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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • The Elder Gods get one now that it's revealed that Kronika was always behind the scenes. Were their Jerkass God tendencies because they were a bunch of self-interested scumbags or was it because they had been made to act that way by events? How much of their problems were because Cetrion was doing her mother's bidding? The existence of the Titans and Mythos-style Eldritch Abominations in the Arcade endings means that their responsibilities may be far vaster than implied.
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    • Is Kronika a Well-Intentioned Extremist who actually sees a reason for her Balance Between Good and Evil plans or just completely insane and utterly evil? Is she blinded about how dangerous her son is or does she see him doing exactly what he's supposed to? Is there a Mama Bear tendency in there that she only acts when Shinnok is decapitated? That it's not 100% clear what her ultimate vision "is" or why she blames things exclusively on Raiden beyond vaguely wanting Shinnok and Cetrion to have equal power. The Arcade endings of different characters hint that making the realms totally free of conflict is not an easy task and, further, their are entities outside the influence of the Hourglass (like the other Titans) who might be an issue anyway, further complicating the issue.
    • Shinnok obviously doesn't want there to be any kind of balance to the world, but is that the way he's made or is he planning on being The Starscream to his mother? Or maybe does he think that being the Big Bad is what his mother wants him to be? The fact he doesn't play a role in the story beyond the opening scene makes it debatable. This gets discussed in one of Raiden and Cetrion's fight intros:
      Raiden: Did Shinnok know what you know?
      Cetrion: He embraced our mother's deisgn.
      Raiden: Willingly? Or was he compelled?
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    • How much of Raiden and Liu Kang's more Jerkass qualities are the result of Kronika's meddling? Indeed, how much of the entirety of the setting is due to Kronika's actions? Are any of the characters really responsible for their actions or Face–Heel Turn events?
    • Is Jax's motivation for siding with Kronika selfish or altruistic? He is at the lowest point of his life and desperately worried about his daughter being killed in another dimension. However, Kronika's offer to Jax emphasizes he'll be a general and a warrior while his daughter won't be any kind of soldier at all. At best, this is being patronizing to his daughter and at worst is a Stay in the Kitchen crossed with Driven by Envy. It's doubly shocking given that he supports his best friend Sonya's ambitions as well as her daughter. It's very telling that when he confronts Raiden in the penultimate chapter, he cites his own wellbeing in addition to Jacqui's when he tries to justify his motives. On the other hand, in his Arcade ending he focuses on erasing racism from history, and while that's partly due to he himself being a black man and so still somewhat self-related, it's not exactly a "selfish" motive either.
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    • Shao Kahn's anger at D'Vorah for killing Mileena. Is he angry because he actually cared for her in a way, or does he simply see one of his minions being killed as a personal insult?
    • How "evil" is Cetrion? Most characters, both heroic and villainous, regard her to be just as bad as Kronika, but Fire God Liu Kang says that her heart is in conflict with her loyalty. In the end, Cetrion's loyalty is absolute, but one of Cetrion's pre-fight dialogues appear to take place after the main story and imply that Cetrion is now free of her mother's influence. How she might align in such a case is open to speculation.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • For those unhappy with how Liu Kang turned out to be embracing evilness in Mortal Kombat X, the game featured an alternate version of Liu Kang before he went evil and Kronika especially warned him that he's taking the wrong path. Additionally, Kung Lao is given the same treatment, and the original good Kung Lao is not pleased with his revenant self. The game also brings back a still living and heroic Jade and Kitana, as well as a benevolent Raiden. Throughout the course of story mode, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Kitana, Jade and Raiden all undergo Character Rerailment.
    • When the game was first announced, enhanced special moves were said to each have a unique input motion different from their normal version. Following some complaints (some of which came from high-level players) that this would make the mechanical skill barrier too big, it was changed to the "normal motion + enhance button" inputs used in the previous games.
