Mortal Kombat 11 Review

What an odd experience playing through MK11 and getting the platinum trophy.

Mortal Kombat 11 – The two time!

So to start with, as a little background info, I started playing Mortal Kombat on the Genesis as a kid. I’d play with my brother and our friends all the time. I knew every move and fatality for each character, granted there weren’t a lot in the first game. I had it all in muscle memory though. Each morning, before going off to school I’d eat my bowl of cereal and beat the game, I probably did this for a month or so. I remember sitting in front of our big ass tube TV, leaning against the couch, and climbing up the tower one fight after another. Sometimes I’d go for the hidden fight with Reptile on the bottom of the pit, sometimes I’d skip it.

We’d eventually move on to the sequel and by the time the 3rd game came out, I felt like the charm of the series was wearing off for me. There was something about the number of fighters, their look and move sets that didn’t connect with me like the first two games. I do remember renting the solo sub zero game, what a fucking mess that was, and being frustrated with it.

Mortal Kombat 11 – Johnny Cage, still nut punching in old age.

I picked up Mortal Kombat for the Vita when it came out since I needed something to play on it and just remember only playing that for a little bit, but I remember it being good. Then I got MK10 for PS4 which was also good, really good actually. It was the first real game in the new generation of NetherRealm Studios fighting games. After I picked up 11, I took a look at the trophy list and decided to take a crack at it. It didn’t seem too hard after all.

Getting into Mortal Kombat 11

So when I say I got the platinum, it doesn’t actually feel like I got the platinum in this game, mostly because of the requirements to get it. To start off with, I went right to the training mode, I went through each lesson, finishing them one by one. I think I got stuck about 3 times going through all those lessons, I’d get stuck trying to input a certain combo for like 15 minutes. It really started to suck but I was not going to give up on it. I wish they had an extra level to the training mode, where the game notices you struggling to input a command and gives you real-time feedback. I’d love if on the 20th time inputting a command and getting it wrong it’d just yell at me to hit X quicker on the third strike or something. Be an asshole about it, push me to get it right, I’d probably appreciate it when it was over. It is a training session after all, correcting my bad habits should be a part of it. I then even did all the lessons for each and every character, even though you just end up forgetting all the moves you learn for each character. I decided to save the story mode for later, as a treat for myself and a reason to keep progressing in the game.

Mortal Kombat 11 – Raiden visits the Gods

The Towers

I dabbled with the towers first, just to see what they were all about. I didn’t start playing on day 1 so I heard all the shit that was going down. After NetherRealm put out that they were going to change things up a bit I decided to wait a few days before committing to them. I went back in after they put out the reward of Koins and all the other bullshit currencies. I then saw online that you can use an AI character to fight for you on the tower, which seemed like a wonderfully odd idea. So okay, let’s see what this is all about and does it just negate the stupid amounts of grinding to get items for my character (which there are an insane, almost stupid amount of)? So I had my Noob Saibot killing people and earning rewards while I did other stuff around the house. I was actually working on my dining room table and would look up every few minutes, smash the X button a few times to move the AI to the next fight and repeat. It eventually got to the point where I was streaming my PS4 to my MacBook so that I could carry it around with me and still hit the X button to move to the next match. That’s how I got the trophy for completing 250 towers.

Mortal Kombat 11 – Sub-Zero and Scorpion, awesome facial detail.

I then found a glitch for the Krypt (it’s been patched out already, sorry!). It’s where you have to perform 50 fatalities on a single character, which gives you the ability to put their head on a spike and claim some character specific rewards. So instead of doing al that, I took about 20 minutes of my day and got every head on all the spikes. This was accomplished by loading into the Krypt with the square button held and running up to a spike and it’d glitch into the animation and that’s it. Getting the heads opened up some of the better areas of the Krypt giving me intros for 5 characters. This removed so much bullshit work from getting the platinum trophy. I highly doubt that I would have went for this trophy if I had to do this the legit way. I’d need to find a way to get my controller to hit the X button so my AI character could just grind for days on end or something. It’s really stupid, but also it’s a fighting game, you’re supposed to love getting in and fighting shit over and over.

