Through its Story Mode, Mortal Kombat 11 addresses a long standing problem in fighting games while still addressing its long developing narrative.

*Spoilers Ahead*

In its most recent entries, the Mortal Kombat series has been playing with alternate timelines to bring older characters back into the mix. Though I hope you play the games, the quick summary is this:

At the end of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Raiden realizes that he has royally screwed the pooch on this whole defending reality thing, and sends a message back to Raiden from Mortal Kombat with a message that he doesn’t totally get and things start to get screwed up again.  This game becomes a retelling of the Mortal Kombat Trilogy era with some new twists.

But that’s great.

This return to klassic fighters allows for the right amount of nostalgia. All of the new and surprising turns in the story make this more than just a rehash. You just never know who’ll make it out alive. This is continued in Mortal Kombat X, which takes this new timeline as an opportunity to change the future of the franchise, even adding in children of some of the original fighters. It was cool twist on the path set out by Mortal Kombat 4. By game’s end, it truly had fans wondering what would be next.

Mortal Kombat 11 brings our heroes into conflict with a god of time (yes, I’m simplifying this). Thankfully, this god of time brings back some of the dead to do her bidding and allows us to play with some unexpected favorites. I love the use of the device here as, regardless of story, most fighting game fans are just looking for the next opportunity to use their favorites. Time travel is great device for this genre, and it doesn’t end there. What is eventually established through the story is that there are endless alternate timelines, all of which spawned for the amusement of the evil Kronika. She is the greatest villain ever to torture the Kombatants.

Kronika is us.

Mortal Kombat 11 addresses the oldest problem in fighting game storylines. No matter how much the faithful enjoy the canon explanations, at the end of the day, a fighting game will contradict itself much more than staying in line. That’s because the player’s enjoyment relies largely on the ability to match different character in battle, whether or not they’re friendly. In Mortal Kombat 11, you can have a character violently murder their friends and relatives. Unlike every other fighter, you now have an explanation of why.

There are endless possibilities being controlled by a devious god.

There, every fight you’ve ever had in any Mortal Kombat game now makes sense. Awesome.

Actually, if you beat story mode, you learn that Liu Kang finally fulfills his destiny and stops Kronika, becoming a time god himself. That’s right, now Kang will control reality.

Fire God Liu Kang

For some reason I don’t think this is going to work out any better.