    • Major voices in the fighting game community such as Maximilian Dood pointed out game felt a little slow and limiting during its pre-release, with a particularly sluggish dash. Almost immediately after the online stress test, a Kombat Kast showed off faster dash speeds to be used in the final build, and later characters were shown to have greater movement and mix-up options.
    • While Jacqui was never as despised as the likes of Hsu Hao when she debuted in MKX, and she certainly has her fans, there were some who thought that she had a somewhat boring design and playstyle. One major criticism was her use of a Power Fist and Arm Cannons when her father already has cybernetic arms and guns, causing some to view her as a "female Jax" rather than her own character, and making her feel redundant with her father's inclusion. In this game, her playstyle has been reworked entirely, giving her cybernetic legs and a wider array of tools, turning her into more of a mixup-centric character, and her outfit has also been redesigned to make her look much more distinct. Her "Future Jacqui" skins have also been very well received.
    • Due to the fans perceiving 21 Savage's use for teaser trailer as Narm, the launch trailer instead uses a remix of the original Mortal Kombat theme, specifically Mortal Kombat: The Movie rendition. The fans immediately approved.
    • There was a rift between hip-hop fans over 21 Savage because he's considered a "mumble rapper". Keeping in tone with the story, one MK11 trailer uses Ice Cube's "Check Yo Self", a Golden Age hip-hop song, which was well received.
    • With the Krypt revealing numerous fan favorite characters such as Kenshi, Ermac, and Goro to be dead, many are relieved that Reptile is still alive and kicking, although the retention of his MKX design may be a deconfirmation for being playable.
    • One of the major complaints in Story Mode from MK9 onward was that if a character wasn't playable for that chapter, they would generally lose every fight they were seen in to allow further focus on the viewpoint character of that chapter. Now, not only are the scenes rewritten to include multiple fights going on at once, but you can choose which character to play as, while the other engages in a different fight and typically comes out of it successful.
    • The Krypt's mechanics at launch was universally panned by the playerbase, due to the currencies being in short supply and requiring absurd amounts of grinding due to low payouts from the Towers, as well as unlockables being mostly-randomized in terms of location, meaning that while everyone will unlock the same things, finding things for your favorite character is a chore. In response, a Kombat Kast was held addressing the issue, and in addition to further tweaks to the Tower rewards, all players will be granted a hefty amount of each major currency used in the Krypt.
    • The fandom has long considered the Elder Gods punishing Shang Tsung for the crime of stealing souls to rapidly age unless he steals even more souls to be idiotic. This game reveals Kronika set the situation up to serve as an emergency source of power.
    • The reveal of a mole within the Elder Gods actively working against Raiden helps explain why they've been so unhelpful throughout the series.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The trailer for Geras's reveal uses a brutal instrumental version of "Decimator" by All Good Things.
    • The launch trailer has a pretty impressive remix of the classic "Mortal Kombat" theme.
    • The Tournament stage in the game itself uses a different, but no less kickass version of the "Techno Syndrome".
    • "Check Yo Self" by Ice Cube.
    • For the stage music themselves, a lot of fans particularly like the somber Shang Tsung's Island Ruins and the trap-meets-metal of Black Dragon Fight Club.
    • Shao Kahn's trailer uses the balls-crushingly awesome Overdrive Soul Crusher by Liquid Cinema.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: New to Kotal Kahn in this game is the ability to transform into a jaguar. Not only is this new ability given no explanation, but none of the other characters comment on it either.
  • "Common Knowledge": A common criticism of the game is that it's full of Bribing Your Way to Victory. This seems to stem from a combination of separate criticisms: the game did have microtransaction store at launch, progression required a large amount of grinding as earning currency for the Krypt was slow, and the Towers of Time mode in which some gear is earned was poorly-balanced and had Fake Difficulty. However, microtransactions could not help one progress faster through either of those two modes, as only a handful of items are available in the Time Krystal store at a time, all of which are cosmetic. The Augments and Konsumables which help players complete Towers of Time could only be earned by playing, and only work for a few modes, which doesn't include versus or online modes. Post-release patches made the Towers of Time easier and increased the rate at which currency is earned, but the rumors of MK11 being a "greedy" game had already tainted its reputation.
