Efter att ha testat Street Fighter 6 tar jag mig an Mortal Kombat 1 från en annan av de stora spelserierna inom fightinggenren.
So after the release of Street Fighter 6 the second of the big three in fighting games has now been released to the public. Mortal Kombat 1 brings the classic blood and gory that many fans have enjoyed for years and hopefully for more years to come. Unlike it’s previous instances MK1 goes above and beyond expectations in terms of character roster, while I would have liked to see several other characters return the current roster on release is filled with a mix of classic characters as well as returning characters from previous 3D MK games that didn’t get enough time to shine in there own game.
I will attempt to make this review as spoiler-free as possible however I will make mention of certain issues and changes in character stories that I personally feel might not have been the correct route to take overall, particularly a certain prominent character that has been completely changed in some may say for the worse.
My opinions aside please enjoy this review of Mortal Kombat 1 on Playstation 5 (DLC included).
Rebooting the Timeline once again.. again and again..
For fans just returning to the series let me bring you up to speed with the current story arc, during the events of MK11 Liu Kang attained the powers of Raiden and became Fire God Liu Kang, in their quest to prevent MK11 antagonist Kronika from resetting the timeline once more, as we learn from MK11 story mode Kronika has been resetting the timeline constantly in order to achieve perfection, perfection to her would be removing Raiden from the timeline, a vendetta that arose from the defeat of Shinnok (MK10) something that ultimately led to her defeat and Liu Kang now having controlling the Hourglass of Time (Aftermath).
Timelines make my head hurt.. But if you’re keeping up so far let’s move onto the story of Mortal Kombat 1, now unlike previous reboots (see MK9) and timeline changes (see previously mentioned above) Mortal Kombat 1 expands this far further than originally believed possible by completely altering the backstories and lore for the majority of the cast, while they do retain the classic moves and ultimately have similar personalities to their previous counterparts they are at heart completely different characters, with new motives and desires and totally different lives which really gives some of the older returning characters a fresh leash on life.
Mortal Kombat 1’s story is set Eons after the events of MK11, Earthrealm is now at peace, Sindel rules over Outworld in a fair but authoritative manner and everything is right with the realms, however in the shadows a rather familiar face is plotting the downfall of the realms once more and it will take Lord Liu Kang and his ragtag crew of Earthrealm fighters along with Outworld to avoid the coming chaos and armageddon.
While the story for Mortal Kombat 1 is fresh and new with an interesting cast of characters and changes I do feel that it takes a long time to get moving overall, it then rather abruptly stops just when it really gets interesting and ultimately was a bit of a disappointment for me, I generally don’t care to much for MK story and there is always some insane reason or plot pull that somehow ensures the heroes win and everything is well but Mortal Kombat 1 just takes far too long to reach some of the key plot points that I would have liked to see, however saying that when the game gets going it really goes, the final few chapters specifically is exactly what I would have liked to see more of, the utter insanity of it all as well the the numerous call backs to previous 3D MK games as well as characters (some said would never return) really brought the story back up to what I would expect from Mortal Kombat, which is at heart just filled with blood, sweat and gore and of course Fatalities
While the lore changes for certain characters is a nice twist on the structure giving them new ways to grow and be presented I will take note of one particular character, that is of Mileena (surprise she’s back) now while I’m fine with changes family wise, even accepting of new reasoning behind her usual condition. This version of Mileena is just too nice, some may say that’s a perfect way of changing the character up, but to me the entire charm of Millena is the sheer feral nature the character brings to the roster and while she does have short glimpses of this feral rage and utter disdain for humanity along with everything in it she is constantly put back into this submissive state, while it works for the story overall it would have been nice to see this expanded on further rather than being brushed under the rug after a few short chapters.
So due to this being a reboot of continuity and a celebration of 3D MK I’ll briefly, much like in my previous Street Fighter 6 review go over the base roster as well and some of the more influential changes that have been made to Kombat l.
Below is the current base roster of characters, please note that future Kombat packs will add further characters to this location and there are noticeable repeats of characters throughout the roster in different places. I would normally cover each character individually along with some information regarding changes, however this is quite an extensive roster and I’ve several other points to get through so for now I’ll leave you all with the base roster and some noticeable changes regarding the roster that made this one of the best MK rosters to date.
