One of the most joyous aspects of our current migration to a new generation of gaming is free next-gen upgrades – basically souping up the backwards compatibility of old to something far more exciting. Being an early adopter of the PlayStation 5, I was ecstatic that I would get a rapid upgrade to Mortal Kombat 11, in the form of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate.
MK11 was absolutely my favourite outing on my PlayStation 4, so MK11U already had some confirmed mileage within it. Ideally, all it had to do was offer at least an identical experience. Anything beyond what made the original good would just be icing – and I’m a big fan of that sugary bullshit.
Comic book sound effect: KA-SHUNK
Let’s get the obvious out of the way – the next-gen upgrade has no discernable downsides. They have not used this platform update as a sneaky way to break or bust any of the features that made MK11 great. In fact, the only sour experience was that the upgrade does register as an entirely new product – so while you will not lose any of your progression, a number of your trophies will need to be unlocked again. However, I have already praised MK11 for having ‘the right kind’ of trophies, so this actually led to me being excited to grab the handful I was missing again. It even encouraged me to jump into online play and collect the small number I was too anxious to get previously. Curiously, this was not an issue with the Xbox version of the game.
Big Gun, Big Muscles, Big Douchebag
What you will notice on your next-gen device is that your load times are now blisteringly fast. It was absurd how quickly I would progress from character selection screen to spilling blood. The announcer had scarcely finished pronouncing my character name before it was calling for me to ROUND 1 – FIGHT! This makes the act of ‘workshopping’ (rapidly playing different characters to get a better feel for combos and counters) an absolute breeze, and enabled me to upgrade my paltry skills from ‘lolworthy’ to ‘yeah kinda alright maybe’.
The next-gen upgrade has provided extra gravy to an already generous feast
In particular it also lends well to smashing out the challenge towers offered by the game – as each of the laddered fights are rapidly served up to you and allow you the freedom to surf your adrenaline wave right to the end boss. My only lament is that nowadays I actually have to physically pause my game to have a sip or water or scratch my nose – my ‘loading break’ itch fixes have gone the way of the dodo. This is the future of gaming; downtime is a foreign concept.
The other prong of the upgrade is absolutely graphical fidelity. MK11 was already a gorgeous game, but now with a plethora of frame rate boosts and fancy post-processing the title has become a beautiful bloodbath. I have bathed in a 4K viscera-soaked bloodbath, and had my wife politely ask me to leave the family room so our two year old daughter could watch Bluey – and for the first time in my parenting life I found myself protesting. If that TV was not mounted to the wall, I would have taken it with me.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 looks pretty great in Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
Finally, MK11U expands the kharacter roster once more with the arrival of two fan favourites, and another ‘80s action star wildcard. I was personally stoked to see the sheer fabulousity of my favourite purple-clad ninja Rain splash his way back into the limelight – with the terrifying pink people-eater Mileena sidling up alongside him. The surprising entry of this trio was definitely the inclusion of John Rambo, of…well, ‘Rambo’ fame. But not only does he join the roster – he’s voiced by Sly Stallone as well. This just tickled me, because seeing Rambo interacting with the whacky ninja-filled world of Mortal Kombat is every bit as intensely entertaining as you would expect – from voice lines asking who the heck some of the kombatants are, right down to the actual fighting style of using covert jungle warfare to snare, slam and ‘splode your foes.
A master of camouflage, blending in seamlessly with the …uh, candles?
Over a 12 month period, Mortal Kombat 11 elevated itself from a good game, to a great game – and finally settled on being an excellent game. The next-gen upgrade has provided extra gravy to an already generous feast, cementing the title as an exceptionally well made fighting game with a plethora of enjoyable extra content.
Reviewed on Playstation 5 | Review code supplied by publisher
- NetherRealm Studios
- Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / Nintendo Switch / PC / Stadia
- November 17, 2020