Mortal Kombat 1 Review

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Mortal Kombat 1 Review

It's in our blood... 

Now be prepared, there are going to be some story spoilers ahead in this review. It’s unavoidable, so if you haven’t played prior Mortal Kombat entries, I’d advise you at least play Mortal Kombat 11’s campaign to completely comprehend this time twisting story. Nonetheless, Mortal Kombat 1 has been touted as an extreme overhaul to its pre-existing universe. Old characters are given new life, with different opportunity, characteristics, personality or even a new persona entirely. It be far-fetched to state that Mortal Kombat 1 is not a sequel to Mortal Kombat 11, if anything it’s a direct follow-up to its events and one’s prior to the esteemed fighter’s eleventh entry. While Mortal Kombat 1 would be a “rebirth” to some degree of its telling, it continues the trials of its butterfly effect, where certain events in other timelines have preceded Armageddon, regardless of its hard fought prevention. 

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Unequivocal confusion to fans of the series, there’s clarification in Mortal Kombat 1’s mission statement, giving the devout audience an idea of how each timeline has changed, and why each entry of Mortal Kombat has indeed been unique. While MK’s timeline had been assumed linear up until Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2007), fans of its expanded lore aren’t ready for this cataclysmic event that will redefine the series’ history – oh and of course, an undeniably polished fighting game experience not seen anywhere else. Mortal Kombat 1 guarantees a bloody good time, with expeditious pacing, seamless combos, a stacked roster with familiar faces across its differentiated generations, and brand new features that delivers on its appetite for violence, tenfold.

It is time...

Crafting the perfect world can be quite the predicament, but for the newly appointed God of Fire, Liu Kang’s grasp on Kronika’s hourglass has indeed left him at an impasse for how the once champion of Earthrealm and ruler of the Netherrealm would handle his resurrection and rise to Godhood, after being fused with Lord Raiden’s soul. Carrying the weight of being keeper of time proved to be a heavy handed for Kronkia, driving the empress mad power, manipulating the course of time to suit her selfish needs, regardless of its sacrifices and unyielding bloodshed. Knowing full well that inheriting the hour glass from Kronika would send him spiralling like his predecessor, Liu Kang stepped back from his position as keeper of time, leaving the hour glass in the guise of his friend and cohort, Geras – a manifestation of a fixed point in time, re-invented and re-instated.

It’s been centuries since Liu Kang has created his own universe, and while the God of Fire has stepped away from his assumed role as Keeper of Time, destiny itself has determined to be a challenge in its own right with events once thought to be long forgotten in Liu Kang’s own history, repeating itself by force. The nature of its course shaped perfectly is warped by an unforeseen figure, tracking down the scam artist known as Shang Tsung, promising the con-man ultimate power. This moment in Liu Kang’s timeline is unplanned and shatters its deemed recourse, meanwhile Kung Lao and friend Raiden, remain in Earthrealm as farmers by day, and students of martial arts expert Madam Bo. But time draws ever closer to the Mortal Kombat tournament, and Liu Kang needs a representative to take on Outworld’s champion, General Shao.

Keeping similarities intact, events that ultimately transpire in Liu Kang’s new era are formed to use old characters in new positions, persons under new identities and unlikely alliances made to collide with an unknown force head-on. The Lin Kuei is lead by its Grandmaster Bi-Han, also known as Sub-Zero, while his younger brother Kuai Liang had assumed his identity in older timelines, Liu Kang’s era see’s the warrior assume the role of Scorpion. The entire logic of this reimagining skews everything we thought we knew about Mortal Kombat, and displaces expertise into an extraordinary multiverse of epic proportions. As the campaign continues to flesh-out more of its unearthly narrative, we’re greeted with more familiar faces, their new roles within this chapter and how they may be under false pretences of a figure with ulterior motives. 

A statement from its creators, that gifts gamers that has followed the series for three decades, from the arcade to a lofty, cinematic gaming juggernaut, cementing its stance as the fighting genre's best ever.

Now gameplay-wise, the story mode is structured mostly the same as its prequels with cinematics seamlessly transitioning to in-game fight sequences. Depending on the situation, each altercation may include the newly touted Kameo system that see’s your fighter tag-team with a fixed cohort; an example of the first Kameo enabled collisions being against Sub-Zero and Scorpion of an invading Lin Kuei. Portraying Kung-Lao and Raiden in the opening chapter, most of the primary events that occur will see the farming fighters spar with siblings, executing some of the smoothest combination chains I’ve had the pleasure of parlaying in any fighting game, ever. The title is quick to encourage the player into learning respective move sets and multiple combination chains, with both yours and your opponent’s health gauge numerically metered, along with a combination counter.

