Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 was officially announced on December 6th, 2018 at the
The Game Awards 2018. The game was released worldwide on April 23rd, 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Like MK9 and MKX before it, Mortal Kombat 11 features several "big name" guest characters from other popular franchises. The sequel to 2015's MKX (which added big-name horror guests like Jason, Alien & Leatherface), MK11 pushes the "mainstream" hype by bringing in movie icons: Rambo, Terminator, Joker, Spawn & Robocop... characters that even make sense in a gory fighting game.

Graphics! Mortal Kombat 11 has graphics.

Custom Character Variations return from MKX and give players a few new ways to customize their fighters. Visual customizations cost in-game currency called "Time Krystals" which players pay for with real money... (yes, NRS's dreaded Microtransactions are back). Like in MKX and Injustice 2, players must grind offline modes against the CPU to unlock visual character customizations. The loot system offers a visually stunning variety of costumes and colors for each fighter. However, these unlockables are rotated randomly and only become available a few at any given time, so hours upon hours of grinding may be required to unlock specific items you might want. (P.S. That's a lot of gore to take in if you're not accustomed to this level of violence and disassembly of the human anatomy.)

Raiden will make them walk to Gamestop to buy this game.

Fatal Blow
is a new comeback mechanic that can quickly change the pace of a fight, becoming available when a character's health is below 30% - (initiated by hitting LT + RT). Fatal Blow attacks literally "blow" through anything the opponent is doing, so it's an easy comeback mechanic with little risk that even button mashers can quickly understand. Of course, successful Fatal Blow attacks result in cinematic, brutal series of attacks - some of the most stunning in the game (usually involving explicit gouging, ripping, and breaking - just so characters can keep fighting after dying) and take a very large chunk of health away from the opponent similar to "X-Ray Moves" from past installments. Using Fatal Blow at the end of any basic combo can lead to ridiculous combo damage.

Offensive / Defensive Meters:  Mortal Kombat 11 features two meters for use with special moves: a horizontal meter for offensive attacks and a vertical meter for defensive maneuvers. Amplified Special Moves return from Mortal Kombat X and simply require an additional button press to power up the attack. Defensive abilities that require meter, include: Breakaways (for escaping combos), Getup Attacks, Getup Rolls, and Flawless Block Attacks. Flawless Block is a new defensive system where a perfectly-timed block will create an opportunity for counter attacks.

The Krypt returns in Mortal Kombat 11. Players are transported to "Shang Tsung's Island" on a quest to discover puzzles and secret passages where they will find treasure chests containing loot like in-game currency, concept art, alternate Fatalities, and more. In the Krypt, you control a unique character and roam around highly-detailed environments to open chests, smash things, and experience some fun Easter Eggs for long-time fans of the series. All treasure chests requires in-game currency to open, which can be earned by playing through the different modes.

In my opinion, while The Krypt is a novel idea, looks cool, and features some Easter Eggs for old school fans... "hopelessly wandering around" The Krypt and "breaking random things with the giant hammer repeatedly" isn't exactly my idea of fun. While taking in the ridiculous amounts of polish NRS put into this mode (especially pretty in 4k), The Krypt in MK11 strikes me as a major distraction from the actual game... and just seems unnecessary. It comes off as less of a reward system and more of a chore. Sure, let me open this chest that unlocks 1000 Time Krystals and 37 types of other in-game coins (*ehem* koins) that I don't give a shit about. My opinion might seem unfair, but this is coming from a person who would rather put hours into actually playing / mastering a fighting game (and numerous characters in said fighting game), not running around in some linear 3rd person game as a generic avatar breaking things and opening chests. 

At least Friendships are back... for the cheap laughs.

Mortal Kombat 11's new graphics engine presents ultra-realistic character models, lifelike facial animations, highly-detailed stages with vivid lighting. Many stage designs are based on classic locations in the series and look spectacular. MK11's next-gen visual effects during special moves and fatalities also make an impact, while taking you out of the game a bit. In-your-face win poses and dynamic camera angles are the star of the show, giving players an unprecedented cinematic experience for a fighting game. Of course, the brutality and violence one would come to expect from a game called Mortal Kombat brings gore (and controversy) to the next level.

The reimagined courtyard stage is awesome.