  • Contested Sequel: Critics praised the game's the story and combat, but also criticized the progression system as "grindy", resulting in a lower (but still mostly positive) scores than previous entries.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • One of Johnny Cage's Fatalities is him trying to knock the head off of his opponent, but botches it, just unhinging the jaw. Cue a filming crew deciding to do a retake, which apparently goes up to 19, before Johnny gets the opponent's head stuck on his hand, throws it at the camera and flips the bird to it as well.
    • Johnny's other fatality is him digging his hand into the back of his opponent and kicking their lower half off. He then performs stand-up ventriloquism with the opponent's upper half as the dummy, complete with a mocking high pitched voice and awful pun:
      Opponent: Not what I meant by the splits!
    • One of Cassie Cage's fatalities is hilarious just from concept alone: kicking the opponent's crotch so hard that their skull and spine pop out of their bodies.
    • Cassie's other fatality has her kicking her opponent's heart out of their body, making a big hole in their chest. She proceeds to jam her hands in the chest sides to make a hand heart right where the missing heart was.
    • One of Jax's Fatalities is him playing baseball with the opponent, using their arm as the bat and their head as the ball. What pushes the finisher into this territory is the use of an organ to play the Charge fanfare.
  • Ending Aversion: While the ending tries to be positive, many fans feel that it makes everything All for Nothing for the entire rebooted trilogy as the current timeline is erased via time travel with Liu Kang, now an Elder God, promising to Raiden, now a mortal, that he'll rebuild it and possibly make it better.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • This game marks the return of Mortal Kombat to Nintendo systems more than a decade after Armageddon was ported to the Wii. Naturally, given how relatively close the game launched after the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, fan speculation about whether or not the likes of Sub-Zero or Scorpion will make it into Smash as part of the Fighters Pass has become even more common.
    • Considering that Khameleon was an exclusive character for both Mortal Kombat Trilogy for the Nintendo 64 and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for the Wii, many people are expecting that she would do an appearance in this game as well.
    • With the story ending with the promise of another Continuity Reboot. Many have speculated that this was to allow Ed Boon to finally make his long desired Mortal Kombat game with a completely new cast of characters, as this is something he originally wanted to do following the release of Armaggedon.
    • The ending may support the above bullet point, as Raiden's last words to Liu Kang is "Until we meet again, in the next timeline" and Liu Kang responds with "Then I will not say good-bye", indicating that we will see them again.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Dead or Alive 6. Their respective series are controversial for different reasons, but the two games are compared over their Tamer and Chaster female character designs. The former's reason is to be in the tournament scene, while the latter's is to be more "mature and respectful". Then there's EVO Japan's Core Values incident, which got both sides and other people arguing over Gorn being acceptable while Fanservice is perceived as offensive. Funnily enough, both games have also gotten flak for the large amount of real world money needed to buy every cosmetic item.
  • Foe Yay: Similar to the infamous "D'Vorah kissing Mileena" scene from the previous installment, there's a scene that's equally horrific as it is homoerotic where Skarlet tortures Jade. She's gets Jade on her knees, crotch-level, and is firmly clutching her head, making her scream, pant, and moan as she whispers suggestive things like "It's time to feast".
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: The launch trailer, and the final Story Mode chapter for those who missed it, has one right at the end: Liu Kang..... fused with Raiden's powers, and established in the story as a Fire and Thunder God. It was a jawdropping reveal that people did not see coming.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The Tamer and Chaster approach to female character designs, continuing the trend from MKX. This remains heavily discussed, especially in light of some developer statements regarding design realism.
