Last year, NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released the eleventh major installment in their popular Mortal Kombat fighting game series. Since then, Mortal Kombat 11 has received numerous content updates in the form of additional fighters, the return of stage fatalities and friendships, and the Aftermath story expansion which I reviewed back in May. With last month’s release of both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate now serves as the best way to experience the blood-soaked fighting game in all its glory on next-gen hardware.
MK 11 Ultimate Edition can be best described as an enhanced version of the original experience complete with all 37 fighters, story content, and game modes. 4K dynamic resolution, faster loading times, and cross-platform as well as cross-gen compatibility have also been implemented to take full advantage of the latest hardware. One of the best moves that NetherRealm and Warner Bros. made was to offer this edition as a free upgrade for fans who picked up last year’s game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If for some reason you never played MK11 and held off to wait for a game of the year edition, then this truly is without a doubt the most comprehensive version worth buying right now.
The Full Story
The centerpiece of the entire MK11 storyline revolves around a trip through alternative timelines to stop the new main antagonist Kronika from rebooting history. The second half titled Aftermath builds upon this dynamic by bringing back Shang Tsung and allowing him to form a temporary alliance with Raiden and Liu Kang to end Kronika’s reign and help forge a new history. As expected, the action-packed narrative is an absolute blast to play through, and the overall presentation remains beautifully intact from cinematic cutscenes to gameplay fighting sequences.
One criticism worth pointing out here is that if you played MK11 and Aftermath on PS4, then the story progress doesn’t carry over to the PS5 version. All of your Krypt progression, character variations, and earned rewards do carry over but the same can’t be said for your trophies either meaning you’ll have to play the game in full all over again if you want the platinum. It would be ideal if there is a patch update in the future similar to what Insomniac did to carry over trophies for Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, but unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be a plan right now.
One aspect that I wasn’t particularly fond of with last year’s game was the sometimes lengthy load times between matches. This issue is pretty much non-existent now thanks to the faster SSDs on both consoles. Regardless of if you’re playing through the meaty single-player campaign or Towers of Time and Krypt modes, everything loads fairly quickly and gives you more time to fully immerse yourself in the MK lore and universe.
Enhanced Visuals and DualSense Support
When it comes to visuals, MK 11 was already stunning to look at last year on base PS4 and Xbox One consoles. While this version of the game does claim to make full use of 4K resolution and enhanced visuals, I personally didn’t notice a difference because of how impressed I was the first time around. If you did manage to pick up a new 4K TV with HDR support recently, then you’ll obviously notice a lot more refined details here and there but at least for me, there weren’t any significant graphical differences between this version and last year’s game.
When it comes to gameplay, the experience is pretty much the same with the one key difference being that the PS5 version of Ultimate Edition does have DualSense compatibility. Thanks to the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, you’re able to feel the brunt of every attack that your opponent unleashes on you. This certainly does the job of pulling you deeper into each fight, but I also must admit that I feel NetherRealm is fully capable of taking this feature even further if given the chance. After seeing how the DualSense was used in Astro’s Playroom, I’m definitely expecting developers to find new ways to push the limits of the controller in future titles and hopefully, the next Mortal Kombat and Injustice games will do that and more.
The Komplete Package
MK 11 Ultimate Edition offers an insane amount of content for the asking price of $59.99 and as I mentioned above, is entirely free on PS5 and Xbox Series X if you already purchased the base game last year. It’s also worth noting that there might be 3 additional characters coming to the roster since there are currently only 37 fighters. Whether or not these characters will be free is unknown at this time but it would be a shame if they aren’t given that the first Kombat Pack had 6 characters while Kombat Pack 2 had half that. Time will tell but I’ll be very surprised if we don’t hear anything on this soon.
As an overall package, MK11 Ultimate achieves the goal of being the definitive MK11 experience. If you are looking for a great fighting game and you’re a fan of the franchise, then you definitely should check this game out as soon as possible.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate for the PlayStation 5 provided by NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.