Mortal Kombat 11 changes the way you perform enhanced moves and I'm not so sure I like it

Every move that can be amplified has its own different enhance input

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • January 21, 2019 at 7:48 a.m. PST

Updated: Added a quote from Ed Boon on the matter and edited the story to reflect what was said.

Earlier: Last week, fans were treated to the incredibly exciting Mortal Kombat 11 reveal event that took place in both Los Angeles and London. NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. put on an excellent show, with live streams broadcasting all of the major announcements and festivities that went down at each location.

I was fortunate enough to get hands-on time with the first publicly playable build of Mortal Kombat 11, and after several hours of game time, one of the most prominent mechanics that stood out to me and left a lasting impression was the new "amplify" system.

Essentially, amplifying a special move is similar to what we've seen in past Mortal Kombat games and also in the Injustice series — though it was called "enhance" and "meter burn," respectively. Mortal Kombat 11's amplify system makes an important change to pulling off these EX moves, and to be perfectly honest, I'm not too sure that I'm a fan.

In order to pull off an amplified version of a special move, you'll have to learn what unique input initiates it for each attack. For Scorpion's Spear, you'll need to hit Back Punch to amplify, but his Hellport requires an up and Front Kick input to make it enhanced.

In previous NRS fighting games, these beefed up special moves were performed by hitting a single button after inputting the attack or hitting the button simultaneously with the face button that activates the special move. Think something like down, forward, front punch + block for an enhanced fireball.

With every character in Mortal Kombat 11 having a different input for each of their amplify-able special moves, another layer is added to the learning curve. While a more intricate combat system in a fighting game isn't necessarily a bad thing, it feels like making this aspect a bit more complicated is more of a chore than anything.

In the thick of things, I can tell you that stopping the action to check out the move list for an amplified input fairly frequently was tedious and annoying. Requiring the memorization of two to four extra inputs for seven different characters hurt the "pick up and play" aspect of Mortal Kombat 11, especially for someone new to the game.

Things get even hairier when you consider that what I just described was only for the first variation for each fighter. The playable demo allowed attendees to try out three custom loadouts per character, each with one or two different special moves — many of them with the amplify ability.

Jumping into the character customization mode revealed even more selectable special moves, meaning you had what felt like around 10 or so different special moves per character.

Amplified special moves in Mortal Kombat 11 image #1
Click images for larger versions

With time, I'm sure that learning the various inputs for your favorite characters will happen naturally and won't be as much of an issue. However, considering the vast amount of elements that already go into customizing and creating a version of a character that is unique, it feels as though the way in which you perform amplified moves in Mortal Kombat 11 right now is more work than it should be and adds an unnecessary level of complexity to something that already worked well.

This change goes hand-in-hand with the new separation of resources. Two different meters are now used for offense moves (amplified moves utilize this bar) and defense moves, and Fatal Blows (X-Ray attacks) are now their own feature and become accessible when a player's life hits 30% or lower.

It's worth noting that things could change as Mortal Kombat 11 is still in development. Fortunately, Creative Director at NetherRealm Studios, Ed Boon, spoke about the new inputs for enhanced moves in an interview with GameInformer.

"That’s still in flux," Boon said about the change. "We’re in a bit of experimentation and such. Me personally? I want to keep them as simple as possible.

"I don’t want the barrier of entry to be being able to do something that’s really difficult. I’d like it, ideally, if they were all across the board simple. The barrier shouldn’t be, 'do you have the dexterity to do this?' it should be 'Can you think of the right thing at the right time?'"

Boon went on to say that the design team's idea for these new inputs was to match up more closely with what is happening on screen. He notes that they are still working on things, though.

Mortal Kombat 11 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 23rd.

Thanks to SnakeX for pointing us in the direction of the interview.

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