You're not logged in | Login / Register | News Filter | Submit News

Mileena Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate review: A glorious return but be ready to commit if you want to play her properly

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • November 19, 2020 at 7:15 p.m. PST • Comments: 14

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is now in the hands of the masses, but if Ed Boon's Twitter feed is any indicator, all fans care about right now is Mileena. The classic, ravenous ninja is back in full form in Mortal Kombat 11, and there's a lot to love here for old and new Mileena heads.

I've gone ahead and spent some time playing as Kitana's ferocious sister in Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, and what I've found is that she definitely looks, sounds, and plays the way you'd want Mileena to. Having said that, she comes with drawbacks that will make playing her difficult for those who aren't fans of commitment.

Cutting right to the chase, Mileena looks fantastic in Mortal Kombat 11. The highly detailed graphics style suits all of the fighter's bloody, limb-tearing antics quite well, and her updated design is a welcome one to the long line of various Mileena looks over the years.

She's ravenous, feral, and intense, and her animations do a strong job of really bringing her savage personality to life while sassy and seductive lines of dialogue allow the beauty to emerge from within the beast. There are small things, such as the way her hair looks when flipped upside during one of her win poses, that don't look all that great, but given how well features such as her gnashing, bloody set of teeth really pop in-game, those things remain minor nitpicks.

Mileena's arsenal is one that fans of past iterations will find familiar. At her core, you'll find sai projectiles, rolls, and teleport kicks that will make you feel right at home with the legacy kombatant.

Her three tournament-viable variations introduce unique tools, however, and really let you turn the dial on what kind of playstyle you want to opt for. If you want more of a zoning/counter zoning Mileena, you've got it. Want to rushdown all day? You've got that too.

Essentially, Mileena wants to either fight from fullscreen away or right up in the opponent's grill. She is most effective when she is directly on top of her prey, and she'll want to zone until she gets the proper opportunity to close that distance.

Her shortcomings rear their heads in the form of her lack of range and a requirement to commit to your actions, however. Veteran Mileena players likely won't pay this much mind as it's par for the course with the fighter, but newcomers looking to learn her for the first time may find it difficult to establish their footing.

Mileena's fastest normals that act as some of her main party starters have very short range, and even combo strings such as 2, 3, 3 can see a big whiff after a jump in if you're not careful. She does have tools from further out that can help her fight from outside of optimal range, but they tend to be slower on start up and require conditioning of the opponent with her close range attacks to get them in play.

When Mileena gets going, her high/low game can be really tough for the opponent to deal with. Attacks like back + 4 act as a fairly fast overhead that is safe on block and knocks down, while back + 3 is a low that is special cancellable and can be continued with 4 for a safe string if you're not confident on the confirm.

But there lies a clear example of where Mileena just has to commit. Much like her Kombat Kast explained, if you want to fire into a full combo from back + 3, you're going to just have to believe in your button placement and hope that it hit as you cancel into her ball special move. Weighing the risk and reward of your potential conversions will play a large part in your success with MK11 Mileena.

While tournament variation 1 is more of what you'd expect out of classic, counter zoning Mileena, and variation 2 is full-on rushdown with command throws, I found myself gravitating more toward the third option. Tournament preset #3 gives a bit of a mixture of both of its predecessors, but also adds a new sai slide special move that tosses her blade into the ground and sees it move across the floor before shooting upward.

"Essentially, Mileena wants to either fight from fullscreen away or right up in the opponent's grill. She is most effective when she is directly on top of her prey, and she'll want to zone until she gets the proper opportunity to close that distance."

This attack can be held to travel further before sprouting up, and using this in different ways makes for interesting screen control and mix up capabilities. Cancelling into sai slide from forward + 4, for example, moves Mileena back and can cover the space where the opponent would naturally want to step forward in this situation. If they block it, she can amplify the attack and have the sai come shooting back down on top of her foe's head, which leads to a stagger and follow up attack if it hits as a Krushing Blow.

During my time spent with Mileena, I couldn't help but feel like she was more limited in the combo department than I expected. Bread and butter strings don't seem to leave much room for varied enders, she doesn't have any combo strings that pop the opponent up and allow her to juggle, and I found myself wishing her strings that leave her airborne could be cancelled into air teleport kick for a big finish.

Having said that, it's clear that this decision was made to keep with the commitment motif. You've chosen to play as a wild, savage of a ninja who wants to rip her victims apart. Once you get in range, your foot is on the gas pedal and you can't let up until the opponent is a bloody mess.

Closing thoughts: Mileena is finally back and she has certainly made a glorious return. The classic pink ninja looks great, is oozing with personality, and brings forth a nice mixture of old and new tricks for fans to enjoy.

While veteran Mileena players will likely be able to hop into the driver's seat and feel right at home, those looking to learn her for the first time might struggle with her commitment-based playstyle. Couple this with the short range on some of her main normal attacks and you have a character that can be difficult to get moving, but feels oh so satisfying when all of the pieces come together.

Load comments (14)