Mortal Kombat 1 review: Fun for both modern and retro fans of the series

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Round 1, Fight!

The newest addition to one of the most popular fighting game series, Mortal Kombat 1, brings a lot for fans of both the old and the new MK games. Mortal Kombat 1, which was released on Sept. 14, by Warner Bros. Games, takes place after 2019’s Mortal Kombat 11 and reboots the universe of Mortal Kombat. The latest release includes new fatalities and a few remastered versions of fatalities from the arcade games, an alright storyline, and a few new additions that add more excitement to play with friends, solo and online. It is available on Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch.

As someone who plays a lot of video games, Mortal Kombat is my favorite fighting game franchise. As a kid, I’ve played Mortal Kombat: Armagedon on PS2 and 2015’s Mortal Kombat X was one of my favorite games on PS4.

Still, when it comes to graphics, I was surprised at how visually stunning this game is. It is without a doubt the best looking MK game so far. Each game has different amazing character designs, like Scorpion’s redesign with no hood and a gold mask. The powers and the x-rays, special moves that show breaking bones, look very cool. The stages look the best, like the Great Hall with a breathtaking display at night, and a crowd outside the hall at day.

Since 2015’s Mortal Kombat X, the two fighters interact with each other, expressing their hatred, and/or respect for each other before they fight to death. MK 1 has a slight change to the way these interactions start.

It used to start after a loading screen and followed by the fighters simply walking to the stage for the fight, but now, As soon as the stage is selected, the two selected fighters block each other with their elbow, and they talk a bit before they prepare for the fight. The interactions in this game are definitely an improvement from previous games, for example, In an interaction between Scorpion and Johnny Cage, Scorpion says one of the few things he has in common with Cage is they both have rude brothers.

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The gameplay was just right. The controls were similar to the other MK 3D games, but if you’re a retro fan that is considering playing the newest Mortal Kombat game, you won’t have much trouble getting used to the controls as they are easy to remember.

In Mortal Kombat, the word combos is spelled Kombos, which is the same for other certain words like Koins, Kameos, and, of course, Kombat. Some Kombos are hard to master, but it is easy to get used to some of the other combos that only require some timing or delay before you hit your next move.

Keep in mind, each fighter has different Kombos and fatalities as they each have different moves for their controls.

Quick tip: It is recommended to use the D pad on your controller to move your character instead of the analog stick.

As someone who has not played a Mortal Kombat game in quite a while, I started with the tutorials: basic moves, Kombos, advanced Kombos, fatalities, and Kameos. The tutorials gradually increase from easy to complicated. Mortal Kombat 1 is a lot of fun and easy for casuals, but it is difficult to master.

MK 1 features fan favorite MK characters from the old and newer games. Scorpion and Sub Zero, undoubtedly two of the most iconic fighting characters in gaming history, Kenshi, Smoke, Reptile, Nitara, Reiko and others return for more gore.

My personal favorite fighter in the game is Kenshi, who was also my favorite back in Mortal Kombat X. A blind swordsman with telekinesis? Awesome!

What makes this game stand out from every other game in the series is the addition of Kameo fighters. This is a great addition as it adds more possibilities for Kombos like using Jax’s ground pound to make your opponent jump. Kameos can be used to assist in an X-ray move by helping your fighter break your opponent’s bones, adding more creativity/gore to them. There are many combinations of playable fighters and Kameo fighters that you can use, and each Kameo has their own ability to help out with the match.

The non-playable Kameo fighters include Sonya Blade, Kano, Goro, Frost, and many others. I find it to be a great way to stop my opponent’s Kombo. In my opinion, Kano is the best Kameo fighter because he throws knives when you use him, which is pretty cool.

To all retro fans since Mortal Kombat 3, this game is more fast paced. The game runs smooth at 60 fps and makes it easy to get used to.

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What makes the Mortal Kombat franchise stand out when it comes to fighting games like Street Fighter or Tekken, are the fatalities. Fatalities get more creative, bloody and gory every time a new game releases, and MK 1 is no exception. They are some of the goriest fatalities in the series so far. For all the fans of the retro MK games, the game includes remastered versions of fatalities from the original 1992 Mortal Kombat game, including Sub-Zero’s spine pull fatality. The iconic fatality where Sub-Zero grabs his opponent by their neck and pulls up their head and spine. Klassic.

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In this game’s single player story mode, there are 15 chapters where you play as a different fighter in each chapter. Each chapter has at least four fights that you must win to move on. 

This story continues after Mortal Kombat 11, starting when Liu Kang takes control of Kronika’s Hourglass. The plot involves Liu Kang and several teams of fighters protecting Earthrealm and Outworld from being conquered by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi. This story mode is pretty long, especially when one of the chapters has 7 fights. Some of them were difficult, but I was able to complete them over time.

Compared to the storylines of MK X and 11, this one was just complicated. It was great for a while, but then it got a bit ridiculous to a point where I started to forget what the plot was. Overall, the story was fine thanks to the start and the ending, which made up for the complicated rising action of the story and it did feel very good when I completed it.

The online mode does not have any changes compared to past games, if you do not include Kameo fighters of course. However, it is still just as fun as the last few MK games online. 

I ran into many players online that are at least slightly better than me, and sometimes it can be irritating, but when you start to get the hang of the gameplay, you really start to enjoy it. As long as you don’t keep running into people who quit the match early. Quitality!

MK 1 is fun on its own whether you play online or the story mode, but like most fighting games, this one is very fun to play with friends. In fact, this game is the most fun when you invite some friends over and play some matches or even have a little tournament. Friendship!

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One new mode that I have to complain about is the new Invasion mode. This mode is an RPG, Role-playing game, in which you pick your own fighter and Kameo character to complete battles and as you go on, you receive rewards for each fight you complete on the map. The rewards include skins for fighters, more Kameo fighters, and in-game currency. 

Overtime, this mode became more clear to me as a waste of time. Secret Fights become too frequent, and after a few of those fights, you don’t get skins or anything cool like that, you just mostly get Koins and that’s it. As someone who also enjoys RPG games, this was not what I expected. This mode was a huge let down and I will not be playing it that often.

Overall, Mortal Kombat 1 is a solid addition to the series. It beats Mortal Kombat 11, but I still find myself preferring Mortal Kombat X. MKX has slightly better character outfits, the X Rays are more creative, the stages look amazing, and the voice acting is brilliant.

Mortal Kombat 1 is as fun as any of the other games when it comes to gameplay, and it has everything that any kind of MK fan will enjoy. 

What keeps this game from being perfect or truly amazing is the invasion mode, and the story mode is just a bit weak compared to the stories from the previous games. But the combat does not disappoint.

I can see myself playing this game often, and I can see this game even bringing back old fans of the franchise.

Mortal Kombat 1 gets an 8.5/10

Fatality!

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