I have so many fond memories of Mortal Kombat. It was the first fighting game I ever played as a kid. I still remember reading my Dad’s Time magazine that had a full feature dedicated to the violence of Mortal Kombat and why your kids shouldn’t play it. I was in high school at the time, and in that moment, I knew I needed this game. I bought both Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II for my SEGA Game Gear and played them nearly to death. I still get tingles of joy whenever I see Sonya Blade move into any handstand. She has always been my favorite fighter, and probably always will be.
So yeah, imagine the look on my face when Ed Boon announced that Ronda Rousey was voicing Sonya. My jaw dropped even further when she came out on the stage. A living female badass is going to voice my favorite in-game female badass? Could this get any more badass?
Actually, yes. Yes it can. Glitz and star power is one thing, but the Mortal Kombat 11 game needs to speak for itself. And oh, does it ever. From my 45 minutes with the game, I’m ready to call it the best Mortal Kombat game yet. If the rest of this game is as polished, and if the story delivers as much as NetherRealm Studios promises, then my prediction will be 100% spot on. You heard it here, first.
Test Your Might
Obviously, NetherRealm didn’t let us touch any of the story of the game, but I had 45 minutes to play around with Tower Challenges and Vs. mode against the CPU. I wished the practice/tutorial section was open, because it’s been awhile since I’ve played any MK. I played a couple of Tower Challenges on Easy to get a feel back for the game before I jumped in against the CPU on Medium (Normal-ish difficulty). My, um, tactics and skills were still severely lacking, but it didn’t diminish an ounce of enjoyment.
We only had access to 7 characters: Baraka, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Skarlet, Sonya Blade, and new character Geras. I have no idea why I didn’t try out Geras (not to be confused with Garrus), especially since he has some pretty interesting abilities. He’s one of Kronika’s minions—this is the only part of the story I could squeeze out of NetherRealm—who fights using the sands of time. He’s able to freeze time, summon sand attacks, and generally looks like a tough bastard to fight. While I wanted to spend my whole time with my girl Sonya, I did spread out a little to play with Skarlet and Scorpion. Skarlet was a fan-favorite in Mortal Kombat 9, and I’m fairly certain she’ll be a favorite in MK11. She is so much fun to play, you might say she’s bloody fun to play.
After a few rounds (of getting my ass kicked), it dawned on me how flawless the controls were. I’ve never played an MK game that had zero input lag of some sort. My blocks weren’t late, my jumps weren’t laggy, and I often punched too soon because I wasn’t expecting the execution to happen so instantaneously. For the first time in my sad fighting game history, I felt like I could actually learn some of the complex combos. That didn’t happen this week, of course, but it added to the rush I already had from executing my first Brutality.
MK11 once again sports the variations for each character, giving players access to unique playstyles that fit them best. But now, NetherRealm has gone one step further, allowing player-made variations to enter into the fight. Some of these variations are strictly cosmetic, but players can add augments to each variation as well, enhancing specific abilities that speak to the player’s preferences. For example, some of the augments will heal the character upon meeting specific conditions, or improve defense, or make strikes stronger, etc. If what they seemed to say is true, the sky is the limit to how many variations a player can make for their preferred fighters.
As mentioned above, Brutalities are also back, which require specific conditions during the match to execute. The X-Ray attacks are not back, but instead, certain conditions can create X-Ray-like attacks that take more damage than they normally would. For example, whoever lands the first uppercut in a match will get the “inside scoop” of the crushing blow.
In addition, players will have access to a Fatal Blow attack if their health reaches below 30%. The Fatal Blow will deal a ton of damage, but, despite its name, does not automatically equal a fatal attack. Each player can only use ONE Fatal Blow per match, not per round, so these attacks open up new strategies to execute as well. You probably won’t want to use one in the first round, but if you’re up one round and it’s cutting it close in the second, perhaps it’s time to use it when it comes up. If you don’t land the attack, however, you’ll have another opportunity in another round to use one.
With all of that, I barely scratched the surface of everything Mortal Kombat 11 has to offer. I cannot wait to dive into the story mode. I cannot wait to dive into the characters’ individual Towers. April 23, 2019 needs to hurry up.