Mortal Kombat 11 is a fighting game developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Running on a heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 3, it is the eleventh main installment in the Mortal Kombat series and a sequel to 2015's Mortal Kombat X. Announced at The Game Awards 2018, the game was released in North America and Europe on April 23, 2019 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One — with the exception of Europe's Switch version which was released on May 10, 2019. The game was released on the Google Stadia on November 19, 2019. Upon release, the console versions of Mortal Kombat 11 received generally favorable reviews, which praised the gameplay, story, graphics, and improved netcode, but it received criticism for the presence of microtransactions, and over-reliance on grinding. An updated version of the game was announced on May 6, 2020 entitled Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath. This version includes a story mode expansion, three new characters, new stages, and the return of stage fatalities and the friendship finishing move. The digital version of Aftermath was released for download on May 26, 2020. Gameplay Like the previous three games in the series, including MK Mobile, Mortal Kombat 11 is a 2.5D fighting game. Alongside the returning Fatalities, Brutalities, Stage Fatalities, Friendships and Quitalities, new gameplay features are introduced, such as Fatal Blows and Krushing Blows. Fatal Blows are special moves similar to the X-ray moves in Mortal Kombat X. Like X-ray moves, Fatal Blows deal a large amount of damage, but unlike them, they only become available when a player's health drops below 30%, and can only be performed once per match. Krushing Blows are a special cinematic variation of a given special move, triggered when certain requirements are met, like most Brutalities in the previous game. Also new to the series is a Flawless Block mechanic, which allows for a comeback window after blocking an attack with precise timing. Another returning finisher is Mercy, last seen in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, where the winning player can opt to revive their opponent, giving them a small amount of life. Mortal Kombat 11 introduces a Custom Variation feature which offers a character customization system similar to the Gear system in NetherRealm Studios' previous DC Comics fighting game Injustice 2, improving over the Variation system featured in Mortal Kombat X. Each character has an initial set of outfits, weapons and moves, which can be further customized by the player. However, unlike Injustice 2, in Mortal Kombat 11 the characters' appearance does not determine their abilities, allowing the players to create custom move lists independently of their character's appearance. Plot Following Shinnok's defeat, Dark Raiden plans to protect Earthrealm by destroying all of its enemies and making an example of Shinnok; decapitating him. This latter act inspires Kronika, Shinnok's mother and the keeper of time, to rewrite history in order to erase Raiden's interference. Two years later, a Special Forces strike team led by Sonya Blade, Cassie Cage, and Jacqui Briggs attack the Netherrealm, with Raiden providing a diversion to aid them. The team succeeds in destroying the Netherrealm castle, though at the cost of Sonya's life. Kronika creates an alliance with revenants Liu Kang and Kitana, now rulers of the Netherrealm, immediately afterwards. Meanwhile, Kotal Kahn, the current emperor of Outworld, attempts to execute Shao Kahn loyalist Kollector, but is interrupted by a time storm that brings Shao Kahn, Skarlet, Baraka, and younger versions of Kano, Erron Black, Jade, Raiden, Kitana, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Jax, Scorpion, Kabal, and Kung Lao from an alternate timeline and erases Dark Raiden from existence. A battle erupts in Kotal's Koliseum until D'Vorah transports Baraka, Skarlet, Shao Kahn, Black, and Kano to her hive; recruiting them into Kronika's fold. Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Raiden appear at the Earthrealm's Special Forces HQ after forging an alliance with Kotal Kahn while Jade and Kitana aid Kotal in protecting Outworld from Kronika's forces. Liu Kang and Kung Lao investigate the Wu Shi Academy and encounter Kronika's henchman, Geras. Their subsequent battle ends with Geras using his chronokinetic powers to escape with powerful energy capsules containing Earthrealm's life force. The Special Forces learn that Sektor, backed by Noob Saibot and a cyberized Frost, is building a cyborg army for Kronika. Sub-Zero and Hanzo Hasashi are sent to the factory to stop them. With Cyrax's aid, they shut down the Cyber Lin Kuei; forcing Geras and both versions of Kano to revive Sektor and rebuild the cyber army themselves. Raiden tries to consult with the Elder Gods. They refuse to help, but Cetrion gives him a clue to defeat Kronika. During a later attempt, Raiden discovers the Elder Gods were killed, and that Cetrion betrayed them to serve her mother, Kronika. Kotal and Jade go to a Tarkatan camp in order to turn them away from Shao Kahn, but Kotal's hatred towards the Tarkatans causes Jade to battle him before Shao Khan appears and captures them. The Special Forces base is destroyed by the Black Dragon and the Cyber Lin Kuei, with the young Johnny and Sonya captured in the process, the elder Johnny wounded, and Sektor killed. Due to the destruction of Sub-Zero's Lin Kuei Temple, Wu Shi Academy's Sky Temple, and the Special Forces base, the Shirai-Ryu's Fire Garden is the only safe haven left to Earthrealm's heroes. Cassie leads a strike team to save her parents, where Sonya kills the younger version of Kano to erase his present self from existence. Meanwhile, Kitana, Liu Kang, and Kung Lao battle Baraka in order to secure an alliance between him and Sheeva. With their aid, Kitana successfully defeats and blinds Shao Kahn, uniting the Outworld factions and inheriting the throne from Kotal. Raiden sends Jax and Jacqui to get the Crown of Souls from Shang Tsung's now-abandoned island, but the pair are thwarted by Cetrion and present-day Jax, who had been deceived by Kronika. Hasashi is tasked with getting Kharon, the ferryman of Netherrealm's souls, to join their side so they can travel to Kronika's fortress. Hasashi fights his younger self and persuades him to join his side, only to be mortally wounded by D'Vorah. Scorpion drives her away and returns to the Fire Garden to honor Hasashi's dying wish. However, an enraged Raiden attacks him on sight, resorting to using Shinnok's amulet. Liu Kang intervenes, causing Raiden to see that they have fought in multiple timelines, and realize Kronika orchestrated them all because their combined strength is the only thing that can stop her. Anticipating this, Kronika kidnaps Liu Kang to weaken the heroes. With Kharon recruited, a joint Earthrealm/Outworld army assaults Kronika's keep. Geras is dropped in the bottomless Sea of Blood; Frost is shut down, disabling the Cyber Lin-Kuei; and the older Jax defects to the heroes' side. Once he has absorbed his past self's soul, Kronika sends revenant Liu Kang to attack Raiden. After defeating him, Raiden merges with him and past Liu Kang to become Fire God Liu Kang; acquiring the memories and knowledge of Kronika's plan from his revenant self in the process. The heroes breach the Keep, only for Kronika to turn back time to its beginning. Fire God Liu Kang however proves immune due to his god-like status, and subsequently defeats the remaining revenants and Cetrion before battling Kronika. Depending on the outcome of the battle, the story ends in three different ways: 1. Non-canonically, if Liu Kang is defeated by Kronika, she kills him and announces the beginning of the New Era. 2. If Liu Kang successfully defeats Kronika but loses one round to her, he is unable to bring Kitana back due to Kronika reverting history too far. Instead, a now-mortal Raiden offers to become Liu Kang's advisor for as long as his lifetime lasts. This is the canon ending that sets the stage for the expansion Aftermath. 3. If Liu Kang successfully defeats Kronika in two straight rounds without losing once, he manages to reunite with Kitana, and both vow to create a new and better timeline while undoing Kronika's mistakes. Though they realize that mortals will still make their own choices and new evils will eventually arise, they resolve to face whatever happens together. Aftermath Following Kronika's defeat, Fire God Liu Kang and Raiden attempt to utilize the Hourglass to restore history, when they are interrupted by Shang Tsung, Fujin, and Nightwolf; all of whom Kronika imprisoned in the Void for refusing to join her until her death freed them. Shang Tsung elaborates that, due to Liu Kang destroying the Crown of Souls when he defeated Kronika, the Hourglass cannot be used to change history without destroying it. He convinces