For 25 years now, video game fans have had the Mortal Kombat franchise test their might. From the arcades to every major gaming platform of the past quarter-century to even the silver screen, the puddles of blood and trails of entrails left in its wake has lead to casual gamers and obsessives alike making memories that have lasted a lifetime.
Perhaps that’s why Mortal Kombat 11 seems like both a no-brainer and a risky proposal. Long-running franchises dipping into the “Time Travel trope” for a story is often a death knell for a series, but this year we’ve already seen Avengers: End Game pull it off flawlessly. Could lighting strike twice? Well – and this should come as no surprise since Mortal Kombat 11‘s roster features the thunder god Raiden, it absolutely does!
Without giving too much away in spoilers, the storyline involves corruption in the realms leading to main antagonist Kronika attempting to restart time to set it more to her liking, erasing the Kombatants who’ve proven problematic to the existence of peace and balance in the universe. Her mission results in a plausible return to the series from characters (or is that kharacters) who’ve met their demise along the previous ten games, as well as the game to feature an opportunity to play as different versions of the main characters: both as we know them today as well as when we first fell in love with them in the 90s.
The storyline is a fun narrative that never wears out its welcome. Elsewhere, the fights themselves – whether in a traditional arcade Tower mode or casual play online – have responsive controls (kontrols?) and new levels of customization (kustomization – if you’re nasty) as well as maneuvers that can only be activated when a player is about to lose that keep the fun-factor and replayability very high. Recent fans may notice the speed/pace of the fights themselves considerably slowed down and a bit for Mortal Kombat XL fans (myself included) to get used to, this new momentum leads to a very enriching and worthwhile new fighting experience.
In addition to fan favorites like Scorpion, Sub Zero, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Kano and Sonya Blade returning, the new characters introduced in this latest installment are all excellent additions to the series. My personal favorite is Cetrion, an elegant virtue-centered elder goddess obsessed with balance.
I also don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say Kronika is the best end boss that the series has had at least this decade, perhaps this side of the millennium. From the tremendous score and look of her stage when you face her in the final battle, to the sheer aura of power and determination she carries, it really makes the game’s final fight feel like a truly epic climax.
Now that we’ve had Mortal Kombat 11 for a few weeks and have enjoyed all the different towers of gameplay modes, we’re officially calling it essential gaming. It’s an infectious welcome addition to both the MK franchise and any game library. There is no knowledge that is not power, and no list of the year’s top games is complete without it!