Movement speed and combos are designed to be simple (and do feel like the old MK games), with easy inputs across the board - something that can be viewed as both good and bad when enjoying a competitive fighting game. An "easily accessible" fighting game is a good thing for the casual audience who just likes to mash buttons... but with simple movesets and low-skill-ceiling mechanics enabling players to "master a character in 1 day" doesn't help the longevity of a fighting game. MK11's new Offensive / Defensive meters look interesting, but the idea isn't very engaging... and reminds me of some (failed) mechanics from past obscure 90's fighting games. I'll elaborate why I think MK11's gameplay is "meh" in the wall of text on the right side of your screen.

"Dead or Alive... you'll buy this game." -Robocop


Mortal Kombat: Aftermath was the first expansion for the game released in May 2020, adding RoboCop, Sheeva and Fujin, along with new stages, story content, and costumes. Later in the same year, Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate was announced for release on November 17th, 2020 adding Rambo, Mileena, and Rain to the roster. MK11: Ultimate also added the update for customizable variations online, which drastically (and controversially) changed game balance and how the game is played competitively. To summarize, players can purchase and "equip" custom (overpowered) moves that drastically change the way characters play (and many of these pretty much break the game competitively). The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X definitive version of Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate features enhanced visuals, 4k resolution, crossplay, and shorter load times.

Liu Kang's face.... LOL.



Page Updated: May 18th, 2023
Developer(s): NetherRealm Studios
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date(s): Apr. 23rd, 2019
May 26th, 2020   
MK11: Aftermath 
Nov. 17th, 2020    MK11: Ultimate 
Characters Scorpion, Raiden, Sub Zero, Sonya Blade, Baraka, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Skarlet, Shao Kahn, Kano, Kabal, D'Vorah, Jade, Johnny Cage, Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, Erron Black, Geras, Kronika, Shang Tsung, Noob Saibot, Jax Briggs, Kotal Kahn, Cetrion, The Kollector, Kitana, Frost (DLC), Nightwolf (DLC), Sindel (DLC), Spawn (DLC), The Joker (DLC), Terminator T-800 (DLC), Fujin (DLC), Sheeva (DLC), Robocop (DLC), Mileena (DLC), Rain (DLC), Rambo (DLC)

Featured Video:

Related Games: Mortal Kombat 1, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, MK: Deadly Alliance, MK: Deception, MK: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2, SoulCalibur 6, TEKKEN 7, SFV: Champion Edition, Guilty Gear -STRIVE-

Gameplay Engine   6.0 / 10
Story / Theme   8.0 / 10
Overall Graphics   9.5 / 10
Animation   6.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects   7.5 / 10
Innovation    6.0 / 10
Art Direction    7.0 / 10
Customization    7.5 / 10
Options / Extras    9.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation    9.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun    5.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor    8.0 / 10
Characters    8.0 / 10


   7.9 / 10

 Review based on PS4 version  


First Impression:

For better or worse, MK11 is unapologetically everything Mortal Kombat ever tried to be. The unsettling / awkward levels of violence, the unparalleled polish (mostly in areas that have nothing to do with gameplay)... the quirkiness, mainstream overhype-ness, Ed Boon Twitter trolling, and Microtransactions... yes indeed, McKombat is back. MK11 also has a massive budget... Schwarzenegger Vs. Stallone actually happened in a fighting game. NRS really went all out and clearly know how to market a fighting game.

So we've all lived long enough to see the 11th MK. Feel old yet? (Or maybe you're a Gen Z kid playing MK11 on your Switch. Did your responsible parents buy that for you?) With undeniable next-gen prowess and new-ish gameplay based on old school mechanics, MK11 makes a lot of noise in the modern era of fighting games. It's a twisted visual masterpiece of sorts... with the depraved NRS devs showing off grotesque new ways dissect human anatomy. (Gross.) Firstly, MK11 is gore porn and celebrity recognition. It's also a movie... and third, it's a fighting game. Is it a good fighting game? That's arguable.

One day in the 2000's, Ed Boon was sitting at home in his lush home theater watching old movies when he decided he wanted to make a Mortal Kombat game featuring his favorite 80's movie characters. Mr. Boon's childhood dreams spam themselves out in MK11 with Schwarzenegger versus Stallone, RoboCop versus Rambo, Spawn versus Joker, ohh... and Mortal Kombat ninjas. (The ninja clones are better than ever.) MK11 is basically "90's Guy Smash Brothers." The novelty of these celebs fighting each other is something. However "mainstream" gamers might not realize there's a deeper reason people play fighting games these days. That MTV show Celebrity Deathmatch got old pretty quick.

