It's time to see everybody's favorite charming cast of bloodthirsty killers again with Mortal Kombat 11!
We're of course talking about people like Hollywood actor turned ex-military Johnny Cage, Icy-Hot best buddies Sub-Zero and Scorpion, and of course EarthRealm's favorite bumbling Thunder God, Raiden.
This time around the cast is thrown into a new conflict where multiple iterations of themselves from different time periods crash together. But, the story isn't all that's different, MK11 has been massively improved since MKX. At first glance, it might be hard to tell what's been changed, so let's go over it together.
10 Twice as Many Meters Now
First things first, there are two bars now. Yeah the graphics are nice and the gameplay looks a bit different but the biggest thing for any fan of the modern MK games is that there is a defensive and offensive meter now.
Basically, these gauges allow a range of actions like EX versions of their special moves, forcing opponents to drop combos, defensive rolls, and interacting with the background.
This is a much-needed change! Previously players would almost always prioritize their meter for EX specials and then get stuck in a combo that cut half of their life bar.
9 A Fatal Blow Has Been Dealt To The X-Rays
In MK9 and MKX, the X-Ray System was introduced. This was NetherRealms version of a "Super" that they've experimented with in the past.
The X-ray was essentially a cutscene that drained the entire super meter and dealt huge damage to an opponent.
But, since it shared the same bar as the specials & combo breakers, it was rarely used in anything past casual play. Now, MK11 introduces Fatal Blows which are essentially the same thing but doesn't use super meter. They're available to use on the last bit of health and can be pulled off once per match.
8 Cosmetics On Cosmetics On Skins
Another fantastic change to the Mortal Kombat formula is the addition of separately customizable cosmetics. In previous MK games, costumes were usually the go-to. Much like Overwatch, League of Legends or Fortnite, players would get skins that would change the characters overall appearance. But, Injustice 2, another NetherRealm game, introduced cosmetic pieces.
And now they've brought that system forward into MK11. Each character still has "skins" but they also have one or two customizable aspects of their costume on top of the skin. For most this is their weapon, face-mask, or accessory. It's not super in-depth sure but still a welcome change
7 Hey! No Running Around The Blood Pool!
If someone started playing MK11 yet couldn't put their finger on why it feels a bit slower/deliberate, here's why. The primary reason is that there's no "running" in MK11.
MKX had running where a player could simply double tap forward and sprint towards their opponent. This kept the game flowing at a much faster pace, but also inadvertently encouraged less calculated tactics. Now, Ed Boon and his team have turned the knob back a couple of notches, and are attempting to let players enjoy a supposedly more "calm" Mortal Kombat.
6 These Fighting Superhumans Finally Look...Human
NetherRealm has an odd reputation. Ed Boon loves fighting games yet he also adores lying about his own in order to hide characters and secrets.
Also, the artistic/3D modeling team has had some trouble in the past in their weird proportions, with female modeling especially.
MKX had a version of Scorpion with biceps bigger than his head. And MK9's female characters all had the same odd square jaw as well as blatantly sexist costumes. Luckily, MK11 has improved upon a lot of those past flaws, the cast is (mostly) looking their best! Poor Cassie Cage
5 More Mechical Complexities For The Hardcore Crowd
Now, this list is more directed towards casual fans of the franchise and not the diehard e-sports champions like SonicFox. So it's safe to say all the mechanical complexities are kept to one or two entries. But now it's time to gush. MK11 did away with Combo Breakers, the Fall Out Defensive System basically replaces it.
They've also added in Flawless Blows, which are basically parries, block at the perfect time, set the enemy up for a counter-attack. And lastly, the wake-up game that we saw in past MK games is no longer there thanks to options like the Defensive Roll.
4 The Story About Fighting Ironically Lacks Impact
This next entry is a bit more opinion-based but the story of MK11 kind of falls flat. MK9 and MKX both had weight to the events of their stories, characters died, the status quo was upset, even playboy Johnny Cage settled down and had a kid! But MK11 basically negates all those massive character changes. Literally out of existence.
Sonya Blade sacrifices herself 5-minutes in for literally no reason, all the previous sacrifices and deaths are nullified, and everything is basically reset. Again, this is all subjective but Mortal Kombat changed fighting game story modes to give them weight, and now it feels like it's backtracking.
3 One Giant Krypt To Explore
The Krypt has always been a staple for the Mortal Kombat games. It's the area where players would unlock concept art, skins, costumes, brutalities, and more. Usually, it's just a glorified unlock menu, a wall that players bashed upon with in-game currency.
MKX experimented with expanding the Krypt in MKX, but now NetherRealm has turned the Krypt into a fully explorable dungeon crawler packed to the brim with secrets, references, and callbacks to the entire franchise.
There are even multiple nods to the awful, yet amazing live-action Mortal Kombat movie from the '90s!
2 Variations Are The Players Choice Now
It seems the design mentality for Mortal Kombat 11 as a whole is to give the players more customization. Customize the skins, weapons, and now even variations. Variations were added in Mortal Kombat X as a way for every single character to feel unique.
They were three separate playstyles per character that completely changed how they looked and played.
It was a truly innovative addition to the fighting game genre. And now with MK11, they've developed the system even further. Now people can make their own variations where they pick and choose exactly what moves go into them.
1 Shorter Combo's With Double The Fun
And lastly, it was touched on a bit earlier, but MK11 is becoming more deliberate. It's no longer a game where each player gets two long combos before the end of a round. Now, each set is filled with smaller, more compact combo strings.
The objective is chip away at opponents with chunks of combos rather than devastatingly long juggles.
It's hard to say if this is a welcome or hated addition, but it's definitely different. Quite honestly, it looks more fun personally, as this new way of playing allows newer players more chances to learn and adapt.