Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / Mortal Kombat 11

Go To

See also the franchise-wide pages for:


  • 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.
    • Advertisement:
    • 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?
    • Advertisement:
    • 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, or ending up like him at some point. 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.
    • Advertisement:
    • 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.
    • When Noob Saibot retorts that he would not allow female Lin Kuei when Frost wishes for him to be Grandmaster in a pre-fight dialogue, is he being genuinely misogynistic or is he merely messing with her?
    • The retcon involving Sindel's Adaptational Villainy is suspected as simply being part of the reboot timeline. Since it's revealed there's actually more timelines than just it and the original, it's entirely possible that her original characterization was still part of some timelines, while her current one is what happened in others, which would explain the inconsistencies between the two and how there could be more than them. And since Kronika is responsible of these reboots before her death, one can say that Sindel's drastic personality change was also Kronika's fault, using her time-manipulation abilities to tamper with Sindel's personality. While Aftermath establishes that her Adaptational Villainy has always being her character. A third group of fans suggest the past presented in her ending was what the brainwashed, resurrected Sindel believed happened and Shang Tsung simply lied about resurrecting her as she originally was, something entirely in character for him.
    • Kung Lao in Fire God Liu Kang's Aftermath victory ending. It is never stated which Kung Lao this is, leaving it up to interpretation whether this is the Great Kung Lao or Liu Kang's friend now more humble.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Some fans are incredulous about the "Kronika was behind everything, from the beginning" plot twist, as it comes from nowhere and retroactively makes the actions of every single character a contrived step in her ultimate plans — especially Shinnok, who is essentially demoted from a Big Bad to a Big Bad Wannabe that happens to be her son. Further, the idea that Liu Kang fights Raiden and dies in every timeline makes little sense. note  The detractors feel that pinning the blame on Kronika for these things cheapens the choices of both the characters and the writers; is the audience really supposed to expect things to be different from here on, now that she's gone?
    • Sindel in Aftermath. This rewritten story of her will scream your ears out in deafness. Claiming that Sindel was evil all along causes a lot of inconsistencies. The original timeline where she became a force of good at the end of Mortal Kombat 3 and up to Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is completely ignored and shows no connection to this retconned version of Sindel. It even shows major consistencies with Mortal Kombat 9 as well, given that like in MK3, Sindel was meant to shield protection from Earthrealm; this part gets a semi-pass because Sindel resurrected by Quan Chi and later turned into a revenant. The only thing that could have averted this from being a full ass pull was if Sindel was secretly corrupted/brainwashed by Shao Kahn or Shang Tsung. However, her Evil All Along persona is cemented in Aftermath as her true characterization, meaning that her importance to the setting's backstory was deliberately altered to cement the Adaptational Villainy/reinterpretation of the new writers, as they never address how she went from good in the original timeline to Evil All Along in this timeline.
  • 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 de-confirmation 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 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.
    • The main complaints for Cassie Cage's outfits were that she was all covered up in armor, with very little diversity. To address these complaints, she was given a Harley Quinn skin with the Terminator DLC, and now also has the "Klassic" skin from the MKX comics, which is unzipped jacket with an exposed midriff, and spandex shorts, with the Sindel DLC, showing a bit more skin than before.
    • Joker's appearance in the initial Kombat Pack reveal trailer was criticized for looking too smooth and young-looking. Footage from later trailers shows that they adjusted his appearance to look more in line with his classic comic book look.
    • A common complaint from fans was that the villains of the franchise are rarely playable in the story mode and thus rarely win against the heroes until the plot demands it. This was recitified in Aftermath that allows players to control Sindel, Shao Kahn, and Shang Tsung towards the latter half of the expansion's story, in which they are frighteningly successful with their plans (Even too successful for some people. See the Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy entry below for more details).
    • From Aftermath: Shao Kahn gets back a lot of his villain cred as he, alongside Sindel, kills Geras, defeats Sonya, Cassie and Johnny, while also defeating Liu Kang/Kitana on his own, retaking Outworld, decapitating Kotal Kahn offscreen and storming Kronika's fortress. The only reason they lost is because of the treachery of Shang Tsung.
    • Shang Tsung suffered the most Villain Decay in the series, going from the Big Bad in the first game to the The Heavy in the second to being a henchman, unable to beat Kung Lao even with Quan Chi's help. Aftermath has him successfully betray and outwit everyone except for Liu Kang and Fujin who anticipated his betrayal, and even the latter must be sacrificed for the plan to succeed. As a result, he gains godlike power and serves as the Final Boss against Fire God Liu Kang, even succeeding in one of the endings.