MK11 delivers unsettling levels of gore, previously unimaginable during the "humorous" early days of the series. NRS insists gamers get back to virtually ripping people's limbs off (and worse), live on stream. Time for that one friend who "quit" fighting games to return for a few months just to watch the Fatalities. I'm convinced MK11 was made for people who prefer to "watch" fighting games, rather than play them long term. Your great uncle's goat's gran-gran from Australia knows the name Mortal Kombat. Old folks and casuals will get a kick out of seeing faux Arnold duke it out with Stallone and Robocop. Who really cares about gameplay? MK still has the most name recognition out of any fighting game. The mainstream movie spin-offs, heaps of Warner Bros money, and annual payments to IGN reviewers have paid off big.

NRS has adapted a systematic and "safe" approach to selling their games over the past few years, ever since their renewed success with 2011's reboot. The MK9 formula evolved into Injustice, with that game's background interaction gimmicks coming full circle to MK. The "simplified" mechanics of MK11 are super easy-to-get-into for casuals, but IMO, this game lacks gameplay depth and long-term replayability compared to other wildly successful fighting games of this modern era. A "return to basics" is a fine idea... but many OGs don't want to go back to elementary school math when they've been enjoying calculus in fighting games for years.

While anyone can enjoy NRS games for their rich 1-player content and presentation (and then self-respectably quit playing in about 2 months), veteran FG players know what to expect. Many have hoped NRS evolves their cookie cutter 2D gameplay recipe (with a side of spam-a-projectile: your way cheese and a McTransactions soft drink). History has shown NRS hasn't delivered a long-lasting fighting game, competitively, and/or in esports... something many other FGs of this generation have experienced organically. (Ex: Injustice 2 saw a massive drop in players less than 6 months after its launch, dying in less than 2 years in eSports while certain other fighting games released before INJ2 are still going strong in 2020-2021. All that polish and WB money, and nobody really wanted to continue spamming copy/paste strings & having projectile / zone wars in Injustice 2. (Looks like that "Best Fighting Game of The Year" at that crap Game Awards show didn't really matter. Ya'll got CyberPunk'd.) To me... MK11 feels like a slower, simplified version of Injustice 2.

MK11 looks incredible. Looks. The cinematics are over the top. The violence is so fleshed out (no pun intended)... to the point that I don't really enjoy it. To quote Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones: "There has always been more than enough death in this world for my taste. I can do without it in my leisure time." In short, MK11 is less about "fighting" and closer to "virtual murder". Considering how many hours (years / decades) most people dedicate to playing fighting games, I'd rather not be force-fed distasteful scenes of stabbing, gouging, and ripping of limbs... in every. single. match. NRS devs, get help and seek therapy. (Some even had to do just that. Google it.) Indeed, some overworked / crunched NRS devs from MKX and MK11 made claims of having PTSD due to working on this game for many months straight. If that's not pushing the envelope "too far" in fighting games... I don't know what is.

Gameplay-wise, I'm not feelin' MK11. So many characters feel exactly the same, even if they're cool DLC guests from comics and 80's movies. If I'm being honest, MK11's gameplay is simplified to the point that I think it's nearly an insult to modern fighting games. This stuff worked in the early 90's... but people who actually remember the 90's are old now. (You're old.) MK11 gameplay is dumbed down more than I can stomach. It's too restrictive, too simple, too early 00's, and not particularly open-ended or fun. The MK11: Ultimate update adding variations for online play is also busted and completely unbalanced. MK11 is fast food. The streamlining and simplifying of the "classic" violent digitized 2D fighting game has certainly never looked more polished-up and easy to get into... so MK11 will inevitably appeal to a certain type of fighting game fan. However, even MKX's combo system was more "fun" and open-ended than MK11.

The Loot System is flawed... from the ground up, MK11 is built like a smartphone game to entice users to spend real money. This has become a NRS / Warner Bros staple since they actually started making smartphone games a few years back. (Even MK11's in-game purchasing system seems like a gimmick with menus promoting "accidental clicks" to purchase the DLC. Wow.) Even pro esports players (ex: Tom Brady) posted angry YouTube videos disgruntled about MK11's loot system, and he's right. If you're like me, you like customizing your characters for FREE in fighting games ever since Darkstalkers 3 or CVS2 (something I still frequently do in TEKKEN 7 and SoulCalibur 6). So what the hell is all this MK11 Time Krystals bullshit? NRS continues to bring the hype most annoying shit from other gaming genres into fighting games.