Liu Kang to send him, Fujin, and Nightwolf back in time to steal the Crown of Souls before Cetrion recovers it. Though Raiden is distrustful of Shang Tsung's motives, Liu Kang agrees and sends them back, staying behind to protect the Hourglass. Fujin, Shang Tsung, and Nightwolf are transported to the Koliseum just as Kitana confronted Shao Kahn. They attempt to flee undetected, but news spreads of their arrival, prompting Kronika to retaliate. To face Cetrion on his island, Shang Tsung determines their best option is to resurrect Sindel, so they head to the Netherrealm and capture her revenant. Returning to Outworld, Shang Tsung uses Sheeva's blood debt to Sindel to grant him access to the Soul Chamber and restore Sindel despite fierce resistance from Kitana and her allies. Sindel joins Shang Tsung and the others in traveling to his island, where Fujin defeats Kronika's forces and convinces present-day Jax to change sides early while Sindel defeats Cetrion and helps the group capture the Crown. With the Crown in their possession, Fujin and Shang Tsung travel to the Fire Garden and convince Raiden of Shang Tsung's alliance. When Kronika attempts to intervene, Raiden, Fujin, and Shang Tsung fend her off, though she reveals the sorcerer was the one who designed the Crown. As the offensive on Kronika's keep is about to commence, Shang Tsung signals Sindel to release and heal Shao Kahn. Together, they destroy Geras, imprison the Cage family, defeat Kitana, Liu Kang, and Jade, throw Kung Lao into the Sea of Blood, and kill Kotal. In the process, Sindel reveals she killed her previous husband Jerrod as she saw him as weak compared to Shao Kahn. While Fujin spearheads the offensive on Kronika's keep, Raiden discovers Shang Tsung's plot and Sindel's betrayal while fighting Liu Kang's revenant after he receives injuries from his past self. Raiden arrives too late to stop Shang Tsung from tricking Fujin into giving him the Crown, and the sorcerer gains Kronika's full power; revealing he had planned everything ever since he was imprisoned in the Void. He overpowers and drains Raiden and Fujin's souls before using Sindel and Shao Kahn to reach the Hourglass. Once Kronika's remaining allies are defeated, Shang Tsung drains Sindel and Shao Kahn's souls and absorbs Kronika. As he starts manipulating the Hourglass, he is interrupted by Fire God Liu Kang, who reveals he was always aware of Shang Tsung's intentions and deliberately allowed him to win so the Crown of Souls would be preserved when Kronika was defeated. From this point, the player can choose which character to fight with: 1. If Shang Tsung is chosen, he overpowers Liu Kang and absorbs his soul before turning Fujin and Raiden into his slaves as he ushers in a campaign of conquest across the realms. 2. If Liu Kang is chosen, he defeats Shang Tsung, erases him from existence, and recovers the Crown of Souls. Once he forges his New Era, he visits the Shaolin temple so he can train Kung Lao's ancestor, the Great Kung Lao, to become his champion in Mortal Kombat. Characters The game's roster consists of 34 playable characters with 25 base characters (2 of which are unlockable) and 9 DLC characters (4 of which are guest characters). The characters in bold are new to the series, while the ones in italics are guest characters. Along with series veterans including Baraka, Raiden, Scorpion, Sonya Blade and Sub-Zero, and others such as Skarlet, who returns from the 2011 reboot, four new fighters were introduced, three of whom are playable. Firstly, Kronika serves as the series's first-ever female boss character, who has powers over the flow of time, and had been supervising the events of the timelines since the very beginning of the events in the Mortal Kombat franchise. She is not among the game's playable characters. Playable fighters include Geras, a construct of Kronika, who, like her, has powers that allow him to control the flow of time, and produce sand-based attacks; Cetrion, an Elder Goddess with control over elemental forces, who is Shinnok's sister and Kronika's daughter; and Kollector, the six-armed Naknadan who serves as a tribute collector to the Outworld empire. Development Mortal Kombat 11 was developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the two parties also involved with the game's predecessor, Mortal Kombat X. The game was announced by series co-creator Ed Boon in December 2018, at The Game Awards 2018, with a trailer showcasing Dark Raiden and