hosted by | Forum DC Comics Solicitations September 2024 DC Comics Solicitations August 2024
Skip to content
Skip to content

Mortal Kombat 1 – The World’s Finest Review


Studio: NetherRealms Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: Playstation 5, XBox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date: Premium Edition, September 14, 2023; Standard Edition, September 19, 2023
Reviewed On: Playstation 5
Back to Main

Description: Developed by award-winning NetherRealm Studios, Mortal Kombat 1 introduces a new beginning for the franchise with a reborn Mortal Kombat Universe created by Fire God Liu Kang, featuring iconic heroes and villains reimagined as they’ve never been seen before. The genre-defining Story mode provides a fresh cinematic narrative with new relationships, unexpected twists on classic rivalries, and original backstories for a wide-ranging cast of characters.

Mortal Kombat 1 extends the single player offering with the debut of Invasions, a progression-based mode where gamers can traverse the realms via an interactive map, experiment with different character builds, and complete numerous challenges to earn a variety of rewards, all built on a themed six-week seasonal schedule.

Mortal Kombat 1 also features the new Kameo Fighter system, providing a separate roster of support characters to assist during matches. Pulled from over 30 years of Mortal Kombat history, Kameo Fighters bring an advantage to every fight with an arsenal of offensive and support-based special moves, unique throws, defensive breakers, devastating Fatal Blows, and brutal Fatalities.

Mortal Kombat 1 Review
By James Harvey

Unsurprisingly, Mortal Kombat 1 is a strong brawler that plays smooth and looks gorgeous, though it’s not without a couple hiccups. While the story mode offers an ultimately enjoyable experience, the lack of gameplay options and a new Invasion mode which comes off as gradually repetitive can slow things down a shade. Still, the game’s excellent and addictive combat, with its nifty new Kameo system, makes it easy to pour dozens and dozens of hours into this super-fun fighter!

The world of Mortal Kombat has been reborn under Fire God Liu Kang, who assumes his role as Keeper of Time and forges a whole new world in Mortal Kombat 1. After eons of peace between the realms, ideologies grow, bringing in mounting tensions between the realms. When a mysterious adversary arrives, Liu Kang soon realizes that not only are the realms in danger, but so is his new timeline and all of reality. Mortal Kombat 1 also features Invasions, a progression-based mode where gamers can traverse the realms via an interactive map, character build options, challenges, rewards and more.

Mortal Kombat 1 features a healthy launch roster that should appeal to fans from any era of Mortal Kombat and doesn’t wait to toss in some early twists and surprises. The game also introduces some pretty big changes to its gameplay in the form of the new Kameo system, which gives players an assist from a second fighter. It’s a bit of a game-changer that really changes up how players can dish out some brutal fisticuffs. It’s one of the biggest draws for Mortal Kombat 1 but certainly isn’t that last of its surprises.

The story mode for Mortal Kombat 1‘s lays the groundwork for its revised character roster, and details why some of the fighters here might not be exactly as remembered from previous Mortal Kombat titles. This isn’t a total re-write of Mortal Kombat lore by any stretch, which becomes abundantly clear as the story unfolds, but more like a sizable fine-tuning. Mortal Kombat 1 even digs deep into the franchise’s history and reintroduces some fighters who haven’t been playable in quite sometime, such as Ashrah, Havik, Li Mei, and Reiko. The game is also jam-packed with references, homages and callbacks to previous installments.

As for the story-line itself, it follows Liu Kang as he discovers devious outside forces are looking to unravel his new timeline. The likes of Shang Tsung, Shao Khan and other notable foes, whom he depowered in this era, are regaining their abilities and recovering memories from other timelines. As a result, Kang must head out into the realms and recruit a band of heroes to put an end to whatever and whoever is looking to undo his work

Kang’s jaunt to collect allies not only offers up a sizable dive into the Fire God’s own motivations, but provides the chance to spend some time with the likes of Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero, Kenshi, Reptile and others. The majority of the character work is handled in the story’s first half, though there’s still plenty of solid beats even though the plot somewhat steps aside to accommodate the battle-heavy closing chapters. The characters are thankfully handled so well here that this shift, arguably needed as the story mode’s scope grows dramatically (kinda like “Crisis on Infinite Mortal Kombat Realms“), isn’t really detrimental but instead somewhat necessary for what the story demands.

Without getting into spoilers, the final chapter in the story consists of a series of exhilarating, white-knuckle back-to-back-to-back fights as our heroes race toward a climactic showdown. The quick pacer and fun selection of opponents help ends things on a positive, impressionable note, even if the plot gets unwieldy in the closing chapters. Despite a bump or two, the story mode’s still a thrilling experience that, outside of the game’s tutorials, can also help players get a solid grasp of Mortal Kombat 1‘s different playable characters and how they handle.

It goes without question that Mortal Kombat 1‘s gameplay is top-notch and controls are easy to grasp, making it easy to focus on strategy over mashing. Whether you’re a casual player or a die-hard kombatant through-and-through, Mortal Kombat 1 is quick to pick up once the game starts and easy to get lost in. Every fighter has plenty of moves to master and gimmicks to uncover, plus each kombatant handles a little differently when compared to the others, helping quash feelings of repetition.

On top of the fun story and slick controls is how visually impressive Mortal Kombat 1 looks. The graphics are some of the best to come from NetherRealm and are both immediately impressive and easy to get lost in. Each stage is riddled with surprises and great little bits for fans to sift through. The detailing, down to every last drip of blood and broken bone, is gorgeous and intricate, with the game’s sublime facial animations and character cycles deserving of an extra nod.

While Mortal Kombat 1 is packed with a lot of strong qualities, it does unfortunately have some weaker aspects. Game variety is a little lacking, nor does the game offer anything new or innovative. The ranked, casual, and King of the Hill modes are all solid, but they don’t bring anything new to the franchise and feel a little old hat. Mortal Kombat 1‘s single-player RPG mode, Invasion, is a bit of a grind, even though it can be helpful with easily levelling up characters and unlocking new costumes and currency. Invasion just lacks polish and feels like a bit of an after-thought, nor does it offer any real challenge to players.

It’s also a little frustrating that some of Mortal Kombat 1‘s Kameos are locked behind the Invasion mode. It’s not the most thrilling mode, so trying to gussy it up with some winnable content feels a little cheap. Still, the game’s strengths far, far outweigh any weak spots.

Bringing it all together, Mortal Kombat 1 is an unquestionable success and, quite simply, an excellent game. While Mortal Kombat 1 plays it disappointingly safe when it comes to its game modes, in addition to the underwhelming Invasion single-player mode, it still deserves a nod for what it gets right. And when Mortal Kombat 1 does something right here, it’s truly something to behold.

Mortal Kombat 1 should rope in any fighting game fan with its refined gameplay, which truly feels accessible regardless of one’s tenure in the ring, and its legitimately engaging, soft-rebooted story. Any shortcomings here are thankfully not ruinous nor take away from the solid game-play in any real, subtantial way. There’s nothing quite like Mortal Kombat franchise out there, especially with its gloriously brutal bashing and over-the-top spectacle, and Mortal Kombat 1 is proof it remains the undisputed champion in the fighting game realm. Must Play!


Check out more related reviews and coverage:

Share your thoughts on social media via The World’s Finest Twitter and Facebook pages!
Check out more video content at The World’s Finest’s YouTube channel!