So, if you’re like me, you weren’t too thrilled with Mortal Kombat 11. The gameplay was pretty decent, but literally everything else was just, ugh. The story was the worst I’ve ever seen, and marked a new low in the franchise. When ever time travel is introduced in any game it usually means that the writers have run out of ideas. So what can NetherRealm Studios do to bring their original fan back? Well, first we have to look at what MK11 did wrong.
Over Focus Of Competitive Play
The future of fighting games as a genre is Esports. There’s no doubt about that, but when you take the core of your game away, there’s where you start losing long time fans. The developers decided to focus on huge tournaments, and balancing online multiplayer fighting when the rest of the features we all grew up with and loved disappeared. I mean one of the biggest features of the franchise was it’s arcade mode. You had these insane towers that had a sense of purpose to climb and beat. These towers had challenges, and tests that pitted you against other threats besides other combatants. It made it endlessly enjoyable.
The main problem with focusing so hard on making the game competitive is that the older players who can’t train 4-6 hours a day get absolute destroyed online, making it practically unplayable. It sucks, but that’s just how the game works. Hopefully they’ve noticed the error of this, and will look to correct it in future installments.
The Story Mode…
Oh boy. Where to begin. So, as I previously stated, when you introduce time travel in a story you’ve run out of ideas. With a franchise such as this, there are a million storylines to touch on WITHOUT resetting the entire universe. The best part of Mortal Kombat is nobody stays dead. Bringing back younger versions of the character is a cheap way out, especially since we got to look at the characters we grew up on in their older age during the events of Mortal Kombat X. Seeing my favorite character, Kung Lao, with his grey beard was such an awesome thing to see since I’ve been playing him from his introduction in the franchise.
Now, Mortal Kombat X isn’t the best story either, but at least it felt like a true Mortal Kombat experience. Like, you really chose to have Cassie Cage kill Shinnok? Shinnok…the elder god. Killed by Cassie Cage. Mkay. I’m glad they added a refreshing cast if characters, but the way they forced them into the story and had them squaring up with some of the biggest bads of the MK universe was such a turn off. If they gave them a few games to build up a reputation for themselves I would understand that, but right out of the gate? Nah, I’m good.
One of the center pieces of a Mortal Kombat game is its atmosphere. I like to describe it as Eastern Gothic. It has tradition Asian architecture, only it’s always dark, stormy, or in some horrifying place. Mortal Kombat 11 decided to toss that all away and go with a lighter tone for reasons we’ll never know. I mean, just look at the comparison between MKX and MK11. It’s a literal night and day difference.
What Needs To Change?
Look, I’m not here to dog on the franchise. I love Mortal Kombat, but them trying to reach a new audience has greatly hurt their reputation. I’ve compiled a small list of thing that NetherRealm needs to consider when developing the next entry in the franchise.
- Revamp arcade mode. Give us more towers with different randomized bosses at the top. There are so many great ones from the history of MK that are just being wasted.
- Get rid of the create your own outfit. No one liked it in Injustice 2 and no one likes it now. Just give us a half dozen, sweet costumes for each character.
- Stop doing cross over characters. Use those resources to give the next game ACTUAL Mortal Kombat characters instead of…do I dare say? Robocop. You put Robocop in MK11 and not Havik, Quan Chi, or even Smoke? That was actually dirty.
- Give us a co-op mode. Now, I’m not saying give us Shoalin Monks (wink*Remake*wink), but give us the tag team feature like in MK9. It was so much fun having a friend stay the night as we take on endless towers together. That’s been a feature that’s long over due.
- Bring back mini games. In the older MK games there was literally a chess mini game, and a Mario Kart clone. MARIO KART WITH MK CHARACTERS. Who’s idea was it to remove that? You should be ashamed of yourself.
- Give us a story worth playing. No time travel gimmicks. Go ahead and reset the time line since we’re already here, and let’s move forward with good story telling. Where’s Onaga and Blaze? Bring them back. They were truly worthy foes.
- Just be true to the franchise. Remember what made things work in the past. There’s a reason why we still talk about MK Deadly Alliance, and MK Armageddon. These were masterpieces. The developers need to take some time and replay these greats. Relearn from them, and apply it with the modern technology available for the PlayStation 5.
I’ll be the first to say it. I’m a Mortal Kombat fan, and always will be. I just want the games to capture the same experience that it once did. Give me dark, give me bloody, give me a reason to turn on the game and look forward to smashing someone’s face in. Hopefully with the new movie coming out NetherRealm Studios will see once again what works. Until then, we can always enjoy the older games.