Mortal Kombat 11 Turns the Gore and Brutality Right Up To... Well, 11 – Preview

Mortal Kombat 11 Turns the Gore and Brutality Right Up To... Well, 11 – Preview

Richard Walker

Mortal Kombat has always been pretty intense, its brutal bloodbath refusing to rein itself in, each instalment striving to top the absurd violence of what's come before, and then some. Mortal Kombat 11 is appropriately named, and not just because it's the eleventh mainline entry in the series. It turns everything right up to 11, proudly dubbing itself the “bloodiest” MK yet. So, yeah, it's bloody, gory and brutal, which is par for the course when it comes to Mortal Kombat. But what's new?

Quite a lot, as it happens. There's a new 'Custom Character Variation System' – that's character customisation to you and I – enabling you to make distinctive versions of any character you choose using a variety of different skins and gear, as well as their special abilities, character intro and victory cinematics, taunts and Brutalities. These bits can all be earned through gameplay, so it sounds like there won't be any loot boxes to worry about.

Mortal Kombat X's character variations also return, so the number of options for each of the game's kombatants (there'll be 24 in total, if the character select screen is any kind of an indication) is dizzying. Then there's the next chapter in the ongoing Mortal Kombat saga, delivered in the new 'cinematic' Story Mode, with the series' first female boss character, the time-bending Kronika who apparently created existence. She's powerful, but we're assuming she can be defeated with a bunch of kicks, punches and perhaps a severed spinal column or something.

It's only when you pick up and play Mortal Kombat 11 that you realise NetherRealm really means business. This far and away feels like the weightiest, most visceral MK we've played to date, not that MK X was any slouch in that regard. Every bone-crunching strike in Mortal Kombat 11 packs real impact, but it's the x-ray counter attack stings, and new Fatal Blow sequences that will truly make your eyes water. Then there's the Fatalities. Oh, the wince-inducing, stomach-churning Fatalities.

Just when you thought NetherRealm couldn't possibly raise the bloody bar when it comes to Mortal Kombat's teeth-gritting finishers, the developer only goes ahead and pole vaults over it. Fatal Blows are shockingly violent, but MK 11's Fatalities include glorious atrocities like faces being ripped off, hearts being exploded from the inside out, limbs being wrenched off, spines being torn out, and good, old-fashioned decapitation. In a helicopter's rotor blades. Fairly standard stuff, right? On paper, sure, but when you watch the whole thing unfolding, it's a disgusting ballet of broken bones, offal and arterial splatter.

While the series has never skimped on this unique brand of nasty mutilation and body horror, modern Mortal Kombat games have also never shortchanged players when it comes to content. As well as the staple Story Mode, towers return under the guise of the 'Towers of Time', alongside the usual glut of other modes and multiplayer, offering new challenges and rewards. Mortal Kombat 11 not only looks set to be another comprehensive fighting game then, but a mechanically accomplished and very gratifying one too.

With only seven characters unveiled thus far – Baraka, Raiden, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, Skarlet, and newcomer Geras, servant to boss lady Kronika – it's relatively early days for Mortal Kombat 11, despite the game being out this April. But on the strength of what we've played, NetherRealm seems to have pulled out all of the stops on this one. As a beautifully vile celebration of ultra-violence – one with incredibly robust fighting mechanics and massive scope for customisation – Mortal Kombat 11 might just be one of the most exciting fighting games we've played in a while.

Mortal Kombat 11 launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC on 23rd April.

  • day 1 for sure!
  • Kool and all, but I will wait for Komplete edition just like last time.
  • Same as @2. Love MK to death (and this looks fantastic) but I'll wait a year or so and get all the content (kontent?) for a fraction of the price
  • I want the kollector's edition with that awesome Scorpion head!!
  • I'll wait for Komplete edition as well but I know I'll probably be locked out of Shao Khan's eventual character trophy since he's pre-order only. Happened last time with Darkseid in Injustice 2.
  • @5 A trophy locked out because of preorder only? i dont think so buddy.
  • @5 Darkseid was sold separately for like $5. If you can afford the game itself and not that, you shouldn't be wasting your little funds on a game at all.
  • Cannot wait to beat up Sonya Blade/Ronda Rousey.
  • Day One for me as well. I can never wait for the complete edition of games so I buy the standard version at launch then wait for a good sale on any DLC I might want.
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