krypt is covered in fog, the distant world can’t be seen, and since it’s portable you might have to wait to get koins again until you get back online.
I talked about how frustrating the random gear can be, but when you get cool gear for your main, it’s awesome! You can make different versions of each character with different special moves to give the game some variety. It can be intimidating, but very useful if you fight online. Augments can also be added to give stronger bonuses to gear.
Mortal Kombat 11 learns nothing from its predecessors, making the same mistake of featuring characters in the story who ultimately aren't playable. The main villain of the game is Kronika, but she isn’t playable and that’s a shame because she’s really cool. What stinks more is that Sektor and Cyrax are both in the story and guess what… not playable.
A.I. Battles are a new concept for the series and they're more good than bad all things considered. They have their own gear sets to obtain so there's an incentive to do them, and if you don’t want to tackle a hard tower, you can just let the A.I. fight. You can also customize their behavior so they fight how you want.
The online play is better than it has been in pervious games, but it’s still not where it needs to be. Even with a “good” connection you will still experience some lag. They also added a feature that tells if you are using wi-fi or direct connection and some will decline fights if you’re on wi-fi.
I play this game on an Xbox One X hooked up to a 4K TV and it’s an amazing looking game! I know it’s a condensed game so they can add details that open world games can’t add, but it might be the best looking fighting game this generation. The facial expressions and some of the details on the clothes are genuinely so impressive.
For the most part, Ronda Rousey did a fine enough job as Sonya, but she was far from anybody's favorite performance. Some people hated her performance and had that as the only negative about this game. There were also some controversial statements she made in the past that got resurfaced right as this game launched, souring her character for some fans.
Another staple of this series is having ridiculous character endings for each character after beating a tower. It’s no different here, but some are actually touching. Jax's ending in particular got some controversy for its subject matter, but it's an overall touching ending that captures the spirit of the character well.
The Towers of Time are new in this game and they work the same way the multiverse business did in Injustice 2. You need to be online to play them and they are constantly changing. They can give good rewards, but some are just so brutally difficult. They were patched to make things easier, but some still find them too hard.
I talked about the graphics a bit earlier, but I want to go into the character models a bit. Since this game focuses on time travel, they put a lot of emphasis on how characters look and looked. Seeing Sonya with her MK 1 design is so cool. Being able to blend the old with the new with the gear is a big plus as well.
I mentioned that the A.I. Battles are cool, but they add an unfortunately negative layer to the whole game. Once you hit a certain point in the game, it’s all about doing towers and daily content. It’s so much easier to use the A.I. to do those battles for you and that’s how a lot of people play them, myself included. What's the point of playing a game if you aren't playing?
I get that every fighting game has a tutorial, but the one in this game is unlike any other I have played. It goes very deep in explaining what moves do and how they do damage to you and your opponent. It even has a section devoted to frames and how they work which might very well be a first for the franchise and genre.
Character Towers can be summoned using koins and give specific gear to the character you choose. You can only use said character in that tower, which is fine, but it becomes a lot fast. You have to do tedious things like get countless uppercuts with said character to advance the tower. They turn a fighting game into a tedium.
The first character pack for the game is coming out in June and it has some awesome characters in it! So far it has: Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, Sindel, and Spawn. Yeah, Todd McFarlane's Spawn. It has two other characters, but they haven’t announced them yet. It’s rumored that they will be Ash from The Evil Dead and the Terminator.
You are given the option to use konsumables when doing most towers, but you are very limited in how you get them. You get them for completing towers for the most part. You can’t choose which ones you get though and that’s a shame because some are super useful. They include features like characters coming in to help or missiles hitting your opponent.
I’m not a hardcore fighting game person, but this is probably my favorite fighting system I’ve ever played. They ditched the X-ray moves and added Fatal Blows which make battles flow much better. They also changed the offensive and defensive bars on the screen so they make it easier to see which you're using. Along with this, they slowed down the gameplay which helps people who aren't too deep into the genre.
The gear grind is definitely the biggest issue with the game as it is now. There’s only so much you can do in the course of one play session and you aren’t guaranteed to get gear for the character you want. Using A.I. Battles are the best way to grind, but that becomes very boring very fast. It’s just a bit much for a fighting game.