Nerd boners are raging hard right now with the release of Mortal Kombat 11. It’s been almost a solid four years since Mortal Kombat X was released and people have been begging for the next installment for years now. Was it worth the wait? You can either skip to the bottom like a loser, or you can read the entire review to form a more rounded opinion. Choice is yours.
MKX left us with a very emo Raiden and Cassie Cage as the Earth’s victor. *sigh* Say what you will, that’s what happened in the last game. Now it’s several years later and Raiden is waging war on absolutely every realm which he finds to possibly, maybe, at some point, could be a threat to Earthrealm. With Liu Kang and Kitana ruling Netherrealm, Raiden feels he must attack them as soon as possible.
Enter Kronika, the game’s main antagonist. This new character is above the Elder Gods and she’s extremely powerful. Kind of…sort of…well, if she gets enough power to use her power, she’s extremely powerful. She controls time and weaves the destinies of all people in all the realms, but might also only be Earthrealm, unless you’ve visited Earthrealm… The game never really clears that up.
Look, to sum everything up, Kronika is beyond angry about Raiden shifting everything in total favor of Earthrealm and has decided to rebalance the universe by reversing time to a point in which Raiden could no longer exist. Good guys turn to bad guys, bad guys turn to good guys, and everything else is pretty gray.
Honestly, I’m doing a bad job representing the plot here. It works great in the game and is presented wonderfully.
Ah, the story! MK 9 had an amazing story. MK X had a pretty “meh” story. Injustice 2 had a terrible story. MK 11? It has an amazing story! I don’t know if they reassigned the writing team to the original ones or they hired people back, or even fired the old ones and hired new ones, but damn the new story is interesting. It’s put together in a solid way, the fights make sense, the character interactions are fun, and it doesn’t feel like it’s dragging on nor needless.
I won’t provide spoilers, but let’s just say it had some interesting surprises and mentions. Character motivations don’t feel shoehorned in just to make them appear at times for a fight, which is the biggest thing for me. Unlike in MK X, I feel like this was handled with care and actually thought out again. With the exception of one character, anyone you fight is in the roster. Sure Ed Boon said no NPC fights…well that was a fucking lie…but with that one exception, everyone in the story is in the roster.
Kronika herself is an interesting character and her guiding hand is what lead to the events of all Mortal Kombat games across all timelines. This includes ones we weren’t familiar with, but get to see glimpses of in The Krypt and mentions by other characters.
Before I get into controls, audio, and things like that, let’s talk graphics. You see that Johnny Cage over there to the left? See how badass that looks? Well, the entire game is like that. The facial scanning technology is even better than in Injustice 2 and moves even more realistically.
Arenas are multilayered with all kinds of things to look at while never actually distracting from the fight you’re focusing on. In one arena, Shinnok’s severed head sits wedged in a wall and mounted like a trophy. In another arena, you’ll see both the present and the past fighting for dominance as you spray blood across the battle field. Is an NPC wandering a little too close to the fighting action? Grab them and throw them at your opponent!!! It feels so good taking a tarkatan warrior by the belt and bashing your enemy in the face with it.
Special moves glow and explode in pure eye candy. When characters get hit, they react much more realistically than even before, and crushing blows (moves which do enhanced damage based on specific triggers) act as a quasi-x-ray move which can happen either automatically, or when you opt for the “Hold A Button” option.
Blood is…very satisfying. Blood and other liquids (see: Kano introductions in the game) will seek its own level and cover not only the ground, but the entire arena and even coat your fighter’s outfits. While the blood may not pour like a faucet, what does flow out of fighters is more than satisfying. You won’t see the characters taking battle damage like in the past, but thanks to the improved blood physics, you won’t miss it.
How does the game play? Faster than the beta and slower than MK X. I like it! I really, really like it. I don’t feel like I’m being rushed down constantly by the AI or other players. It’s much more methodical this time around.
Inputting combos is still a little “dial-a-hit”, but the timing is much tighter this time around. You have to be pretty precise, and that will either make you a better player, or will make you frustrated in the online battles. Personally, I like it being a little less forgiving, because it means button mashing is even less likely to get you anywhere. Is it noob friendly? Somewhat, I guess.
Honestly, the controls aren’t super crispy, but they feel satisfying. My fingers have gotten a work out, let’s put it that way. Doing the Tutorial section will help you out in a lot of ways. I highly suggest at least playing the Frame Data Tutorial. Granted, it means absolutely dick shit against the computer, since the AI breaks all the rules whenever it feels like (Dear Developers: Stop programming One Button Specials and Button Reading into your fighting games and learn how to program actual AI, you lazy assholes. Sincerely, Everyone), but it did make the entire concept understandable for me, so anyone can learn it.
Music is right on. It’s just catchy enough that you won’t be distracted by it, but you’ll definitely have your favorites. Thanks to the Krypt, which I will discuss mournfully later, you can unlock the tunes to listen to at any time. There’s some wild west influence in some of this music, and that’s not a bad thing.
Groans, grunts, screams, yelps, and laughs are fantastic. Beating your opponent mercilessly has never sounded this good. Ever. Period. I don’t care what other game you’re thinking of, this beats it.* Punching your enemy to bits like Liu Kang there will give you an instant boner no matter if you’re a boy or a girl. It’s that good.
Voice acting is good as well. I wouldn’t say it’s great, but it’s good. I know people complain about Rhonda Rousey’s acting as Sonya, but let me get something straight with everyone: No one else in the cast is Shakespeare level and no one is going to win an award for their work here. It all feels like it’s done on purpose to give it that old Kung Fu Theater vibe, and it’s fun.
