Mortal Kombat 11’s Nintendo Switch Port Is Really Impressive Even with Some Shortcomings
Mortal Kombat 11's Switch port might be a better place to practice the competitive fighter.
I’m quite glad that the Nintendo Switch still has its hooks in me. The novelty of seeing a AAA game like DOOM, Dark Souls, L.A. Noire, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and now, Mortal Kombat 11, still hasn’t lost its charm. While Mortal Kombat 11 for Switch is probably the worst version of the game you can buy from a visual standpoint, you won’t find much to complain about on the gameplay side of things.
It became noticeable to me after just a few hours of play that both NetherRealm Studios and Shiver Entertainment focused first and foremost on making sure that the fighting in Mortal Kombat 11 transitioned onto the Switch with little to no drawbacks. And in that regard, they’ve done a tremendous job. Fights run at a seemingly consistent 60 frames-per-second and I oftentimes forgot I was on inferior hardware when in the midst of a tough match.
The Switch controllers aren’t nearly ideal for any fighting game. I’ve always been most comfortable with the DualShock’s D-pad and after a multitude of hours with Mortal Kombat 11 on Switch, I still prefer my DualShock 4. The Joy-Cons themselves get the job done, but the D-pad can be incredibly tough to use, especially during the game’s tougher fights. When I switched to my Pro Controller, I didn’t fare much better. I pretty much expected this to be the case though, and still, Mortal Kombat 11 certainly isn’t unplayable by any means with Nintendo’s controller options.
Graphically, backgrounds clearly took the biggest hit in the transition to Switch while character models really hold up insanely well. On top of that, fatalities and fatal blows are still immensely satisfying and visually impressive. It’s also worth mentioning that the menu screens and text throughout the game just generally look really fuzzy and can be hard to read. While this isn’t a huge gripe, it did become quite annoying after long hours of gameplay.
Additionally, the game’s story mode also transitions quite well, with only a couple of technical hiccups that can be more noticeable at times. Cutscenes are pre-rendered using graphics from the other versions of the game, and when transitioning from a cutscene to gameplay, I noticed things can begin to stutter just a bit. It’s a small problem in what pretty much is a nearly identical experience to all other versions.
The Krypt is a staple in the Mortal Kombat series and it’s really bad in the Switch version. It’s riddled with models and textures that look ripped out of an early PS3 game. Hopefully, as time goes on, updates will work to make this mode more enjoyable to run through as it acts as the main hub to collect a majority of the game’s unlockables.
I think the most jarring thing about the Switch version of Mortal Kombat 11 is how much online connectivity is required. I had taken the game with me to class and was genuinely surprised how many modes I didn’t have access to anymore without a wifi connection. Even worse, some modes I could play didn’t allow me to collect rewards for whatever reason unless I had a wifi connection. It almost makes the novelty of the experience feel pointless if I can’t progress in the overall game. And trust me, with a game like Mortal Kombat 11, progression is important as NetherRealm has made it a real chore to unlock everything the game has to offer.
With that all in mind, it’s also important to point out that I actually found online matches to be pretty mixed. Most of my matches ran considerably well, with only a few in which I experienced some annoying lag. Nevertheless, all of the game’s competitive multiplayer modes transition really well onto Switch. However, the lack of voice chat and party options on the actual console makes it feel like something valuable is missing. However, NetherRealm and Shiver can’t be faulted for that.
Ultimately, I think the Nintendo Switch port of Mortal Kombat 11 will appeal mostly to a casual audience. I think that it could offer a great place to practice on-the-go for players who opted for any of the other versions of the game. While it’s obviously the weakest version of Mortal Kombat 11, the port nails the most important aspect of any fighting game to a T, and that’s the fighting itself.
Be sure to check out our review of the PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions of Mortal Kombat 11 right here if you’re interested in hearing our thoughts on those platforms.