Developer NetherRealms has a history of pushing the envelope for cinematic visuals in fighting games – and Mortal Kombat 11 is no exception, delivering a spectacular experience on all consoles. The physically-based lighting and facial capture tech of Injustice 2 returns, this time put to work with some gruesome fatalities and bone-crunching close-ups. PS4 and Xbox One machines of all flavours deliver an accomplished presentation, but with this latest franchise entry, a new handheld contender enters the fray – and MK11 on Switch delivers a surprisingly strong conversion.
As you may expect, NetherRealms’ latest achieves good image quality on base consoles with the expected resolution boosts in place for their enhanced equivalents – but it’s the nature of the Switch port that’s perhaps most interesting. Conversions such as Warframe, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus and Doom 2016 have relied on cutting frame-rate as well as visual fidelity to get the job done – 60fps experiences pared back to 30fps on Switch. Mortal Kombat 11 is impressive because although the foundation Unreal Engine tech is enabled for Nintendo’s hybrid, the game wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t run at the required 60fps. Somehow, this port manages to get the job done.
There are some obvious concessions: the PS4 and Xbox One versions all weigh in with a 40GB footprint, wheres the Switch download is 22.6GB. Most of that can be owed to the cut in texture map resolution and the quality of pre-rendered videos. Still, it’s a remarkable feat of engineering to see this version at all. As with Unreal Engine games in the vein of Rocket League or Fortnite, this is mechanically the same experience, but arguably, it’s the closest port of a PS4 or Xbox One-level game to Nintendo’s hybrid console to date – Cuphead apart.