It’s been 4 long bloodless years since the last Mortal Kombat graced our consoles with its unique take on the fighting game formula.

In that time it looks like NetherRealm Studios have done nothing but research and develop new and interesting ways to decapitate and disembowel your enemies in their latest offering Mortal Kombat 11! Releasing just this week, hype couldn’t have been higher, and not just in my case either – The fanbase with rife with joy and excitement at the upcoming orgy of violence. With the roster adding a few new faces and reintroducing some classic ones, it looked like we were in for a treat! I haven’t put much time into the game so far, but I’ve definitely got to grips with some of the new mechanics and characters and just thought that I’d tide myself over with a quick piece to keep the hype train rolling.

So when I sat down with a controller in shaking hands (Either from excitement or a potassium deficiency), I started up with a few rounds in the single fight mode, just looking to get a hang of a few of the new touches. I picked my favourite icicle chucker, Sub-Zero, and got right to button mashing! The controls are just as tight and refined as you’d expect from these masters of the craft, and my wild thumb flailing soon became more tactical as I picked up the moves like I was slipping into a comfy pair of undercrackers. Not much has changed since Mortal Kombat X control-wise with most returning moves being more or less the same, and balanced well with a few new tricks. The biggest gameplay changes come with the removal of the standard “X-ray” moves – Rather than building your meter to execute a 3 hit X-ray move, you can now simply empower any one of your standard attacks, which will result in the attack animation zooming in and showing you the enemies’ innards and bones being devastated in much more detail than ever before! Replacing the usual X-ray attack is the new “Fatal Blow” mechanic. If you take enough damage during the round you’ll be prompted to pull the triggers which will execute a cinematic and gruesome attack, taking chunks out of your foe’s life bar and giving you that dirty smug face you’ve always wanted. The catch is that not only do you need to have lost a good lump of health to be able to pull the move off, but you can also only use them once per match, unlike previous games where if you were frugal with your super meter you could smash out 2 X-ray attacks per round! A great strat if you were fucking incompetent and needed some breathing room (I’m not bitter or anything… But Luke pulled that shit on me once… I still haven’t forgiven him).

Let’s talk design too. As I’ve said the mainstay of the series – the gratuitous violence – looks graphically stunning and has often left my mouth hanging open in shock with just how brutal that shit looks! Though it’s not just the meaty innards that look great, all the characters have received a hefty design update. Examples include Sonya Blade looking almost exactly like her new voice actress, UFC champ Ronda Rousey, or the dark spectre Noob Saibot looking like a mishmash of edge-lord outfits and demon apparel! A major update to character models comes with the gear system which was first introduced in NetherRealm’s sister franchise, Injustice; you can now play dress up in all kinds of ways with your favourite fighters, and the gear will even affect stats to improve your warrior to no end! Get ready Sub-Zero; you’re about to look fly as fuck…

After flicking through the roster I can say I’m really excited to get cracking on the story mode. Since Mortal Kombat 9, the storyline of the series has been surprisingly deep and compelling, which is almost unheard of in a fighting game! I mean Tekken just tried taking a crack at storytelling, and what we ended up with was some confusing garbage that made no sense to anyone…  The series’ focus on story has been clear from the start of Mortal Kombat 11’s advertising which focused entirely on the story mode with each trailer giving us teases to the premise. Goddess of Time, and – as Ed Boon has stated – “the biggest bad of all”, Kronika, has decided she’s had enough of Raiden fucking about with the timeline and steps in to rewrite it all. Her plan for this is pulling various characters from Mortal Kombat history all into one solid time line… Which should fix it all? Apparently? Whatever; either way I’m looking forward to getting it underway! If I can ever tear myself away from smashing out arcade ladders…

If the story has you curious too, or you just enjoy brutal violence, then please check our Twitch live streams and archives for my run of the Mortal Kombat 11 Campaign starting 8pm on 23/04! You can also get your bloodied mitts on the game by using the links down below!

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