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Mortal Kombat 11 Review (Switch)

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It's bizarre to think that it's been 13 years since the likes of Scorpion, Kung Lao and Raiden spilled blood on a Nintendo platform with 2006's Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is Wii, but that absence has enabled NetherRealm Studios to finally bring the quality of its combat model to the level that reflects its devotion to the slapstick gore. That drought in gloriously over-the-top western violence has finally been quenched with the suitably bombastic arrival of Mortal Kombat 1

1 on the Nintendo Switch.

And you can really see just how far Chicago, IL based studio has come since Armageddon. Thanks to the overhaul of its fighting mechanics in MK9 the welcome updates (and new characters) introduced in MKX and the more accessible nature of the Injustice games, MK11 immediately feels like a fighter in the rudest of health. Character models – both in cutscenes and in battle – have never looked better or better, thanks to the improvements made in Injustice 2 . The story mode – a staple of the series in recent years – is its most rewarding yet packed with Easter eggs and nonstop nodes to its own decades long canon. Mortal Kombat 11 Review – Screenshot 2 of 6 “/>

The first thing you'll notice is the slower pace of each battle. The ability to run has been completely removed and the speed of your walk has been significantly reduced. For anyone who has been playing MK for years – especially the previous two entries – this transition will take the longest to adapt to it, but it is a major adjustment that plays into the M11 input system's more technical nature and reduces those combo rushes which can often be over-spammed online. You will still need to learn the exact inputs of your chosen main, but once you've mastered the ins and outs of their moveset, that measured pace allows you to really string together some lethally creative combos.

The re-introduction of Krushing Blows (an updated version of the X-Ray moves from previous entries) provide a satisfying way to cause significant damage to your opponent (with a mandatory look at how much the skull or spine you're shattering), but it's Fatal Blows that add the most significant change Activated when your health drops dangerously low, these special attacks work a lot like the Super Moves from the Injustice series, with character-specific violence that takes a whopping 35% health off the bar. The only caveat is you only get one per match (not per round), so when a match comes down to two players on a sliver of health between them and their Fatal Blows are still ready to play, those closing moments become like never before. [19659007] Mortal Kombat 11 Review – Screenshot 3 of 6 “/>

Alongside the Story mode there's the Klassic Towers (a staple of the series, where you battle through a series of enemies before facing off against the new time-bending villain, the Chronicles) and the new Towers of Time, which offers a similar setup only with certain clauses (such as fighting opponents with double their health or dodging a constant stream of projectiles). The random nature of the Towers of Time means that you're either going to get a really fun mix of challenge, or a rage-inducing exercise in anger mismanagement. There's also The Krypt, which allows you to spend the in-game gold you naturally earn through the play by exploring the island's home of Shang Tsung, opening the chests and increasing your collection of custom items. The mode has been around since Deadly Alliance and while it's initially fun to run around in third-person, the unbalanced quality of the loot dropped in makes it feel much less enjoyable.

When NetherRealm announced it I was working on a port for the Nintendo Switch, it made it clear that the locked target of 60fps was firmly in its sights. Drop below this figure and the speed, input accuracy and tactical nuance needed to excel in a fighting game – especially at a pro tournament level where the MK11 is no doubt positioning itself – are dashed against the rocks of mediocrity and frustration. And while the MK11 had to undergo some visual degradations to make this happen, that target of 60fps is true even when you pull out more advanced moves such as Krushing Blows (something that affected the previous installments released on PS Vita).

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While the Joy-Cons is not that well suited to the dexterity required for a fighting game in 2019 (we found the Pro Controller, not surprisingly, the best option outside of proper fight stick), you can instantly feel just how accurate and empowering the MK11 feels. The pace of play may have been deliberately slowed down, but whether you're fighting against the AI, battling locally or taking your thirst for violence online, this Switch port rarely stumbles when it comes to performance.

The visual changes made are Similar to those applied to other triple-A fares that have held performance above all others on Switch, such as the impressive debut of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus . For those playing on PS4, Xbox One and PC, the transition between cutscenes and pre-fight intros is seamless, but you'll really notice the shift on the switch. Dynamic lighting is significantly reduced, the resolution of character models and background elements are noticeably dialled back and there's that all too familiar mix of blurring and jagged edges. Mortal Kombat 11 Review – Screenshot 5 of 6 “/>

Even the animated menus themselves possess a layer of blurring. , but loading times between modes and each battle is usually quite brief so it's another sacrifice that's more than acceptable to keep performance at the forefront. It's important to remember that, bar these aforementioned cosmetic reductions, Mortal Kombat 11 is the complete package of a game you can play anywhere else. Every mode and feature – all the way from character customisation to the seamless transition between rounds – is present and correct on Nintendo hardware. The days of the truncated ports are, thankfully, long behind us.

MK11 is certainly the best MK of the modern era, but it's not a flawless victory. The character customisation suite is bizarrely stripped down and unintuitive when compared to the armor loot system used in Injustice 2. In that game, you could potentially enhance the look and stats of your character after every fight, providing a tangible benefit to extended play. In MK11, you can earn new skins, enhancements, intros and other items by playing through the Story mode, through the Klassic Towers or Towers of Time, or by opening chests in The Krypt, but the rate at which you unlock certain gears is so

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Customisation has been positioned as a central part of MK11, with augment working in tandem. The variant of the multiple combat style introduced in MKX, but the sheer amount of grind needed to earn everything naturally is amazingly unbalanced. NetherRealm has promised to adjust the drop of better loot in Towers of Time and The Krypt, but with astonishingly high number of cosmetics and items locked behind microtransactions, there is a ugly awfulness for additional expenses. And while the 25-strong list is indicative of recent entries, the lack of some fan favorites (seriously, no Cyrax, Sector or Reptile?) Seems a bizarre omission. Additional characters will be added to the DLC, but with some of these likely to be licensed appearances (think Hellboy and the TMNT in Injustice 2), do not bank all your missing faves making it to the tournament.

Conclusion [19659019] Mortal Kombat 11 is the best Mortal Kombat since MK2, a bold and bombastic entry that boasts a fighting model that ultimately matches the slapstick theatrics of gory fatalities. It's further proof that MK, much like Street Fighter has just as much relevance today as it did in the '90s thanks to the way it evolved while maintaining its core identity. On Switch, it's a performance-first experience that nails 60fps, and boasts every mode and mechanic from other versions, with only a noticeable downgrade in the aesthetics department. The heavy-handed application of microtransactions makes customisation much less appealing than it should, but if NetherRealm can repair the balance, the MK11 could be a contender for the best fighter on the Nintendo Switch.

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