10,000 Coins To Finish Him
I actually really like Mortal Kombat 11. The characters feel unique, there’s a real weight and style that differentiates every fighter and the distinct Mortal Kombat vibes return to make this a gruesome and brutal fighting game. The trouble is, Mortal Kombat makes it very difficult to get any sort of longevity out of this title, with premium currency, microtransactions and an entire section of the game dedicated to opening chests in the Krypt holding this back from being a better title. MK11 is not a bad game, but NetherRealm Studios makes it very difficult to look past its flaws.
The core game itself is split into 3 different sections – Story Mode, the Krypt and Towers Of Time. The former sees you control familiar players across 12 chapters, with a combination of lengthy cut-scenes and fights peppered throughout. With a narrative that picks up 2 years after the events of the last game, MK11 essentially builds a final confrontation against Kronika which splits into 3 different endings, depending on the outcome of that fight. The mode itself is fun though, albeit a little cheesy and cliched, but helps get you acquainted to the different fighters in the game.
The Towers Of Time are essentially a spin on the usual Towers formula in the series, seeing you take on a gauntlet of fighters and ending on a final confrontation with Kronika, and a different epilogue depending on which character you’ve completed the tower with. These are pretty straight forward in nature, and fans of the franchise will be familiar with the set-up here.
Although the harder difficulties can be very challenging, there’s a good array of consumables to use that tip the fight back in your favour. Some towers also see you fight upwards of 25 fighters so there’s a good amount of play-time here. After a brief tutorial that sees you get accustomed to the way these work, the online portion of this mode opens up too, with a constantly evolving series of towers to tackle.
The Krypt sees you explore Shang Tsung’s island and despite a couple of nicely worked puzzles, essentially see you spending your coins on different chests of varying value. There are a few secrets nestled around the island and a few unlockable skills add some diversity to the exploration but to be honest, I can’t see many people spending much time here. This entire island revolves around opening chests and it does become tiresome after a while.
There are, of course, a myriad of other options here too including a lengthy tutorial section, online game modes and a whole host of customisation options and different fighting styles for each character to master. As a fighting game, Mortal Kombat 11 has an awful lot going for it and it’s hard to fault the depth and diversity on offer here. Unfortunately, Mortal Kombat 11’s always-online connection and predatory microtransactions infect the game far more than they should, souring the entire experience.
Although the option to upgrade gear adds a nice element of strategy to proceedings, whether you’ll even bother getting into the gritty detail and fiddling around with these parts remains to be seen. It all feels unnecessarily convoluted and made worse by the unlockables only able to be achieved by opening glorified loot boxes. Perhaps it’s just me showing my age but it feels like the days of just picking up a fighting game and attempting to master a specific character are long gone.
The Krypt, while unique by design, feels exploitative and I can easily see how this could become very addictive and force you to spend real currency to unlock everything. As you enter the mode, you’re given a generous sum of around 70,000 coins to begin with too, with the chests themselves costing anywhere between 1400 and 10,000 coins to unlock. I appreciate the grind has been reduced considerably compared to its ludicrous launch but even so, the grinding is apparent very early on in the game and some of the rewards don’t match the price paid either. I unlocked a 6000 coin chest and received an icon to use online, whereas another time I opened a 2000 coin chest and received a new fatality and costume. It all feels very unbalanced.
To unlock anything of significance (with the exception of a new fighter, Frost) you’ll need to open these chests or buy them with premium currency. The game isn’t even subtle about it either, bombarding you with a myriad of messages every time you sign in to the game, informing you of special offers or “one time only” discounts on premium currency.
The always-online connection is another troublesome hurdle to get over here too and whilst I understand why they’ve done this, I still don’t agree with it. If you haven’t renewed your Xbox Pass or Playstation Plus subscription, Mortal Kombat 11 is essentially unplayable, and that’s not even discussing what will happen when NetherRealms inevitably turn off the servers.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow because Mortal Kombat 11 is actually a really fun and enjoyable fighter. It’s gory, gruesome and full of some of the most absurd, crazy fatalities in the series’ storied history. The fighting has multiple layers of strategy too, ranging from X-Ray moves, counters, interactive environments and more. This game should be a high 7/10 or even an 8/10 but I just cannot recommend something with such predatory microtransactions in. Mortal Kombat 11 could be great, but it suffers a gruesome fatality at the hands of its microtransaction-riddled infrastructure.
All of our videogame reviews are also featured on OpenCritic
Verdict - 5/10