The latest entry in the Mortal Kombat series – has it really been 27 years? – is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC, with the Switch port coming soon.
And whether you’re going in solo or are out to prove your might online, Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the most kompetent (sorry) entries yet.
The combat system is as flashy and violent as you’d expect from a Mortal Kombat game, featuring a vast array of bone-crunching moves and blood splattering specials.
But there’s an added level of depth that makes Mortal Kombat 11 more than just another button basher.
Slower and more deliberate than its predecessor, Mortal Kombat 11 is more tactical than you might be used to.
Characters now have two separate power meters: one for attack and one for defence.
New block, roll and escape options let you minimise damage during fights, while the ability to amplify special attacks increases damage and opens up potential new combo opportunities.
Mastering these moves isn’t essential at first, but start challenging seasoned players online and they’re the difference between victory and defeat.
Complementing the fighting system is a thrilling story mode, which is let down only by the fact that it’s too short.
Mortal Kombat 11 revolves around new character Kronika, whose ability to rewrite history leads to the convergence of different timelines.
With classic characters making a return and older characters meeting their younger selves, the story mode is hugely entertaining and at times laugh out loud funny.
You’re also in for a treat if you get a kick out of the fatalities, because Mortal Kombat 11 features some of the finest finishing moves the series has ever seen.
New character Geras literally punches your face off, Baraka chows down on your brains, while Johnny Cage’s ventriloquist act is pure Mortal Kombat gold.
Unfortunately, however, Mortal Kombat 11 has one fatal flaw that really brings the experience down.
Mortal Kombat 11 isn’t just gory, gruesome and grizzly, it’s also extremely grindy.
Character customisation is a big part of the Mortal Kombat 11 experience, although getting costume pieces you actually want is such a tiring process that I’ve since stopped trying.
Not only does the game feature multiple currencies and randomised loot in the Krypt – including a lot of tat that you won’t have any interest in – but some items are only available by playing the occasionally entertaining but mainly rage-inducing Towers of Time mode.
In Towers of Time you’ll fight through different challenge towers, often against powered up fighters with a range of irritating buffs and behaviours.
You can equip unlockable augments to make these encounters a little more balanced, or you can sack it off altogether and go back to playing regular Mortal Kombat without all that convoluted nonsense ruining the experience.
In a post-release update, developer netherRealm has committed to making Mortal Kombat 11 less of a grind, and as a fan of the series dating back to the original game, I’m hopeful they’ll do just that and am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt… for now.
When the action is go and the fight is on, Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the best beat-em-ups of this generation.
But until NetherRealm scales back the brutal unlock system, Mortal Kombat 11 doesn’t quite score a flawless victory.
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