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After eleven titles, any series, be it films, books or games, can appear tired and out of ideas, but that is not the case with Mortal Kombat. With each new release, the Netherrealm Studios overcomes itself, and the new Mortal Kombat 1 is no exception: it is the best game in the series to date.
A new beginning for Mortal Kombat
As we could see at the end of the extra content of Mortal Kombat 11, Liu Kang, the one chosen by Raiden to be the great champion of the earthly kingdom became the God of fire, and with that he was given the responsibility of controlling the timeline of the entire universe. After a confrontation with the cunning wizard Shang Tsung, it was up to him to recreate existence in his own way, and with that, came a reboot for the MK franchise.
Mortal Kombat 1 brings an unprecedented story to characters long established in the series' canon, and as is usual for games produced by Netherrealm Studios, its campaign mode is simply epic. Therefore, we recommend playing it first, so that you don't suffer from spoilers, as other features of the game reveal plot events.
The game's story unfolds in chapters, each in which you play a different fighter, from Kung Lao and Raiden, who are now mere peasants, to Baraka and Mileena, whose origins have undergone major changes, especially dealing with the way they became monstrosities.
In its approximately 8 hours of duration, the game's plot is extremely well developed, featuring videos with production quality that rivals even feature-length animations (as long as it's not on the Switch). Character models based on real actors are used, and the facial detailing is simply barbaric throughout the game.
There's a lot to have fun with
Once you're done playing through the story, there's plenty more content to enjoy in Mortal Kombat 1. The new modality, Invasion, is a revival of the adventure mode of games from the PlayStation 2 generation, where your mission is to travel through different maps, completing all kinds of challenges placed in your path.
As we mentioned in our article containing tips for becoming a better combatant, this game mode is extremely valuable for learning the many combat mechanics, not to mention unlocking some of the many hidden items and bonuses. The phases this mode is based on change over the course of the seasons. Mortal Kombat 1, so it's to be expected that they will always contain lots of new features as Netherrealm Studios continues to update the game in the future.
When becoming a worthy fighter, or rather, finding a character that you feel good playing with, the big choice before embarking on online battles is the tower mode, a classic that has been present since the first games of the series. In it, depending on the difficulty level chosen, you will face several fights so that in the end you can uncover the end of your character's story.
Inside the towers, you can even play a kind of survival challenge, in which you will fight as long as you have the energy to do so. The further you get, the greater the prizes await you. As well as the excellent Mortal Kombat 9, the great precursor of the current generation of the franchise, the towers are extremely fun and varied in Mortal Kombat 1, bringing intense challenges that will please even the most demanding MK fans.
Challenge opponents from around the world
Apart from these modalities, there is the option of playing both online and with people next to you on the couch, even in a tournament format, in which more than two fighters can participate. Of course, it's no surprise that much of the game's progress depends on your dedication to fighting over the internet, and there is an absurd amount of content to be unlocked this way.
Fighters, stages and even the game's announcers can be customized simply by playing and earning items by participating in fights against other people. Not to mention the valuable MK coins, which can be used every 1000 units to play a type of slot machine within the game to win random prizes.
We have reached the point of review in which we have to mention some of the elements in which Mortal Kombat 1 may not be to the liking of players, especially those looking for great new features in relation to the base gameplay of this new title. Yes, there are some new elements, such as partners Kameo, which include classic versions of characters from the franchise, but at their core, the Kameos are nothing more than those already known combo breakers from previous games.
On the other hand, Kameos they bring a layer of specialization with which fighters who want to specialize can receive certain advantages that favor their style of play. A practical example of this is the case of Reptile: by teaming up with Motaro, he is able to keep an enemy off the ground for longer, as the centaur who made his debut in the franchise in Mortal Kombat 2 relies on blows that throw the opponent into the air. Reptile, in turn, is excellent at juggling his opponent, closing the pair brilliantly.
Still, it maintains certain aspects
Mortal Kombat's combat system has always been heavily dependent on combos, sequences of blows that, when executed, do a lot of damage to the opponent, and the new game is no exception to the rule. Such dependence on this mechanic ends up making the controls somewhat stuck and slow, not to mention that when being on the other side of a sequence of blows and without a combo breaker available, there is not much you can do to avoid them.
Therefore, it is necessary to maintain these escape skills so that they can be used at the right time, unless you don't want to lose badly. There are, as in previous games, nasty X-ray attacks too, many of which only become available when your life bar reaches a certain level. On the other hand, the ease of hit commands has greatly increased in this new game, making Mortal Kombat 1 much more accessible, in a way.
And of course, this wouldn't be Mortal Kombat without an absurd amount of violence in the form of brutalities and the famous Fatalities. For decades, Ed Boon's team has been creating increasingly elaborate and disgusting submission moves, and the ones we see in Mortal Kombat 1 are among the bloodiest ever seen. And with even higher quality, more disturbing graphical fidelity you can trust.
One of the game's surprises is the special appearance of Jean-Cleaude Van Damme, as skin bonus for Johnny Cage for purchasing the turbocharged version of the game. As longtime fans of the series know, the original 1991 game was supposed to be based on the actor, but negotiations fell through at the time.
Now, 30 years later, the dream of the series' creative director, Ed Boon, and also of the franchise's co-creator who stepped away from the series many years ago, John Tobias, has finally been realized. The end result is beyond fun, completing the triumphant return that the series took from its humble beginnings in arcades to becoming the sales giant it is today. The world really turns around and this is clear proof of that.
Having said all that, in the combination of its features and game modes, even with not exactly new gameplay, we can easily put Mortal Kombat 1 at the top of the list of current games in the franchise because it is a new and exciting start to a chronology that had already gone beyond its limits of twists and complications. With this redesigned origin, Netherrealm had the opportunity to start from scratch, even if not exactly straying from what it does. Mortal Kombat 1 a Mortal Kombat worthy of its legacy.
For newcomers to the series, this is an excellent starting point, as it is a beautiful reset of the craziness pre-established in the franchise's decades of existence. MK fans and veterans will find a lot to enjoy, simply witnessing the creative changes in the stories of the world and characters, being able to compare to what came before, in addition to already being familiar with the gameplay that has changed little in this new game.
Mortal Kombat 1 is an excellent reboot of the series that, despite not necessarily straying from its roots, brings enough new features to make it an excellent fighting game with hours and hours of quality content to be played. On the other hand, the little that innovates in terms of fighting techniques may leave some players tired of it a little disappointed.
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Text proofread by: Pedro Bomfim (22 / 09 / 23)
Is Mortal Kombat 1 worth it?Is Mortal Kombat 1 worth it?
Presentation100/100 ExcellentThis is by far the most beautiful Mortal Kombat of all, unanimous on all counts.
History85/100 AmazingBringing a somewhat necessary reboot, Mortal Kombat 1 tells a new origin for the franchise, without straying from the franchise's ways.
Fun90/100 AmazingDespite bringing gameplay without many changes compared to previous games, Mortal Komabt 1 is a very fun fighting game, and thanks to the simplified controls, players of all levels can have fun.
Contents100/100 ExcellentMortal Kombat 1 brings an absurd amount of content to be played in its various game modes, many of which will last as long as the producer is supporting the game.
What we like
- The game is simply beautiful graphically
- The story, despite being predictable, is quite entertaining
- JCVD's cameo, even though it's a bonus in the more expensive version of the game, is a cool surprise for longtime fans
What we didn't like so much
- The game did little to innovate in terms of gameplay