Mortal Kombat 11 is getting a lot of changes, but not necessarily just in its visuals. MK11 is looking to shape things up in the combat for a more controlled experience, a somewhat departure from Mortal Kombat X. Recently, we were lucky enough to head down to LA for the Mortal Kombat 11 Reveal to try out the fighter.
Probably the thing you’ll notice first if you played Mortal Kombat X, the speed. Yes, Mortal Kombat 11 is a bit slower than the previous game. There aren’t any run options apart from select move’s animations. Mashing your dash is roughly the same pace as walking, and dashing into your block isn’t as quick. However, this change of speed works for how the game is meant to be played from my observation.
The overly in-your-face and aggressive playstyle isn’t nearly as dominant and overwhelming in this game. Instead, players have to be careful in the neutral state of combat and be careful to not overextend themselves and open up. I found myself looking to poke my opponent center stage rather than pressure them into a corner. And the slower pace of the game makes every punch and kick feel heavier than ever.
The characters announced so far seem to all work quite well in this updated structure as well. I saw more opportunity to keep opponents at bay with ranged blasts and combos with an insane amount of knockback. Hell, I felt Geras had more options with zoning and jabs more than command grab situations. So I would say if your biggest grievance with Mortal Kombat X was getting rushed down to death, Mortal Kombat 11 might be a better fit.
Though I didn’t have much time to test out combos or setups, everything seems rather easy to input and execute. Though there are corner juggles in the game still, I think that might not be a prevailing option this time around. True, we’ll have to wait until the game has been released for sometime before competitive players figure out the optimal combos in the game. But for now, I think dealing decent damage won’t be an issue with the new movement speed.
The new meter options do prove quite handy but not overpowered. For those unaware, Mortal Kombat 11 divides the EX meter into two stamina bars — one for defense, one for offense. These meters basically break up how you use your EX moves. Say I want to lengthen a combo, I can spend a bar of offense stamina and get some more damage that way. Or say I want to break up a combo and counter, I can just spend a defense stamina bar. These meters grow back slowly as you perform appropriate actions. I never felt these meters to be oversimplified or overpowered, so I never really found them annoying or unnecessary. However, I never really felt like I wasn’t earning enough stamina throughout a round.
Final Blows also proved to be quite helpful when I was struggling near the end of the round. Since the Fatal Blow is basically an X-Ray move, I don’t think I’ll miss the old option too much. Plus personally, I felt the X-Ray gimmick was overdone at that point so I never really found the look too interesting to watch. And since Fatal Blow can only be done once a match, it never really feels that cheap in a match.
Speaking of cheap moves, the Towers of Time mode offers items to help you during your climb. You play a sort of arcade mode where you have a chance at getting new customizable gear. The items are consumables that give you stat buffs or character assists. Honestly, they seem like potential at creating crazy combos to extend damage (similar to Marvel vs. Capcom). But other than that, I see no place for them outside of this Towers of Time Mode or anything besides single player.
And of course fatalities, they are quite something to witness in MK11. I know for a fact, however, fatalities won’t be something you’ll see too often in competitive matches (players were already quitting to character select as soon as someone’s bar hit O). Either way, you can always try them at home or with friends to get your fill of spine-chilling gore.
When you pair all of the new and controlled mechanics with a beautiful fresh coat of graphics in MK11, you have yourself one hell of a Mortal Kombat game. I can comfortably say this game is going in the right direction, and fans can expect to get a lot of content in this game as well.
Mortal Kombat 11 comes out on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One on April 23. If you pre-order on Amazon, you’ll get exclusive access to the open beta later in March as well as Shao Kahn.
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