According to early reviews, Mortal Kombat 11 is a worthy successor to a franchise that has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past decade or so. As the first entry in the beloved series in over four years, Mortal Kombat 11 has embraced all the elements of the franchise that fans may have missed in its absence, including over-the-top fatalities and a storyline that features time travel, Johnny Cage teaming up with Johnny Cage, and a first-time female villain with the ability to control the ebbs and flows of reality.
Mortal Kombat's last release was Mortal Kombat X, which was considered one of the best in the series despite having a PC release that was met with middling reviews over the severe technical issues players faced on that platform. In the time away from the series, NetherRealm Studios released Injustice 2, the DC-based super hero fighter that received equal amounts of praise for its prowess in the genre. To say that the developer has had a string of successes (excepting WWE Immortals) over its past few outings would be an understatement, and as such, expectations are high heading into Mortal Kombat 11's release tomorrow on April 23, 2019.
Luckily for those heavily invested in the adventures of Liu Kang, Scorpion, and the countless other iconic characters who grace Mortal Kombat 11's roster, it appears that early feedback on the game is extremely positive. Many reviewers are praising the game's combat (spelled with a "c", sorry), particularly what many have identified as a fluid, savvy tutorial system that immediately prepares players for the nuances of mechanical and timing-based online fighting. According to MetaCritic, Mortal Kombat 11 is currently sitting at an 84, which makes it generally favorable and something to keep an eye on. It's a similar story with OpenCritic, which sees Mortal Kombat 11 at an 82% average with an 81% recommendation percentage from reviewers. Those are strong numbers, and should the reviews that are still to come continue the trend, it will be yet another impressive release from NetherRealm Studios. Read on to learn more about what Mortal Kombat 11 is doing to keep reviewers kraving more.
IGN: 9/10 - Mitchell Saltzman
It's a rare fighting game that hits just about every note as strongly as Mortal Kombat 11 does. Everything from its methodical and deep combat to its fantastically absurd story mode and its rock-solid netcode, right down to its extraordinarily comprehensive tutorial is absolutely exceptional. It's only when you get into its drawn-out progression that it triups up: the keys to unlocking Mortal Kombat 11's rich vault of customization options are locked behind the frustratingly gimmicky and grindy barriers of the Krypt and Towers of Time.
GameSpot: 8/10 - Edmond Tran
MK11 isn't just a sequel for series fans and NetherRealm devotees, it's a gateway into the realm of fighting games for anyone who has a passing interest in watching ruthless warriors beat each other silly. Streamlined mechanics keep the act of fighting furiously exciting no matter what your skill level, and comprehensive tutorials encourage you to dig into the nitty-gritty. There's a diverse roster of interesting characters and playstyles, and the story mode is an entertaining romp. The unfulfilling approaches to the game's dynamic single-player content and progression may feel like they've totally whiffed (at least at this early stage), but Mortal Kombat 11 hits where it matters.
GamesRadar: 4/5 - Aron Garst
Mortal Kombat 11 struck a rare chord in me where, even after playing twenty hours in a few days, I want to go back and play more. I doubt I'll be next in line to compete at EVO, but as a casual player who enjoys putting extra time in - I love what NetherRealm Studios has put together.
USGamer: 3.5/5 - Mike Williams
There's a lot to love in Mortal Kombat 11. It's a fantastic fighter with a roster of 25 varied characters, tons of customization options, beautiful graphics, and one of the best story modes in a fighting game. It's a shame that modes like the Krypt and Towers of Time inject annoyance and tedium into what was an excellent experience. The progression is complex and obtuse, when it should be easy and straightforward. MK11 could been[sic] an all-time best, but it's just a contender.
Variety - Nicole Carpenter
The violence in Mortal Kombat 11 is gratuitous, but it's also self-aware. In both comedy and horror, we like to make ourselves feel uncomfortable. Mortal Kombat 11 is uncomfortable. Outlandish. Campy. Combined with the game's complex, precise gameplay, it's a damn good fighting game.
From the sounds of it, Mortal Kombat 11 succeeds as a fighting game, with mechanics, tutorials, fatalities, visuals, and even some absurd storytelling to make it one of the most compelling choices in the genre in 2019. As the reviews all tend to point out, though, the thing holding back NetherRealm Studios' latest effort is the grind that is required to unlock many of its customization options: it's time-consuming and has been called out by nearly everyone who has come into contact with it as a transparent means of either getting players to spend money to accelerate the process or to extend the game's lifespan by several hours.
Overall, Mortal Kombat 11 seems to make up for its short-comings with a near-flaweless gameplay experience in-fight. While concerns over Mortal Kombat 11 microtransactions—especially after series creator Ed Boon was so adamantly against predatory game practices—remain a point of contention for the game heading into its broader release, it's also possible the grind will be lessened based on reviewer feedback. As it stands now, Mortal Kombat 11 is another worthy entry into a historic franchise that should once again sit at the top of the fighting game genre alongside some of its fiercest competitors.
Mortal Kombat 11 will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch on April 23, 2019.