    • Many people dislike the ambiguous Esoteric Happy Ending of the original story mode where Fire God Liu Kang defeats Kronika after she erases the current timeline with Kang promising Raiden that he will build a better timeline. While Aftermath's ends similarly, it does give more closure to the franchise's story as Liu Kang erases Shang Tsung from existence and creates a new timeline where he mentors Kung Lao (implied to be the original Kung Lao, his on-and-off ancestor) in a timeline where Shang Tsung never existed.
    • After Johnny, Past Johnny and Sonya were mysteriously absent from the final battle of the main story, Aftermath shows that the latter two at least were part of the fight, just in a different location.
  • Awesome Ego:
    • Johnny Cage, once again. While MKX amped up his snarkiness a tad more as seen in intros involving him, this game is notable for bringing back his younger self, who is just as immature as we remember him, if not more so. His intros also make sure we get the message, for as they're even snarkier and self-centered than in MKX.
    • Kung Lao. Part of his past self's new characterization (and to some extent, his revenant self's too), is his amped up snarkiness, arrogance, narcissism, pride and jealousness towards Liu Kang being The Chosen One. Compared to his ego in Shaolin Monks and the smaller one he had in MK9, the ego he develops here is only comparable to that of Johnny.
    • Frost has probably a bigger ego than Johnny and Kung Lao combined. She sees herself as "Sub-Zero's greatest pupil" and destined to rule the Lin Kuei, a characterization amped up for the better since Deadly Alliance. Yet, even as a cyborg, nobody takes her seriously, not even Johnny or Kung Lao, prompting her to be more egocentric.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The trailer for Geras' 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, heard in the "Old Skool vs. New Skool" Trailer.
    • 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 "Soul Crusher" by Liquid Cinema.
    • The song that plays during the start of the credits, "Rise". Listen closely, and you'll realize it's a remix of the song used in the debut trailer. Coming off Story Mode's ending, it truly does feel make you feel like you've witnessed the end of an era.
    • Spawn's trailer uses two songs; a pitched down version of "IX" and a spine-chilling instrumental of "Scattering the Ashes".
  • Base-Breaking Character: Sindel. While some fans were looking forward to playing as her with a revamped moveset, those who ardently follow the canon of the games were very annoyed at her being retconned into being Evil All Along. However, there's also a camp that actually likes the new Sindel, some even saying that it makes her seem less of a damsel, to which those who dislike the retcon respond that the fact she rose above being a damsel to in turn save her daughter from Onaga in the original timeline was why they liked her character. There's also a middle-road camp that evil Sindel is good on paper and theory or as a different character, but dislikes the fact that the writer puts that characterization on a character like Sindel, which heavily contrasted her character and disrespectful of the old lore.
  • 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.
    • Sindel now has a purple "spirit" version of herself that leaps out of her a bit when she screams. This is not explained in the slightest.
  • Broken Base: The Tamer and Chaster costumes for the female characters. Either they are step up from the Stripperiffic nature of previous games, most notably MK9, or they are bland, takes away from the character and way too covered up (the primary outfits for Jade, Skarlet and Cassie being the worst offenders). Arguing for one opinion or the other is a pretty much a guarantee for a long debate. Then there's those in the middle of both extremes who don't mind the costumes in the game, but still thinks there should be some kind of compromise to try and appease both parties, and include more skimpy outfits as DLC.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Just like with Freddy in MK9 and Jason, Leatherface, Alien and Predator in MKX, you can finally pay the Joker back for everything he's done both in the proper comics and in the Injustice series. Doubly so for the fans who had been waiting since the last time Joker was in Mortal Kombat to perform non-watered down fatalities on him.
    • Seeing Sindel and Shao Kahn get massively outplayed by Shang Tsung, getting their souls stolen and reduced to dried out husks after all of the terrible things that they've done in the Aftermath expansion. Can double as a Take That, Scrappy! in Sindel's case for those turned-off by her retcon.
    • After all the horrible, monstrous things that Shang Tsung has done throughout the series, seeing him reduced to trying to vainly crawl away from Liu Kang, absolutely terrified as he ceases to exist, is definitely terrifying, but very satisfying to witness.
