Mortal Kombat 1 – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade, Fighting
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
Platform: PC, PS5, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PC

Mortal Kombat 1 – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Animations, Simple to learn to basics, Story mode
Bad: You need a fairly powerful PC for this one
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Having experienced the release of the first Mortal Kombat game in 1992, it can make one feel old. Nonetheless, we reckon this series has ensured many cherished (blood-soaked) memories between friends and siblings since the start of the series. Now, more than three decades later, the franchise is still coming up with new releases and this aptly named Mortal Kombat 1 serves as both a sequel to Mortal Kombat 11 and as a reboot. We were eager to see so many familiar faces again, albeit in an alternate setting.

Story

Mortal Kombat 1 is a reboot of sorts, as it seems that we go back to the early days of the Mortal Kombat tournament, with many familiar faces we saw in the previous titles. This time, however, the conditions have slightly changed, and all characters are slightly different from the ones we got to know over the course of three decades. Liu Kang is now Earthrealm’s protector, and he is gathering champions to fight in the Mortal Kombat Tournament, which is held in Outworld. Outworld is a strange realm that is not known by most humans, and the Tournaments serve as a way to maintain the paper-thin alliance between Earthrealm and Outworld. You’ll play with a cast of well-known warriors to come out victorious and hopefully keep Earthrealm safe for a while longer.

The story value of this MK entry is off the charts. Not only is the plot itself very engaging and interesting, but the new character introductions also evoke a lot of feelings of nostalgia, and it truly felt as if we were playing a Mortal Kombat adventure for the first time again. Even if you’re a competitive player, we suggest playing through the story as well, as it’s definitely worth it.

Graphics

Graphically, Mortal Kombat 1 is an impressive-looking game. We loved the new original character designs that looked familiar but still different enough for this so-called reboot. The animations are fluid, and the new special moves have never looked better. This new entry is perhaps a bit less bombastic than the previous entries in the series, as everything looks a bit more timid again in terms of character designs. Don’t fret, however, as the game is still filled to the brim with gore, and some special moves may leave sensitive viewers a bit queasy.

When playing through the story mode, the transitions between story segments and the actual battles are done in quite a seamless fashion. We thoroughly enjoyed the cinematic quality of this MK iteration, and we feel as if every new entry takes things to the next level. The set design is also handled with an eye for detail, and as fights progress you’ll see the fighters get visible wounds and even the environment can get covered in blood.

Overall performance on PC is decent, but you’ll need a fairly up-to-date rig to run Mortal Kombat 1 smoothly. We noticed on our system, which was well within the recommended specs, that we were submitted to long loading times and the occasional stutter in story sequences.

Sound

NetherRealm Studios has truly nailed the audiovisual presentation for this one. Not only does the game look great, but it also sounds like a proper spectacle. If you’re only playing the regular versus modes, offline or online, you’ll miss the cinematic qualities of the main story that are supported by amazing voice work. Long gone are the days of cheesy voice acting for games such as this, as Mortal Kombat 1 truly allows you to kick back and enjoy a movie-like story mode. Of course, as this is still a fighting game, it’s imperative that punches and kicks have a proper oomph to them, and MK1 delivers on this front as well. Every sound effect provides great feedback for the onscreen action, and the audio of the special moves and simple voiced lines during matches sound crisp and appealing.

Gameplay

Unsurprisingly, Mortal Kombat 1 is a competitive fighting game first and foremost, albeit with a very expansive story mode you can play through if you prefer solo play. The game’s offset is very straightforward, as you simply choose the mode you wish to play and then you duke it out in an arena. The classic MK formula is still intact in this reboot, and we came to grips with the special moves and mechanics fairly quickly. Of course, things have been modernized, and there are many finer mechanics to master, but all in all, this is an authentic Mortal Kombat experience without too many bells and whistles.

For the most part, Mortal Kombat 1 sticks to the tried-and-true formula of previous games, and it’s easy to get the hang of things. The moves never get overly complicated, and you can easily string together a combo or two when you practice a bit. When playing online, however, you’re in for a rude awakening if you’re not one to invest a lot of time in games such as this. Nonetheless, if you follow through, you’ll clearly see an improvement in skill, and you’ll find the experience to be very rewarding. This iteration of Mortal Kombat adds support characters, much like a tag-team partner. These characters can perform a few moves, and they can also interrupt an opponent’s combo. This system adds a fun new mechanic to the hectic battles.

Truth be told, even when picking different modes, it’s still all about winning fights. The game also rewards you with currency, which you can use to purchase cosmetic upgrades for the cast of warriors. This is an amusing addition, but it doesn’t add that much value to the overall package. We liked the roster of available fighters, but we were somewhat disappointed to see some more famous warriors being sidelined by simply being support characters in this game.

Conclusion

Mortal Kombat 1 is a successful reboot in our books, and we thoroughly enjoyed developing our fighting skills against local or online players, but we were even more surprised by the quality of the story. Even for those looking for a multiplayer challenge, we can wholeheartedly recommend playing through the story first. That being said, Mortal Kombat 1 is a very accessible fighting game that has a lot of finer mechanics that allow you to keep improving your skills. If you’re a newcomer to the genre, you’ll probably still have a tough time facing veteran players, but getting a few wins after some practice is a very rewarding experience. If you’re looking for one of the best fighting games of the current generation, we suggest checking this one out.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Mortal Kombat 1 - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

3 Comments

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