Does Mortal Kombat 11 on Nintendo Switch hold up compared to PS4, Xbox One?

WB Games, NetherRealm Studios
WB Games, NetherRealm Studios /

Returning to a Nintendo system for the first time in over a decade, Mortal Kombat’s latest entry is impressive on Switch, but it has a few near-fatal flaws.

Mortal Kombat 11‘s initial world premiere was met with universal praise, hype and a big question after its reveal in December:

“Wait, there’s a Switch version?”

Why yes, there absolutely is.

Until now, Nintendo’s system hasn’t really had its share of third-party, AAA fighting games and it was unclear if such a thing could exist on the platform. Let alone a Mortal Kombat game, which hasn’t released a Nintendo since the days of the Wii with Armageddon.

In short, Shiver Entertainment’s port of Mortal Kombat 11  shatters any expectation of a subpar gameplay package on the system. However, it’s when you dive a little deeper that you begin to notice a few cracks and a few particular flaws that could ultimately be seen as deal-breakers for some.

Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way first, though; the game is clearly at a visual disadvantage when compared to the other systems. This was to be expected, and a lack of textures, lighting and detail in characters and stages are all pretty apparent upon glancing at it for more than a couple of minutes whether you’re on the TV or on the go.

It’s by no means atrocious or hard to look at, though. All of the bloody, violent goodness of Fatal Blows, Fatalities and Brutalities all still look great, and the game generally feels well-optimized for the Switch if you can handle how it looks. Here’s how handheld mode looks, captured from the system’s screenshot capture feature:

Mortal Kombat 11
WB Games, NetherRealm Studios /

There’s also a minor issue with the main menus, particularly in handheld mode, where things look pixelated to the point where it’s noticeable. It also happens in docked mode, but it’s a bit harder to notice. Playing through story mode is also pretty jarring. Cutscenes are scaled down to 720p (to match the system’s resolution), and the transition between them and gameplay can take a little getting used to.

Whether you’re in the lab with a character, playing online or against a friend on the couch or running through towers, the game is actually on par with the other versions in terms of performance.

The trade-off, however, comes with performance. Despite the visual shortcomings, gameplay in both handheld and docked modes run at a smooth 60 frames-per-second. Whether you’re in the lab with a character, playing online or against a friend on the couch or running through towers, the game is actually on par with the other versions in terms of performance.

This is especially impressive in handheld mode, too. The game supports single Joy-Con play, meaning you can take it anywhere or hand one off for some quick versus matches. This also makes it even easier to get in some matches or practice on a plane, on vacation or even at work. Actually, you might want to reconsider playing something like Mortal Kombat at work.

It also comes fully featured with all of the other modes Mortal Kombat 11 provides. Towers, The Krypt and the Custom Character Variation system are all present and accounted for in the Switch version. It’s not all roses in terms of features, though. Individual character tutorials are still unavailable as of this writing, which is especially frustrating when you consider the free skin you get by completing each one.

More from App Trigger

It also shares the big problem of progression that its counterparts have, which NetherRealm have already addressed and have promised to fix very soon. Whether or not it arrives that quickly for Switch and PC owners, however, is undetermined. There are some smaller features missing in both versions as well, making one wonder just how far behind updates are going to be.

Even with that, the Switch’s advantage of portability is completely stifled by the Towers of Time and The Krypt. Because getting unlockables like skins, gear items or in-game currency is powered by a server, it requires an online connection and makes those modes inaccessible when away from Wi-Fi and on the go.

Klassic Towers and other local modes are still available away from the internet, but won’t give out any rewards for completion. There’s also the matter of custom variations being tied only to the first player in a local match, meaning that whoever is player two is stuck with one of the two default variations and looks for each of the 25 characters. This is an issue that the other versions have as well, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

Related Story. Best Nintendo Switch games. light

Honestly, things like this could be seen as a deal-breakers for those wanting to take a chance on the Switch version. It’s already made people wary of wanting to support a big fighting game like this coming to the system, and these issues actually make it difficult to recommend … at least right now. It’s disappointing because what’s at the surface is actually an impressive port and as if it hasn’t been said a million times already, a bloody good time.