Over the course of 27 years and ten major releases, Mortal Kombat has made a permanent impression on the cockles of our hearts. Diehard fans like us have been electrified by the 2011 reboot and Mortal Kombat 11 looks set to blow minds all over again.
NetherRealm Studios itself is calling this entry the “bloodiest, most gore-filled” entry yet. We don’t think they’re pulling any punches with that statement. You can expect to get more red on you than ever before…
Speaking of getting mercilessly tuned up, MK 11 has bolstered its engine with new mechanics to keep the fisticuffs fresh. If your health drops to below 30%, you’ll get access to a table-turning move called a Fatal Blow. Tap two shoulder buttons to deploy one of these and if it lands you’ll output absolutely hellacious damage.
There’s a downside to it though. For starters, whiffing one is downright embarrassing, and you’ll need to endure a long cooldown timer before you can gather your self-esteem up for another attempt. Also, if you do land one, that’s it for the entire match – no more Fatal Blows for you.
OUR NEWEST KRUSH
It’s good then that this technique is flanked by Krushing Blows: cinematic special moves that will trigger if you meet very specific criteria. For many fighters, you’ll simply need to be in the process of “punishing” your opponent. However, we did see distance play a factor with some projectile attacks. In those cases, a close-range attack wouldn’t trigger the pain, but a full-screen throw would. Figure out what a Krushing Blow wants from you, and you’ll be rewarded with that old X-ray magic that MK does so well.
Beyond additional damage for the attack, another reward is a window of follow-up opportunity where there wouldn’t ordinarily be one. You should also be aware that there are limitations to your Krushing Blows. To reduce the chance of spamming, a specific move may only be made Krushing once per game. Fortunately, each character has quite a number of them to use.
SCHOOL OF BLOCK
With all these new techniques appearing, you’ll be wanting to preserve your own organs from abuse. This is where the new Flawless Block mechanic comes in. It’s a simple and elegant system, really – defending at the very last second affords the opportunity to unleash a devastating counter-attack.
It’s a high-risk/high-reward mechanic that ought to separate good players from the freakishly reflexive great ones. Because if you can parry well, you can punish all day.
A NEW KOMBATANT APPEARS
It’s also worth mentioning that we have new kombatants to deal with this time around, too. They include Geras, a sandman who is a nigh-invincible manipulator of time. His chrono-manipulation lets him stop the flow of time, teleport, rewind events and just basically give himself a bottomless pool of do-overs. Side bonus: the ability to control sand lets you quickly fashion walls, tables, and weapons in combat – lethal sand castles, too, presumably.
There’s also the four-armed Kollector, a proud servant of the Outworld Empire, who cares only for wealth and status and is happy to kill anyone to keep it. He’s a close-quarters fighter who uses his blades and extra appendages to lethal effect.
And then there’s Cetrion, an Elder Goddess who’s eternally sworn to fight the darkness. She harnesses the power of the elements to fling boulders, pin opponents with vines, set them on fire, and generally use Nature in ways that will probably have you looking over your shoulder the next time you walk through a park.
GEAR UP FOR GORE
Last but not least, MK 11 lets you tinker with your fighters like never before. Along with a ton of unlockable skins, each character has three customizable pieces of gear and new augments that can imbue your faves with small bonuses. These subtle benefits can be a number of things, including a damage increase to specific moves, passive buffs or just an XP boost for achieving certain things.
You can also set up three custom variations of fighters that can remix their movesets with a bunch of unexpected monkey wrenches. You’ll always have your baseline of a character’s expected iconic moves, but now there are ten slots to fill with left-field attacks that can nudge their playstyle into weird new directions.
The combinations of variations run into the multi-thousands, and crafting a fighter who’s incredibly unique is a huge deal for this series. We personally can’t wait to make Johnny Cage more effective and somehow even prettier than he currently is.
Factor in all of the aforementioned and we think Mortal Kombat 11 is looking like spine-ripping fun that exudes sub-zero coolness. Find out for yourself by picking it up now on PC, Switch, PS4, or Xbox One.