Ashrah – Baraka – Geras -Johnny Cage – Kenshi -Kitana – Kung Lao – Li Mei – Liu Kang – Mileena – Nitara – Raiden – Rain – Reiko – Reptile – Scorpion – General Shao – Sindel – Smoke – Sub-Zero and finally Tanya
I have chosen not to make mention of two quite defining characters in this roster, one being a pre-order bonus only the other one being unlocked upon the compilation of Story mode, and while both feature heavily throughout the story mode it’s best that you see these characters in their full glory compared to the members on the base roster.
This is ultimately a very interesting roster, several of the characters involved have not been seen for an extensive amount of time, Reiko for example has been seen in any capacity since Mortal Kombat 4 back in 1997 so he has certainly come a long way to make it into MK1, his backstory is however largely unchanged compared to other members of the cast so fans of Reiko will find him quite similar in his alignment as his previous instance.
It’s also quite nice to see Nitara and Ashrah also make an appearance, this really gives all the different MK realms some representation in the past Netherrealm has generally had little representation outside of Quan-Chi so it’s nice to see classics return to flesh out the roster. It really does feel that the entire world is being brought into the forefront which is a feature that previous Mortal Kombat games haven’t really given enough focus too.
Kameo Character Additions
The biggest and most noticeable feature is the new roster of Kameo characters, while the roster is far smaller than that of the base roster it features a very expansive cast that covers the multiple 3D era MK games, while some may be upset to see the most classic characters such as Jax and Sonya Blade being relegated to this mode rather than a base character there is also a chance in future DLC content that they’ll be moved up to the main roster as there as few characters that not only feature on the main roster but also have a Kameo variation.
Choosing your Kameo fighter is truly an experience as there as several factors to include when finding an ideal match, Each Kameo fighter have several different abilities that can be used at the press of a button, choosing a different directional input will cause the Kameo fighter to use a different move, when using a Kameo fighter you’ll be unable to move so make sure your timing is precise. With correct timing you’ll be able to achieve some frankly insane combos in some cases reaching up to 70% damage from one combo, which may seem a little too much but when you consider how precise the timing has to be to achieve these combos it is more than warranted. I was happy to see each of the realms throughout MK had some proper representation, it was nice to see further returning characters that had only previously been featured once or twice within the main series.
Kameo characters bring a variety of combos and options to the table, do you play defensive with a shielding Kameo? Or do you want to press the damage with a rush down character? Kameo characters bring a wealth of choice so be sure to practice with all of them upon being unlocked.
It wouldn’t be a new era Mortal Kombat game without customization options and boy does MK1 have a lot, frankly too much in my honest opinion. This is where you’ll spend the majority of your time and hard earned coins, these coins are gained and items can be gained through all modes of play so if you don’t have a specific item you want for a character keep grinding and you’ll eventually attain your desired item.
Each character including Kameo characters have access to their own personal loadouts, these can include hats, masks, weaponry changes along with completely different outsides along with unique color palettes that can really brighten up some of the more dull classic outfits.
Throughout Kombat your characters will grow and gain levels, this also includes that of your Kameo fighter. MK1 features an almost battle pass system of characters unlocks, attain level 5 for example and you’ll start to unlock new banners for your profile as well as classic brutalities with 23 base characters and 15 Kameo characters this is quite a grind as this progression system is quite grind heavy and expansive which gives players plenty of reasons to come back to MK1 day in and day out before DLC content characters are released.
The mainstay for most of the fighting game community is that of the Online mode, games live and die by how good the netcode for online is, thankfully the netcode for MK1 is largely unchanged from MK11, meaning that it is incredibly stable, throughout my time in the online mode I never had an issue with rollback or lag, the Online mode returns King of the Hill back the roster, as well as the league mode which combinated with the new quests system allows you to collect seasonal coins for later unlocks which are far superior than that of simple random chest luck, progress the league and not only will you gain new ranks but also exclusive items for characters that most likely won’t return until a future season.
