Mortal Kombat 11 gameplay is finally here – and, oh boy, did we get more than we bargained for.
Flocks of people flooded venues in London and Los Angeles last week, while 100,000’s of people tuned in online, to catch the first bloody glimpse of the new game in action.
And they were not disappointed.
Returning characters, new fatalities, customisable skins and the continuation of the story mode were just a few of the things announced during the four-hour live stream.
What’s abundantly clear is that Netherrealm Studios have dialled the violence and gore to the next level – largely thanks to a shift from Unreal 3 to Unreal 4.
Faces grimace and wince with each earth-shattering blow, blood stains the outfits as fights go on and the fatalities, well, they’re amongst the most graphic acts of violence in video game history.
But Mortal Kombat hasn’t just been about violence – its tight, deep gameplay and interesting character roster is just as important.
‘Sick’ new features
UFC fighter and wrestler Ronda Rousey has joined the roster – and she’ll voice Sonya Blade.
The reveal showcased Blade at her brutal best – with one of her fatalities seeing her kick her foe into the air, then unload hundreds of pistol rounds into their chest until they get diced up by a low-flying helicopter.
You couldn’t make this stuff up…
There are also two new characters joining the roster – time-bending brute Geras and Kronika, who we’re not sure yet is playable but will feature in the story mode (more on this below).
This addition to Mortal Kombat 11 is, in our opinion, one of the best new features.
You have never seen Scorpion, Sub-Zero and the rest of the gang looking so damn GOOD.
Every character had tons of customisable features – from face masks and gear right down to the type of spear Scorpion uses. Get over here!
We played it and loved it
It may have had a face-lift but MK11 still feels like a Mortal Kombat game.
Combat is fast and frantic, with a couple of new tweaks to ensure there’s plenty of depth.
For one, there’s now a Flawless Block – which, when timed perfectly, will open up a window for you to counter and deal massive damage to your opponent.
The next big addition is the Fatal Blow – which automatically charges when your health drops below 30 per cent.
Here, you’ll be treated to a devastating ‘cinematic’ – in the same vein as the X-Ray moves from the last MK games.
They’re also a wonderful showcase for the new slow-mo blood effects, not dissimilar from the earlier Zack Synder movies.
Add to the mix Crushing Blows, which are activated when you do the same move three times in a row or counter a high attack, and you’ve got the most brutal fighting game ever made.
The one complaint would be that, as with every other Mortal Kombat title, there is no visible degradation to your fighter’s appearance as more and more bones get progressively broken.
Sure, this is fantasy after all, but it’s odd to see Sub Zero’s mask get knocked off during a Fatal Blow only for it to reappear again after the sequence has come to an end.
Still, gameplay is as fun as ever – finding a perfect balance between being easy to pick up and play yet deep enough to test skilled warriors.
Then there’s the story mode
The campaign is set immediately after the events of 2011’s Mortal Kombat. According to NetherRealm: “Raiden has upset the balance of history with the death of Shinnok.
“Tired of Earthrealm’s defiance, Kronika, The Keeper of Time will bring order to the universe through any means necessary.”
Boon revealed that the narrative will see some of characters travel through time and meet younger versions of themselves – which would be very cool indeed. If the opening cinematic is anything to go by (It saw Dark Raiden decapitate Shinnok before Kronika vowed to take action), then we’re in for a treat. Roll on April 23.
CHECK OUT ALL THE FATALATIES SO FAR.