There’s a certain sense of bloodlust in the air. The floor below is littered with dried crimson, the people around me demand to see entrails fly and after a good couple of years, I’ve once again wandered into Netherrealm’s latest spectacle of gore and savagery. It’s often been said that you can’t build a better mouse trap, but year after year NetherRealm Studios manages to prove the old adage wrong.
A cursory glance at Mortal Kombat 11 makes the game look like an iterative upgrade at best, but ask any fan who has put in the hours in that specific pit of ultra-violence what’s new under the hood, and they’ll be gin rattling off dozens of obscure terms, slang and technical jargon that will leave your head spinning as if it had just been impaled on the end of one of Baraka’s arm-blades.
Mortal Kombat 11’s recent beta feels like a reinforcement of that theme, and then some.
It’s hard to describe how exactly, but the latest iteration of the long-running fighting game franchise just moves better. There’s a tweaking to the fundamentals of what makes Mortal Kombat so iconic, that results in a better transition of combos and high-risk chains while still remaining as friendly as can be to newcomers. No matter the skill level, Mortal Kombat 11 is going to feel absolutely brutal in your hands when it comes out.
And of course, those signature fatalities look as gruesome as ever, while also being imaginatively savage. Eyeballs are popped out, characters vomit blood and entire limbs are ripped off in a way that makes Mortal Kombat 11 dance dangerously close to the edge of good taste. That particular lust for violence also looks better than ever thanks to the latest advancements in audio and visual design, which thankfully, don’t include any of that weird scaly sweat that permeated the pores of Mortal Kombat X.
So who was available in the beta? Lucky players had the following warriors to choose from, who I’ve attached some quick thoughts to:
- Kabal – Speedy, works brilliantly as a counter-attacker and can start a combo on one side of the arena that’ll drag you all the way to the other side by the time it’s done
- Scorpion – Mortal Kombat’s poster child and still the perfect character for beginners while retaining an edge of challenge for veterans to master
- Skarlet – Definitely my favourite for long-range offense, Skarlet’s blood orbs and whips can easily keep an opponent at bay while her blood shield can send them flying if they get in too close. She has some neat combos that can set up amazing juggle opportunities as well
- Baraka – I’m going to be honest with you, I can’t exactly figure Baraka out just yet, but he’s a beast in close quarters combat
- Jade – I really liked her! A great arsenal of weapons, with her bo staff being especially
usefullfor creating a mid-range gap between players who need breathing space
I think what struck me most, was just how deliberate every single action felt within Mortal Kombat 11. Unlike previous games, it feels slower in its approach. Every action performed has to be done with intent, as mere button mashing is going to result in you being punished with a flurry of attacks in return. It’s an interesting new dynamic after the lightning-quick pace of Mortal Kombat X, a more methodical approach that is going to be interesting to see evolve in the post-launch era of Mortal Kombat 11.
Also worth noting? How quickly a match can turn when a Fatal Blow is applied. The next evolution of the X-Ray attack, Fatal Blows are those last minute gasps where a player can gamble everything on a single attack that’ll bring their opponent’s health bar closer to the edge of defeat. What makes this move particularly devastating, is just how quickly it can be pulled off as it
And as usual, the entire process is gloriously violent and doubles as a mini-fatality in its own right. So how does Mortal Kombat 11 play online then?
A pity, because I was really looking forward to wandering into a match with a mountain of confidence and then having it slowly beaten out of me in the most one-sided showdown since I got my ass kicked in a 2D bar brawl.
There’s plenty more to be said about the technical reinvigoration that’s present in Mortal Kombat 11, but the biggest takeaway for me are the layers of experience that NetherRealm draws from for this latest chapter in the series. It’s the lessons learned from the recent Injustice games that feel particularly noteworthy, because while many a game in the genre may claim to be the “fighter’s fighting game”, Mortal Kombat 11 is clearly designed to be everyone’s fisticuffs simulator.
That Kustomisation screen, the capacity of its potential to help you craft a character who suits your needs and tastes while keeping the playing field even, that’s where the future of the genre lies. NetherRealm isn’t just keenly aware of how important it is to have a community by their side so that Mortal Kombat 11 can have a long shelf life, they’re fully embracing it and providing for those fans who keep the dream alive long enough for the next game to roll around.
April 23 can’t get here soon enough, because if a limited beta featuring a mere handful of characters can generate this much excitement in me, just imagine what the full game is going to be capable of when it’s finally unleashed upon the world.
Last Updated: April 1, 2019
April 1, 2019 at 13:55
Cannot wait to rip my brothers arms off. And play Mortal Kombat 11.
April 1, 2019 at 14:02
Did anyone get the beta on switch? Was it even an option? Im seriously keen to find out the performance on the little tike.