Scorpion fighting against each other. At the end of the announcement trailer it was announced that pre-order buyers would have Shao Kahn available as a playable character. The trailer featured "Immortal", an original song by artist 21 Savage, which was met with negative reception from fans of the series. While some critics thought that 21 Savage's distinct musical style well underlined the trailer's violence, most felt that the song's tone did not fit the trailer's theme, spawning a series of videos replacing it. On January 17, 2019, a community reveal event was held simultaneously in Los Angeles and London. The reveal event featured, among many others, a filmed interview with Ronda Rousey, the voice actress for Sonya Blade. On March 22, 2019, about a month before the game's release, it was announced at C2E2 that actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa would reprise his role as Shang Tsung from the 1995 film and the second season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy, while coinciding the announcement of the character as downloadable content. A public stress test of the game's online mode took place between March 15 and 17. Also, a closed beta was available between March 27 and April 1, 2019, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One pre-order buyers. During the 2019 Brasil Game Show, Ed Boon announced that the story mode of Mortal Kombat 11 served as a conclusion to the saga that started since the first Mortal Kombat title and the storyline that was established in the 2011 reboot. As with Injustice 2, the game features a Wi-Fi filter. Release The game was released on April 23, 2019, across Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a Stadia port releasing later in the year on November 19, 2019. With the Nintendo Switch release, this marks Mortal Kombat 11 to be the first game in the series to be released on a Nintendo console since Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for the Wii in 2007. Downloadable content At C2E2 on March 22, 2019, Shang Tsung was announced as the first downloadable character, who was returning from the 2011 reboot. The character featured the voice and likeness of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who portrayed him in the 1995 Mortal Kombat film. On May 31, 2019, five additional fighters were announced to be released under the first Kombat Pack with Shang Tsung. Three of the confirmed characters were Nightwolf and Sindel, both returning from the 2011 Mortal Kombat game, and Spawn from Image Comics by Todd McFarlane, making his promised debut in the series as a guest character and featuring Keith David reprising the role as the titular character from the HBO animated series, Todd McFarlane's Spawn. In February 2015, McFarlane granted Netherrealm a limited window of permission to use Spawn as a guest character for their titles. However, on April 2015, Ed Boon revealed that Spawn had been discussed as a potential guest character early in development, but that he did not know McFarlane had made the offer until after the release of Mortal Kombat X. Leading up to a Reddit AMA in December 2018 where McFarlane hinted that Spawn will indeed be in Mortal Kombat 11. During San Diego Comic-Con 2019, McFarlane expresses enthusiasm on Spawn's inclusion on his behalf that gave the developers at NetherRealm Studios creative freedom on how Spawn is being portrayed in the game. Keith David described his excitement on returning to voice Spawn as it "Feels like home". The gameplay trailer featuring Spawn was released on March 8th 2020, during the "Final Kombat" tournament, where David attended the event as a guest alongside the debut of the Red-Band trailer for the animated film, Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge. On August 1, 2019, a humorous teaser that poked fun on the whereabouts on the entirety of the Kombat Pack was uploaded moments after the Nightwolf trailer, confirming the trailer's release date on August 21, 2019. The remaining two guest characters were revealed on the day of the trailer's release. These were the T-800 model from the Terminator franchise and the Joker from DC Comics, marking his return to the series since Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe after being a playable character in the Injustice series, with voice actor Richard Epcar reprising the role from both. As a tie-in release to Terminator: Dark Fate, the Terminator's facial likeness and capture were