Mortal Kombat 11’s Online Beta has been and gone and it gave us a good indication of how it’s shaping up ahead of its launch later this month. It included a short single-player Kombat Tower along with Online Versus play, which was the main focus for the beta.
The Beta included five characters from the 25 (based on the character select screen) in the final game, Baraka makes his playable return, as does Skarlet, alongside series veterans Scorpion, Kabal and Jade. Each of the characters looks great with detailed models, animations and customisation options.
Whilst there wasn’t a lot of choice in the beta, customisation allows you to change the looks of a character but the Variation system from Mortal Kombat X returns that also allows you access to alternative movesets extending the character roster further.
Combat itself has seen a lot of tweaks. The X-Ray attacks from the more recent entries are replaced by Fatal Blows which are intense, gory, once-per-match moves that can be performed once you have your opponent below 30% health. These still involve a fair amount of bone-crunching and eye-popping moments but limiting them to once per fight is definitely a positive step.
You can also be rewarded with some visual spectacle from the new counter system. Evade an attack or slip a hit through an opponent’s defences and you’ll get a gruesome closeup and some visual flourishes as a reward for reading your enemy.
Combat flow feels a little more deliberate than past entries with large juggle combos not really evident so far, focusing more on positioning, getting off a combo or sequence then re-evaluating. Movement is weightier and this all adds up to a slightly slower feel. It’s hard to say at this point how this will all play out until we’ve seen the whole roster and had time with the full game, however.
That said, it’s very satisfying to play. It feels fun and online play was extremely stable and responsive during the beta. Hopefully, this carries through to the final release as all in all, it left a positive impression. The final game will bring with it a cinematic story mode and a multitude of other game modes. Assuming the game doesn’t suffer any slip-ups, it’s looking good.
Mortal Kombat 11 is due for release on the 23rd April 2019 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.