Mortal Kombat 11, developer NetherRealm Studios’ newest fighting game, is far more than the guts and gore titles on which the series built its fame. The narrative sequel to Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11 uses time travel, much like another popular, recently released pop culture property, to pit characters against their rivals in the past in order to alter the present. Whatever . Mortal Kombat 11 continues the series tradition of chop-socky action and otherworldly mysticism to lay the foundation for military operatives, ninjas, gods, and monsters to punch each other squarely in the face. This outstanding PC game is easily the best Mortal Kombat game to date, and thus an easy recommendation.
There isn’t a fighting game series I’ve wanted to love more than Mortal Kombat. It’s one part Enter the Dragon , one part Big Trouble In Little China , and a whole lot of schlock and melodrama. Yet, its incredibly stiff animations have always kept me from enjoying the game’s flow. With Mortal Kombat 11, however, NetherRealm Studios improved the animations so that the attacks connect in a smoother fashion. Mostly. The game looks and plays better than any other Mortal Kombat before it. Despite the animation improvements, though, some characters still have odd fighting stances or attack motions that lack the cool factor of the martial arts movies that the series emulates.
Offensive and Defensive Features
Besides two punches, two kicks, special moves, and the returning Variation system, each Mortal Kombat 11 fighter has a new Fatal Blow and Krushing Blow. Fatal Blow replaces Mortal Kombat XL ($26.99 at Green Man Gaming US) ‘s X-Ray Move. It’s a new attack that you execute by simultaneously pressing your controller’s trigger buttons when your character’s health is below 30 percent. Think of it as an in-game Fatality that does big damage. You can only land it once per match, but should you whiff the attack, you can wait a short while and try it again. This prevents people from simply spamming it until their characters connect. Krushing Blow is an enhanced combo or special move that occurs during unique gameplay conditions . It can only be used once per match.
Mortal Kombat XL (for PC)
Mortal Kombat X (for PC)
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Another new series addition is Flawless Block. Think of it as Mortal Kombat’s version of the Just Defend mechanic seen in SNK games like Garou Mark of the Wolves ($26.99 at Green Man Gaming US) or the upcoming Samurai Shodown . If you block an attack just as it hits, you’re granted lessened recovery time and the opportunity to counterattack. Flawless Blocks are a terrific risk/reward system, as you have to gamble nearly eating an attack to get the offensive bonuses. That said, only significant lab and versus time will determine Flawless Block’s effectiveness. Hopefully, it isn’t a game-breaker.
In addition, you can boost your special moves by pressing block while executing the move. These Amplified Special Moves typically cost 50 percent of the new Offensive Gauge. You’ll see a cool visual flash that indicates that you performed it correctly. For example, Johnny Cage has a single-somersault Flash Kick special attack, but if you Amplify it, the character flips twice in the air to land an additional hit. Cool environmental interactions, such as wall-running out of a corner or using a weapon in the background scenery, costs half the new Defensive Gauge.
Overall, Mortal Kombat 11 plays really, really well. The fighting has an excellent flow, and the new attacks add an even greater cinematic quality to the action. Online versus matches were silky smooth, too. I never had trouble finding opponents, and the connections were strong throughout my many online gameplay sessions.
Many Game Modes
Mortal Kombat 11 has four main, content-rich modes: Konquer, Fight, Kustomize, and Learn. Konquer is where you play Story Mode, participate in Tower Challenge battles, and Unlock rewards in The Krypt. Fight is local or online battles. Kustomize is where you outfit your character with fresh gear and buffs, much as in Injustice 2 ($26.99 at Green Man Gaming US) . Mortal Kombat 11 differs from that superhero fighting game in that it separates characters’ abilities from the gear they don, thus opening the door to greater customization options. Learn is the training mode. There you can run basic and advanced combat tutorials, enter Fatality Training, or just mess around and practice attacks on your own.