Basically, MK11 forces you to grind in offline modes with the CPU for "weeks on end" in order to have any hope unlocking specific customization items you might want. Loyal players (and players who don't want to spend 50+ hours grinding in offline modes) are enticed into spending real money to unlock cosmetic items. This is a fundamental flaw in how MK11 is designed a formula that began in MKX, evolved in Injustice 2 and "perfected" in MK11.

MK11's character models and backgrounds, again, look stunning. They're perhaps most enjoyable in pre-fight scenes and Customize mode. One can't deny MK11's in-game camera angles & special effects are spectacular and several notches above other fighting games of this era. While I was "wowed" by the win poses, Fatality animations, and disturbing new levels of gore... the actual gameplay (and forever stiff fighting animation) slows my interest to a halt. There are so many moments in MK11 gameplay where the characters are just "standing there with stiff legs"... not moving like a human being. (This is not how a real fight looks.) Some MK11 characters don't seem to know how to throw a real punch or kick, much less walk or jump without looking unhumanlike and awkward. In fairness, it makes sense for RoboCop to move like a robot... so he fits right in.

Throws and Fatal Blow animations, which "take you out of the game"... are... impressive? However, so many "key frames" (the most important animations for a fighting game) are painfully janky, boring, and/or stiff (example: jumping without bending knees, weak punches that wouldn't hurt anyone, ugly kicks like Arnold's infamous crouch kick meme, and so on). Even so, with "realistic" overall visuals and pre-fight scenes packed with fan service and Easter Eggs, NRS has indeed mastered their brand of fighting game presentation. They do the cinematic parts very, very well. They're also experts at marketing a video game. Bring in popular characters from other franchises, and you don't need much else to sell a video game it seems.

In recent times, MK as a series steered itself away from "martial arts" and more in the direction of Hollywood movie clichés (shut up Johnny Cage), horror-movie gimmicks, gore fetishists, and aims to entice the type of lazy / tired gamers who like to "watch" fighting games more than play them. Watchin' characters talk for hours and being force-fed nonstop "virtual murders" isn't my cup of tea. (Remember, I actually like to play fighting games.) In the mid-90's / early 2000's, the gore was tolerable and "humorous". MK11's gore is a different category and comes off as self-serving, toxic inside jokes. All this priority on gore, and NRS couldn't bring back any halfway "sexy" costumes for most of the female characters (the females can't show skin, but the men can)? ...interesting set of priorities.

Story mode? Sure, it's "good". Although, I heard that many MK fans who respect the lore did not appreciate some of MK11's takes on completely rewriting their stories and timelines. Nothing from the old games actually matters? Not surprised. MK11's story mode continues NRS's tradition of insanely-polished 1-player experiences that most people will play through once. (Story modes are not why I put countless quarters into arcade machines back in the day, not why I enter tournaments, and not why I continue to play fighting games after 30+ years.) If I wanted to go watch a gory C+ action film packed with overused clichés, villains predictably losing, and "alleged" political wokeness; then I would pay for overpriced movie tickets, crappy food, and go torture myself at a crappy theater. Alas, MK11 doesn't seem to be made for me. If I were to rate MK11 on gameplay and fun alone, this game would score between a
6.0 and a 5.0. However, in MK11's case... this game's stupid amount of bells and whistles jack up the final score. In layman's terms, MK11 is more show than go.

I saw the red flags at the MK11 reveal event when Ed Boon went onstage after showing the first cinematic trailer. He then said, "Now we'll talk about some of the 'nerdy' fighting gameplay stuff." Wooow. Yet again, it couldn't be more clear where NRS priorities are. Make money quick, end DLC support after 2 years, move onto the next game. Alas, MK11 is painful to play (and not for the reasons most would think). Traipsing through the multi-chapter Story Mode has been mostly unenjoyable for me due to MK11's clunky gameplay for dummies. And I can't say I'm on board with "normalizing" this level of distasteful gore, all while dumbing down more technical aspects of fighting games that actually require brainpower. In closing, I'm glad I rented Movie Kombat 11: Get to the Choppa Edition.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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