  • "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: While critics praised the game's story and combat, they criticized the progression system as being "grindy", resulting in a lower (but still mostly positive) scores than previous entries. And, to keep it brief, the MK fandom is less charitable especially toward the story and writing. In terms of fan reception, it is also quite possibly the most divisive game in the whole series. While some do praise some parts of the story such as Past Liu Kang's Reconstruction as a character and Past Kitana becoming the new Kahn of Outworld, others such as Kronika being responsible for every issue in the past game is seen as either a noticeable retcon at best and a cop out at worst.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: If you haven't played the story modes of MK9 and MKX, the story for this game is borderline incomprehensible without prior knowledge of the previous two games or the lore of the rebooted timeline. Without familiarity of the previous games' stories, most mentions of Shinnok's death, Cassie's defeat of Shinnok, or Shinnok in general, will go over newcomers' heads. Mentions of other characters' deaths (Baraka, Mileena, Shao Kahn, etc.) will also be completely foreign to new players. The revenant characters, the existence of offspring from Jax and Johnny Cage, the Sub-Zero and Scorpion chapters, the entire story about the Cyber Lin Kuei, and Liu Kang and Raiden's conflict will hardly make sense to anyone who hasn't been following the franchise since MK9.
  • 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.
    • The Joker personifies this trope. He clobbers his opponents with his own goons on wheelchairs, uses a pair of cartoonishly-large boxing glove guns, and shoots a gun sticking out of a Batman puppet, among other darkly humorous moves.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: No Mortal Kombat story is a picnic, but Aftermath takes things to the next level, presenting a far darker timeline where almost all the heroes all end up dead or maimed, their plans to oppose Kronika ending in total failure. Even worse, the player is the one controlling the primary three villains and making it all happen. The only saving grace is Fire God Liu Kang suddenly appearing at the end of the story to reset the timeline...unless you choose to fight against him, which results in Shang Tsung ruling the universe as an evil dictator for all eternity.
  • Demonic Spiders: The Krypt features these in the literal sense, with giant fire-breathing spider enemies. They’re not too tough and will die in a single hit, but the hit must be timed perfectly; if you’re a fraction of a second too early or too late, You Are Already Dead. They’ll aggressively pursue you once they’ve caught sight of you, and more often than not they’ll see you before you see them, meaning that it’s very common to turn around and come face to face with one of them, with no time to react properly before you get incinerated. This is mitigated somewhat if you use the Vial of Protection konsumable, which renders you invisible to them and allows you to walk right up and kill them without any hassle. However, the konsumable only has a duration of about one minute, meaning that you’d better have a lot of them on hand if you’re planning on going anywhere near their area.
  • 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. It’s made all the worse by the fact that in this timeline, various characters happened to have very cathartic conclusions to their character arcs (most notably Sonya in this game), only for it all to be wiped away in favor of a second Cosmic Retcon.
  • 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 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.
    • Sindel's retcon into being Evil All Along has people theorizing that her change had to do with either future plans for the character in a future game, or that her portrayal in the live-action movie reboot will involve her being a major villain. Her being secretly Evil All Along is a plot point in Aftermath.
  • Estrogen Brigade: The game's redesigns for the male cast were rather... positively received. The two main fangirl (and boy) magnets of the cast look to be Kano, who famously bears a striking resemblance to Austin Aries, and Kotal Kahn, whose Heroic Build is growing equally memetic due to taking roughly five levels in Hunk from his debut game.
  • 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".
  • Idiot Plot: The story of Aftermath only happens because everybody follows Shang Tsung's suggestions and allow him to walk around unwatched and unimpeded, even as almost every single character lampshades that he is an untrustworthy snake and they know he'll turn on them eventually. When he does, not only does Fujin fall for the sorcerer's oldest trick (shapeshifting into someone else), but he and Raiden just stand and watch as Shang Tsung puts on Kronika's crown and attains god-like power. Meanwhile, Sindel and Shao Kahn retake control of Outworld by Sindel convincing the Shokans that Kitana attacked some of their people and killed Sheeva. She has no proof of this, there's no reason for Kitana to do so, and the Shokans find Sindel standing over Sheeva's body, yet the Shokan believe her story and join with her and Shao Kahn.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The Terminator being added was well received, but a fair number of people hate how he is basically just a retread of Jason from MKX, complete with the same Implacable Man type of gameplay, with the only thing that makes him truly unique being his Shotgun. Once players discovered his Endoskeleton move was just a worse version of Jason's "Killing Machine" ability, the complaints increased greatly.
  • 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. The number of partially and completely shirtless men also helps.
  • Love to Hate: In the Aftermath expansion, Shang Tsung is more despicable and power-hungry than ever, but many fans consider him to be the best part of the expansion's story, with many admiring his creepily charming personality, cheesy smug grin, and Manipulative Bastard qualities. Being played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa certainly helps.