    • Mileena's exclusion from the roster. The reveal of Kitana showed that she was given her sai and some of her moves, like her teleport kick. This had more vehement parts of the fandom explode with rage that despite other characters having alternate counterparts appearing, Milenna was left out. This is made worse with the implications of the sai being similar to Kitana wielding Jade's staff in the previous game, alongside Ed Boon mocking Mileena fans who wanted her to appear. It should be noted that Boon's mocking was due to some of the more extreme fans constantly harassing the developers on Twitter, including asking for Mileena in a Twitter thread where Boon was paying respects to the late Luke Perry.
    • The discovery of fan favorite Kenshi as nothing more than a corpse in the Krypt lead to an outcry since that's the sort of treatment one would expect for a hated character, not someone as beloved as the blind swordsman.
    • Many were upset with the amount of grind needed to unlock items like cosmetics, fatalities, and the other bonuses. The response, though compounded by various other issues, was a swift review bombing, leaving the game with a dismal 2.6 user score on Metacritic. NetherRealm has responded with a promise to patch the rate of progression, which was also met with some backlash as some fans suspected them of intentionally making the grind unbearable at launch, either so they could garner sympathy when they patched it out later, or to test how far they could take the greedy monetization model.
    • Some fans were disgruntled at Jax's Tower Mode ending, where he erases slavery and other harmful prejudices in order to make the world better for everyone, believing it to be out of character and preachy. Many went as far as to review-bombing sites like Metacritic. Some Youtubers have gone as far as to say that it promotes white genocide.
    • The revelation via a PC Gamer article that NetherRealm put their employees under horrible crunch time and paid them dismal wages for years has led to a massive backlash for the company as a whole. Some have also noted that their statements on why the female designs are Tamer and Chaster are hypocritical due to the allegations that they treated their female employees like garbage alongside said crunch time.
    • Cyrax and Sektor's appearance in Story Mode, since their truncated moveset and absence from any of the DLC roster leaks indicate they are non-playable NPCs, which Boon had explicitly said MK11 would not feature after the backlash over the NPCs in MKX.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The men of MK11 have been getting a lot of attention from gay/bi men on social media, due to the very attractive male facial models they used for the fighters. Kano especially has emerged as something of a fetish fuel station attendant.
  • Memetic Badass: Fire God Liu Kang, a being so badass that just after ten seconds he first appeared, he's been declared the most powerful kombatant Mortal Kombat has ever had.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Kotal Kahn became one after his Kombat Kast accidentally showed Jacqui's reveal trailer instead of his own, resulting in him getting brutally dominated and killed by her in what was supposed to be his big showcase. His presence in Story Mode turns out just as badly for him, given how he is paralyzed by Shao Kahn halfway through and abdicates the throne to Kitana, sitting the rest of the story out.
    • Due to YouTube's heavy age restriction and demonetization of videos that feature the game's realistic blood and gore, there are compilations of the Fatal Blows and fatalities being performed on D'Vorah, whose blue blood seems to allow YouTubers to bypass this. This doubles as an unintentional Take That, Scrappy! for some due to her being a Base-Breaking Character.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Not even 12 hours after the announcement trailer hit the web, fans threw themselves at it due to the questionable choice of song for it and started mixing it with even odder choices of music. Perhaps the best one so far is the Gucci Gang trailer. And for the Shaggy memers...
  • Dabbing Scorpion. Explanation 
  • Hsu Hao for MK11! Explanation 
  • Shaggy as a playable character. Explanation 
  • "My name is Kabal, and I am the fastest man alive." Explanation 
  • Boner Culture Explanation 
  • Austin Aries. Explanation 
  • "I did a bad." Explanation 
  • Kaballin'. Explanation 
  • Got the spins? Explanation 
  • Too Much Violence Explanation 
  • Make Outworld great again. Explanation 
  • #MoralKombat Explanation 
  • "I must consult with the Elder Gods." Explanation 
  • Raiden is your best friend's dad. Explanation 
  • Jax's Arcade ending is racist. Explanation 
  • Scorpion is Kratos. Explanation 
  • Praise the sun! Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Kronika crosses this one too many times that it makes Raiden's actions downright tame. She's responsible for everyone's plight in both the old and new timelines by setting up events that will lead to their destruction including what happened in Armageddon. What's worse is that those timelines were just several of many timelines she's destroyed. It's really hard to accept her calling out Raiden's Sanity Slippage when in truth, she's the one manipulating him to commit those actions. Everything that has happened; Liu Kang's and the others' deaths and turn into Revenants, Shinnok's and Cetrion's fell, is all because of her.
