Game Reviews

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Review

What more could you ask for?

by Dean James
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate

The release of Mortal Kombat 11 last year came as the third game in the reboot trilogy that mixed past and present with a compelling story and cast of characters. NetherRealm Studios followed this up with not only a number of DLC characters as part of Kombat Pass 1, but the Aftermath story expansion that included a few additional characters. Now a year and a half after the release of the base game comes the mostly all in one collection alongside the release of the new generation of consoles with Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate.

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate comes with almost everything that has released for the game, including Kombat Pack 1, the Aftermath DLC, and the brand new Kombat Pack 2 that just launched alongside this release as well. This also includes a number of the skin packs like the DC Elseworlds Pack and the Matinee Skin Pack, but oddly enough the Masquerade Skin Pack is not included that you will still have to purchase for $5.99 if you really want everything. It just feels weird that this was not included in the package as a way for them to say you get absolutely everything in one, though hopefully this means they are planning on additional DLC in the future as well.

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While you can read more in-depth about our feelings on Mortal Kombat 11 and the Aftermath expansion in those respective reviews, we will still go over some of the basics of the game here as well. Mortal Kombat may never be the most technical fighter of the bunch, but there is just something about the gameplay that makes it a blast to play. The game features a large cast of characters with wide ranging move sets to where every character feels distinctly different, making it actually worth switching between characters if you want to try out the whole roster. There are certainly some very complex input strings you can utilize to dominate the opponent, but the game is also very accessible to where someone that rarely plays can jump right in and still have fun regardless.

One of the core elements of the Mortal Kombat series is that of an interesting story with the familiar cast of characters. Mortal Kombat 11 once again proved that NetherRealm is the best in the business when it comes to having a story mode for a fighting game, which has the full experience included in Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate. The story picks up after the events of Mortal Kombat X, where a younger generation of fighters were introduced to carry on the legacy on top of the still active classic fighters. Cassie and Jacqui play prominent roles in the story yet again, though both Takeda and Kung Jin are no-shows. This is largely because the story ends up meshing the past and present and did not leave as much room to focus on those characters.

The story in Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate begins with Dark Raiden destroying Shinnok, which leads to Shinnok’s mother Kronika, the keeper of time, to rewrite history and cause an entire mess a few years later where the story picks up. This is where the past literally meets present, when the timelines of the two end up being brought together, leading to there being two versions of characters like Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero. This allows for a lot of really cool moments with the characters, whether it’s the funny scenes with the younger and much more egotistical Johnny Cage or some serious ones with characters like Scorpion. Without spoiling, there are some really neat moments late in the game that are some of the best in the series involving characters like Liu Kang and Raiden.

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There were three possible endings to the base game of Mortal Kombat 11, with the Aftermath expansion essentially making one of the three the canon ending. This expansion introduced fan favorites like Shang Tsung and Nightwolf into the mix, which were released as DLC prior, while also mixing in Fujin and Sheeva, who were new DLC at the time. As the first story expansion for the series, Aftermath was a lot of fun to play through that also helped to potentially make the future of the series a little more clear.

Beyond the story mode, you still have plenty of content to enjoy in Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate. The Towers have really become a major part of NetherRealm’s games in recent years for better or worse. The basic Klassic Towers are just simple Arcade ladders that you can play through just like in most fighting games. The Towers of Time though are where the game can get a little tricky, as that is where the grind can really come into play.

Mortal Kombat 11 introduced a gear-based Custom Variation system like that in Injustice 2, where you have to collect various gear to equip to your different characters. This also includes skins, intros, abilities, and more, which really help you to customize your favorite character in the way you would like. The only real downside here though is the grind to actually get them through the Towers of Time.

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The Towers of Time are live towers that rotate based on different cycles that you can participate in to try and unlock gear. These can be a lot of fun, but some of them can be absolutely insane with the modifiers introduced at times. Some gear can also be purchased with the Time Crystals that you can either earn in-game or purchase with real money as well. The game does make it to where you will never have to spend money if you don’t want to, though just know it can be a long process otherwise.

Mortal Kombat 11’s Krypt is also back just as it was before in this release. This version of the Krypt from Mortal Kombat 11 is better than ever before and adds a level of exploration and puzzle elements to the game in some unique ways. There are plenty of unlocks to find here as well, which you will also probably have to really work for.

Besides the previous content, one of the big selling points of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is the inclusion of three new DLC characters within Kombat Pack 2, which you can still download separately. These three characters are two much requested series veterans with Mileena and Rain, along with the very unexpected Rambo. Each of these characters play very differently from one another, with all three being really enjoyable to use. There were a lot of people that weren’t exactly that excited about the announcement of Rambo when others like Reptile still hasn’t been added. However, Rambo actually was my favorite of the new trio to use for his versatile and unique move set.

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While Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is releasing across both generations, this review was specifically on the PlayStation 5. Therefore, the enhancements found on new generation consoles are very much worth discussing, even though this version is available as a free upgrade for those even with the base game on last generation consoles. The visual enhancements and addition of 4K dynamic resolution helps the game to look even better, but the biggest improvement are the load times. Even though the last generation load times weren’t terrible, you can pick a character and be loaded into a fight within five seconds in this one. This is really becoming one of the selling points for these new generation consoles and having that speed between matches in a fighting game is incredibly helpful.

Mortal Kombat 11 was already a spectacular game all on its own that has only gotten better with the post-launch content that has mostly been collected in Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate. Between all of the prior content and now the addition of the very well designed Rain, Mileena, and Rambo, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is definitely the version to buy for those that have been waiting to dive into NetherRealm’s latest bloody outing.

The Verdict

Filled with an abundance of content across the two Kombat Packs and Aftermath expansion on top of the base game itself, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is the best way to experience what was already arguably the finest that the long running series has ever had to offer.

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Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate

  • Available On: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Published By: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Developed By: NetherRealm Studios
  • Genre: Fighting
  • US Release Date: November 17, 2020
  • Reviewed On: PS5
  • Quote: "Filled with an abundance of content across the two Kombat Packs and Aftermath expansion on top of the base game itself, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is the best way to experience what was already arguably the finest that the long running series has to offer."
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