  • 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. Aftermath shows that even he can outplay Shang Tsung in the manipulation category.
    • Shang Tsung has been seen in this light thanks to playing everyone like a fiddle during the Aftermath, including Shao Kahn, Sindel and Kronika. He can potentially even defeat fellow badass Fire God Liu Kang in one of the endings.
  • 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. And in Aftermath, while he does play a part in the final battle this time, Shao Kahn easily bests him and he is decapitated offscreen.
    • Due to YouTube's heavy age restriction and demonetization of videos that feature the game's realistic blood and gore, many compilation videos of Fatal Blows and fatalities show them 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.
    • Much like with D'Vorah, Spawn is used as a back-up choice for demonstrating finishers due to his green blood.
    • Due to the constant humiliation he suffers in his depiction this time around and absolutely abysmal state as a fighter even into 2020, fans regularly like to rag on Shao Kahn.
    • In the Aftermath DLC, RoboCop seems to have taken D'Vorah's role as the go-to dummy for demonstrating the new fatalities and fatal blows, due to having black blood.
  • 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/Kulture 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 
  • "Would you settle for me sausage?" Explanation 
  • Wi-Fi Scorpion Explanation 
  • YOU'RE A JOKE Explanation 
  • "You’re not going to wear a bikini to a fight."Explanation 
  • We Live in a Realm Explanation 
  • #NotMySindelExplanation 
  • Too bad YOU... will die!Explanation 
  • Epic Jax GuyExplanation 
  • We did it, guys. Mileena's in the game.Explanation 
  • Fujin is JesusExplanation 
  • "She kinda bad tho... is that Frost?"Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The game provides potentially two examples for Kronika, depending on how you react to each scene. The first example comes midway through the story, when she approaches Present Jax after the death of his wife and manipulates him into joining her side. She specifically plays on his remorse over his years spent as a Revenant and his reluctance over seeing Jacqui enlist. However, as Jax eventually learns, Kronika is indirectly responsible for the time he spent as a Revenant. The second example comes near the end of the story, when any possibility that she wanted create a better world is thrown out the window when she has Cetrion turned into little more than Human Resources for some extra energy to help finish her plan.
    • 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 kidnaps 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 to spite her former teacher 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 Sub-Zero's former pupil had become.
    • Sindel well and truly crosses it in this game. While in MK9, said character had the possible excuse of being brainwashed, this game establishes that it was all a lie, she was Evil All Along. It is when she murders Sheeva in cold blood, even after the latter went through a lot of trouble to bring her back is when said character becomes totally irredeemable with no turning back, and it all goes downhill from there.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • The moment in which Liu Kang briefly loses his faith and fights Raiden in Chapter 11 is supposed to be tense, but Liu Kang's "WHOOO!" sound right before the fight begins is more likely to make the moment lose any kind of seriousness than anything else.
    • The fact that Kronika can turn into Guest Fighters during story mode can lead to some truly ridiculous situations. It's hard to feel immersed in the narrative when the ultimate battle for the fate of existence turns out to be Liu Kang vs. RoboCop.
  • Narm Charm:
    • 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. In spite of this, many fans have been noted to love his new voice. A lot of his dialogue is also comically edgy, with some lines literally sounding like they came from My Immortal:
    Noob: Welcome to my darkness world.
    Cetrion: May virtue's light guide me.
    Noob: Virtue? Everything is Evil!
    • Fire God Liu Kang sounds absolutely ridiculous because of how lazy the name seems but it doesn't stop people from labeling him as one of the biggest badasses in the franchise.
    • In Shang Tsung's ending of Aftermath, he appears gargantuan to his minions, Raiden and Fujin. Seeing a gigantic Shang Tsung would seem ridiculous, but it doesn't detract from the horror of the ending.
  • 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 MK3.
  • 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 more so when it's reveal Shang Tsung took his soul after he died.
    • Almost as bad is witnessing Ermac's death in the Krypt when the entering the lower section of the pit for the first time only to see them suddenly fall from the upper lever and get impaled.
    • Remember two games ago, when you had to go through the pain of seeing several of your beloved heroes suffer because of Sindel? How would you like to relive that again, only this time, you're the one in control of her? As an added punch to the gut: this results in characters dying, being forced into slavery, being brutally crippled and, in the case of Kitana, breaking her heart as you beat her into submission and make her watch as her entire world falls apart with sadness in her eyes.
