With the Nintendo Switch came a brand new era for third-party AAA developer studios and publishers. Unlike the Wii U, the Nintendo Switch has gained massive support from publishers like Bethesda, Epic Games, and Warner Brother Games. Out of all the third-party offerings on Nintendo Switch, Mortal Kombat 11 is one of those that’s a must own.

While it’s not perfect and has its flaws, Netherrealm ultimately created a game that is enjoyable at the core and is the best the franchise has ever been. They’ve also promised support going forward for post-launch downloadable content and to fix all the launch mistakes (Loot Grind, The Krypt, Difficult Towers of Time, etc. which will be discussed later in the review). With their dedication to fix things and make a statement right off the bat, they have my full trust and this further proves that Mortal Kombat 11 beneath the surface, truly is a near-perfect game.

While the Mortal Kombat franchise has been around for ages, many have not played recent entries. If you’re concerned about how the story has progressed over the years, fear not. The last Mortal Kombat game I played was the 2011 reboot, and the story still feels like it was executed perfectly in this rendition. Most of it is just comedic references to previous games built into a new plot. This plot is centered around time travel. Usually it takes a lot for me to get invested into a video game story, but Mortal Kombat 11 hooked me within five minutes… I was in tears with laughter. Without diving into spoiler territory, the characters will force you to build an emotional bond with them. The voice actors played their counterparts perfectly. While most of the campaign, like other Netherrealm games, is comprised of cutscenes, that is perfectly ok because it plays out like a Warner Brothers movie (and one that doesn’t disappoint).

Another common turn-off with fighting games like Mortal Kombat is the skill needed in order to succeed. Netherrealm Studios has thankfully provided a great solution to make the experience fun for both casual and competitive gamers. There’s a massive learning section of the game for practicing everything, including a Fatality Training section. The tutorials are fairly fun too, and aren’t bogged down by text making you ask yourself “where is the skip button?”. And of course the tutorials are optional too. But it is recommended you do them even if you are a pro fighter because there is an incentive: complete the tutorials for ten Time Krystals (one of the many currencies in this game, mainly for cosmetic purposes). There are also individual character tutorials, but these are listed as “Coming Soon” for the Nintendo Switch version at the time of writing.

A huge concern regarding Mortal Kombat 11 for Switch was graphics and performance. Well, luckily it‘s not as bad as one could speculate. While it is not an old game by any means, so graphical infidelity is reasonable for the Nintendo Switch as it’s a much less powerful console. The graphics do take a hit but it is still gory as all hell and plays at a pretty constant sixty frames per second. It is worth mentioning the user interface is a little blurry, but I’d assume that can easily be fixed in an update.

An addition I was surprised to see was the inclusion of a Krypt. It is an open-world environment on Shang Tsung’s island. It’s filled with chests ranging with gear items, skins, brutalities, concept art, and fatalities. Each chest requires a particular in-game currency to be opened… While this is a particular grind, the developers stated in a PSA Kombat Kast on the Netherrealm Studios’ Twitch that an update to fix the Krypt is in the works and planned for soon (Follow this Reddit thread to stay up to date on the status of the patch). When the changes are implemented, I’m positive a huge portion of my time will be spent in the Krypt as customization is a huge deal to me in video games and this particular mode will add hundreds of hours of replayability.

The online mode is greatly diverse in Mortal Kombat 11 with numerous game modes, but it falls short connection-wise. It does much better with connection frames on the other consoles but Nintendo Switch falls short. Whether it’s Nintendo servers is unknown but know that if you are looking for a competitive Mortal Kombat experience for tournaments, etc. on Switch, you should get a LAN or ethernet cable to improve online connection with other players, similar to the situation with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Mortal Kombat 11 offers the following online modes to spice up your experience: Ranked Sets, 1v1, King of the Hill, AI only, and Versus. There will also be a Kombat League but that is yet to come out.

Another part of the game that provided me with some enjoyment was character-ending towers. It helped to provide insight into the background of some fighters I didn’t know in a cinematic appealing way, as well as refresh my memory about the fighters I did play from the 2011 reboot. If you don’t know much about Mortal Kombat lore this is a great starting place before playing the story mode. Characters are just one of the many elements that give Mortal Kombat 11 a unique sense of charm. It truly feels like a commemoration for the franchise, celebrating all things past and present as Kronika bends time.

Customization also makes Mortal Kombat 11 an entry in the franchise that stands on its own leg figuratively, as it is the deepest we’ve ever seen in a Netherrealm Studios game. I thought Injustice 2 customization was magnificent and was mind blown when that became a thing, but with MK11 they took it two steps further. For example, each gear piece can be leveled up and augmented. In Injustice 2, each fighter had roughly 20-30 skins… but Mortal Kombat 11 doubles that. It also doubles the number of gear pieces possible to unlock for each character. It truly is aweing when you think about the amount of time it takes to create the art assets. Similar to Injustice 2 custom ultimate/super moves, you can also have custom brutalities and fatalities for each character. There are multiple for each character too. Customization is my favorite part of Mortal Kombat 11 besides the story mode and overall feel of the game.

Although customization is not just limited to your fighter, There is Kombat Kard customization too, which is another layer of personality to add to your arsenal when you show off to your friends. Each Kombat Kard needs an icon and background. These can be unlocked through various ways, such as Towers of Time, Story Mode, and The Krypt.

Towers of Time is similar to the Multiverse in Injustice 2. For context, as a solo player, when I played Injustice 2 that was my main mode. To see Mortal Kombat get something nearly identical is awesome. It is another great way to earn various currencies for the Krypt and gear items. There is also a consumable system which greatly impacts your fights, it is similar to the spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Overall, if Mortal Kombat 11 wasn’t on your radar than it needs to be. And if you like RPGs, customization, or fighting games of any kind, then MK11 is a must own for the system.