    • Revenant Liu Kang in the penultimate act wields Shang Tsung's sorcerous arts to steal his past self's soul for a power boost. The shameless Evil Laugh he pulls while doing so simply underlines how far he's fallen in his quest for revenge. Raiden is horrified, even describing the act as a perversion of nature.
    • Frost crosses the MEH by kidnapping many of her former Lin Kuei comrades to forcibly transform them into robo-ninjas for Kronika's army and imposing her own will on them so they won't revolt. Frost deliberately did it as a way to spite her former sifu for "abandoning" her and allying with the Shirai Ryu, something which she considers to be "an act of cowardice," when it was the other way around. When they notice what she has done, Raiden, Sub-Zero and Scorpion look visibly disgusted at what Subby's former pupil had become.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Cassie's default intro has her dropping down from a helicopter before saying "Sup" and popping a bubble with her gum. Because of this, her intro can get annoying very easily.
  • Narm:
    • The announcement trailer's use of a 21 Savage song, which many consider to be very unfitting for a Mortal Kombat trailer. Given the otherwise grim nature of the trailer, many people saw this as distracting.
    • Noob Saibot, for unknown reasons, sounds exactly like Dr. Claw in this game, even though he spoke relatively normally in MK9. This particular example is lampshaded by Erron Black.
    • Ronda Rousey's acting is so-and-so, but one of her Pre-Mortem One-Liner sounds a bit off, specifically "thanking" Kano for reminding her of the rules.
    • Jade and her Osh-Tekk warriors' attempt to sneak into the Tarkatan war camp, in which they just kind of run in as a group while barely making any attempts to hide or disguise themselves and get caught almost immediately because Jade blunders into a civilian woman. The multiple Tarkatans who completely fail to notice the large group of brightly painted, heavily armed warriors running around their camp make for a hilariously bad showing from both sides.
  • Older Than They Think: A large majority of websites reporting the game's "Mercy" feature speak of it as if it were newly introduced in this game, when in fact it was first seen all the way back in Mortal Kombat 3.
  • Player Punch:
    • Sonya's Heroic Sacrifice in Chapter 1 of Story Mode. To rub salt in the wound even further, Kronika uses her powers to undo the damage the explosion did to Revenant Liu Kang's fortress. Sonya died for nothing.
    • Present Scorpion getting fatally poisoned by D'Vorah and dying in his past self's arms.
    • Finding Kenshi's body in the Krypt for those wondering why he isn't playable in this game. Even moreso when it's reveal Shang Tsung took his soul after he died.
  • Porting Disaster: Early reports of crashes and performance dips have surfaced for the PC version, almost as a repeat of the original release of MKX on the platform.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • While MK9 started out fleshing out Liu Kang, it took this game to complete the transition. This game emphasizes his status as the Chosen One, with his past self being a very humble warrior who despite knowing his fate. He provides an excellent contrast to the more egotistical fighters, and when history was about to repeat itself during a fight with Raiden, it instead causes them to reconcile and allow an awesome moment where Raiden sacrifices his godhood to make Liu Kang the new Protector of Earthrealm and Keeper of Time.
    • While Kotal Kahn wasn't outright hated in MKX, he wasn't necessarily well-liked due to his Ax-Crazy Blood Knight Chronic Backstabbing Disorder tendencies. The fact he was a Hypocrite and appeaser didn't help matters either. In this game, he has some notable Character Development as he recognizes his flaws as a leader, gives up the throne of Outworld, and sets out to do better.
