games / Previews

Mortal Kombat 11 Reveal Event Gameplay Preview

January 20, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Mortal Kombat 11

411 was on hand for this week’s special Mortal Kombat 11 gameplay reveal event. On a wet and rainy day in Los Angeles, Warner Bros. Interactive and NetherRealm Studios offered up a playable demo build for the upcoming latest installment for the franchise. Following the main reveal presentation, including the announcement of Ronda Rousey as Sonya Blade, fans in attendance were able to line up and get the first crack at playing the event build. 411 had an opportunity to get a hands-on first look at the gameplay.

Mortal Kombat 11 very much looks like it’s building off of the style that NetherRealm really established with Mortal Kombat 9 and utilized for the Injustice series and Mortal Kombat X. Obviously, the graphics and character models have gotten a major step-up in resolution and detail.

One element that seemed a bit off, while Ronda Rousey is clearly voicing Sonya, the character model — at least in the face — doesn’t have a strong resemblance to Rousey. An exclusive poster featuring Ronda as Sonya was sold at the event that looked like a closer model to how Rousey should look as Sonya in the game, so that was a bit confusing.

The playable demo had seven characters to choose from: Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, Raiden, Skarlet, the returning Baraka, and the new Kombatant Geras. It’s especially great to have Baraka back. Similar to Mortal Kombat 11, each Kombatant has multiple variations they can choose from at the outset of the match.

The demo was the PS4 build, so the PS4 controls were fairly smooth and responsive. Novice players have the option of toggling move controls onto the screen. That way if gamers aren’t good at remembering button commands for combos, special moves or fatalities, the screen will display the commands permanently. Additionally, the demo also had various difficulties to choose from.

The interactive stage environments that have become a staple of previous NetherRealm fighting games are back as well. Unfortunately, there are no stage transitions. At least, that’s the impression that was given off from multiple developers. The background will light up if the Kombatants move next to an interactive piece from the environment. This could be grabbing a giant piece of debris to slam against an opponent, or as simply brutal as dragging their face over the spines of a cactus. There were three stages for the demo: an abandoned and eerie NetherRealm monastery, a desert military base and an underground fight club.

A new feature to combat is the ability to amplify moves. Once players fill up a meter for their Kombatant, they can add an additional attack to a special move. Punishment moves that trigger cinematic events are back. Once an opposing Kombatant reaches low enough health, players can trigger a gory cinematic move and still have time to throw in the fatality as well.

Fatalities do seem a little more accessible and a little easier to pull off. Baraka easily had the highlight fatality of the entire demo where he rips off an enemies’s face, then the front of their entire skull. After that, he uses his blade to rip out his opponent’s brain and promptly eats it like a turkey leg. That’s the beauty of Mortal Kombat fatalities. Stopping at ripping the face off would’ve been enough. Imagine the violence of Ninja Scroll on steroids, and that’s a good indication of what to expect from the Mortal Kombat 11 violence and gore.

Playing as Baraka was easily the highlight of the demo to see the return of his classic special moves along with getting some new attacks and variations as well. Geras is a very interesting looking character. He’s a new supernatural fighter who is a servant of the new female villain, Kronika. His attacks are based around the Sands of Time, and he’s got a great look.

Based on the demo, Mortal Kombat 11 looks like it will have a fair bit of customization and depth; even for a fighting game. The demo featured a lot of the customization menu. Similar to how Injustice 2 offered a lot of comprehensive customization options for the DC Universe characters, so will Mortal Kombat 11 for the Kombatants. For example, players will have the option to augment armor and costume pieces. This includes offense and defense buffs.

To go further into customization options, players can mix and match moves for the different fighter variations. Additionally, the system allows for lots of mixing and matching for costume pieces and changing their colors. For example, players will even be able to re-skin individual weapons fighters are armed with. Scorpion has swords that he’s able to utilize in battle, and even those swords will have alternate skins. It’s the same for his face mask/protector.

This is merely a guess and speculation, but if the game has micro-transactions or in-game economy, it will probably for the alternate skins or customization options. The developers 411 spoke with in general avoided admitting to micro-transactions, lootboxes or the in-game economy. But they did express that Mortal Kombat 11 is not “pay-to-win.”

Tower Mode is also back for Mortal Kombat 11. A new feature for Tower Mode is “Konsumables.” Basically in a Tower Mode battle, players will be able to equip special consumable items they can use during battle. They are on a refresh timer and include classic attacks, special moves and even helper characters to come in for an extra attack. For example, players can use Cyrax’s laser net as a konsumable attack.

Thus far, Mortal Kombat 11 looks like it will be another satisfying installment for the franchise. It appears there’s definitely some elements that will make this game a bit more accessible for casual players or players who are wanting to get better at Mortal Kombat, but it will still cater to the hardcore players as well.

Warner Bros. Interactive and NetherRealm rolling out the game in this fashion is very refreshing. Essentially, they announced the game, offered a comprehensive look at the gameplay just over a month later. And three months from now, the game will be out on the shelves. CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077 looks like a fantastic game, but there’s no guarantee at all it will even be out in 2019. The game was first announced by CDPR in 2013. That was six years ago.

The good news is that the game will arrive soon. Mortal Kombat 11 hits the shelves on April 23 for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. It’s currently available for pre-order at the official website.