Mortal Kombat 1 Review

FIGHT! That’s right, Mortal Kombat is back! It’s been 4 years since the release of Mortal Kombat 11 and fans have been chomping at the bit for the next installment. So, does Mortal Kombat 1 finish you off with a fatality or does it steal your soul away…

Let’s start with the gameplay shall we. It has a familiar feel to Mortal Kombat 11, so fans of the previous game will be happy. The kombat feels smooth and like any good fighting game. It’s taken the easy to learn, hard to master approach, which for me is the best way as it allows for new and returning players to get a feel for the game before having to put hours in to truly master the kombat kombos.

Kameos are one of the new features in Mortal Kombat 1 and add a whole new dimension to matches. Each Kameo kharacter has 4 moves using different kombos of the RB button and even have opponent kombo breakers which can really help at klutch moments in fights. At launch there are 15 Kameos kharacters to choose from to take into battle with you. 10 are available from the start with the final 5 being unlockable through levelling up your profile. So yes, none of the unlockable kameos are hidden behind a paywall, just good old-fashioned grinding! The only real downside to kameos is that they are just that – kameos. Which means previous fan favorites like Sonya, Kano and Cyrax can’t be selected as mains (this may however change when future DLC is released). There are a few exceptions though as there are different versions of Scorpion, Sub Zero and Kung Lao to choose from. Each Kameo does have their own list of Fatalities and brutalities so they can offer more than just kombat support.

The main roster is stacked, but not too stacked so you’re overwhelmed with fighters to choose from. There are no new kharacters to speak of but a lot of returning ones with the likes of Ashrah, Nitara and Reiko that haven’t been playable since 2006’s MK Armageddon! There are 22 playable kharacters from the start, with just the 2 to ‘unlock’. First is Mortal Kombat’s greatest villain Shang Tsung, who can ‘unlocked’ by pre-ordering MK1, he will also be available later to purchase separately for those who didn’t. There is also Havik, who you can unlock by kompleting the story mode. Each kharacter has one fatality and brutality to start, with more being unlocked once you’ve played enough with each character.

Warner Bros and NetherRealm studios have been obsessed with celebrity kameos in recent MK games and more often than not they’ve been a hit. Unfortunately, this time that’s not the kase. Nitara is voiced and modelled by Megan Fox. She looks and plays great, but the voice acting isn’t great kompared to the rest of the cast, a lot of her lines just fall flat and ruined a few of the scenes in the story mode.

Speaking of the story, the Kampaign makes its return. I’ll try not to spoil much, but if you didn’t play through MKX’s and MK11’s story mode, firstly I’d advise you to as it’s great. Secondly, there is a cutscene when you load up MK1 that gives a brief explanation of why Liu Kang is now the God of Fire and the protector of Earth Ream. This also explains why they went with MK1 and not MK12. For me the story is essential to playthrough, it’ll take 7-8 hours to komplete depending on the difficulty you select. The cutscenes are glorious and has set the standard for any future fighting game that wishes to dabble. I’d also recommend kompleting the story before venturing into returning Towers or the new Invasions mode as there are brief story spoilers in them.

I briefly mentioned Invasions there, which is a kompletley new mode for the Mortal Kombat series. I’m sitting here struggling to find the right words to describe how I feel about Invasions. It’s not bad but it also hasn’t captured my imagination. Invasions is essentially a seasonal grind to unlock more kosmetics for your favourite characters. Right now is the Season of the Spectre, so for every kharacter new outfits to unlock, and being that we’ve started with the Season of the Spectre, it’s all red/orange gear, so expect to see other variants in the future. There are 8 levels to grind through with it hinting that Scorpion is the final boss in this season. However, when you first start there is a tutorial level going through Johnny Cage’s mansion, as invasions isn’t just vanilla fight after vanilla fight. Some will have modifiers. Each character has an element, so yes Sub Zero – Ice, Reptile – Poison and Raiden – Lightning. If you’re facing one of these fighters, then they could take less damage or be immune to certain elements. There are also shops scattered around each level so you can protect yourself in battles by equipping such items as magic resistance, powering up a talisman or even a resurrection item if you fall in battle. The extra good news about kosmetics is that once again they must be earned in game with kurrency you earn by winning battles. There is of course a store where you can spend real money on kosmetics, but it’s not thrown in your face, which is a welcome change in today’s gaming.

If you’re new to the Mortal Kombat universe or if you just wish to upskill yourself, the tutorials are plentiful. From learning the basics to the advanced kombos, there’s even a space so you can practice fatalities which are gory and as wonderful as ever. Of course, no Mortal Kombat would be komplete without local and online multiplayer and they are here to play to your hearts kontent.

Conclusion

Mortal Kombat 1 meets its lofty expectations and continues to set the standard for fighting games. The invasion mode didn’t blow me away, but with seasonal updates it has the potential to become great.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Unlockable kharacters and fatalities not hidden behind pay wall
  • Kameos are a great edition to Mortal Kombat
  • Story mode is essential playing
Bad
  • Not impressed with Megan Fox's voice acting
  • Some kharacters are only Kameos
9
Excellent
Written by
I first got my hands on a gaming console in ‘91 with the NES and haven’t looked back since, playing on a variety of consoles and PCs over the years. Once a year you will also find me doing a trilogy play through of either Mass Effect or Dragon Age.

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