When I stop and think about what is considered “old-school” games, I think of games in the 8-bit era. Although I am sure I could be berated about titles such as Kung-Fu, I really can’t think of any GREAT fighting games until we hit the Sega/Super Nintendo era. Now I will fully admit that in my house, we were only allowed to play Street Fighter (my parents heard that it was the only fighting game with none of that evil blood in it!) so I was a wee lad kicking everyone’s ass in Street Fighter. However, the forbidden fruit was always there at my fingertips as almost all of my friends had Mortal Kombat. I distinctly remember borrowing Mortal Kombat games from my friends and sneaking them home to play when my folks weren’t home. So I do have a fun and interesting history with the Mortal Kombat series. Even after all these years, when I told my folks I was reviewing Mortal Kombat 11, my mom rolled her eyes and my dad called me an idiot! What can I say though, that forbidden fruit tastes so good!
The best place to start is on the story for Mortal Kombat. Honestly, who would’ve thought that after 25+ years that you would have the same story happening and that it was actually a really good one? I had no idea how long the story mode would be going into MK11 but I had a pretty good idea of what to expect when after playing for around 2.5 hours I checked my progress and I was at a measly 23% complete…AWESOME. The game literally starts off where the last game ended. Raiden is still an early 2000’s Hot Topic version of himself. The Earthrealm is still not in a fantastic situation as Liu Kang and Princess Kitana have turned evil due to they were corrupted by Quan Chi. That is where we start the game. That’s not the only issue that we have in Mortal Kombat 11, there is now Kronika, a new villain that has the ability to change the sands of time and wants to do so to remove the events of Mortal Kombat, mostly because she has a disdain for Raiden. In her efforts of changing time, she melds the past and presents together. This means that we will so all of our favourites from the original game in their original attire as well as some other young faces! The story that follows is a bit on the fan service side, but I would say that is ok considering there are lots of great interactions. What I love the most about the Story Mode is that it definitely feels like a movie to me, the fights are part of it still, but they are integrated in smoothly.
So lets maybe assume that you have never played a Mortal Kombat game before or that fighting games are just not your strong suit. NetherRealm has you covered with their tutorial mode! Honestly, they cover every bit of the game from how to move around all the way to more intricate moves and it all comes in nice bite-sized pieces. It is never a bad idea to brush up on this kind of stuff anyways considering most fighting games add new things to them. Not only that though, but the game also rewards you handsomely with Time Crystals and other currency just for completing the tutorials.
After you are finished with the tutorial, you have lots of options at your disposal. From the aforementioned story mode to online multiplayer. Although my personal suggestion is to grab a character or 2 that you really like and continue to practice with them in the training mode. This is where you can practice specific combos and get your proper bearings. Of course, this IS Mortal Kombat we are talking about so there are also the hyper brutally graphics Finishing moves that you may want to practice. Let’s face it, at the end of a gruelling battle, the last thing you want to see is them fall over like a sack of potatoes. It is so much more satisfying to take an oversized hammer and blast their head out of their bum like a gore-porns fantasy of croquet! Thankfully the timing window is more forgiving than it was in the old games so you have more than enough time to decide what fate you want to bestow upon your enemy.
If the story mode is not your shtick and you want that classic Mortal Kombat game, then you may go to the Klassic Towers. There are multiple options for you to choose from such as the Novice tower which is a measly 5 opponents. The Warrior Tower is against 8 opponents but you real combatants, you can go to the Champion Tower which pits you against a modest 12 opponents! From there though, if you have the stones and the time (and ability!) you can try your hand at the Survivor Tower. This tower is for those that are hardened vets as you will face 25 opponents and your health never recharges! Endless Tower is exactly as it sounds. You will face opponent after opponent until you die.
Now if even THAT is not enough crazy for you than Mortal Kombat 11 has you covered with the infinitely crazy Towers of Time. These fights are unique as each fight could be drastically different from the last with crazy modifiers. You will be placed into matches which you will be challenged to your core with such modifiers as No Jumping, Stronger Enemies. How horrible are you when you cannot use Special Moves?? Trust me, you will find out soon! Sure, the mode can be frustrating with these types of mods affecting the way you play, but it also makes you better in the long run and it is fun to be challenged!
Last but definitely not least, there is Krypt. As you play the game, you are constantly be rewarded for the things you do. There are multiple forms of currency in the game that you will use in the Krypt to open treasure chests. What exactly IS the Krypt though? It is the ghastly remains of Shang Tsung’s island. You play as a random guy that is exploring the island and using the currency you have gained to open up chests for different treasures. This may include items that you can use at the forge to create new cosmetic items for you to use to personalize your MK roster. If you are lucky, you can also unlock different finishing moves for your characters, and that is ALWAYS welcome! There are some puzzles that you will have to solve to progress throughout the island, but honestly, none of them are terribly difficult, and when in doubt, there is always Youtube at your fingertips to figure out the answers.
Where I had some doubts and felt distant while playing the game early on, NetherRealm wanted nothing to do with that and shot me with Scorpion’s spear. Ladies and Gents, I was brought over there. Mortal Kombat 11 has one of the best story modes I have ever seen in a fighting game. Sure the graphics are not the best I feel they could have been, it’s ok considering the game plays so smooth. Fighting game fans should not skip over this one.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*