  • 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 by fleshing out Liu Kang as a Broken Ace, it took this game to complete the transition. This game emphasizes much more his status as The Chosen One, with his past self being a very humble warrior who fights to the end 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, much later, allow an awesome moment where Raiden sacrifices his godhood to make Liu Kang the new Protector of Earthrealm and Keeper of Time. Finally, his status as more of a Supporting Protagonist compared to the other games (where he is clearly The Protagonist) has also been received positively, as he doesn't bloat out much storytime from other characters as in the first four games.
    • Jacqui is another big example. She was considered to be flatter than the other "Kombat Kids" in MKX, as she lacked the personality or spotlight of Cassie, the struggle to live up to a heroic lineage while juggling prejudice against his sexuality like Kung Jin, and the family drama of Takeda. While her backstory between her and her father Jax is mentioned a few times, and they share a heartwarming moment in one episode, not much comes from this, and most fans claim the Will They or Won't They? between her and Takeda was the only meaningful characterization she received. Additionally, while her moveset had some clear differences from Jax, some people didn't like how her gauntlets and some of her moves paid a homage to him. This game takes steps to rectify this by removing Takeda (but making it clear that they are in the process of getting married) and by giving her a heartbreaking arc involving her traumatized father, who is so crushed by the events in this timeline, he's temporarily willing to join Kronika on the promise of a better life for him and Jacqui. Through this, Jacqui is confronted with her Jax's younger self, and the reality that unless she allows him to repeat the exact same trauma, she will never be born. In her ending, Jacqui proves that the Briggs are true heroes by resolving to Set Right What Once Went Wrong even at the risk of erasing herself from existence. Lastly, her moveset not only makes use of her gauntlets, but now incorporates kicks and many more unique moves, further setting her apart from Jax.
    • Kotal Kahn is more of a base-breaker in this regard than full-on scrappy. While he wasn't outright hated in MKX, he wasn't necessarily well-liked due to his Blood Knight and Chronic Backstabbing Disorder tendencies. The fact he was a Hypocrite, an appeaser, and someone who periodically grabbed the Idiot Ball, didn't help matters either. In this game, he has some very notable Character Development as he now recognizes his flaws as a leader, gives up the throne of Outworld, and sets out to do better. He is also given a very heartwarming relationship with Jade.
    • Skarlet was considered to be a somewhat one-note character in MK9, as she only appeared as a DLC character out of nowhere. Here, she is significantly more fleshed out, having a Freudian Excuse, an interesting new look, and a deeper, fascinating relationship with Shao Kahn.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Brutalities have to be unlocked in the Krypt and Towers of Time in order to use them. Unlike Fatalities, which are doable as long as one knows their input commands and the required distance, Brutalities can't be performed even if you know the requisite commands unless they've been unlocked. While this was also the case in MKX, the Krypt had fixed locations where you coudl unlock them. MK11's random Krypt loot, periodically rotating Towers of Time, and grind-heavy Character Towers make unlocking all of the Brutalities an utter chore.
    • 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. This is especially bad if you're playing on the Nintendo Switch while on the go, as you could travel to a place with no wireless, or have to put the game down for a while, which drops the connection.
    • While the game does include ping displayed during a match and labels for players using wireless or wired connections, online matchmaking offers no filters based on location nor connection speed despite being a common feature in other fighting games. This drew the ire of the competitive scene particularly with the launch of the initial season of Kombat League.
    • Many silver tiered players and up still found themselves matching up against bronze tiered players, leading to situations in which winning the match rewarded far fewer points than losing would take away. While this is a common issue within ranked modes in online fighters, the tier system this game includes was intended to prevent such an issue from happening when coupled with the large playerbase compared to others in its genre.
    • Breakaway has been a point of contention since launch, with the main complaint being that the mechanic is too powerful of a reversal, especially if the attacker is stuck in a combo string when the breakaway happens. Even if the attacker anticipates a breakaway, the most they could hope for is a down+2 (or other similarly damaging single hit) or the situational Fatal Blow, which breaks armor. This is in contrast to other fighting games with a similar mechanic (e.g. Guilty Gear and its Burst system, or even some of the older MK games) which knocks the attacker a fair distance away and resets the neutral game, keeping it fair for both sides. The developers added universal armor breaking moves in Aftermath to address these criticisms, an idea they first tested with Spawn. Not all of these moves do the same thing — Scorpion, for example, gets a launcher with his while Sub-Zero's is a hard knockdown and corner carry — but they're generally designed to be an easier and more effective response to breakaways.
  • Shocking Moments: 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 jaw-dropping reveal that people did not see coming.
