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Mortal Kombat 1 Review: How Raiden Got His Groove Back

  • A Kampaign fit for the silver screen
  • Innovative gameplay mechanics even in its 30th year
  • Bustling community engagement and longevity
  • In-game currency system may put off some players
  • Online matches may frustrate newcomers

A PS5 review code for "Mortal Kombat 1" was provided to SVG for this review. The game is available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

In an age where the allure of nostalgia meets the thrill of innovation, NetherRealm Studios has masterfully orchestrated another brutal symphony of both in its latest offering, "Mortal Kombat 1." Embarking on a monumental task of recreating a classic that carved out a sacred niche in the hearts of gamers globally, the team has not only succeeded but have exceeded expectations. Garnering a justifiable near-perfect score, "Mortal Kombat 1" is poised to redefine the fighting game landscape once again.


Upon stepping into the rich and brutal world of "Mortal Kombat 1", you can't help but be engulfed in a wave of nostalgia so profound that it transports you back to the golden era of 1992, when it all began. The sheer beauty of this renovated iteration lies in its ability to strike a delicate balance: holding dear to its venerable roots while embracing the modern technological advancements in gaming which is showcased masterfully in the game's Kampaign mode.

A reborn universe with cinematic mastery

For enthusiasts of the franchise, stepping into the universe of "Mortal Kombat 1" is akin to coming home, albeit to a home that has undergone lavish renovations. It largely embraces the DNA that made its predecessor, "Mortal Kombat 11", a success while ramping up the visual fidelity to offer a refreshing and polished gaming experience that genuinely feels new and exciting. Each battle, each finishing move is an artwork of its own, drawing you into an engrossing spectacle that seamlessly merges the boundaries between a game and a blockbuster movie that nestles in perfectly within the "Mortal Kombat" cinematic universe.


The story mode remains the pièce de résistance of the overall experience, brimming with an immersive narrative that weaves unexpected twists on classic rivalries and freshly minted backstories for the extensive cast of legendary fighters. While the storyline maintains its convoluted structure and lore, reminiscent of the previous entries in the series, this "restart" is nothing short of a riveting carnival. Each moment of the journey grants a ringside view into the reincarnated lives of beloved "MK" characters before the ruthless battles of Mortal Kombat tournaments marred their essence, and for many — like Kung Lao and Raiden — their innocence.

As Liu Kang embraces his mantle as the Fire God, you witness a newfound harmony between Earthrealm and Outworld, venturing through narratives that are as entertaining as they are captivating. Whether it's witnessing Kitana's fierce loyalty towards her sister Mileena, delving into the inner conflict of Scorpion and Sub-Zero, or watching the behind-the-scenes happenings between Liu Kand and Geras, the game transcends its predecessors, offering a deep, rich, and often humorous narrative that leaves players yearning for more.


Innovation at the heart of gameplay

While "MK1" echoes the successful mechanics and features of "MK11," it's evident that Ed Boon and NetherRealm were hell-bent on perfecting every nuance, even if it meant parting ways with elements that have been favorable with fans. One such departure is the replacement of The Krypt with the more focused and intentional Invasions mode. This novel feature propels players into a progression-based single-player experience, where every node on the interactive map tells a tale, presents a challenge, and unlocks a reward, all woven into a six-week seasonal schedule that keeps the experience new and fresh.


But "MK1" is not just about change; it's about evolution. The all-new Kameo Fighter system is a testament to this commitment towards growth. Drawing from a rich history spanning over 30 years (which is wild to think about for those of us who grew up alongside the franchise), the Kameo Fighters add depth to every battle, arming players with an array of offensive and support-based special moves, unique throws, and bone-crushing finishing moves that make even seasoned "Mortal Kombat" veterans' jaws drop. It feels like a heartfelt love letter to fans, a tapestry that intricately interweaves the old and new, crafting a "Mortal Kombat" experience that is nothing short of perfection.

A community ready to 'Fight'

In the wake of releases like "Street Fighter 6" and the anticipated launch of "Tekken 8," MK1 emerges not as a contender but as a trendsetter. Online play, a facet that remains untouched, allows players to engage in visceral battles with opponents from every corner of the globe. The "Mortal Kombat" community, already deeply entrenched in honing their competitive builds, presents both a challenge and an opportunity. For newcomers, the offline modes serve as a training ground to master the art of combat, preparing them to face seasoned warriors in the online realm.


In a time when seasonal events are shaping the longevity of games, "MK1" holds its ground firmly, promising players not just a game, but a journey that continues to evolve, surprise, and engage. With a steadfast online community and seasonal events punctuating the gaming calendar, "MK1" provides more than enough reasons to keep players enthralled for a long time.

Fueling this journey is a well-thought-out Kurrency system that intertwines seamlessly with the gaming experience. Whether it's earning Seasonal Kredits, accumulating Koins, or utilizing Dragon Krystals, every element of the currency system adds a layer of intrigue and excitement, especially if you're eyeing a particular cosmetic. Sure, you could purchase the in-game credits, but the possibility of earning these currencies to unlock iconic cosmetics integrates an element of strategy and planning, making every moment in "Mortal Kombat 1" count.


Rebirth of a legend

"MK1" continues its run as a phenomenon that respects its roots while boldly stepping into new territories. The polish and the fresh feel to every aspect make it a visual and narrative delight, a spectacle that holds the player in a tight grip from the word go. It's a harmonious blend of action, drama, and comedy, an utterly brutal symphony that plays a nostalgic tune with a fresh melody, creating yet another masterpiece that every "Mortal Kombat" will want to experience.


As you navigate through reimagined heroes and villains, traverse through realms in the Invasions mode, and get deep into the intricacies of the Kameo Fighter system, it becomes evident that "MK1" is not just a reboot of the legendary original game released in 1992. It's a celebration of the series' legacy. A nod to the rich tapestry that is "Mortal Kombat." An experience that promises and delivers on the thrill, excitement, and sheer joy of engaging in matches that are both fierce and fair.

An ambitious project that reignites the fire in the "Mortal Kombat" series, MK1 deserves its score of 9 out of 10. It demonstrates, with finesse and mastery, that sometimes, to move forward, we must take a step back, reevaluate, and emerge with a creation that not only pays homage to the past but boldly strides into a future that is ripe with possibilities. Welcome home, "Mortal Kombat" fans, the New Era beckons.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Phew, we did it. The temptation to use a "K" for every word that begins with a "C" was sky-high in this review. But in the interest of professionalism, we proved ourselves to be fully kapable of holding back.