Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)

I’m terrible at fighting games, and I’ve never really been much of a competitive type of person to begin with. So when a new fighting game comes out, I very rarely ever get into them. I just don’t enjoy fighting against the person I’m hanging out with. But more and more fighting games are adding in fairly good storylines to their single player vs computer gameplay, and the modern Mortal Kombat games have great stories attached to a great competitive fighting game as well.

Mortal Kombat 11 continues the previous game’s continuity and adds to the craziness of it’s already insane story of multiple dimensions that fight in a tournament to see who will be ruler. I was only 7 when Mortal Kombat came out in arcades, and I remember renting the home console version day one to try and pull off all the crazy stuff I saw in the arcades. But as the years have gone by the series has changed so many times and keeps getting more and more refined as time goes by.

Mortal Kombat 11 sees the entire modern Kombat Krew continue fighting to say Earthrealm and all the other realms from destruction. This time Raiden has become corrupt with power and killing Shinnok he unleashes the wrath of Kronika, the keeper of time, and mother to Shinnok. She decides to rewrite history and change the past so the Raiden never exists. The plan involves transporting past versions of everyone into the future, and aiding her.

The Time Travel aspect of the story doesn’t really do much in the grand scheme of things, but does provide a lot of interesting interactions between past and future versions of all the characters. Classic Johnny Cage is a tool and everyone hates him. Classic Jax is upset to see how his life has turned out, becoming a drunk after the death of his wife. Classic Scorpion is surprised he puts his feud with Sub-Zero aside to fight alongside him instead. It’s really fun to see everyone exchange dialogue back and forth, and see the original characters in original costumes deal with the fate that is ahead of them.

The game itself is a standard fighting game, but I will say that I genuinely love that Mortal Kombat brings the camera in closer than most fighting games, allowing the characters to take up most of the screen space. Being able to see the fighters better adds so much more to the already intense fighting the game provides. Mortal Kombat is known mostly for it’s gore, and the punching and kicking already produce massive amounts of pints of blood spilled. But the continued one-upping of the brutal X-Ray Final Blows, and the ever increasing grotesqueness of the fatalities really cements Mortal Kombat as king of the modern fighter.

The storyline allows the overarching story to be shown off with cutscenes in between each fight. Seamless stitching together of beautiful cutscenes and gameplay really add to the presentation, and show that Netherealm studios are always trying to show that this world of characters have more to them than the original fighting game’s mythos. Weaving intricate details of each characters past and present gives the story mode meaning, and I wouldn’t blame anyone if they just watched the game’s story mode online as a movie. It is worth it alone, just to see how the time travel narrative plays out.

I wish I was better at fighting games. But Mortal Kombat’s difficulty is already notorious, and I remember playing 2011’s Mortal Kombat 9 and losing my mind on the final bout with Shao Khan. So I dropped the game’s difficulty down a bit to make sure I didn’t chuck a controller through a window. I pretty much breeze through the game, and if the single player campaign wasn’t as short as it was, I would have probably adjusted the game’s difficulty up a notch or two.

The game’s story mode is around 5ish hours long and I completed it in two sittings. There is an addition DLC called Aftermath that deals with the fallout of the ending of the game, and I would love to have played it, but since I played Mortal Kombat 11 on Gamepass, I’m not gonna spend $20 on DLC for a game I don’t own. But I would have loved to play it and see what else the creators came up with, to continue on with the story.

If the Mortal Kombat series doesn’t show up again in Gaming for the foreseeable future, I wouldn’t be surprised. They’ve constantly been putting a Mortal Kombat game out every other year almost. And I’m ok if the series takes some time to come up with some new ideas for it’s next sequel. But the full game of Mortal Kombat 11’s story mode really is something that is well done. I found myself not only cringing at the insanely cool and disturbing fatalities, but also genuinely laughing out loud at some of the jokes, and being sad when the game was trying to tug at my heartstrings. The game walks that fine line of being both deadly serious, and also knee slapping  funny too.

Whatever happens with the Mortal Kombat series, if it goes on hiatus for several years, or if it comes back in a couple years from now, I’ll be ready to see what happens next, because just like the newer 2020 Mortal Kombat movie, it’s way better than you’d think it was going to be, just by the sheer fact that it was a major motion picture based on a video game from 1992.