Mortal Kombat 11 Review: Return in style

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Steven L. Ken
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After years of waiting we have finally tested Mortal Kombat 11 thoroughly, let's find out if it will live up to expectations in our review

Years of waiting have brought us to this title. Months and months of trailers, teasers and various tastings have fueled our desire to get our hands on it. We were finally satisfied, and for once, positively surprised: a title that borders on perfection. Mortal Kombat 11, without going around it too much, is one of the best fighting games ever. Let's find out why in the review.



Everything Comes Back - Mortal Kombat 11 | Review

Let's start by saying that Mortal Kombat 11 will probably go down in history as one such milestone of this generation of video games. We were left with a bitter taste in the Mortal Combat X finale, too many pending things and too much meat in the fire. We were terrified that, in the sequel, everything could turn into a mundane story. Luckily we were wrong: in Mortal kombat 11 we discover that what we experienced in the previous chapters was only one of the possible timelines. We are aware of the fact that what happened had been influenced by Chronic, mighty Goddess with the power to control time.

Obsessed with balance, Kronica has rewritten events countless times, generating as many timelines. His eternal opponent the good Raiden who every time fought to avoid this "balance" (consisting in an eternal struggle between the kingdoms). Each time, in each timeline, a series of key events have occurred that have always led to a stalemate that forced Kronica to rewind time. This time, however, everything will be different, something has changed: you have the task of avoiding the final victory of Kronica. The story will go on without absurd trips, but with a succession of twists and actions that are nothing short of spectacular.



Un very simple concept which, however, manages to keep glued to the screen for hours and hours without ever wanting to stop, with the constant temptation to finish the plot in one long session. Clearly, with these premises, it will be possible to find yourself in front of practically all the characters that have appeared in the series without being able to turn up your nose for unjustified appearances. As you may have guessed, we have found this aspect of the game simply flawless: we couldn't have asked for anything better.

Kombat system on another level - Mortal Kombat 11 | Review

Let's not hide behind a leaf: Mortal Kombat X had disappointed in this respect. Too simplified dynamics, the presence of some elements (who said “X-ray”?) Conceptually wrong and abusable and characters a little flat compared to the past. Here we are instead faced with an upheaval, totally positive of the mechanics seen previously. Finally, pad in hand, we have the feeling of having to learn to manage the dynamics of the game and above all understand the characteristics of the characters. The classic "glance" at a character's combos and moves before a fight will no longer be enough to master it sufficiently. You will need to get to know the character by using it for some time.

After this premise, let's examine what are the dynamics of the combat system. The "kombo" system is still close to that of the previous titles, with a certain tolerance regarding timing, but represented a notable evolution of the same. Now using the Kombo will bring advantages, but at the same time it will make us "discover", our opponent could take advantage of the downtime or our slightest mistake. Unlike in the past Kombo will not deal "wrong" damage to the enemy by emptying the life bar without the opponent being able to move a finger. We therefore notice an intelligent evolution of the title that leads us to have a more tactical approach than in the past.



This evolution is also reflected in the energy bar. This is divided into notches, two used for defensive moves and two used for offensive moves. The defensive notches allow you to use a sort of "Kombo breaker" to avoid being subjected to repetitive opposing Kombo, while the offensive notches will allow you to enhance the shots. But don't think that using one of the bars is a guarantee of success: you will have to choose the right timing which, depending on the character you use, will always be different. Another intriguing novelty is represented by the "Krushing Blow", enhanced blows that will do a lot of damage to enemies.

These are available in limited numbers (one per match for each type), as well as (finally) limited ones that were previously called X-ray. The life bar is also divided into two notches, in particular it is indicated when the same is below 30%. Only in this condition will it be possible to activate the "Fatal Blow“, Which become a recovery mechanic that is no longer abusable: it will be possible to use this dynamic only once per game. In the event that they fail it will be possible to try to use them again after a certain time even in the same round (as long as you survive, of course).

The defensive dynamics become much more "varied". We will have a "perfect parade"Able to start an enhanced attack, and then different methods to interrupt the enemy Kombo by discouraging too" offensive "enemies always giving the possibility to have a fair fight without ever falling victim to loops in which we cannot defend ourselves. Clearly learning all this is by no means easy, even for the most experienced players. For this reason, a system of incredibly extensive tutorial. We will have tutorials for basic moves, advanced, strategies and, icing on the cake, for individual characters. If this is not enough, we will have a classic training mode and a training mode for Fatalities. The Kombattimento system is for this reason passed with full marks: we dare to say that it is the best ever its a Mortal Kombat.



Welcome customization - Mortal Kombat 11 | Review

With Mortal Kombat X we have been accustomed to customize the characters by choosing one of the three predefined styles available. Not bad, but a limiting thread for the most savvy users. NetherRealm has decided to evolve everything to the next level by allowing you to create a custom profile right up to the player for each character. Instead of the three variants, it will be possible to choose firsthand which moves will be "our variant" of the character.

Not bad right? This dynamic adds a lot of depth and variety to the possible strategies and ways of playing, eliminating the (very annoying) presence of the counter for the characters (very present problem in Mortal Kombat X). Clearly this has paid off a lot difficult to balance the title, for which NetherRealm has chosen not to make any move "too strong" in order to stop the imbalances in the bud. Surely we will see different Patches in this sense that will go from time to time to balance the trend of the community (as happens in many titles of different genres). For the moment we did not notice any particular imbalances and indeed everything seemed well balanced to us. At the time of writing we are still in the early days of the title being released, so no one has yet had time to master the title fully in every detail: we'll see what happens in the next few months.

