'Mortal Kombat 11' Review: The Best Installment Yet, But the Grind Is Real

Mortal Kombat 11 is not only the biggest installment in the long-running franchise, it is the best one to date. Then again, with all of the leaks that the highly anticipated title has sustained since being announced by Ed Boon at The Game Awards in 2018, combined with the official details that have been revealed by the team at NetherRealm Studios, it should come as no surprise that this is the best entry in the series that is steadily approaching its 30th anniversary.

As far as the narrative side of things go, Mortal Kombat 11’s Story Mode is the biggest yet, coming in at about eight hours worth of playtime, which is roughly three more than what was featured in 2015’s Mortal Kombat X. Mileage will vary depending on the player and the difficulty chosen, of course. Personally, I’m not looking for a challenge in Story Mode, so I kept it on medium in order to get through the tale without much resistance. Speaking of which, the premise of old meeting new because of Kronica’s mischievous time-based actions plays out well in the Mortal Kombat universe, and while the story itself isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it does offer up the usual charm one would expect.

With plenty of returning characters on the roster as well as a few new combatants, the game offers a number of ways to dole out the damage in glorious fashion. Each fighter features their own movesets as usual, which can be swapped out and changed around to a player’s liking. That’s not the only that can be tweaked, of course, as customization options are aplenty in Mortal Kombat 11. From a plethora of skins for each fighter to various weapon styles, taunts, intros, and much more, the new Custom Character Variation System is top-notch for those looking to mix things up. But there is always something that can be said for that simple, classic look.

Mortal Kombat 11 Customization

How do all of these custom characters look, you may ask? Spectacular. Mortal Kombat 11 looks incredible on the PlayStation 4 Pro. From the details that can be seen up close when customizing characters to everything seen in the levels while fighting, it all looks amazing. Gameplay is as smooth as can be, with the fights having a fluidity that is consistently appealing. Even hanging out in King of the Hill and watching others fight is just so satisfying. It’s the best-looking Mortal Kombat yet, and one that fans will surely enjoy looking at, whether they are in on the action or not.

Getting down to what the franchise has always excelled at, the combat in Mortal Kombat 11 is better than ever. The mechanics feel well-tuned and will be familiar to veterans of the series while still being easy to pick up for newcomers. Each fighter offers up a plethora of moves that can be strung together for devastating combos. Easy Fatalities, which were introduced in the previous installment, have returned to offer more casual players an opportunity to experience the thrill of dismembering their opponent in beautifully gruesome fashion without the difficulty.

When it comes to playing online against other players, even when the ping appeared to not be the greatest, no lag was noticeable. Finding casual matches was quick and easy, and once inside, it felt as if I was playing against somebody that was sitting next to me. (Granted, this was before the game's official launch.) With plenty of options for those looking to face off against others such as ranked fights, King of the Hill, casual, AI Battles, and more, there is no doubt that many players will be spending a good chunk of time here testing their might against other combatants.

Mortal Kombat 11 The Krypt

The Krypt is also back for players to collect various items by opening chest after chest. Smash all of the pots to add more Koins to your balance, which will help you be able to open even more chests. What is found in these chests will assist you in customizing your favorite characters as well as help out in fights that may be a bit tougher than others. Also returning are the Klassic Towers, which players can fight their way to the top in order to unlock character endings.

If it is a grind that players are seeking, however, look no further than the Towers of Time. These towers offer various challenges that are constantly changing, which is one aspect that will keep players coming back for more. What may hinder the desire to return to this mode, unfortunately, is just how much of a grind it really is. Players are offered rewards for completing challenges in the Towers of Time, and while many of these are worthy of a player’s time, they can vary wildly in quality and value.

The Character Towers are where players can go to unlock specific gear and items that pertain to their favorite fighters. First, you’ll need to pay Koins to unlock the towers for each character. After doing so, you’ll be presented with a handful of towers and challenges that will feel as daunting as ever, but the loot is just on the other side of the grind. Some of these fights will be challenging, others will feel impossible and will likely turn a controller or two into a projectile, but it is all in the name of unlocking glorious skins, taunts, and much more. Konsumables and Augments certainly come into play during this, as defeating some fighters without them will be beyond challenging and seemingly not in the realm of possibility.

Mortal Kombat 11 Towers of Time

At the end of the day, it comes down to the player if they choose to take on the Towers of Time, as the mode is in no way necessary to enjoy Mortal Kombat 11. It is simply a means to unlock more loot to customize your preferred fighter even further, but the grind is rough and might deter some players.

Mortal Kombat 11 is a blast from the past with its inclusion of seasoned characters and their former selves, while also being something for the modern age. Its stellar gameplay, both mechanically and graphically, is easily the best the franchise has ever seen. While there may be an issue when it comes to the Towers of Time, everything from its Story Mode and incredible Custom Character Variation System to the Klassic Towers and going toe-to-toe with players online provides a fighting experience that is unmatched and worthy of being picked up by any combatant, old and new alike.

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Rating: 5 out of 5

Mortal Kombat 11 is set to arrive on April 23rd for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.