Since 1992, the Mortal Kombat franchise has been entertaining gamers with its intense game play and cartoonish violence. While it has seen its fair share of ups and downs, the brand has been on the upswing recently. Even so, those in charge of the property have fumbled the ball on a few occasions.
As a celebration of everything done right and an acknowledgement of where it could be better, the following list will detail the five best things to happen to Mortal Kombat in this decade, and the five worst. Fortunately, even the most horrid happenings aren't half as bad as Mortal Kombat Special Forces or Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.
10 Worst: Nitara Announced For The Movie
It has yet to be seen if the new Mortal Kombat film adaptation will be a plus for the franchise or not, but our fingers are crossed for something at least on par with Paul W.S. Anderson's 1995 romp. The announcement of Nitara comes off as a small disappointment, however.
The lore is filled with dozens upon dozens of characters, and a movie only has room for so many. A character like Nitara in the run time means an iconic character fans desperately want will be left by the wayside. Fortunately, Joe Taslim of The Raid and The Night Comes for Us is on board to play Sub-Zero, which provides a hint to how visceral the combat will be.
9 Best: Reboot
2011's Mortal Kombat rebooted the franchise in a clever way that still acknowledges the past games as cannon. It also eschewed the 3D game play of the last several entries, instead restricting the fights to a two-dimensional plane. Bringing it all back home was the right move, and the game received universal praise from critics and fans.
The unique story mode, while not the first MK game to utilize it, helped attach players to the roster in a way like never before. The series was on shaky ground in the early aughts, but the 2011 title helped it regain footing.
8 Worst: Ronda Rousey As Sonya Blade
We've got nothing against Ronda Rousey. In fact, she's pretty darn cool and inspiring. Unfortunately, her turn as Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11 left much to be desired.
During the story mode, hard-hitting emotional moments fall flat, and her introductions before battles all feel like they were done in one take with little enthusiasm. When compared to seasoned veterans of the craft like Troy Baker, Jennifer Hale, and Steve Blum, her performance suffers even more.
7 Best: Mortal Kombat 11's Krypt
The Krypt has been a mainstay of the series since Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. The unique method of unlocking secrets steadily evolved with each entry, and Mortal Kombat 11's version feels like a separate game.
Players get to explore Shang Tsung's island in its entirety. It's not merely a shell, either. The area is brimming with easter eggs and secrets. Activating chests no longer feels like a chore as every opportunity to open up new parts of the map leaves players in awe and wonder.
6 Worst: Getting Rid Of Tag Team Battles
Mortal Kombat 2011 allowed for tag team battles where four players battled in teams of two. Through the press of a button, friends swapped places, allowing for respite from the action. It was a great way to share the enjoyment among four people without anyone needing to wait for a match's conclusion.
For some reason, this feature never came back for the sequels. According to the developers, the feature wasn't popular enough to warrant its return. Would it really take that many resources to put it in there to please the players that do use it? Apparently so, sadly.
5 Best: Mortal Kombat: Legacy Season 1
The web-series Mortal Kombat: Legacy was a pleasant surprise. It was a more grounded look at the universe featuring some familiar faces in roles. Michael Jai White from Black Dynamite plays Jax Briggs, and Jerry Ryan from Star Trek: Voyager, plays Sonya Blade.
Director Kevin Tancharoen previously did music videos and the remake of Fame, skills which translated surprisingly well to fight choreography.
4 Worst: Mortal Kombat: Legacy Season 2
Season one of the web-series hyped people up for the continuation. Unfortunately, the sophomore effort fumbled the ball in more ways than one. The cast went through major changes, with only a few actors reprising their roles, and the episodes simply didn't have the same energy.
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa came back as Shang Tsung for the first time since the 1995 movie, but a smart casting decision cannot save a bad show. Sadly, this was the end for the series, leaving it off with a whimper instead of a bang.
3 Best: Four Years Between Games
There is such a thing as too many games. One wants a franchise to keep breathing, but overcrowding can damage a brand. Ed Boon and his team were pumping out on Mortal Kombat game a year for a short time two generations ago.
Eventually, the series went into a small hiatus before coming back full force in 2011. Since then, only two sequels have emerged, each four years apart. This cycle gives the story and game time to relax before building up hype for a new entry. Fans of NetherRealm Studios don't have to wait an eternity for the developer's next game, though, since the Injustice games come in the meantime.
2 Worst: Mortal Kombat 11's Loot System
Mortal Kombat 11 has the series' most refined combat to date. Unfortunately, much of this goodness was overshadowed by the controversial loot system.
Every character had countless customization options all unlocked at random. When one wants a particular item, they have to play until they happen upon it. Given the sheer amount of unlockable content, this will take forever. There's no way to simply buy the desired piece with real money, either, so it's not like they are banking on microtransactions, though a similar system is also in place with the Time Crystals.
1 Best: Making The Characters Older
Mortal Kombat X takes place many years in the future. Seeing famous characters like Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, and Jax Briggs age is a rarity in the medium. Franchises like to keep their characters forever young. As the medium grows more popular, so do the fans.
When the characters in their favorite games go through a similar process, it helps make them more relatable. Just because they are older doesn't mean they cannot pull off a sick fatality anymore, either. Mortal Kombat 11's time travel plot took things a step further by having the older versions interact with their younger selves.