However, our concern concerns the competitive side of the title. In tournaments you will have two choices: allow the use of customizations or limit yourself to the predefined variations. Which choice to allow? The decision rests with the users. Meanwhile, however, NetherRealm has partially responded to this by preventing players from using customizations in ranked games. We don't like this choice. We would have liked the ability to customize the character in this area as well.

Lots of choice Online and beyond - Mortal Kombat 11 | Review

Il Online compartment of Mortal Kombat 11 it's really very intriguing. Let's start from the competitive side: we already have the possibility to face other players in a match whose victory will be assigned to the best of 5: that is, by winning 3 out of 5 games. Interesting option that also rewards the study and knowledge of the opponent by canceling the defeat due to the lack of knowledge of the enemy style, allowing even recoveries.

The "Combat relief“, On which for now we cannot spend words as it is impossible to prove it. Then we have the options of the "Kasuale" section which, in addition to the classic versus, include the return of the "King of the Hill"(Big absent in Mortal kombat X) and an unprecedented" Only AI "mode. This mode is very particular, we will not be playing directly but we will regulate the "tendencies" of the character we have chosen who will be controlled by the AI, the victory in this case is also the best of 5. Then present the classics lobby, and rooms for online combat. A set of modes that makes the title truly intriguing.

However, everything does not end here, given the presence of the "AI Battle”Which allows you to challenge other players' teams for rewards. In this case we will have the possibility to choose a team in defense and a team in attack. Depending on the characteristics of our team we will get a victory or a defeat, we can then customize the characteristics of the same to obtain greater efficiency of the same.

In "Customize" tab we will have several options available that will concern both the "improvements" to be applied to the characters and the ability to change the characteristics of a character in the AI ​​modes. In this tab it will be possible to create our customized variants of the characters, choosing both purely aesthetic customizations (for example skins), and going to select the 3 key abilities of our variant. The possibilities that open up, for each individual character, are truly endless and you could spend hours and hours in this section of the game to find the customization that best suits your style of play.

Amazing Online and beyond - Mortal Kombat 11 | Review

Now let's talk about one of the most critical aspects of every previous chapter of Mortal Kombat: the technical sector. Fortunately, since our test on Xbox One S, we haven't encountered any kind of problem! The netcode, finally, turns out to be stable a lot with Wi-Fi, a lot of cable (and God forbid!). Finally there are no drops in FPS or moments of lag of the opponent. The system already in these first days turns out to be very stable and "strangely solid", at least compared to what we had seen on Mortal Kombat X. We were therefore pleasantly surprised by this aspect of Mortal Kombat 11 which, honestly said, we did not hope to find.

The purely technical sector is instead simply perfect. We have extremely smooth animations in the fights, the “special” moves benefit from fantastic care, and to top it off, the arenas are masterpieces. The Arenas show the evolution compared to the previous chapter, the same are more alive, more engaging and above all very varied: no arena is similar to another. We therefore have little to say about it except: enjoy this masterpiece.

In addition, the towers are also present in this Mortal Kombat. We have both the "classic" towers and the new "time towers". At first there is no need to spend too many words: we already know them well. We will have access to rewards by facing enemies without random modifiers. Their difficulty is always very high, guaranteeing a sometimes insane level of challenge, tower survival among all, as we have always liked, also through these we could see the endings of the characters. The towers of time are instead a novelty of Mortal Kombat 11. These provide very substantial rewards, also including the final "bosses", but at the same time present a level of difficulty that is sometimes wrong due to modifiers that favor too much the opponent.

What we have said so far concerns the part of the game that convinced us and fully satisfied us, that is about 90% of the content. The reason for not assigning a 10 to the title lies in a particular point in the title: the Crypt.

A Very Bitter Krypt - Mortal Kombat 11 | Review

The Kripta has now become a classic, in terms of presence, in the Mortal Kombat series. In this new edition it is presented as an explorable way in itself full of secrets, which will lead us to earn costumes, sketches, and various extra contents including "improvements" for the characters. This time then, the Krypt is really huge, with an entire island at the player's disposal. The concept is always the same: spend the money earned in the game to get secondary equipment and small curiosities about the series. In the previous chapters, personally, I had always completed the Krypt 100% taking several hours, but having a lot of fun doing it. Here, however, the discourse is, unfortunately, different. Microtransactions were introduced and with these a unintuitive crafting system to get the rarest gear.

Let's take a breath and step back. We have 3 different currencies (obtainable by playing) that will serve to unlock the various chests whose content is generated randomly. It will be difficult to obtain something rare precisely because of the causality of the same. We will be able to choose to regenerate some chests in particular locations of the Kripta by spending one of these 3 currencies. All this leads us in the direction of a system designed exclusively to make you spend money because, wanting to get it all just by playing, we will have to spend an insane number of hours in front of the title. It is therefore a “small big flaw” that dirties the player's experience in Mortal Kombat 11 in its less competitive but no less important side: the players' love for aesthetic contents. We are hoping for a patch that radically changes a system that could have been the icing on the cake of an otherwise perfect title.

Return in style - Mortal Kombat 11 | Review

We were very satisfied with this title, Mortal Kombat 11 has come to upset what were the balances in fighting games. Not just a title from remarkable technical quality, but also a fighting system that borders on perfection without being too hardcore. Accessibility, fun and many hours in front of the screen with a plot that is in some ways simple but very intriguing. What more could you ask for? To fix the Krypt, introduce Ranked customizations and better balance the towers of time. We are ahead of the best Mortal Kombat ever and probably even in front of the best fighting game of this generation of consoles: hard to miss.

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