  • Shocking Swerve: The Adaptational Villainy of Sindel had parts of this trope, aside of what was explained by the writers to be 'more interesting', they wanted to subvert the expectations of the players who thought they're going for a redemption arc. Unfortunately, it mostly backfired on them and looked more like 'subversion for the sake of subversion', because the original Sindel was already a subversion of her general design (someone with wicked powers and wicked look, but actually a good person underneath), in addition of things explained in the Ass Pull entry above.
  • Signature Scene: Raiden realising that he and Liu Kang have been manipulated into fighting against each other, not just here but in conceivable version of events, all set to ominous organ music and a rolling montage of their battles in previous games and erased timelines.
  • Special Effect 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.
    • Characters and skins with long hair (Cassie and Cetrion being the most glaring examples due to having long hair with their default skins) often lose most of their hair when on the receiving ends of Fatalities that involve their decapitation. In some cases, it can be justified by the hair possibly being cut off in the process (such as Scorpion's "You're Next" and Kitana's "Royal Execution"), but others (such as Shao Kahn's "Back Blown Out" and Liu Kang's "Belly of the Beast") have no such justification.
    • Both of Shang Tsung's Fatalities have major visual inconsistencies. In "Kondemned to the Damned", the opponent's entire skeleton is ripped out, with no accounting for Jax's metal arms, the Kollector's multiple ones, Baraka's blades, or Frost's cybernetic parts, as well as having them still clearly have a skull despite it having also been ripped out of them. In "Shokan Reborn", Kintaro first appears by ripping off the opponent's arms, but once he fully bursts through them, the arms are reattached.
    • Also relating to Shang Tsung, his normal/default intro has him enter the screen looking like whoever he is fighting before turning into himself. It looks cool but there is a noticeable problem with the models not matching up. On characters roughly his build and height like Johnny Cage, its a seamless transformation, but on characters taller or shorter than him, he either growths or shrinks when he turns into himself, causing his face to awkwardly emerge from either on the previous characters body, or just out of thin air.
  • Spoiled by the Format: In Aftermath, Sindel is revealed to be Evil All Along. Under normal circumstances, this plot twist would be shocking. However, Sindel's true nature had already been revealed via promotional material and her release as a playable character prior to Aftermath's release, which sucked out the shock of said twist.
  • 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.
    • One of the Joker's intros has him cut his finger to draw blood and paint a smile on his face with it. It certainly can unsettle some people.
    • One of D'Vorah's intros has her carrying a large maggot, then opening her abdominal area in half to insert said maggot into her body.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Jade'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.
  • Tainted by the Preview:
    • The reveal that the female designs were going to be Tamer and Chaster, which continued the trend from MKX. This was heavily discussed, especially in light of some developer statements regarding design realism.
    • Mileena's exclusion from the roster annoyed many fans. The reveal of Kitana showed that she was given her sai and some of her moves, like her teleport kick.
    • 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. Further criticism followed when employee complaints of the mental toll taken on them from extended viewing of reference material for the game's gore effects surfaced.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Hsu Hao:
      • One of Erron's intros has him present Hsu Hao's head, a character who is widely hated by both the fans and the creators.
      • Surprisingly enough, this actually gets subverted with Joker's arcade ending where he forms a new squad. Considering that Hsu Hao is put next to the likes of Havik and Mileena, that's a pretty high accomplishment for him.
      • Hsu Hao gets hit with this again in the following exchange:
    Fujin: There is nothing here for you. Begone.
    Kano: Rack off, Raiden Lite.
    Fujin: Have it your way, Hsu Hao.
    • Sindel was hated when this game retconned her into being Evil All Along, so it's satisfying to see her not only be outplayed by Shang Tsung in Aftermath, but have her soul stolen and reduced to a lifeless husk.
    • An tower consumable named Kobra's Gloves has a description that says your blows will suck. In context it means that each hit will force an opponent to come closer to you but the wording made it clear that this is a jab at Kobra.
    • According to the Krypt, Drahmin escaped the Netherrealm and tried to return to Shao Kahn as his loyal enforcer. Instead, he was unwelcomed in Outworld and was unceremoniously killed off by Shao Kahn.
  • That One Level: The Tower known as "Arkham's Best". Think fighting the Joker is bad? How about fighting five other opponents before him?
  • The Woobie: Kitana gets it particularly bad in the Aftermath expansion. She finally gets reunited with Sindel, who turns out to be Evil All Along, and not only betrays the poor girl, but beats her up, has her boyfriend crippled, and forced on her knees and made to watch as the very man she fought to free Outworld takes over once more.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Players who enjoyed the fast-paced combo-oriented gameplay of the previous two games have expressed dissatisfaction with the switch to a more pressure oriented style.
