RETURN TO THE TOURNAMENT

I recently received Mortal Kombat 11 for my birthday and I wanted to share my thoughts. There will be some spoilers but then again, the game has been out for a year. Some of this post will cover some of the other games, but it will all tie together. That said …  

I loved the soft reboot MK 9 (2011) and I still do to this day. It was a welcome return to what made the series great and the new story feature was easily the best part of the game for me followed closely by the switch to 2.5 D graphics/gameplay.

The first thing that you noticed in story mode was the inclusion of characters that did not exist in the original MK 1,2, and 3 such as Cyrax, Sektor, and Quan Chi. The presence of these characters in the updated narrative allowed for a more detailed and cinematic story. We were able to see Cyrax’s apprehension to the cyber initiative and the beginning of Kitana’s inner conflict.    

When it comes to the appearance for the characters, I felt it was a mixed bag. Let’s begin with the proverbial elephant in the room…. the women with above average measurements. I’m a warm-blooded male, but I’m also a Christian so I look at it as a two-sided coin. I have no problem with women having a large bust in video games, but I felt that some of the characters could have dressed a little more modestly without losing their sex appeal. I’ll come back to this later, but for MK 11 in an attempt to win over SJW’s they went too far in the opposite direction and made some characters unattractive as can be. Some characters benefitted from an updated appearance such as Cyber Sub-Zero and even though he reverted back to human form later I still appreciate this phase for his character.            

It was also refreshing to have the opportunity to play as all the characters that were considered protagonists. I rejoiced in the fact that I was not stuck with one character for the entire storyline and had the chance to play as each protagonist.

Without a doubt, the best thing about the story mode was the way that events were rewritten. I have been a Johnny Cage fan since the first game, and I was relieved to see that they did not kill him off during the game. I wish they hadn’t killed off so many iconic characters, but they corrected this in future games.

I’ll fess up and admit that I’ve never played Mortal Kombat X all the way through. I wanted to buy it, but I never got around to it. I had an opportunity to play through the first four chapters or so but that was as far as I got. I liked the fact that they made Johnny more mature while still retaining some of his arrogance. It also didn’t hurt that he married Sonya which felt natural in terms of story progression. I’ll probably get a copy sometime soon since I know I can get it at a good price, and with that I move onto MK 11.

Since I missed the bulk of the previous game, I took the time to skim through the story, so I’d have an idea of what was going on in MK 11.  

Starting with the story… I knew that since I hadn’t played all the way through MK X, I would have moments of confusion and fortunately for the most part this was rare in MK 11.

 

The fact that the plot involves shifting timelines and unsuspecting time travelers, the overall narrative is good but occasionally suffers from pacing issues.

 

I liked how the series introduced second generation characters which I would argue helped the series expand in interesting ways. Cassie Cage has Sonya’s looks while she has Johnny’s personality. The interaction between the three made for some memorable scenes. Jacqui’s interactions with both past and present Jax were also well done and the conflicting emotions that present Jax faced added a welcome sense of drama to the game.  

 

The game ends on an intriguing note with Raiden passing the mantle onto Liu Kang, but then we have the inevitable DLC. I get that DLC is a fact of life as a gamer, but I was a bit annoyed when I started story mode it asked which story did I want to play (the main story or the DLC). It’s one thing to add extra characters, stages, moves ect but to split the story in two and make people pay another $60 is frustrating. There is one aspect of Aftermath that will cause me to eventually buy it, and that is Shang Tsung.

 

I don’t normally care about DLC unless it provides further story and they not only did that, but they went and changed everything about Shang Tsung using Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as the model and voice actor. I stared at the screen, stunned by what I saw and knew that they had me. I’ll probably wait till the price comes down, but they have me hooked. This was a brilliant move on WB’s part, and I applaud them for it. I just wish the DLC was more reasonably priced.

 

Another area where I was suitably impressed was the graphics. The shifting sands of time that we see throughout the game, the repulsive army of the NetherRealm, and characters look very much like the real-life counterparts i.e. Stallone and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.

 

While the graphics are amazing, once again I felt the character design in some cases were a mixed bag. Some gamers have voiced their dissent concerning the redesign of the female characters and while I agree with this viewpoint, I believe that in spite of this change not all of it is bad. In addition to the female characters I took note of some of the male characters.  

   

Jade – It could be argued that Jade underwent the most drastic change of any character. In MK 9 she was so busty that she could have given Lara Croft a run for her money. While her boobs were once excessive, I felt that they went overboard in reducing her size. Her outfit on the other hand I thought was well designed given her stealthy nature and more realistic then her outfit in MK 9.

 

Sonya – Sonya also experienced a reduction, but she’s also less attractive than before and young Johnny’s catcalls didn’t make any sense given her looks.    

 

Kitana – Smaller of course and her outfit is similar to what she had in previous games, but there is a major improvement in her looks. I remember when I played MK 9, I was surprised to see that her face wasn’t nearly as beautiful as I had anticipated and wished they had kept Kitana’s mask on throughout the game. She is an absolute knockout in MK 11 (no pun intended) and I hope they don’t change this aspect of her. 

 

Sub-Zero – I vaguely remember Sub-Zero looking like a lumberjack in MK X and thought that it was one of the worst things I had ever seen in MK history, but fortunately this did not last. His appearance in MK 11 was a welcome change although his new look is slightly reminiscent of Solid Snake.   

 

Scorpion / Hanzo – the human form of Hanzo was unremarkable, but the wraith form was truly impressive and practically lifelike.

 

Young Johnny Cage – The face itself wasn’t terrible but the clothes he wore looked like they were from the 80s and seemed out of place. I wish they had stuck to his standard black pants or tuxedo.

 

 

Combat while similar to MK 9 and MK X, I felt it was lacking in some respects. I was disappointed by the lack of Xray attacks and while fatal blows are a descent replacement, I wish they would have kept the energy buildup like Xray instead of “I’m about to die, I’ll use a Hail Mary attack to try and turn the tide”. The way they designed the “fatal blow” felt like a contradiction. You stab, shoot, hit your opponent violently and inflict massive trauma followed by a final attack on the brain but they only lose about a third of their health…  There was also a disappointing lack of special moves for some characters and if I remember correctly Jax has two special moves while others have five.

 

One thing I love about the gameplay are the chapters where you have two characters. The ability to change characters between fights is a brilliant move on WB’s part and I hope this will be seen in the future. 

 

Overall, I really like the game and I look forward to what the future holds for Mortal Kombat. Hopefully they won’t follow in the footstep of other developers and cave to the SJWs in future games.       

Regarding the photo, I searched for a picture of Johnny Cage and a Chris Pratt Johnny Cage was the first image to pop up… I had to use it. 

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