Olly Dyche reviews Mortal Kombat 1…
Mortal Kombat has been dominating the fighting game genre for decades. Ever since its debut in 1992, the Mortal Kombat franchise has flawlessly defeated the competition with rich world building, engaging gameplay, compelling characters, and viscerally brutal fatalities. There’s simply nothing quite like it. Other than the likes of Mortal Kombat 4, and Special Forces which we won’t get into, every entry into the franchise continues to prove why the mystical, martial arts video game franchise is still on top. Now, 2023s Mortal Kombat 1 keeps tradition alive, offering one of the best, most nostalgic, and entertaining games in the entire franchise.
Fans of the franchise will find many familiarities with Mortal Kombat 1. It sports engaging gameplay, gory fatalities, returning fan favorite characters, and a captivating story. However, while all the franchises usual award winning aspects are present, Mortal Kombat 1 similarly shines with many of its original features that enhance it’s gameplay. Features such as the brand new Kameo system, and Invasions Mode especially. The game’s roster is perhaps the best the franchise has ever seen, the gameplay is incredibly fluid, and the content is plentiful. Is Mortal Kombat 1 the best Mortal Kombat to date? Absolutely.
Mortal Kombat 1 offers a complete reboot of the timeline seen in Mortal Kombat 9, X, and 11. After defeating Kronika, the keeper of time in Mortal Kombat 11, Lui Kang was tasked with restarted the timeline. With this Lui Kang decided to change much of what fans knew of the previous timelines. For one, there is no Shirai Ryu, Scorpion is Kuai Liang, Sindel is the ruler of Outworld, Quan Chi and Shang Tsung are powerless, and Shao Kahn is no longer a Kahn, instead a General serving Outworld’s army.
In true Netherrealm fashion, Mortal Kombat 1’s story is captivating. The new timeline offers many surprising and compelling dynamics between characters, and some brilliant origins for fan favorite characters. It offers similar story beats with each character playable in the story get four fights each, bar 2 chapters, and some of the moments in the story are predictable, despite the drastic changes in the timeline. Without revealing too much, the final act is a real treat for fans of the franchise. It offers heaps of nostalgia for those who adore the franchise for reasons we don’t want to spoil.
That said, the final act does somewhat come out of nowhere, with an incredibly ambiguous ending. Where the sequel, or even future DLC in the kin of Mortal Kombat 11s Aftermath DLC could go, is anyones guess. However, this doesn’t take away from the jaw-dropping, and mind blowing journey through the final act. It’s bonkers, in the best way possible.
Thanks to the enhanced tech, Mortal Kombat 1 is the smoothest game in the franchise, due to the game’s stunning graphics and accessible, fluid gameplay. Performing combos and the characters unique special movies are incredibly satisfying to pull off. Whether your pounding your opponent into the ground, forcing them to ragdoll into the air before performing an air combo releshing your opponents health to dust, just feels so good. Speaking of air combos are back, allowing players to build up some incredibly large combos demolishing their opponent before they can say “Flawless Victory”. On top of this, Mortal Kombat 1′s music makes performing these combos extra badass. The mix of electric synth, ripped right from the John Wick soundtrack results in Mortal Kombat‘s best soundtrack to date.
One of the biggest changes to the Mortal Kombat formula, is the addition of Kameos. This system allows players to choose from a vast secondary roster, in order to assist their main fighter in kombat. These kameos can give players a huge edge in battle. Whether its to fault your opponents combo, or to enhance yours, this new Kameo system is a welcome addition to the franchise, which we hope returns in future installments. Likewise, players can use kameos in their fatal blows, their throws, and of course fatalities, and brutalities.
Mortal Kombat 1 boasts perhaps the beat assortment of Mortal Kombat characters… well ever. Bringing beloved characters such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Lui Kang, Raiden, Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao, and Johnny Cage, as well as the likes of Kenshi, Baraka, Sindel, Reptile, Smoke and General Shao, formerly Shao Kahn. But perhaps the most impressive aspect of this roster, is Mortal Kombat w`respect for the 3D era, with characters like Li Mei, Ashra, Havik and Nitara played by Megan Fox, to a varying degree of quality. Each character is a blast to play, offering a wide variation of playstyles, but still harbouring many basic similarities with one another in terms of gameplay.
Mortal Kombat 1 essentially has two rosters. A primary roster, your main fighters if you like, and the Kameo roster where you can call in the likes of Kano, Sonya Blade, Sub-Zero, Kung Lao, Jax, and Scorpion to lend you a hand in battle. Expanding on the already almighty roster of Mortal Kombat 1 is the likes of Cyrax, Sektor, Frost, Stryker, and Goro. That’s all without mentioning the continued love for the 3D era of Mortal Kombat games, with characters like Motaro, Shujinko, and Darius making triumphant returns as Kameo characters.
After you have completed the main Mortal Kombat 1 story, you may be scratching your head as to what to do next. Well, Mortal Kombat 1 offers enough endgame content to fill the Netherealm with. Whether its by battleing other players on line, sinking your teeth into the new Invasions mode that combines the Towers of Time from Mortal Kombat 11, as well as the Krypt, producing a captivating single-player mode with endless amounts of unlockables, or by simply playing the “klassic” arcade towers. There is plenty of content to keep players hooked for weeks on end.
Invasions mode is perhaps its best mode. Offering a single-player experience that allows players to traverse a board game esque arena centered around some of Mortal Kombat 1s maps, as players travel to different nodes and battle numerous enemies. It’s a ton of fun, and even offers an RPG element where players can upgrade their stats. Invasions mode will have content continuously added to it in the form of seasons, where players can battle new enemies, and unlock collectables specific to that season.
+ Captivating Story Mode
+ Smooth Gameplay
+ Impressive Roster
+ Plenty of Endgame Content
+ Blood Pumping Soundtrack
Mortal Kombat 1 is available on PS5, X Box Series X|S, PC and Nintendo Switch. PS5 review copy provided by Warner Bros.