Towers of Time, one of the two Tower Challenges, has proven controversial. This online mode features dynamic challenges and in-game prizes and pits you against a challenger gauntlet—and it’s pretty damned difficult, especially when match modifiers tossed into the mix. Players speculate that this was intentional so that people would be highly encouraged to purchase fighter-boosting Konsumables with real-world money. Now, NetherRealm Studios hasn’t directly confirmed that’s the reason for the extreme challenge, but the developer has patched Towers of Time and gifted players a reward of 500,000 Koins, 500 Hearts, 1,000 Soul Fragments, and 1,000 Time Krystals, the game’s four currencies. The new Towers of Time isn’t a cakewalk, but it’s mildly less gindy than before.
You can use those currencies to unlock new gear, weapons, and moves. Taking Koins, the easily earned in-game currency, to The Krypt lets you unlock treasure chests filled with bonus Fatalities, character skins, or even more Koins. Time Krystals, on the other hand, are slowly earned, but can also be purchased with real-world dollars (on the high end, $39.99 nets you 5,600 Time Krystals). You use them to purchase Kosmetic items for your character, as well as fight intros and Kombat Kard icons. Soul Fragments are earned by winning matches, and they let you unlock higher-end Krypt items. Hearts are the rarest currency, and they let you find high-end loot.
Sadly, some features that should be built into the game by default are only found in the Premium Shop. For instance, Easy Fatality, a Konsumable that dramatically simplifies Fatality inputs, requires Time Krystals. That’s absolutely ridiculous; since easy Fatalities are part of the game, they should be available from the start. Not everyone wants to devote hours of their lives to lab time.
Numerous PC Gaming Options
NetherRealm Studios states that Mortal Kombat 11 demands at least a 3.1GHz AMD Ryzen 3 1200 or 2.66GHz Intel Core i5-750 CPU, AMD Radeon HD 7590 or Nvidia Geforce GTX 670 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and the 64-bit Windows 7 operating system. My gaming desktop that features 8GB of RAM and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card ran the game at a crisp 60 frames per second (FPS), with the occasional frame rate dip here and there. That said, Mortal Kombat 11’s cinematic animations, such as Fatal Blows and Fatalities, run at just 30FPS; The Kyrpt, too. Thankfully, NetherRealm Studios has stated that it plans to release a patch that bring those elements up to 60FPS. Mortal Kombat 11 is a 60GB download, so make sure you have significant free hard drive or solid-state drive space.
In a nice touch, NetherRealm Studios includes HDR10 support when playing in fullscreen mode with the appropriate monitor. There are also audio options for desktop speakers, sound bars, and multi-speaker home theater setups. Nvidia ShadowPlay Highlights is supported, too, so you can set your Nvidia GeForce Experience software to automatically record Fatalities, Fatal Blows, and other cool highlights. Tournament organizers will appreciate the Tournament mode, which lets you quickly activate NetherRealm Studios-approved competitive play settings.
As a Steam game, Mortal Kombat 11 supports the expected features, including Steam Cloud, Steam Achievements, and Steam Trading Cards. Unfortunately, the game also supports the controversial Denuvo Anti-tamper DRM, which is suspected to have caused some games to suffer performance issues.
The Best Mortal Kombat Yet
Mortal Kombat 11 is a wonderfully plump package that contains just about everything you’d want in a high-profile fighting game—and possibly more. Like the excellent Tekken 7 ($26.99 at Green Man Gaming US) , NetherRealm Studios’ newest title will likely be played for a long time in casual and esports settings due to its storytelling, exciting action, and bloodsoaked visuals.
Mortal Kombat 11 (for PC)
The smoothest animations in the series thus far.
Good online play.
Many modes and unlockables.
Some Premium Shop items should be built-in features.
A few odd character stances and animations.
Some game elements run at just 30 frames per second.
The Bottom Line
Featuring improved animations, more body-wrecking moves, and enhanced gameplay, Mortal Kombat 11 is the best entry in the long-running series. Unfortunately, some in-game shop elements, as well as the grind needed to obtain particular items, are annoying.
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