    • Skarlet was considered to be a somewhat one-note character in MK9. Here, she has a Freudian Excuse, an interesting new look, and fascinating relationship with Shao Kahn.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • In this game, Brutalities have to be unlocked in the Krypt. Unlike Fatalities, which are doable as long as one knows their input commands and the required distance from the opponent, Brutalities can't be performed even if you know how to do them and all the requisite conditions unless they've been unlocked. This is annoying given the grinding involved in order to unlock things.
    • The fact the the entire game relies heavily on the servers in order to use most features and get rewards. While it's understandable why the online mode and Towers of Time require to usage of the servers, it gets ridiculous for these other modes. If you aren't connected to the servers when you play story, or Klassic Towers, or any mode, you get no rewards for doing so. Not to mention the fact you could lose your progress in the Klassic Towers if you disconnect and have no access to the Kyrpt with barely any justification for it.
  • Special Effects Failure: As detailed below under Visual Effects of Awesome, the gore is frighteningly realistic. However, Jax's "Still Got It" Fatality sticks out like a sore thumb, as the final hit instantly knocks off all of the flesh from the victim's head in a single patch of skin that both lacks any semblance of facial features and is clearly too small to have been able to cover their entire skull. The victim's eyes and tongue also seem to mysteriously vanish, leaving behind a mostly pristine, if bloody, skull. Given that this fatality is already rather goofy, what with the impromptu baseball jingle and stadium cheering, this may have been a case of Stylistic Suck.
  • Squick:
    • Kano's Ladder ending has Sonya and Cassie dressed in Stripperiffic outfits in a cage battle for his pleasure. Given they're mother and daughter while Kano is omnipotent, the No Yay, and Fan Disservice is high in this one.
    • Kollector's default win pose is him kidnapping the defeated opponent. This gets infinitely worse when many intros have him say that he has plans for slavery and dissection in mind when he wins.
    • One of Frost intros can be disturbing to some, as it shows her head and spine attaching into her cybernetic body.
    • Kano's default opening for a fight is peeing on the stage. It can get very monotonous when playing his Tower Challenge.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Jade is a character famous for her loyalty to Kitana, Edenia, and being one of the biggest Ensemble Darkhorses as a whole. However, in this game, Jade makes very little mention of her friendship with Kitana or Edenia. Instead, she's almost entirely defined by her relationship with Kotal Kahn, which was never mentioned before. She even manages to forgive him for attempting to commit genocide on the Tarkatan race.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Based on his intro with Erron Black, the developers seem to have seen the negative reaction to Noob's Dr. Claw voice coming. Made even funnier because the insult is coming from Troy Baker:
      Erron Black: God DAMN, your voice is like nails on a chalkboard!
    • One of Erron's intros has him present the head of Hsu Hao, a character who is widely hated by both the fans and the creators.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Quite a few fans have expressed disappointment at the fact that Raiden no longer yells his famous gibberish when performing his Electric Fly move.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Some are disappointed that, outside of Frost, none of the characters introduced in Deadly Alliance and Deception were brought back for this game.
    • Dark Raiden being an Advertised Extra who ends up erased when the time periods are merged, despite being built up as a possible secondary antagonist in both The Stinger of MKX and the prologue of MK11 itself.
    • Despite the new Shirai Ryu received much shilling from Hanzo and a major driving force behind Scorpion's Heel–Face Turn, none of them...not even Takeda...appeared, making this an especially egregious example of Show, Don't Tell.
    • The older Erron Black fights for Kotal's forces, but has no lines whatsoever and less than 30 seconds of screentime. All the focus is on his villainous younger self.
    • MKX set up hints that Raiden was straying towards becoming a Knight Templar, and this game starts out with him being uncharacteristically callous and obsessed with destroying Netherrealm. Nothing comes of it after the younger Raiden is brought into the timeline, apart from him expressing nervousness over the possibility.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Many of the Arcade endings of MKX were clearly meant to foreshadow future events and characters (as some were set after the events of Story Mode). However, due to the change of writers and direction of the story, none were used/adknowledged in the story.
