Mortal Kombat 1 released their Kollector’s and Premium editions on September 14th, with the standard edition now available as of September 19th. Now that we’ve had a chance to play more than 15 hours, here are some of my thoughts as a non-gamer, playing a few games per year that all tend to be either fighting games or something similar to Mario and Pokemon.
The character roster has the usual suspects that you could expect from Mortal Kombat, with a few great surprises as well. Let’s start with what we loved.
If there’s one character I could pinpoint who got my favorite upgrade for MK1, it’s Reptile. Reptile’s looks in both mortal and reptile form are great. When he changes between forms, it looks seamless, and in fighting, Reptile can transform parts of him to adapt to the move. For example, he brings out the reptile tail for a tail whip or the reptile head to spit venom. Even though his move set isn’t the easiest for me to control, I want to get better with Reptile because of his upgrades.
If there’s something we all anticipate with Mortal Kombat, it’s the fatalities. So much creativity goes into these finishers, and they rarely disappoint. It’s hard to pick a favorite fatality, and everyone has their own preferences, but I’ll do my best. Mileena is a favorite, literally slurping out the brain of her opponent. Scorpion is always classic, using double spears through the opponent’s eyes and ripping off their head. In the game, you’ll have to unlock the fatalities for them to show up in your move list, but if you know them, you can do the alternate fatalities as well. My favorite alternate fatality has to be Baraka, roasting his opponent over a fire.
The initial roster is pretty stacked, but I did feel like a few were missing at this point. Since this is a retelling, there’s no Cassie Cage or Jacqui Briggs. While this makes sense, I was surprised that Sonya and Jax are not yet in the initial lineup. The good news is that they are both usable as Kameos.
Mortal Kombat 1 introduces Kameo characters. They are a helper that can come in to fight your opponent with you. All Kameos have multiple moves they can perform depending on when and how you bring them in. I love the addition of Kameos. In a sense, it can help someone not as adept at video games to get the upper hand in a fight. However, there are definitely Kameos that are easier to use than others. For instance, Kano can use his laser vision to hit an opponent from far away. It’s an easy attack that hits almost every time. On the other hand, characters like Shujinko have a move that looks like he’s just meditating and doesn’t deal damage to your opponent. So there is a level of skill to some of the Kameos that I haven’t yet mastered.
Another pleasant surprise is that the Kameos have brutalities and fatalities. The Kameo fatalities are shorter in length and tend to be a bit simpler, but they’re fun, especially for the characters who aren’t in the main lineup. And many of the Kameo fatalities are callbacks to previous Mortal Kombat games, in case you need the enhanced nostalgia.
Invasions is a new single player game mode in Mortal Kombat 1. It feels like a board game, while you unlock upgrades and level up any character through fights and survival games. Invasions is great for those who want more single player options, which I love, since I don’t tend to play online. Another great part about Invasions is that you can use any character at any time. I will warn you; there are certain matchups you should pay attention to. Certain characters deal more damage to you and vice versa; for example, a character with water abilities will deal higher damage to a character with fire abilities. There’s a menu in the character select to check these matchups.
The biggest frustration with Invasions is the perspective of the map. The perspective constantly changes on its own. You can’t move the camera around in the map. There is also not a top down view of the map, so it’s increasingly difficult to understand where you are and how to get to a new section. There also isn’t a way to tell if you’ve completed a section. The best way to tell is that all pathways are open, but I’m sure we’ve been missing a lot of areas since it’s very difficult to navigate, especially once you’ve uncovered a lot of one area. The other frustration with Invasions is when the screen goes pitch black during a fight. This is supposed to be a challenge in the fight, but it is too much, in my opinion. There are usually extra obstacles to make the fights more challenging, but not being able to see anything is frustratingly difficult. I don’t mind obstacles that challenge, but there has to be a way to still see what you’re doing.
Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about the Kampaign. I never used to realize how much backstory went into these Mortal Kombat games. Fighting games are fun as is, but this story mode is on another level.
Since we are restarting, many of the characters are getting reintroduced. What’s fun is that as you play, they start to gain more of their powers or costumes. For instance, in the first chapter, Kung Lao and Raiden are farmers. Raiden doesn’t have his lightning, and Kung Lao hasn’t made his hat into a weapon. Those first few fights are a lot of punches and kicks. Another surprise was Baraka. He has an empathetic backstory that makes me want to see more from him and makes me enjoy playing his character in the fights.
What I love about the story is that you get to play a bunch of different characters. We have played through 9 chapters so far, and played at least 9 characters throughout. Each character has on average four fights, so you get a good sense of their moves without getting bored. There are certainly characters that I liked more than others; namely I like a character who can teleport, but that’s just me. However, it is fun being able to test out so many. Playing on medium difficulty was perfect for this non gamer.
Mortal Kombat 1 has been as good as expected, for me. We played enough to get a feel for the game, while I also know there’s so much more to uncover. I’m excited to see what DLC NetherRealm Studios has up their sleeves in addition to what has been announced, and I can’t wait for the release of the characters from outside of the MK universe. I’m thinking I’ll be trying out Homelander and Peacemaker first. While there have been a few frustrations in MK1, I thought the hype was worth it. I may not be a true gamer, but I’d recommend Mortal Kombat 1.