    • Tricia Helfer being replaced with Ronda Rousey as Sonya Blade, a casting change that is considered a step down and controversial thanks to Ronda Rousey's polarizing image.
    • Quite a few fans have expressed disappointment at the fact that Raiden no longer yells his famous gibberish when performing his Electric Fly move.
    • A press release revealed Sindel's bio, which revealed that she was retconned from a tragic character to a evil, power hungry dominatrix. Many fans expressed anger at NetherRealm for the massively negative change in her character. Her arcade ending flat out retcons it as well into being that she lied to both her people and Kitana about the situation, which made things worse for fans as what was once a tragic Anti-Villain was now a Hate Sink who married Shao Kahn to save herself and tries to seduce everyone with no characterization beyond that. One could think that this is an Adaptational Villainy case where the writers tried to justify on how Sindel could murder the majority of the heroes without remorse in MK9 without treading the past timeline where she was much more sympathetic, but because they didn't address the fact her death in Mortal Kombat 9 created a barrier that prevented Shao Kahn from invading, it comes across as a lazy attempt. A writer later admitted that the retcon came more from not wanting to keep her "tragic abused trophy wife" backstory, and believes that making her an Evil All Along Visionary Villain makes her a more interesting character, but it's widely seen as backfiring. This new characterization was cemented in the Aftermath expansion as she's reveals herself as a major antagonist during the story.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Outside of Frost, none of the characters introduced in Deadly Alliance and Deception were brought back for this game.
    • The Stinger of MKX sets up hints that Raiden (now as Dark Raiden) was straying towards becoming a Knight Templar, building him up as a possible secondary antagonist for the next game, and this game's prologue starts out with him being uncharacteristically callous and obsessed with destroying Netherrealm. He ends up as an Advertised Extra who gets erased when the time periods are merged, thus nothing comes of it after the younger Raiden is brought into the timeline, apart from him expressing nervousness over the possibility.
    • 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.
    • 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. This is fixed in the Aftermath expansion where the older Erron gets more to do, but he still disappears after his fight with Sheeva.
    • The Kollector appears in Chapter 2 as Shao Kahn's previous greed-driven tribute collector, ready to be executed by Kotal Kahn. After the time merger, nothing else about his backstory with Shao Kahn comes after that; it doesn't help that, unlike Skarlet who was portrayed with a deeper backstory with Shao Kahn, Kollector's character is only comprised of his greed.
    • Shinnok is reduced to just a head, but he's still around on an altar in the Bone Temple. For that matter, his amulet is still in Raiden's possession. However, once the intro ends Shinnok plays no role in the unfolding story, and the corruption of Shinnok's amulet means Raiden avoids using it for most of the story and when he eventually does, it's very briefly.
  • 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/acknowledged 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 Armageddon 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.
    • The rivalry between Scorpion and Noob Saibot is not mentioned at all, even with their interaction in story mode. Many have pointed out that Noob could have appeared during Scorpion's solo chapter and be the one to kill Hanzo, serving as the embodiment of the latter's biggest mistake coming back to bite him. Having seen where his path of vengeance could end, which would add more motivation for his Heel–Face Turn, the revenant Scorpion avenges his future counterpart, thus starting his path to redemption.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • Scorpion has again shot himself to the top of the tier lists, thanks to his Spear and Teleport moves making it all but impossible to keep away from him, while also being able to amplify both to start a combo up from any range. Due to Scorpion's smaller selection of moves this time around, expect both to be spammed constantly.
    • Erron Black is even more spam-happy that Scorpion, thanks to having a rifle that he can fire shot at after shot with that he can reload at will anytime his opponent is zoned out. Even worse are his slide and drop kick, with hit low and overhead respectively and have similar start-up animations, forcing players not paying close enough attention to guess which move he's going for or get hit. And if you guess wrong and block low, the drop kick is a Crushing Blow. It's a common tactic online to just spam these two moves endlessly to cheese rounds, causing many players to groan when they see their opponent pick Black.
    • For a variety of reasons, Shao Kahn has been unanimously seen as the single worst character in the game by a huge margin, bordering on Memetic Loser. In comparison with other initially negatively viewed characters such as Kollector and D'Vorah that eventually found success, Shao Kahn has earned a spot for himself on every professional tier list as the absolute worst character with no competitive results whatsoever in the game's entire lifespan.
