Hands-on Preview – Mortal Kombat 11

WTMG was invited by Warner Bros to test Mortal Kombat 11 at an exclusive event in São Paulo, Brazil, on the 31st of January. We had the chance of playing a demo with seven different characters and fight against each other as much as we could, as well as being briefly introduced to the game’s customization tools.

The demo included the following characters: Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Skarlet, Sonya, Raiden, Baraka, and the newcomer Geras. Kano was also announced during the event, but he wasn’t playable. All of them had completely customizable outfits as well as editable prompts for their special moves. We even had the chance of doodling a bit with Sub-Zero’s costume and making a dark green outfit reminiscent of old-school Reptile. While we have no idea how Netherrealm Studios will implement outfit unlocking in the game, be it with or without lootboxes, there’s already a lot to do with colors alone.

The key word to my experience with this brand new Mortal Kombat game is “balance”. Not a single character felt more or less powerful than the other. Everyone had a bucketload of moves, both offensive and defensive, as well as “easy to learn, hard to master” combos. The overall controls felt very similar to Mortal Kombat X, with the addition of being a bit faster this time around.

The introduction of a defensive bar alongside the offensive bar makes sense. Instead of using a (now gone) stamina bar, you just need to use this easy-to-refill bar to perform all types of defensive moves. The offensive bar acts just like in Mortal Kombat X or the Injustice games; press a button right after pulling a special move to boost it up at the cost of part of the bar. The main difference this time is how the game lets players use X-Ray moves. Instead of using the entirety of your special bar, you can only perform an X-Ray if your health is at around less than 25%. The “Fatal Blow”, as the game calls this move this time around, is used as a way to try to win a fight even when things seem bleak for the losing player. The addition of a “perfect block”, a fancy name for parrying, is also another neat little inclusion to make fights even more balanced.

Thanks to this demo, I am now beyond hyped for the komplete version of Mortal Kombat 11. The graphics are fantastic, the amount of violence is deliciously over-the-top, and the new fighting mechanics are excellent. Be it with our without Scooby-Doo‘s Shaggy (listen to your fans, Ed), this is easily a contender for best fighting game of 2019, maybe even of the whole generation, depending on the amount of kontent they put in the day-one disc.