You walk into the bar early and the next thing you know, you’re sparking up a conversation with someone that catches your eye. A few drinks later, maybe even a tequila slammer or two, and things seem to be moving along nicely. Suddenly, a new player enters the scene who not only sweeps all the seductive groundwork from under your feet, they manage to do so by only paying for one god-damn drink!
Fighting games tend to work in a similar way. We pay full price for a limited roster just to play the game early and get ahead of the curve. We then show dedication and loyalty by committing to all the season passes and new costume designs at a premium. Before we know it, not only does a swanky new Super Ultimate Turbo Edition rock up with everything readily available in one package at a discounted price, the whole bloody thing is now patched to high heaven with massive gameplay improvements and balance adjustments.
This pretty much sums up Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate in a nutshell. The bigger, better and complete product of NetherRealm Studios’ vision. Well, there is the additional option to purchase the original 1995 Mortal Kombat movie costumes to provide that extra nostalgic kick, but that’s only ever going to cost little more than a pint of Guinness.
You can read our initial Mortal Kombat 11 review which covers all the base features. However, as a quick rundown for those who have been loitering around the fruit machine patiently waiting until it’s ready to drop, understand that Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate on Nintendo Switch is a very competent port of a fantastic fighting game. There are, of course, visual compromises made to get such a graphically demanding game on the portable console. But while the game still manages to look the part, the actual combat to where it matters most holds up superbly well by running at a silky smooth 60 frames per second.
The excellent mo-cap of the characters makes the combat appear much more fluid than it’s ever been in the series. Which certainly helps soften the blow of the visual downgrade that the Nintendo Switch version required. The way the in-game animations portray the diverse array of 37 fighters in so many interesting ways contribute towards a fight system that could potentially keep a hardened fan invested for years to come. I would even go as far as to say that this port is a perfect companion for the more serious player practising on a commute. Especially during times where all the passengers on board are wearing Sub-Zero face masks.
The content stuffed into Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate’s 32.5 GB download more than makes up for the extra space needed on the old microSD card. Not only do you get a ton of added characters, some of which represent the greats form action cinema of the ’80s, you also get the bonus story mode and a plethora of aesthetics to represent your favourite character and customised fighting styles. Pitting Arnie against Stallone in the ultimate ultra-violent grudge match is something I don’t think has ever been done under a licensing agreement of interactive entertainment. For that reason alone, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is worth every penny.
Considering that the majority of Switch owners play their systems over a wireless connection, I had very little issues during online play. The way basic combos can be dialled in the traditional NetherRealm fashion does seem to help matters, as opposed to meticulously timing inputs within strict frames of animation under a dodgy netcode.
Unfortunately, the biggest network issue that has been present from day one still hangs over the portable version by how the game constantly requires the player to be connected to the internet. It’s more than likely a decision made so players cannot abuse the over-stylized and incredibly tedious gacha system of slowly unlocking treasures in the Krypt. Unless you’re willing to constantly hotspot your phone to your system, not only are you going to miss out on rewards that contribute towards extra fatalities and cosmetics, you’re also going to get kicked out of most of the important single-player game modes.
What could be seen as another possible disappointment for some, is how the PC and Switch version of the game has been shunned out from the recent cross-play addition between Playstation and Xbox users. Bearing in mind that the much lower budget Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid manages to draw all the competition together across the board shows that there is potential for possibility. With that said, I’m far from clever enough to understand the technical barriers to judge, so I’m sure there is a good reason for why it cannot be currently achieved.
Despite the off-putting online requirements for a disingenuous gacha system, the depth, style, robust content and vivid imagination which marks the eleventh chapter of this all-important, albeit controversial, fighting series far outweighs the negatives. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is mechanically, and arguably, one of the best fighting games to come out in the last decade. So, it’s a good job that this rather impressive, and now so much more complete, Nintendo Switch version is spot-on where it counts.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment