Mortal Kombat 1 review – a definitive new beginning

Review info

Platform reviewed: PS5
Available on: PS5, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
Release date: Early Access Sep 14, full release Sep 19 

If you’re all in on brutal and bloody fighting game action then Mortal Kombat 1 has it in spades. When you look closer, however, you’ll find some of the most polished combat of the entire series, a great narrative, a wealth of content to explore, and exciting new additions that mean that the latest entry in NetherRealm Studios’ saga is one of the best fighting games you can play right now. 

Mortal Kombat 1 had an uphill battle ahead of it, serving as both a sequel and a soft reboot to over 30 years of established franchise history. With that said, the 12th mainline entry in the series excels across the board by going back to what made the bloody brawler so enthralling in the first place. This is reflected in an intelligently designed roster and a return to stripped-back fighting game fundamentals that make this one a series best. 

One thing that NetherRealm has always been good at delivering is its single-player content in its fighting games – Mortal Kombat 1 is no exception. The centre piece is the new story which takes around eight hours to complete. The plot follows Raiden, now EarthRealm’s champion, after the Fire God Liu Kang restarted history. You’ll also see the Lin Kuei at the height of its power, and Outworld during peacetime in a story that goes in unexpected directions. While billed as a reboot this narrative is actually intertwined with the previous trilogy of NetherRealm-developed titles (spanning Mortal Kombat (2011) to Mortal Kombat 11, but spins its own yarn and is the sharpest writing the team has delivered yet. 

Geras in Mortal Kombat 1

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Despite the attempts made at making the story as self-contained as possible, it is still likely to alienate some newcomers. That’s because the events are tied into the previous game, Mortal Kombat 11, so if you missed NetherRealm’s last outing, you could struggle to put all the pieces together. Furthermore, as the story develops it unravels and starts to draw in influences from throughout Mortal Kombat history, with several moments likely leaving new players nothing but confused. It plays out in chapters where you assume control of a member of the roster for a few fights in between lengthy cinematics. You earn new characters and cosmetics for finishing each chapter, so it’s definitely worth experiencing at least once. 

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.