One of the most robust and quality-consistent franchises in gaming has to be that of Mortal Kombat. Barring the odd lacklustre spin-off, the brutal fighting series has always performed throughout the generations of consoles, and now the franchise is coming full-circle with a somewhat bizarre but enjoyable time-travel element to flesh out its story and world, making it one of the best fighting games that you can get your hands on.
As mentioned, the game takes quite a self-aware turn, forcing MK‘s now-aged and battle-worn heroes to go back in time in order to stop themselves from being corrupted by a dark entity. It’s a crazy but highly-entertaining affair that sees the likes of Johnny Cage (now mature and embracing fatherhood) having to do battle with his erratic and fame-seeking self from yesteryear. There’s something hilarious and nostalgic about it all, and while the story actually does try and hit some high emotional beats, it doesn’t ever take itself too seriously, which is for the best.
Of course, the real meat of Mortal Kombat has always been in its vicious and accessible fighting mechanics, and MK 11 does more than any other game to provide tools for veterans to flair and newcomers to thrive quickly. In addition to the solid spine-ripping, head-tearing gameplay we’ve become accustomed to and that the predecessor, Mortal Kombat X, perfected, it introduces three new mechanics: Krushing Blow, Fatal Blow, and Flawless Block. Krushing Blow is a special cinematic version of a given move for a character, but only becomes available when certain conditions have been met; Fatal Blow is a high-damage move that’s a mini-Fatality of sorts which only becomes available when the user’s health is below 30 percent; and the Flawless Block is a retaliation window that occurs when a player precisely times a block. It looks gorgeous too with some stylish gore and sound effects that add a whole new range of gasping (or cringing moments) to the blood-splattered brutality on show.
It seems like all the iconic fighting franchises are back with a flurry this generation, but it’s Mortal Kombat which always seems to raise the bar in terms of pure entertainment value and offering a deep yet accessible package for all types of fighting-fans to enjoy. Mortal Kombat 11 is a joy to play, even when you’re wincing at the sight of Scorpion kicking his throwing-spear through the skull of his opponent.