This game honestly felt more like a weird loot game, where you run around in the Krypt opening chests to get items, almost all of which are random and for characters that you probably will never play as. You do earn all this currency and need a way to spend it, and going around opening boxes really isn’t that bad of a way to spend it. When you run out of Koin boxes to open though, you have to pay a small fee for opened boxes to be refilled again, I do with it was just a one-time fee to do all the boxes at once. Since if you pay to get 50 boxes refilled, you have to run around and find the 50 boxes that were filled. It can get tedious, or you can just stop caring like I did. After doing all that and getting the team battle online trophies, which are completely forgettable, I started up the single player story.

Story

This is where the heart of the game really lies. The story well produced and enjoyable as hell. It’s a fun ride, if not a little shallow, that takes you through every character in the roster, giving you a little time with each. It’s so insane to think back on these characters from my childhood and that they’d one day be in this story, with lore and backstories and time travel, a whole drawn-out thing that is actually enjoyable to watch. It just blows my mind that that’s where we are in videogames today.

Mortal Kombat 11 – Look into her eyes!

The character models and animation in the story mode are all top-notch. Following Injustice 2 and the work they did in that single-player mode, they’ve taken it to the next level. The issue I have with this as a single-player fighting game is that you keep changing out characters. Mind you, I’ve gone through the whole of the tutorial at this point. You’re given a new character to fight with over and over throughout the story, with no preamble or anything, just go fight with them for a bit. I didn’t remember all their moves or any of their combos, that’s for sure. What you can do is mash buttons and input the basic combos that all fighting games have as you try to figure out a few moves before going to the next character. I know that you can hit start and scan their moves list, find a few good ones to remember and use those over and over, which I would do from time to time. I played on Medium difficulty and the fights were all pretty easy, never had trouble getting a win in. For a single-player big budget gaming experience in 2019, it really does feel odd to me that a game would just toss you from character to character so easily. The difficulty does take most of the awkwardness away, you’re not expected to use pro strategies almost ever during the whole campaign. I just can’t think of any other game where you go through a story and have to keep learning new moves, over and over, there’s almost zero consistency with it.

It is fun though, and easy as I said, which is probably necessary for it to work. You want to win just to see the next bit of the movie. You don’t even get to do a fatality throughout the whole story which is another thing that seems odd, especially after seeing all the press the fatalities have been getting up to release. So you plow through the story, no real need to go back to it after you’re done. I mean, you can choose to play as the other character in the few sections you’re allowed to pick between 2 fighters, but I don’t see it changing much of anything in the story.

Mortal Kombat 11 – My first character, before switching to Sonya

So by this point in my journey with MK11, I’ve barely played much of the game, I have most of the trophies and the one I’m saving for last is the Kompetitor trophy for playing 50 kasual versus matches. This trophy involves you going into online play and just playing against some random people for fun for 50 games, win or lose, it doesn’t matter. After each match each person can choose if they want a rematch, change characters or bounce out. I went 7 rounds a piece with the first two people I went up against, then I landed on a Raiden player. I was sporting Sonya Blade at this point, having ditched Kitana. She just wasn’t flowing with me and how I liked to play, she seemed to stiff to me. We ended up playing match after match until I hit my 50 game mark and this is when the magic started to happen.

For the first time in the whole game, I finally felt like I was playing a fighting game and really getting into it. It reminded me of when I used to play Tekken 5, where we’d just go at it for hours learning every move and combo and how to use them in each situation. Neither of us changed characters the whole time. He won more at the beginning, but by the end I was winning more consistently. Each match our tactics would slowly change, I got to understand the moves he/she was going to make and learned to block at the right time to counter his attacks. Sometimes he’d get the advantage over me because he learned my pattern.

Mortal Kombat 11 – Baraka and Kitana

Each time a match ended I wanted that player to rematch me again. It was just a very enjoyable gaming experience. We weren’t on mic talking to each other, no communication between us but for the way we’d move in the environment and the type of attacks we’d try on each other. It showed me the depth the game had to offer, a depth that I would never have seen if I only went through the single-player story and done a few towers and the Krypt. If I had more of a drive in me to really get to know a new fighting game again, the online mode is definitely where I’d be spending all of my time. The rewards for playing didn’t seem the best, I feel like like they’re being way to stingy with how they dole out those rewards post-match.

So overall, just a really good fighting game that was able to show me it’s true colors right at the end, and only because I was going for that one trophy. The story mode is what everybody will come for, the towers are a bit of a joke. I’d just recommend you try and dip your toes into the online world, maybe you’ll find an amazing Sonya Blade character that will trade wins with you for a night.

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