Mortal Kombat 1 Review – It’s Gorgeous! (Xbox, PS5, PC)

Mortal Kombat 1 Review – It’s Gorgeous! (Xbox, PS5, PC)

From the moment I booted up Mortal Kombat 1, I was drawn in by how beautiful it is – from the art style to graphics.

The 4K images are so impeccably sharp that I found myself gobsmacked by the incredible details of the backgrounds and characters – almost to a distracting degree.

The gameplay is familiar, but it introduces fresh twists. The introduction of elements like Kameo assist characters adds a new layer to the gameplay – and it’s cool to see some of the original characters recreated so faithfully.

The gameplay feels easy enough for anyone to dive in, and there’s a depth there that more seasoned players can dig into. This is thankfully helped by some early tutorial modes that help you wrap your head around the systems.

It doesn’t balance as well as Street Fighter 6 and CAPCOM’s incredible ability to make a game that feels so easy to play but so intensely deep if you want to take it to the next level. I watched some pro footage online and they’re already doing things I couldn’t dream of – and it remains to be seen if it’ll hold up well in the fighting game community and tournament space.

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Nether Gonna Give You Up

I spent a bunch of my time in story mode, and honestly had a blast. The experience was a great blend of fun and quirkiness and diverges from the traditional Mortal Kombat narratives and character arcs to brings some refreshing twists and turns to what you might expect.

As with previous MK and Injustice titles, I love that it essentially feels like you’re watching some sort of animated movie or Saturday morning cartoon – but you get to take control whenever two characters want to beat the netherrealm out of each other. What makes it even better is that the graphics are getting so good now, that the transitions between pre-rendered cut-scenes and in-game cutscenes that suddenly turn into fights are getting almost completely seamless.

I found some of the story concepts a little too over the top, to a degree that it potentially dilutes a bit of your investment in the characters and world, and what I find strange is that considering this game has such a high age rating for mature content, and also it’s like… Mortal Kombat and all, they really played it a bit safe with the story mode. That said, it really was a good few hours of fun.

Puts The Store in Story

Mortal Kombat titles have always experimented with their game modes, and this one is no different. In the “Invasion” mode, I was guided along set paths, battling foes to unlock new routes and collect items. It was fine, but I can’t see myself wanting to really get more invested in it.

I never thought I’d be making this comparison, but with the store and seasonal content, it started reminding me of NBA 2K24, which I’ve also been playing – While it boasts top-notch graphics and gameplay, there’s a feeling of a grindy push towards content and in-game purchases – maybe not as bad as the MyCareer mode in NBA, but some of these modes felt like they’d be better suited for a free-to-play model and not a game that you just forked out the equivalent of $70 US Dollars or more for.

More Dull Kombat?

There are other modes worth mentioning, like the traditional arcade-style story mode that offers unique, succinct endings for each character, handy tutorials and training, as well as the obvious modes to let you play with your friends both locally and online – I didn’t get a chance to try out the online multiplayer, so make sure you get a good look at what online experiences are looking like if you’re thinking of diving in specifically for the online modes.

Whether I was engrossed in the goofy and fun story mode or exploring other content, there was plenty to keep me engaged. In an amazing year where a new Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken are coming out within a year of each other, MK1 certainly holds its own. But, I’m not quite sure it’s going to end up as the reigning champion of Earthrealm once they’re all finally stacked up against each other.

Verdict: Mortal Kombat 1 is an absolutely gorgeous, smooth experience, that’s easy enough to pick up and enjoy whether you’re a newcomer, an old fan dipping in or a seasoned veteran.

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