But this is all explained prior to jumping into the title’s story mode, with Mortal Kombat 1’s main menu asking the player to practice before engaging. Taking the time to tour the many facets and intricacies of Mortal Kombat 1’s layered arsenal, understanding how to quickly land light and heavy strikes, while attempting to merge this with a quick grapple and tagging in your Kameo partner for a quick assist is all relevant to how you may perform a super powerful combination chain. Some players have already figured out how to perform a one-shot kill combination attack with Scorpion which is insane. With that said, there has been some sacrifices made for the Mortal Kombat roster, swapping long time favourites for simple Kameos, while “new era” Kombat fighters make a welcome return – some which have been on fan’s most wanted list for quite some time.

Kameo Appearance...

SOLID POINTS

✔️ Unequivocally the greatest MK of all time.

✔️ Kameos, combos and refined fighting makes for the most fluid title in the series’ history.

✔️ Fantastic storytelling for those that have followed its lore.

❌ Microtransactions out the wazoo.

So the downside to Kameo’s are simply that they are a feature, rather than an active roster member. You can’t select Sonya Blade and duke it out with Kano as they’re both placed within the Kameo roster. The only way to get a glimpse of each combatant, is to choose them from the secondary menu that will appear on MK1’s exhibition mode, along with your main fighter. The cool thing here is, you’re able to mix and match any fighter with any Kameo, making for some unforgettable combos and awesome tricks that can surprise opponents online, local and even CPU.

If there’s any key indicator that we may see Kameo fighters as main roster combatants in future DLC, it’s the fact that you’re able to unlock duplicates of rostered characters – for example, you can choose Scorpion as a fighter and Scorpion as a Kameo, same with Sub-Zero and Kung Lao at this time. Traditional towers return with Novice, intermediate and expert all present alongside endless and endurance towers to give those that love old school arcade fighters some semblance of the MK of yesteryear.

Apart from Campaign, 1v1 exhibition and tower, a brand new ‘board game’ styled experience labelled “Invasions”, where you can grind out for in-game currency, unlockable skins, Kameo fighters, Brutalities, taunts and other features. The main aim of “Invasions” is to traverse surrounding maps of the new era, and discover how characters and their multiverse counterpart are invading Liu Kang’s timeline. In terms of lore, this is awesome for fans that have followed Mortal Kombat’s integral story, the first reboot in 2011 and the current timeline. It all intertwines and gives more depth to Mortal Kombat’s extended narrative. But for those looking to earn in-game currency for certain unlockables, this is a great way to learn characters’ respective move sets, and earn cash. The money earned can be spent at the in-game store, or The Shrine where you may spend 1000 Gold Koins to unlock a random prize.

But here comes the nasty side of Mortal Kombat 1, microtransactions. Yes, there are existing ones and then some. It’s unfortunate that quite a number of content is behind a paywall from the beginning, including Shang Tsung which is unlocked by either purchasing the Premium Edition, or by your platform’s respective online store. Then there’s Quan-Chi, who already exists in the game but is only available to unlock if you purchase the upcoming Kombat Pack that includes Omni-Man, John Cena’s Peacemaker, Antony Starr’s Homelander, Takeda Takahashi, and finally Ermac who is also present in-game currently. It’s paywalls like this that deter gamers from wanting to spend any extra on their experience, but after some misconception that had been cleared, the Quan-Chi and Ermac in the Kombat Pack are refined for players in exhibition – a different experience to the characters that exist in the title’s campaign.

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But this does not excuse the insurmountable microtransactions that are imposed for exclusivities. Shang Tsung being the ultimate example, to which I would have been happy to pay for if there were extra perks included, rather than just player availability. Seasonal and weekly cycles of skins roll out for a limited time before being taken off the shelf, while palettes are included with each purchase and can be used for different skins. As for activating alternate skins, it’s a pain having to navigate to a separate menu, activating it as default, then going back to choose your character just for the sake of switching out their look. I miss MKX and MK11’s ability to quick swap a character’s attire right on the select screen, no idea why they would remove it from there given that there’s going to be thousands on offer – please I implore you to fix that Netherrealm for convenience sake.

Mortal Kombat 1 is emphatically, unquestionably and undoubtedly the very best in the series thus far. It’s not a reboot that forgets its roots, and celebrates its long, illustrious history as the best fighting game franchise of all time. From an amazing story, a roster filled to the brim with favourites, Kameos that will have players lusting for more and fatalities that will have you jaw jacked at its gory greatness, Mortal Kombat 1 supersedes its predecessor’s creativity, fluidity and fun. A statement from its creators, that gifts gamers that has followed the series for three decades, from the arcade to a lofty, cinematic gaming juggernaut, cementing its stance as the fighting genre’s best ever. Mortal Kombat 1 is unmissable, and is sure to delight any all gamers that are looking to dive deep into fantastic writing, some mindless combat and delectable bloodlust.

Mortal Kombat 1 Review

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Mortal Kombat 1 is a 2023 fighting game developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Games. It is the twelfth main installment in the Mortal Kombat series, serving as both a sequel to Mortal Kombat 11 and the series’ second reboot.

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Story
10
Gameplay
10
Presentation
10
Sound
10
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