*God of War (2018) is the one exception
It wouldn’t be a modern Mortal Kombat game without some additional features thrown in. Apart from Story, you have The Krypt, Towers of Time, Klassic Towers, Kollections, and Kustomize.
Story mode is your basic bread and butter mode to get you to understand what is going on and why. You get to play a variety of the characters, sometimes as a team, and other times alone. You do not get to play as the villians at all, which kind of sucks. You have the ability to go back and make other choices, when given to you, so you won’t miss out on anything. Nothing about the story changes, however, and it’s just there to give you another thing to experience. A lot of your costumes and accents are earned through this mode, so don’t skip it.
Towers of Time is much like the gimmick in Injustice 2 where you have a cretain amount of time to beat challenges to unlock gear and get konsumables. First off: FUCK KONSUMBABLES. Most of the towers can only be beaten by using these because the AI is completely jacked up. Netherrealm Studios has stated this is a mistake (I don’t believe them) and they are adjusting the difficulty. Whey do I think this is not a mistake? Because it makes you so infuriated you’ll want to buy “konsumable” items in packs through the online store. They just got so much backlash from this they are forced to change it. At least they acknowledged it. This goes for The Krypt, too, which I will address last, due to how angry I am over it.
Klassic Towers is exactly like the normal towers in MK X. You choose five through twelve fights to get your character’s endings, fight through an endurance tower where your health is carried over between each fight, and you have the unlimited battles tower to see just how far you can get against an increasingly cheating computer. Oh, did I forget to mention you can use konsumables in this selection of towers as well completely breaking everything? Yeah…fuck “konsumables”.
Kollections is just where you can view the items you’ve unlocked such as concept art and music. That’s all.
Kustomize is where you go to change out your costumes and adjust your skills and augments. It’s pretty cool, but extremely limited. You can’t adjust the colors yourself, so you’re forced to just pick the outfit and coloring you like the best with the items you’ve selected to accent your character. However, there is a lot to choose from, and you’ll pretty much be forced to either get extremely lucky to get the one you want, or you’ll just have to fork over the cash (up to $10 USA) for it. Why? Because of the fucked over Krypt.
The Krypt is a joke. There are more items than there are treasure chests, so you’ll have to spend even more of your first type of currency to reset the chests in order to have a slight chance to get what you want. It’s 2,000 gold pieces PER CHEST to reset, and with chests costing up to 25,000 gold to open, you’ll need a lot of gold. Then there’s the “Soul Tokens”, which you get at a very slow rate compared to gold. One area requires 2,00 souls in order to unlock it, and every other chest requires 100 souls. Guess how many souls you get by playing? Not enough.
Then there’s the Hearts…Except for “Special Chests”, which require 100 hearts, every other chest which takes hearts (these have Shao Kahn’s bust on them) requires 250 hearts. Problem with this? You get ONE HEART PER FATILITY and TWO HEARTS PER BRUTALITY. So, that means you have to beat, at minimum, 125 opponents and end the rounds with a Brutality, or defeat 250 characters with a Fatality just to open ONE CHEST, which contains an RNG character skin. Oh, and no, couch co-op does NOT give you hearts, so don’t try to cheat it that way.
That’s not the end of it, either…to use one of the items which is required to find certain chests and passageways, it costs you Soul Tokens to use. Every second it drains 2 Soul Tokens. So…pony up and pay, bitches. Again, Netherrealm Studios has acknowledged the backlash, so they are “adjusting the economy”. No one knows what this means as of now.
I didn’t have to spell it with a “K”, I just wanted to.
Many, many, many man babies are crying over the fact the characters look more realistic. In any other videogame this would be a great thing, but not here in Mortal Kombat, I guess. They’re also complaining that the female fighters don’t have their tits, ass, and pussy hanging out of their costumes, but feel that the male characters are overly sexualized. These people are absolutely dumb shits. That is a fact, not an opinion. The characters have never looked better and the costume designs have never been more impressive.
The other thing is Ed Boon claimed there would be no loot boxes, but the game introduces three currencies, one of which is literally called a “premium currency”, much like those free to play mobile games. The entire economy of the game is based around microtransactions, and The Krypt is one big loot box filled with RNG bullshit no one wanted or asked for. You cannot, and I repeat cannot, go onto the internet and look up where to find what you want, since it will be different for everyone. Oh, but don’t worry, you can pay $5.00 (USA) for the outfit you want and up to $20.00 for a pack of them. Know what? Fuck you guys at Netherrealm Studios for doing this. I will not praise you fixing this, as it is a problem you created in the first place. Just get it fixed.
Let me not forget to mention how you 100% need to be online to keep any of the items you unlock. In order to “protect the online store”, the game has to access the servers in order to validate you actually have the right to have it. I’ve had the servers go down on me a few times, making me lose progress, and my internet took a dump on me another time, which made me lose progress as well. It’s infuriating and anti-consumer.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10 Nerd Boners
Even with The Krypt, Towers of Time, and the economy of the game completely fucked, it’s a solid 8 out of 10 nerd boners from me. Once the issues have been fixed, if they ever are correctly fixed, then I’ll give it a 10/10.
Should you rent or buy? If you love Mortal Kombat, then get it now. RIGHT NOW. If you like fighting games, then wait a year until the “full version” comes out, with all the fixes, adjustments, and characters available to you right away. I got the Kollector’s Edition and feel very satisfied with my purchase.