provided by Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the character voiced by Chris Cox, who was appointed by Schwarzenegger himself. In a December 2015 interview, Ed Boon revealed that like Spawn, the Terminator had been considered as a guest character for Mortal Kombat X. The reveal for the Joker's design was met with negative reception, generating a wave of online fans comparing it to a poor cosplay. A teaser trailer later debuted on December 12, 2019 revealed that the Joker had a redesign due to the initial backlash back in August. The redesign for the Joker was later well-received, citing improvement on his facial features as opposed to the initial reveal. Ed Boon initially described the presence of the Joker as "Vicious", in contrast to his previous appearances that were toned down in both Injustice games and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe in order to secure the T rating. Another teaser was uploaded on New Year's Day 2020, featuring the character's trademark graffiti and smiling on the walls of Arkham Asylum during fireworks, followed by laughter. Two weeks later, Boon later posted a gameplay image of the Joker covered in blood through his Twitter account, promising a taste of things to come for the character's inclusion. The gameplay trailer was officially released two days later on January 16th, 2020, showcasing the Joker's new moveset and gruesome Fatality. Like Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11 received skin packs included in the Kombat Pack, normally consisting of three character skins per pack bring up a total of eighteen skins all together. A small number of single skins were released for free such as a Harley Quinn-inspired skin for Cassie Cage and a Dimitri Vegas skin for Sub-Zero, featuring Vegas himself providing the voice for the skin as Sub-Zero. During the Summer of 2019, two Klassic skin packs were released in a period of two months, consisting of a Klassic Ninja skin pack in June and a Klassic Arcade Fighter skin pack in August 2019. In October 2019, a Double Feature skin pack was released while a Halloween skin pack was released for free. In November 2019, a Gothic horror skin pack was released. In January 2020, an Elseworlds-themed skin pack was announced to be released with the Joker alongside a Darkseid skin for Geras. In March 2020, a Matinee skin pack was released with Spawn including a "Hellspawn" themed skin for Jacqui Briggs. On May 5 2020, a new story mode DLC was teased, to be officially announced the following day. This DLC was revealed to be titled Aftermath and together with new story mode content, it consists of Fujin, who was last playable in Armageddon; Sheeva, who previously appeared as a non playable character in the game's story mode; and an additional guest character RoboCop, with actor Peter Weller reprising his role for the first time since RoboCop 2. Reception Aggregate score Metacritic: 82/100 (PS4) -- 86/100 (XONE) -- 82/100 (PC) -- 78/100 (NS) Review scores Destructoid: 7/10 GameSpot: 9/10 GamesRadar+: 4/5 stars IGN: 9/10 Jeuxvideo.com: 18/20 PC Gamer (US): 85/100 Metro: 8/10 Push Square: 7/10 stars PC World: 3.5/5 stars Mortal Kombat 11 received "generally favorable" reviews from critics, according to the review aggregator website Metacritic. IGN praised the more slow-paced combat compared to the previous game in the series, as well as the expanded tutorial, story mode and improved netcode. However, it condemned the game's drawn-out progression and customization unlock system, which was described as "frustratingly gimmicky and grindy". Gamespot gave the game a 9, praising the fighting system calling it "accessible, deep and exciting" as well praising the story mode. However, they criticized the "always-online requirement for progression" as well as the randomization of rewards in the Krypt. The Nintendo Switch version of the game was also well-received. Pure Nintendo gave the game a 9, praising the game's story mode, customization mode, and the game's tutorials, though stated that the online features are where the Nintendo Switch version "falls short". Nintendo Life gave the game an 8 out of 10, praising the game on its features, though it was critical on the game's graphics, stating that "it's a performance-first experience that nails 60fps, and boasts every mode and mechanic from other versions, only with a noticeable downgrade in the aesthetics department".
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