By Richard Hunt | @HuntJournalism | Image: © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Developed by: NetherRealm Studios
Published by: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Release Date: 23 April 2019
Mortal Kombat has been a part of our gaming libraries for over 27 years now, and is one of the most recognisable properties in gaming history. Over its near three decade history, “MK” has evolved into various different forms, from turning the franchise into an RPG in Shaolin Monks, to creating a ‘kart racer’ feature in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, but ever since the franchise has been helmed by Netherrealm Studios we have seen changes that have lead to nothing but excellence. After the Mortal Kombat (reboot), and Mortal Kombat X, Netherrealm have redefined what it is to be a fighting game, with a heavy focus on making engaging stories, as well as masterfully providing players with unique and fun gameplay.
When “MK11” was announced at the Game Awards 2018, people were understandably ecstatic. Excitement grew, with hints that for the first time in the series’ history that it would explore time travel, which many saw as being quite ambitious. I reacted positively, seeing it as an opportunity for unique content and would give Netherrealm a suitable excuse to reintroduce fan-favourite characters that we hadn’t seen for a very long time. After playing the game, I was extremely satisfied.
I’m happy to say MK11 is one of the most unique fighting games I have ever played. Whether it’s introducing new elements to the MK world or reintroducing long lost characters, everything just oozes excellence. One particularly enjoyable feature was Towers of Time, a new online randomised tower based gamemode, similar to the Living Towers from MKX. In Towers of Time, players can challenge unique AI controlled fighters to receive rewards, that can vary from unique customization items for your fighter, to in game currency that can be spent in the Krypt.
For the first time in MK history, you get to play the Krypt in third person, as new to the series character The Traveller. The Krypt is based on the iconic location of Shang Tsung’s Island, which allows for some of the most amazing fan service I think I have ever seen in a game. Calling back to previous titles, secrets, and even the cult classic 1995 Mortal Kombat: Movie, with Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, reprising his role of Shang Tsung, for the first time in 24 years. It still is a place for you to spend your currency, such as souls and koins on skins, brutalities, and fatalities, but unlike its earlier predecessors it possesses some personality, and is really enjoyable to run around.
It wouldn’t be a Netherrealm game without a broad cinematic experience, and I’m happy to say that “MK11″ has the best story mode Netherrealm has ever made, with moments that I’ll never forget as a fan of the series. If you’d told me that this game would blend two timelines together (reboot timeline and the original Mortal Kombat 2 timeline), I would have predicted a car crash, but they have proved me utterly wrong. Newly introduced antagonist Kronika, the keeper of time is excellent as a villain to the game, and is masterfully portrayed as the biggest threat in “MK” history. The thought that she could take any of our heroes out at anytime was intense, and I loved it. The story was funny, heartbreaking and brutal, and I really recommend it to any fan of the series to pick up and play.
Mortal Kombat 11 is a complete masterpiece. It possesses so much content for a fighting game, and compliments everyone, from offline against an AI, to Online against other players. It has the best gameplay in any Netherrealm game, it’s visually gorgeous, the story mode is exceptional, and of course the fatalities are brutal as ever. Not only is this the best game in the series, but the greatest fighting game I have ever played.