The only downside for me personally in Online mode is the lack of ability to start Online mode from other modes, it’s 2023 and this seems to be a feature that has just been thrown to the way-side recently. I should be able to queue for a ranked match while testing combos in practice mode without having to switch between modes or sit around doing nothing while waiting to be paired. There is also no cross-play feature which at this point should be industry standard for all fighting games given the popularity and multiple systems on offer.
Invasion and Towers
Outside of the Story mode and Online aspects of MK1, players also have access to Invasion mode and the Arcade style Towers mode.
I don’t think at this point I really need to cover Tower modes, but I will give them a brief mention within the Invasion mode.
Invasion mode is the new replacement for classic Krypt that has featured in the vast majority of MK games since release, while I’m sad that the Kyrpt gets such a massive downgrade (it still features in MK1 just heavily watered down) Invasion is a new board style system, select a character along with a Kameo and progress each area each hosting a theme along with a series of characters unique to the board, each board has unique fights and mechanics that give the mode and interesting but repetitive nature to it, while a vast majority of the unlocks are shut behind this new seasonal mode content Invasion Mode has several glaring issues that make this more of a grind and slog than really required overall.
An example of one of the earlier maps has you fighting the same roster of 4 characters on repeat with different gimmicks added to the equation, while it is fun and does break up the monotony of the grind itself it’s not fun being at a noticeable disadvantage simply due to your chosen character.
The most noticeable issue with Invasion mode, other than it’s constant reusing of limited characters is the new RPG elements and well as the Elemental typing, while it’s fine to add RPG factors and stats into the game, MK1 goes completely insane with it’s unnecessary typing charts as with other games that feature this it comes with the classic – One element does more damage, one does less damage.
This was extremely frustrating when after completing the tutorial world I was thrust into another location with the same 4 characters that all had elemental bonuses vs chosen character, that added with the gimmicks of super armor among other things made it incredibly frustrating to clear, in the end I had to swap characters to someone that I had yet to play just to achieve some of the harder towers/bosses that where featured, MK1 doesn’t really need gimmicks such as these as it just ruins the overall fun of the game.
The saving grace of this is Invasion mode is seasonal so you can be sure of new gimmicks as well as different setups that are sure to suit your chosen character for the better. Along with weekly, and daily towers to grind each with their own unique gimmicks the Invasion mode does offer a lot of content but still leaves me missing our classic Krypt feel.
In conclusion there are still quite a few problems, and issues with Mortal Kombat 1 as a whole that will hopefully be addressed in the future, there are numerous instances of bugs not only outside of kombat but also in interactions between characters during story, almost as if while the Online mode is top notch the story mode itself tends to suffer from voice and animation lag.
The story itself as previously mentioned takes far too long to get going and is generally quite a dull experience until things start to progress, that being said aside from the issues mentioned above once the story reaches the final chapters I found myself repeating them at length just to see the sheer insanity and different combinations that could appear.
It was at that point that I saw the sheer love and care that went into MK1 and while I’m not particularly happy at some of the changes made as well as the downgrade to Krypt I do have to say that MK1 was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, I was just hoping that there would be more of it. The gimmicks in Invasion mode are far more frustrating than enjoyable but when the pendulum did swing to my advantage it was incredibly fun to beat down some of the more frustrating characters on the roster making sure to hit those hidden fatalities whenever possible.
The tutorial mode is also simply one of the best systems that I’ve seen included in a fighting game lately, teaching you all the basic mechanics as well as several advanced features of the game, the downside is the same as I’ve had with other games lately (see Street Fighter 6) is the inability to pin combos to practice them in sequence to create player-made combos. However the tutorial system is incredibly extensive and is worthy of praise.
Overall Mortal Kombat 1 is an incredible addition to the series there are many smart changes made to the game in general to allow first timers to get into the melee, the Kameo system is also a noticeably great feature and seems to be the hallmark of an entire new Mortal Kombat timeline.
Here is hoping that the DLC content brings a fresh feel to the game within a few months, in the past they’ve always included at least one character on launch but given the upcoming cast changes I’m more than happy to wait to see how things come together.
- Amazing cast of characters
- Enjoyable redesigns
- A tribute to 3D Mortal Kombat
- Loss of the Krypt reduces content
- Inability to Pin combos during Practice
- Re-written Lore for characters can be bland