Mortal Kombat 11 closed beta first impressions – bloody good fight

With 25 slots in its launch roster, Mortal Kombat 11 sees the return of fan favourites such as Scorpion and Sub-Zero, as well as some of those characters previously killed off – Baraka being one of them. Each fighter has their own nuance and style but switching between them won’t require a complete change in mindset. That said, with time manipulation being a theme throughout this sequel, newcomer Geras has the power to add or subtract from the countdown clock and although she hasn’t been confirmed as playable, it’s likely that big bad Kronika will have similarly inventive powers at her disposal.

One mechanic that’s been reworked for the sequel is the super meter. In Mortal Kombat 11 this has been split into two bars, one being used to strengthen special attacks while the other allows for defensive manoeuvres, both recharging independently. Having two meters sounds needlessly complicated but it’s a clever change fans will come to appreciate, as is the removal of X-ray attacks. Maxing out your super gauge in recent NetherRealm games has triggered visceral, cinematic onslaughts which may look cool but quickly lost their novelty while being shunned by pro scene players.

Instead, Mortal Kombat 11 has a new ‘Fatal Blow’ mechanic. When at low health this insanely powerful move can be used to help level the playing field if you’re getting completely crushed by your opponent. Even when a fight is fairly even, reaching a climax where both fighters have their Fatal Blow unlocked makes for some truly nail-baiting finales.

There are still some features, characters, and game modes yet to be fully revealed but from what’s been shown already, this is quite the comprehensive package. NetherRealm has tweaked and added to the existing formula just enough to keep things feeling fresh, but in a way that feels like a genuine refinement instead of introducing change just for the sake of it. With a bonkers time-hopping storyline to boot, Mortal Kombat 11 is shaping up to be the go-to fighting game of 2019.

Formats: PlayStation 4 (previewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC
Publisher: WB Games
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Release Date: 23rd April 2019

By Jim Hargreaves

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