Mortal Kombat 1

Get over here! The iconic Mortal Kombat franchise which has sold more than 80 million games over the past 30 years is reborn with Mortal Kombat 1. Developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros, this latest installment breathes fresh life into the series, providing an exhilarating experience for both longtime fans and newcomers.

Let’s take a look at what makes Mortal Kombat 1 one of my favourite fighting games

Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat 1 Details

Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC
Developer(s): NetherRealm Studios
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Games
Genre: Fighting
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)

A fresh take on an iconic tale

Mortal Kombat has earned its reputation not only for gory battles but also for its rich lore. Mortal Kombat 1 doesn’t disappoint, offering a story that resets the timeline and sets the stage for a fresh experience. The narrative begins with Liu Kang’s transformation into a Fire God, a universe-shaping event that promises an era of peace. However, disturbances lurk on the horizon, leading to a sequence of events that balance a complex narrative with surprises at every turn.

Mortal Kombat 1’s storytelling shines as it embraces the concept of a clean slate. Classic characters like Shang Tsung and Johnny Cage are reimagined, and the exploration of their origins really kept me engaged. The storyline creates an intricate narrative, delivering emotional punches and thought-provoking character development.

Mortal Kombat 1 seamlessly weaves storytelling into the gameplay, with smoother transitions and an intense cinematic flair that surprisingly kept me on the edge of my seat. Voice acting is top-notch, with standout performances from Sindel, Liu Kang, and a few others, although Megan Fox’s portrayal of Nitara feels somewhat out of place.

Mortal Kombat 1

Kombat evolved

Mortal Kombat 1 successfully balances tradition with innovation, keeping the essence of the series while introducing exciting gameplay changes. The combat system embraces a tag-team mechanic, the Kameo system, adding depth and strategy. You can call upon a backup fighter to assist you in combat, unleashing their unique abilities and Fatalities. I really like the Kameo system as it opens a world of possibilities, providing a dynamic and complex fighting experience. However, I can see that it might intimidate newcomers to the series.

The Kameo system provides depth to each battle, and it’s a welcome enhancement. Combos and strategies reach new heights, adding layers to gameplay that longtime fans will appreciate. Mortal Kombat 1’s training mode offers comprehensive tutorials, improving your skills from the ground up. Nevertheless, the uneven distribution of character trials in this mode leaves room for improvement.

Invasion mode, a replacement for the Krypt, introduces fresh ways to explore the game world and unlock content. While enjoyable, it doesn’t revolutionize the unlocking experience compared to previous Mortal Kombat titles. Unlocking content is primarily tied to character progression, which caters to those who focus on specific fighters.

Mortal Kombat 1’s online experience offers a seamless and lag-free experience, although the current selection of online modes appears somewhat limited. The initial modes includes regular ranked matches, unranked play, and King of the Hill, with the promise of additional modes in the future.

Visceral spectacle

Mortal Kombat 1 is a visual masterpiece, taking the franchise’s signature gore to new heights. NetherRealm Studios has raised the bar with meticulously detailed character models, lifelike facial animations, and vivid environments. The game’s visuals are something to look at it from the first punch thrown to the final, fatal blow. Mortal Kombat 1 is easily the best-looking title in the franchise to date. Although cutscenes run at 30fps, this doesn’t takeaway from the overall visual experience.

The attention to detail extends to the environments, which are filled with richness and grim aesthetics. Whether you’re battling in lavish arenas or more sinister battlegrounds, the backdrop always impresses. The character roster is extensive, offering opportunities for favourites to shine. Mortal Kombat 1’s balance across fighters is notable, narrowing the gap between top-tier and mid-tier characters. Tier lists, while still present, don’t overshadow the joy of discovering your favourite character.

The final round

Mortal Kombat 1’s post-story content encompasses various modes that kept me engaged. Arcade towers provide classic battles that lead to unique character endings. The Invasion mode, although not groundbreaking, introduces a board game-style format for progression, offering multiple encounters and opportunities for leveling up fighters. Talismans and Relics further diversify the gameplay, adding an extra layer of challenge to fights.

Unlockables, such as Brutalities and Fatalities, are primarily tied to character progression, favoring players dedicated to specific fighters. The inclusion of multiple in-game currencies, from Koins to Krystals, adds depth to the progression system. Seasonal Kredits incentivize consistent play, offering fresh content in each season. While this approach to content delivery differs from previous titles, it keeps the game engaging and rewards player commitment.

The absence of deep customization and gear systems is notable, as Mortal Kombat 1 transitions to a live service model. In-game purchases are available for cosmetics and premium items, aligning with industry standards for fighting games. Although the monetization model may cause many people’s eyes to roll, I don’t feel that it’s a significant drawback.

Mortal Kombat 1 revitalizes the franchise and is one of the top fighting games

Mortal Kombat 1 revitalizes the franchise while staying true to its brutal roots. The captivating story, enhanced gameplay, and breathtaking visuals create an unforgettable experience. However, it’s the lasting appeal and replayability that truly set this title apart. With a ton of post-story content, online modes, and regular updates, Mortal Kombat 1 is not just a one-time affair but a lasting commitment for fans and newcomers alike. It’s a brutal masterpiece that secures Mortal Kombat’s place as one of the legendary fighting games.

+ Engaging storytelling
+ Breathtaking graphics
+ Smooth gameplay mechanics and fluid combat

– Lack of deep gear and customization system


Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5

Overall Rating 4.3/5 (86%)

Purchase Mortal Kombat 1 on Xbox Series X|S, PS5 and Nintendo Switch

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Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.


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