Everyone has their favorite fighting game series, and Street Fighter has long been mine. As a young girl, I regarded Mortal Kombat as an edgelord usurper when it hit arcades and home consoles. When all my friends were talking breathlessly about Mortal Kombat's Fatalities and buckets of stupid-looking blood, I sat in a corner with my SNES and threw sullen Sonic Booms at one computer-based opponent after another.
I've since grown up some, and so has Mortal Kombat (which, I realized after some time, never expected anyone to take its blood-splashing seriously. Didn't stop '90s politicians, of course). The (retro) Street Fighter series is still my fighter of choice, so I'm not very good at Mortal Kombat. But I was still able to appreciate how surprisingly well Mortal Kombat 11 runs on the Switch, even if I was just button-mashing my way through the experience as Johnny Cage (who else would I pick, really? What's that? "Sub Zero?" Get outta town).
The PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One versions of Mortal Kombat 11 are being developed by NetherRealm Studios, but the Switch version is being handled by Shiver Entertainment. I was told by a NetherRealm representative that NetherRealm is closely monitoring Shiver's work. I only got a couple of one-on-one fights in, but it's clear NetherRealm is keeping a watchful eye on the Switch version's progress. During my playtime, I didn't notice any drops below 60 frames per second; everything appears smooth and clean to a degree I'm honestly not used to with triple-A games on the Switch. I did notice some jaggy character outlines during the brief scenes where the fighters size each other up right before a fight, but it quickly cleared up when the battle began in earnest.
I was also told there aren't any compromises content-wise, either. The extensive customization options present in the other versions of the game is supposed to be there, as is the lengthy story campaign filled with movie scenes and stuff about time travel. Seems like an appropriate theme given how most of the characters have retro costume options (Johnny Cage's very loud '90s jacket is mwah).
Obviously, the version of Mortal Kombat 11 on Switch I played isn't the version you're going to find on the shelf. There was only a handful of characters and stages available, so there's still a chance that everything will explode like a heart liberated from its ribcage by Kano. Knowing that, I still walked away from the Mortal Kombat 11 Switch demo feeling quite impressed. If development keeps up to the early standard set by NetherRealm and Shiver, the Switch version of Mortal Kombat 11 might wind up being nearly indistinguishable from the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One versions. I look forward to seeing the final product—and Digital Foundry's inevitable breakdown of every pixel and shadow.
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