  • 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". Her Friendship, in which, after skating on ice for a while, she starts spinning her entire body while her head is completely still makes her look surprisingly creepy.
    • A patch has allowed Kabal's Screamer Brutality to be uncensored and the results show cartoony eyes popping out, making it look completely freaky.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The game has mechanics that allow players to tag in and out of matches and call other fighters in for assist attacks... and both are exclusive to the Towers of Time mode. Players hoping for the two-on-two matches from MK9 to make a comeback are in for a disappointment.
  • 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 Gear items such as one of Cassie's pistols and as the owner of the mocha company Cassie gets her drink from in an intro. He even makes a larger cameo as one of the people Cassie can text with in her fourth 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, No Face 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. Special mention goes to No Face, as the comics relating to the series have also refused to use him, unlike the other two.
    • Hydro from the Malibu comics appears as an assist, despite having never appeared in the games.
    • Meat appears as an assist, making his first appearance since Armageddon. Additionally, two trade items in the Krypt are mentioned to belong to Jarek, who also hadn’t been mentioned in the games since Armageddon bar an appearance in the comics for MKX.
    • Havik, Hsu Hao, and Milenna (as well as Hotaru, who gets killed) cameo in Joker's arcade ending as members of his new squad.
    • While it was well known that there would be guest characters in the second wave of DLC fighters, no one expected RoboCop to appear in the game. Even more unexpected being Peter Weller reprising the role.
  • 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."
    • In the Aftermath expansion, Shao Kahn fares no better. One would think that when allying himself with one of the most untrustworthy characters in the entire franchise (Shang Tsung), that both he and Sindel would know better than to turn their backs for even a second on him, especially after witnessing his ascension in power in person. That is exactly what they do, and they wind up dying in the most horrible way imaginable.
    • For the entire first half of Aftermath, the mere sight of Shang Tsung causes vital negotiations to immediately turn hostile and enemies to reshape their plans to account for his escape. And yet instead of wearing a permanent disguise, or simply hiding and letting the more trustworthy Fujin and Nightwolf handle the talking, Shang Tsung insists on showing his face to everyone and making their quest far more difficult.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Ronda Rousey as Sonya is a questionable choice for some. The general consensus is that while her performance isn't outright bad, her delivery is very wooden and she stands out compared to the other voice actors, who all have either great performances, or, if new, give a good performance as the characters.
    • The Dimitri Vegas costume for Sub-Zero. The costume itself isn't bad, but the voice acting is considered to be absolutely horrendous, so much so that many fans no longer consider Ronda Rousey to be the worst member of the voice cast. His "It's like looking in a mirror" line stands out as being the best example, especially compared to Sub-Zero's normal voice actor, Steve Blum, who has played him for several games now.
    • Chris Cox, the Terminator's voice actor. While many don't consider him a bad voice actor and he does a decent impression of the Terminator, some still wish that Arnold Schwarzenegger voiced him here instead, especially since they managed to get Peter Weller for RoboCop. It's especially unfortunate as Schwarzenegger did end up lending his own voice to another character of his, Dutch, in Predator: Hunting Grounds.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • Skarlet's default costume is this for some. While many fans were eager to see Skarlet return as a part of the main roster, it is doubtful they were wanting her to come back looking like a mix between Lawrence of Arabia and Amelia Earhart. For many it comes across as looking silly, out of character, and as if NetherRealm was trying way too hard to compensate for her Stripperiffic design from MK9.
    • Cassie's skins were criticized for consisting nearly entirely of military-style flight suits. Though it makes sense for her to have such outfits, given that she's a Military Brat, her fans also expressed disappointment at the lack of more casual clothing options, which she had in MKX, which could highlight the "rebellious teen" aspect of her character. Even Jacqui here noticeably has her don a modified ballgown to serve as a change of pace from her usual military fatigues. This would be addressed when Cassie got new outfits via DLC.
    • The female outfits in general are this for many fans. Ignoring the Tamer and Chaster design philosophy, there are those who feel that the costumes the female characters have are overall too samey and generic, especially in comparison to the male costumes.
    • Joker's appearance in the Kombat Pack trailer raised more than a few eyebrows among fans, with many saying he looked much too young and handsome to come across as a credible interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime and came across as someone cosplaying as the Joker instead. However, some believe this is Truer to the Text compared to Injustice 2's version of the Joker, in that this one wears the usual Badass Longcoat with an undershirt compared to just the former. These concerns were alleviated following his teaser at the Game Awards, where his in-game face was shown to look far closer to his comic book counterpart.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report