Game title: Mortal Kombat 11
Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Mortal Kombat 11 is so stuck in the early 90’s it makes me want to boot up my Hummer H1, drive to the nearest Tower Records, and pick up a copy of Kurt Cobain’s newest song on cassette tape.
Everything from the outdated fighting mechanics to the overabundance of in your face shlock, and dialog and humor that is so on the nose it would make even the jolliest of players cringe, MK 11 is a difficult game to recommend to anyone that is not a hardcore fan.
First and foremost, this is a fighting game, so you may think that the story and dialog shouldn’t matter that much; however, there are over 3 hours of cutscenes.
If you’re going to have enough cutscenes to where it could be its own movie, I am allowed to critique the story.
I liked the whole time travel plot at first, but as it progressed, it was obvious that the writers were just using it as a ploy to bring dead characters back to life.
Characters like Shao Kan, the series’ main villain who added personality to the previous two entries, have been shoved into the backburner in favor of a new Generic bad guy who’s characteristics were forgettable throughout about 85% of the game.
Characters are so in your face and eccentric in the way they behave; it’s almost as if they don’t care that the fate of the world is at stake.
I understand that Mortal Kombat’s story has never been high art and that it has always been over the top, but there is a difference between over the top playful, and over the top stupid.
Anyway, onto the fighting.
The fighting is fairly similar to the last two entries, except now you have two energy bars for your character—one for attacks and one for guards.
These energy bars recover quickly by themselves so unlike in previous entries where you had to carefully land your blows to charge up your energy bar and be frugal with your special attacks, here the game encourages you to go all out with your special attacks as often as possible.
This kind of feels like a cop op, but I can understand the developers wanting to make the game easier for newcomers.
When your health reaches 30% or lower, you will be able to use your Fatal Blow; an attack that, if successfully landed, can deal major damage.
On top of this, there are X-ray attacks that look cool, but after three games in a row, they just don’t feel interesting anymore.
There are only so many times I can land a hit on someone, and it shows an X-ray of their bones and vital organs getting crushed before it gets boring.
This may have been cool back in 2011 on seventh-gen hardware, but now as we near the tail end of Eith gen console hardware, I would like to see more.
Wouldn’t it be cool if the X-ray attacks had gameplay affecting qualities?
Maybe if you broke an opponent’s leg, during an X-ray attack, they would walk 25% slower, and if you broke both their legs, they would move at %50 speed.
Maybe you could have it where if you broke an opponent’s limb, and they hit you with said limb, the attack would do less damage than if it wasn’t broken.
Or maybe have a feature where if you puncture someone’s vital organs, they slowly lose health over a short period of time.
The fighting may be fun in short bursts, but to me, it just doesn’t have the longevity of Netherealm’s previous entries.
Another thing that makes this game feel as though it could have come out back in the early ’90s is the lackluster wifi connection.
About 30% of the time I played this game online, the framerate dipped into the single digits.
I felt as though I was playing with a 14K modem from 1991.
Just about the only thing about this game that doesn’t feel archaic are the Microtransactions and let me tell you there are a lot of them.
You have to constantly pay real money to acquire one-time use boosters to help you out in the challenge towers. However, many of the challenges are random, so you have no idea what you should equip before entering a challenge.
This makes the challenge tower damn near unplayable.
After an infuriating 8 to 9 hours on the Challenge towers, I just gave up.
This is coming from the same guy who spent over 180 hours on Mortal Kombat 9’s Challange tower trying to complete all 300 challenges.
I can’t believe anyone thought that this was a good idea.
Sure the fighting may be fun in short bursts, and the gore factor may be fun eye candy, but this game felt as though it didn’t have any care put into it outside of the basic fighting controls.