Mortal Kombat 11. NetherRealm’s latest fighter, released in April 2019, has made a splash with the casual fanbase of the series. With the game selling over 4.2 million units across PS4, Xbox One, Steam and Nintendo Switch. The game’s been getting DLC since release, with Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn, the last DLC character, less than three days away.
That all sounds great and everything, but the game’s not a complete and total blockbuster with its content. Like every video game, Mortal Kombat 11 has its flaws, and boy, are there a lot of them. So, let’s take a look at what MK11 has going for it. Is it as good as its reception leads you to believe?
What MK11 Does Right
Mortal Kombat 11 runs on a heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 3. With the engine, every bloody detail of the series’ visceral combat and fatalities is shown in all of its glory. All of the character models, stages and lighting look stellar as well, conveying a very convincing atmosphere.
The game also has a very expansive tutorial that explains tons about how the game works. From learning about basic controls to learning about frame data, the game tells you a lot about the inner workings of the game’s system. It also has character tutorials as well, which explains basic information about what characters do to the player.
The game’s practice mode is also very finely detailed as well. The game has in-game frame data, and an interactive frame data display. This allows players to see what moves they have that are advantageous or if they’re in danger of being punished. It also allows the player to record the training dummy to perform various actions freely.
The Bad Things About MK11
Mortal Kombat 11, however, doesn’t have much else going for it positively. The absolute biggest problem with playing MK11 is that it is an online-only title. It being online-only is very detrimental, as players can’t unlock anything offline, or save their customized loadouts at all (loadouts are updated upon reconnecting). Even the Krypt, a mode where you can explore and unlock in-game content, is locked behind online.
Problems with the Roster
The game’s roster is also questionable. Sure, the series has its staples, like Scorpion and Sub-Zero, but questionable omissions leave the roster in a strange spot. DLC doesn’t help this matter that much, either. Characters like Reptile, Rain, Smoke, Mileena, and Kenshi are completely removed from the game. A few of them have cameos in The Krypt but are absent otherwise.
Of the DLC characters, there are three returning characters and three guest characters from other media. The returning characters are Shang Tsung, boss of the original Mortal Kombat, Nightwolf. and Sindel, returning from Mortal Kombat 3. The guest characters are The Terminator T-800, The Joker from DC Comics, and Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn, as mentioned prior.
Shao Kahn, another returning character from Mortal Kombat 3, is locked behind a paywall if the player didn’t preorder MK11. NetherRealm does this with DLC often, such as with Goro in Mortal Kombat X, and special color schemes in Injustice 2. Buying the Kombat Pack does not give players Shao Kahn either, making them have to spend extra money regardless.
Slow and Steady Loses the Race
Moving beyond characters, the game’s also very, very slow for what it wants to be. Players have access to offensive and defensive meters. Both allow them to enhance specials or use on-stage interactable items. Movement is confined to walking around and dashing very slowly. A game focused on getting in is very weighed down by these confines.
Another strange aspect of this game is the zoning. In MK11, zoning is both powerful and weak at the same time. Projectiles do NOT clash with each other at all, they simply pass through each other. This same behavior occurs in Injustice 2, which makes zoners very frustrating to deal with generally. Most of the time, they can spend the entire match running away, pelting you with projectiles.
Game Updates Are A Joke
Another major problem is the game’s rather inconsistent balancing schedule. A key example of this can be from back in October 2019. At the beginning of the month, a patch was released with The Terminator DLC data, to be released on the 8th. A bug for Kano’s third variation damage was discovered, and PS4 and Xbox One got a patch when Terminator released.
However, PC players had to wait an entire month for the hotfix to Kano. Nintendo Switch had to wait even longer, until Thanksgiving, almost two months after, with Sindel’s DLC release. Inconsistency in patch delivery time is something that can happen to any game, but the wait shouldn’t be a month or longer.
Further, concerning balance patches, it’s clear that not everything can be perfectly balanced so that every single character is on the same level. However, NetherRealm has such a strange idea of what to balance. Given that most patches nerf non-Ranked Match moves, this gives the impression that they’re more concerned about Casual than Ranked.
MK11’s Online Is Very Bad
Something that’s of another major concern is the game’s online play. The game has four online modes, Casual Match, Ranked Match, Lobby Match and King of The Hill. Players can opt to play Casual Matches with Ranked rulesets, allowing players to play unranked matches with Ranked specials. That’s fine and all, but another massive problem lies in Ranked.
The biggest problem with online is in Ranked. When playing Ranked, the game allows you to opt-out of laggy matches. After backing out twice, you’re stuck with whatever the game matches you with, making trying to play online really rough. The game also expects you to be grinding in those conditions to unlock season-exclusive gear, which is very unfair.
PC Version Issues
This next part applies to PC players; the port on PC is very hit-or-miss. The game can forget various saved graphics settings and is very unoptimized. Reports of using the 60fps mode crashing and animations not playing correctly have also surfaced. The port is overall very unstable and can only be run case-by-case realistically. NVIDIA graphics cards are also very poor off, too.
These concerns are overshadowed by other concerns if you do manage to boot the game. The game will sometimes hang when customizing characters or going through menus at any speed other than very slow. Towers of Time is also laughable in its own right. The game has unique rewards available weekly for grinding the Towers, known as the Race Against Time.
The Race Against Time is very broken on PC. That format is the only way to unlock certain skins and gear pieces, and PC players can just as easily hack their score to be the highest. This makes grinding week in and week out very demotivating for people who want specific gear for their characters.
Mortal Kombat 11’s a very, very rough case. The game’s exterior look, graphics, animation quality, and training modes are not pushovers. However, that’s where the praise ends. Bad quality of life on PC, terrible online play, unlocking content being locked behind online, the list just keeps going.
The game’s super inconsistent patch gaps are also a massive problem. Again, the gap existing is not the problem here. But the amount of disparity between platforms is what makes the issue as problematic as it does. Players should not have to endure month-long gaps for patches because they’re on a different platform.
Final thoughts on MK11: It has very few good qualities that are overshadowed by the pacing flaws, inconsistent scheduling, and online-only nature of the game. If the game was able to be played offline to an extent, the number of online flaws would not seem as bad. But with what the game is right now, the game cannot be recommended to anyone that does not own a PS4 or Xbox One, and that’s quite sad.
What do you think of our editorial of Mortal Kombat 11? Do you think that the game needs fixes, or is it fine as is? What platform do you play the game on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.