Mortal Kombat 1

Announced as part of the 30th anniversary of the series, Mortal Kombat 1 is confusingly the 12th mainline entry and 23rd installment of the long-running Mortal Kombat series. Similar to Mortal Kombat (9) released back in 2011, Mortal Kombat 1 is considered a "soft reboot" taking inspiration from the original game's characters, environments, and storyline.

MK1 early character / Kameo select screen.

Kameo Fighters: The new "Kameo" Assist mechanic features a separate roster of recognizable faces from the early days of Mortal Kombat and beyond. Kameo characters are chosen before the fight begins, and can be called into action to perform several different attacks during gameplay. Some of the Kameo characters are inspired by their classic appearances from the late 90s, including but not limited to: Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, Kano, Goro, Jax, Cyrax, Sektor, and Stryker.


Reimagined klassic characters in a new timeline.

Mortal Kombat 1 will introduce Tag Fatalities. While the main characters on the roster still have the ability to perform their own Fatalities, Kameo characters can now perform combination Fatalities with their Kameo Fighters as well as their own Fatalities individually. As usual for Mortal Kombat, there's a lot of gratuitous violence, gore, and murder.

The Six DLC character of MK1's Kombat Pack... will move units.

Similar to past modern installments like Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, and Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat 1 will contain a lengthy cinematic story mode (although details on this mode have not yet been revealed). Ed Boon confirmed that The Krypt will not return in Mortal Kombat 1 and will instead be replaced by a new unlocking system.

Mortal Kombat 1 will feature a new cinematic story mode.

A Mortal Kombat 1 Kollector's Edition was announced in May 2023 featuring a Liu Kang statue by Coarse and other in-game content. The Kollector's Edition costs $249.99.

Page Updated: November 4th, 2023
Developer(s): NetherRealm Studios
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date(s): September 19th, 2023
Characters Scorpion, Sub Zero, Raiden, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Mileena, Kenshi, Shang Tsung, Smoke, Rain, Baraka, Li Mei, Tanya, Quan Chi, Ermac, Geras, Takeda Takahashi (DLC), Reptile, Ashrah, Havik, Sindel, Nitara, Reiko, General Shao, Homelander (DLC), Omni-Man (DLC), Peacemaker (DLC)
Kameo Characters Sonya Blade, Kano, Goro, Jax Briggs, Stryker, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kung Lao, Cyrax, Sektor, Frost, Darrius, Sareena, Motaro, Shujinko, Tremor

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Related Games: Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, MK: Deadly Alliance, MK: Deception, MK: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2, Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, TEKKEN 8, Street Fighter 6

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First Impression:

Instead of releasing what would've been the impressively highest numeric fighting game installment to date ("Mortal Kombat 12"), Ed Boon and company decided to scrap the "2" for some random reason and go with yet another reboot. Congrats Mortal Kombat... you're officially and undisputedly the fighting game series that has been "rebooted" the most. And I'm not surprised, bitch.

Admittedly, I've become less and less interested in playing Mortal Kombat games in recent years... as micro-transactions, "force-fed" gore and murder, gimmicky controls, and stiff movement really isn't my thing when it comes to enjoying fighting games. Like most recent prequels (MK11 and MKX), the non-stop gory cinematics are cringey and laughable at best, but mostly off-putting. Seeing the human form being painfully dissected multiple times in every single match (even before Fatalities)... GETS OLD. I've said it before in earlier reviews. The redundant X-Ray moves, Fatalities, and Double Team Fatalities... and no major characters in the series ever actually die. (Quick! Insert a cliché "time travel" or over-used "multi-verse" story element so it all loosely makes sense.) Yaaay. Yeah, it's still Mortal Kombat.

In fairness, MK1's Kameo system is interesting and potentially fun, taking heavy inspiration from assist / tag-based arcade fighting games such as the Marvel Vs. Capcom series. On that note, MK1 seems to have a more "arcadey" vibe about it, showing more personality than usual along with some cool throwbacks thanks to the Kameo system. Even if the core gameplay sucks and MK1 ends up being a dead game in under a year (like the last three NRS games did), at least MK1 will have a ridiculously high production value and a Story Mode worth playing through... once.

Kameo attacks spice up the typical 2D formula we've seen and experienced from NRS before... but the broken / unbalanced gameplay at launch, unpolished online, painfully-overused cinematics, and pandering to the "mass appeal" audience are quite apparent. While certain animations are impressive and entertaining, the overall stiff character controls and janky animations that we've come to expect out of Mortal Kombat in recent years is still very much alive. (And more alive than the Steam community of MK1 players, who currently prefer playing MK11 over this game. Ouch.)

Even though I am not a fan of playing (or watching) modern Mortal Kombat games, I've enjoyed seeing the return of randomly selected "klassic" characters joining the MK1 roster (especially laughable old-timers like Kurt Stryker)... for nostalgia value alone. Guest characters? I have to admit, NetherRealm made some ridiculously great choices with the addition of Homelander, Omni-man, and especially Peacemaker (John Cena). Indeed, John Cena is now in a proper fighting game. NRS sure makes some crazy things happen in their games.

While a visually impressive fighting game in many ways, not much about MK1 keeps my interest for more than a few minutes. Certainly, NRS will update MK1 with DLC in the year(s) to come and charge ridiculous prices while doing so. Like the past microtransactions in NRS games that left a bad taste in the community's mouth, MK1 still comes off as a self-serving, big money grab, first and foremost. $70 for the base game? $40 to unlock Kameo characters if players don't want to grind? Another $40 for the Kombat Pack 1? I'll pass. More like "Mortal Money Grab" than the good old days of "Mortal Monday". No, I didn't buy MK1 (so there's no TFG rating, yet). Maybe I'll buy this game in a year when it's marked down to $14.99 because no one is playing it and NRS wants to sell DLC. 
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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