    • The fact that the story ends with the timeline erased, erases (no pun intended) any interesting future stories it could had with the post-timeskip characters.
    • Taven, the protagonist of Armaggeddon, is freed in Takeda's MKX arcade ending, leading many to believe that he would play a role in the next game. However, he's never mentioned in the game and neither the prophecy of Armaggedon or Blaze play a part in the story outside of a flashback where Dark Raiden and Zombie Liu Kang fight each other in the Pyramid of Argus.
    • Injustice 2 features an intriguing bit of possible intro dialogue for Raiden Mirror Matches, in which the Raiden from MKX will fight a Raiden from a timeline where Liu Kang and Kitana peacefully rule over Edenia. Despite alternate timelines being confirmed to exist in this game, we don't get any alternate timeline matches in the story.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Possibly because of the Art Evolution, the faces of the characters don't have the same stylization as previous games, giving them a somewhat unsettling detail. Characters like Sonya and Johnny also look legitimately aged, note  with details like furrows and crow's feet.
    • In an intentional case, Geras is practically a walking Uncanny Valley, between having some part of his flesh held together with metal while others having perfect cracks in between, his voice being artificial sounding yet emotional, and coming back to life by unwinding himself perfectly, he is one of the most unsettling characters in the franchise.
    • Frost invokes this, being a cyborg who looks generally human enough that the specific ways her body moves, twists, turns, and separates will make you constantly go "HER BODY SHOULD NOT DO THAT."
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Skarlet's return is met with some of this, considering that prior to her reveal, she was only a DLC fighter in MK9 and a minor character in the comics.
    • Despite NetherRealm's stance on Hsu Hao, fans have spotted him making a cameo in the club stage.
    • More like unexpected name drop, but infamously unpopular Joke Character Mokap has his name referenced on a number of items such as one of Cassie's pistols and as the owner of the mocha company Cassie gets her drink from in an intro.
    • While a popular choice as a returning character, the fact that Frost makes her return as a cyborg threw everyone off.
    • Fire God Liu Kang, a character from the What If? Arcade epilogues of MK9, becomes a Canon Immigrant and 11th-Hour Ranger in Story Mode.
    • Nobody was expecting Kabal to marry Sareena in his arcade ending, who has usually been granted Ship Tease with both Sub-Zeroes and has no history with him otherwise.
    • Gemini and Tasia from Mortal Kombat: Special Forces are among the many characters to have assists dedicated to them, making this the first time their existence has been acknowledged by the main games.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The announcement trailer has beautiful and detailed visual effects thanks to the now even much more modified Unreal Engine 3.
    • All of the Fatal Blows look equally awesome and gruesome, despite not showing internal organs like X-Rays, which they overtook as super moves.
    • The fatalities have taken a cue from Injustice 2's end-of-match win poses: instead of ending with the opponent falling over dead, they end with a freeze-frame slo-mo right after the coolest part of the fatality, letting you see the damage in depth. It's a welcome change.
    • The gore is so realistic, YouTube's automated content filters actually mistake it for real blood, causing much annoyance to YouTubers who have their videos containing footage of the game demonetized and age-restricted.
    • Taking a page from Injustice 2, the facial animations for the characters in cutscenes, fatalities, and pre-fight banter are amazing.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: There are some clear references to current politics Explanation  which many find out of place and dated at this point.
  • What an Idiot!: Frost's entire battle strategy during the siege on Kronika's Keep boils down to "place myself, the control nexus of the Cyber Lin Kuei, at the front of the battle lines to increase my own personal glory despite the fact that I can control the army remotely and if I die then every Cyber Lin Kuei is a worthless heap of metal."
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Ronda Rousey as Sonya is a questionable choice for some, especially as Rousey's promo skills (or lack thereof) in WWE have long been a source of ire and annoyance for fans. The general consensus on her performance is that while she isn't outright bad, her delivery is very wooden.

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