Mortal Kombat 11 is the latest entry in the acclaimed fighting game franchise and quite possibly, one of the best. It continues the story of Mortal Kombat X and can be seen as the conclusion to the saga which has gone on for decades. Not only does the game feature a stellar campaign, but it also includes a number of features like "Klassic Towers" and the "Krypt," which should keep players coming back for more. There's a lot here for longtime fans and newcomers alike.
Save the Realms
Bottom line: Mortal Kombat 11 is a stellar game despite some visual issues. It has a high-quality story campaign, multiple play modes to explore, and best of all, it continues the Mortal Kombat legacy in a bloody, meaningful way.
- Spectacular visuals
- Stellar campaign
- Many modes
- Low frame rate cutscenes
- Short campaign
- Towers require grinding
Mortal Kombat 11 story and characters
One of the biggest surprises in Mortal Kombat 11 has to be its story mode. While previous installments featured satisfactory campaigns, the plots were banal and I couldn't bring myself to finish them. It didn't give you a lot of reasons to care about the characters, so in return, I didn't care. It was easy to ignore the story and focus on brawling with your friends.
Mortal Kombat 11 is completely different though. Everything that's been happening since the first game comes together in a meaningful way, thanks in part to time travel and its repercussions, and the universe is altered forever. Without giving too much away, I can definitely say that Mortal Kombat 11 features the best campaign in the series. I haven't had this much fun with a fighting game's story — or any plot for that matter — in a long time. And the ending will leave you speechless.
Experiences like God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 tell meaningful tales that are burdened with emotions. Mortal Kombat 11 has a lot of that too because you begin to care for the characters, but due to its excellent pacing, you're hooked from the start. I didn't want to stop playing and couldn't put the controller down!
Mortal Kombat 11 combat mechanics
Mortal Kombat 11 features excellent fighting mechanics that are precise and responsive. Gameplay largely remains the same as it did with its predecessors — a combination of attacking, countering, and blocking. For example, let's say that an enemy is about to trigger a "grab" move. You can either try to jump back, or you can counter it by pressing the "A" button at the same time. Figuring out what works for you is an important part of the game.
What veterans of the series will be most excited about are the new "Fatalities." While many of them seem like variations from Mortal Kombat X, a lot of them are exceptionally gory. During the early access period, many of the gamers I played with couldn't believe some of the moves. While characters like Scorpion are somewhat predictable, Kollector is a sight to behold. You'll have to discover them all for yourself.
Mortal Kombat 11 tutorial
Recent Mortal Kombat games have always had great tutorials, but the one in Mortal Kombat 11 seems much more detailed than ever before. You can view an overlay of your controller, carefully study the moves, and if you're confused, enlist the help of computer-controlled characters to help you out. As always, timing is key to everything, but it's not easy to master.
Basic fighting mechanics are trivial to learn, but when you want to chain together hits, you have to focus on careful button presses. In many ways, understanding the rhythm is important. Just like the recent Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice or even other fighting games, this requires a lot of patience and repetition.
Before starting the campaign or fighting other players, you should play the tutorial and make sure you're familiar with all of the mechanics. This can take many hours because the tutorial is lengthy and there's a lot to learn, but the more you repeat the lessons, the better you'll be when you're taking on challenging fighters.
Mortal Kombat 11 visuals and performance
Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the best-looking games on the Xbox One X. Not only does it feature gorgeous arenas, but the character models are incredibly detailed. However, the lighting is the star of the show because it gently bathes the scenes to help certain areas stand out.
Unfortunately, the game doesn't appear to be running at 4K resolution on Microsoft's new console. There is some "shimmering" around the edges of characters, leading me to believe that the resolution is around 1800p. NetherRealm Studios may have employed other post-processing effects which result in this phenomenon. Luckily, due to the excellent lighting and character models, you'll love experiencing Mortal Kombat 11 on a 4K display anyway.
During some cutscenes, when the camera zooms in on the fighters, it's easy to spot low-resolution textures. For example, you'll notice that Kotal Kahn's hands feature "blocky" elements up close. While this is obviously not a game-breaking issue, it's still jarring to witness. Thankfully, the smooth 60 frames per second (FPS) gameplay makes up for this. Unfortunately, the cutscenes still render at 30 FPS, so the transition can be a little disorienting at first.
During my time with Mortal Kombat 11, I didn't notice any frame rate drops. Gameplay seems to be locked at 60 FPS and that's incredibly important in a fighting game, which requires quick reactions (so the higher the frame rate, the lower the input lag). While it would've been nice to see consistently high-resolution textures, I'll take 60 FPS gameplay over additional pixels any day.
Mortal Kombat 11 modes
Aside from the standard story offering and multiplayer modes, Mortal Kombat 11 features numerous other activities, which unlock character endings. The "Towers of Time" and Klassic Towers, for example, pit you against a series of enemies until you reach the boss. These have essentially remained the same since the first Mortal Kombat launched in 1992, so longtime fans will recognize this familiar territory.
The standout mode has to be the Krypt. Unlike Mortal Kombat X, it's been given a complete overhaul and now plays more like a mini exploration-based game. It used to be a grid-based title like Crypt of the Serpent King or Legend of Grimrock, but this change is for the better. You now take control of an unknown warrior from the third-person perspective and have to open chests with coins and break other structures to progress further. Doing so awards you with boosts and other items.
Earning coins is incredibly easy in Mortal Kombat 11, so you should frequently make your way to the Krypt. You can earn coins, which are used to open chests, by fighting in any mode, but since the Krypt is the standout, you might as well go there. Oddly enough, now I want an open-world Mortal Kombat game where I can freely explore this interesting world and its haunting visuals. The Krypt is a truly mind-blowing experience!
Mortal Kombat 11 final thoughts
Overall, Mortal Kombat 11 is a stellar fighting game and is one of the best ones ever made in my opinion. The depth and variety it offers are unparalleled, even by the likes of Injustice 2, another NetherRealm creation. There are so many characters to customize and master — with many more on the horizon — which should keep you enthralled for months to come.
Microtransactions were unavailable during the early access period, but I never felt that I was at a disadvantage. The microtransactions will probably allow you to purchase coins, but their scope remains unclear at this point. In my opinion, I don't think they're necessary, and you'll have a lot of fun if you just buy the standard edition. However, if you want to play as other characters, you'll want to purchase the deluxe version because it'll guarantee you access to future fighters. It comes with early access to six characters, skins, gear, and much more.
The saga continues
You can pre-order the standard copy of the game on Amazon for Mortal Kombat 11. This comes with a physical copy of the full game. There's also a special edition available which comes with the character pass.
Xbox accessories you'll love
Every one of these quality accessories is guaranteed to enhance your Xbox experience.
PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox One ($20 at Amazon)
PowerA's take on the Xbox One controller is an attractive pickup for budget-conscious gamers that nails all the basics.
Talon PDP Xbox media remote ($20 at Amazon)
The Talon PDP Xbox media remote is great for watching shows on your console.
Xbox One S vertical stand ($10 at Amazon)
Stand your console upright with this accessory.
Asher reviewed Mortal Kombat 11 on an Xbox One X console using a copy provided by Warner Bros. Interactive.
Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.