Mortal Kombat 1 Screenshot

Mortal Kombat 1 PS5 Review: A Near Flawless Victory

The Mortal Kombat series has always set a strong tone throughout the gaming industry. Its use of fatalities and unique characters has set a high precedent. These elements have resonated with me ever since I first experienced the original game on the Sega Genesis. Seeing Scorpion execute his iconic finishing move captivated my interest in the series from that moment onward. Therefore, when news surfaced about the release of Mortal Kombat 1, I was an immediate fan.

I have been playing the new title frequently since its early access launch on September 14 and I can say for certain it’s the best entry in the series. Mortal Kombat 1 serves as a refresh of the long-serving fighting series and is just what the series needed. The game has many different aspects that allow it to be favorable to those comfortable or new to fighting games.

Mortal Kombat 1 Character Roster
Character Roster, In-Game Screenshot

“As the first game to introduce the Kameo system, it easily enhances the series by delivering a fresh and exciting experience in every match.”

Right off the bat, one of the most notable and welcome changes in Mortal Kombat 1 is the introduction of the Kameo system. Functioning as an assist mechanic during battles, this system allows players to select a secondary, non-playable fighter. These Kameo characters possess a range of moves that provide specific outcomes, including the ability to juggle opponents, extend combos, immobilize opponents, create breathing room, and initiate the next offensive.

At launch, the Kameo roster boasts a diverse lineup of 15 different fighters. Among them are classic figures like Jax and Motaro, alongside 3D-era fighters such as Darrius and Sareena. Each character can be personalized through unlockable palettes, earned by utilizing the chosen secondary fighter and leveling them up. This feature, while straightforward to utilize, infuses the series with a refreshing new dynamic. As the first game to introduce the Kameo system, it easily enhances the series by delivering a fresh and exciting experience in every match.

In addition to the various combinations of primary fighters and Kameos, the inclusion of DLC Kameos further enriches the gameplay possibilities. With the first Kombat Pack, five additional Kameo characters will be introduced, providing even more variety and tactical depth to matches. The presence of this assist-style mode has undeniably left a memorable mark on Mortal Kombat 1, and I wholeheartedly endorse its continued presence in future titles.

Mortal Kombat 1 Goro Kameo
Goro Kameo Fighter, In-Game Screenshot

“For players seeking a solo gaming experience within Mortal Kombat 1’s single-player offerings, Invasions serves as a prime example to explore.”

In addition to the Kameos, another standout feature in Mortal Kombat 1 that particularly resonated with me is the introduction of a new game mode known as “Invasions.” This mode represents NetherRealm Studios’ take on an RPG-style experience set in the Mortal Kombat universe and expands upon the main story narrative. In Invasions, players embark on journeys through various in-game locations, each with its own preset pathways with various unique tiles. These tiles on the maps correspond to different battles, with distinct modifiers and opponents to overcome.

While some may find this mode repetitive, I found it to be brimming with vitality. Each battle introduces novel conditions, ensuring a new and engaging experience with every encounter. Adding to the allure are the mode’s unique elements, such as the elemental chart, where selecting certain fighters grants you an advantage over your opponents. Furthermore, the ambush and secret fight mechanics keep you on your toes, preventing any sense of staleness. Invasions may be a fresh addition to Mortal Kombat 1, but it offers an abundance of enticing features and promises immense enjoyment for anyone immersed in the game.

For players seeking a solo gaming experience within Mortal Kombat 1‘s single-player offerings, Invasions serves as a prime example to explore. The different worlds scattered throughout, combined with the seasonal refresh concept, provide ample reasons to continue engaging with Invasions. Moreover, this mode serves as an excellent training ground for gaining a deeper understanding of the fighters and match pace, especially for those aspiring to join the online gaming community.

Mortal Kombat 1 Invasions
Invasions Mode, In-Game Screenshot

“The tutorials offered in the game are a significant positive and provide great accessibility”

As someone who doesn’t consider themselves the most skilled or versatile when it comes to fighting games, I value titles that acclimate players into the gameplay. Mortal Kombat 1 truly shines in this aspect, with an extensive tutorial system encompassing over eight comprehensive sections. These tutorials not only cover various gameplay elements but also dedicate a separate section to each character’s unique mechanics, ensuring players have ample opportunities to comprehend and improve their performance in the game.

Along with the tutorial sections, Mortal Kombat 1 also offers two other useful practice modes. The first is standard practice where players can customize an AI opponent to their needs and train with a character and Kameo of their choice. The second mode allows players to practice both their main fight and Kameo fatalities, allowing them to learn finishers better and create a more seamless match experience for them. The tutorials offered in the game are a significant positive and provide great accessibility, especially to players who need a boost in their fighting skills, like me, or players new to the genre.

Mortal Kombat 1 Tutorial
Kombos Tutorial, In-Game Tutorial

“Mortal Kombat 1’s story is masterfully executed, striking a perfect balance that ensures it doesn’t overstay its welcome.”

Like its predecessors in the series, the storyline in Mortal Kombat 1 is straightforward yet effective. Continuing from the events of Mortal Kombat 11, Lord Liu Kang harnesses the power of the hourglass to reshape the universe. This cosmic transformation results in a reimagined world where characters are reborn, and both Outworld and Earthrealm coexist in harmonious unity. While the traditional Mortal Kombat tournament persists in the new game, it serves as a means to showcase realm pride rather than a vehicle for conquest. However, as the tournament progresses, a series of unfolding events gradually unveil that appearances can be deceiving, and not everything is as it initially appears.

NetherRealm Studios’ approach to crafting the story mode is exceptional, effectively balancing gameplay segments with cutscenes. Despite its approximate ten-hour duration, Mortal Kombat 1 delivers a comprehensive and satisfying narrative for the game. Each chapter places players in the shoes of various characters, allowing them to witness the diverse impacts each character has on the unfolding events.

Spanning across Earthrealm, Outworld, and various other locations, Mortal Kombat 1‘s story is masterfully executed, striking a perfect balance that ensures it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Just as NetherRealm Studios has consistently enriched the series’ lore, they have once again produced a chapter that should be experienced by everyone.

MK1 Story Cutscene
Story Cutscene, In-Game Screenshot

“I believe there is untapped potential for more diverse online modes.”

The most underwhelming aspect of the game is its most substantial component: online play. Although I’m not the most dedicated online fighting player, Mortal Kombat 1 felt lackluster. Despite its excellent performance thanks to the inclusion of rollback net coding, the overall online experience fell short of my expectations.

Regarding game modes, Mortal Kombat 1 features casual matches where players engage in single battles against each other. However, beyond that, the options are rather limited, consisting primarily of “King of The Hill,” where the victor takes on seven challengers to retain their throne and secure victory.

The other available online mode is “Kombat League,” where players engage in ranked matches, with unique rewards awaiting those who excel at the end of each season. I believe there is untapped potential for more diverse online modes, but it’s disappointing once you discover the limitations of the currently available online gameplay options.

MK1 Screenshot
In-Game Screenshot, Scorpion vs. Ashrah

“Mortal Kombat 1 has now claimed the top spot as my personal favorite in the series.”

Mortal Kombat 1 not only emerges as the strongest entry since 2011’s Mortal Kombat but also secures its position as the pinnacle of the series. The game has distinct offerings for those interested in both offline and online play. Adding new features such as Kameos and Invasions mode were excellent touches to the game that will have me playing for hours to come. Coupled with the game’s comprehensive tutorials, Mortal Kombat 1 provides me with the motivation to hone my skills as a fighting game player and to develop a main character to take into the competitive realm of online matches.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the series, a newcomer to the world of Mortal Kombat, or somewhere in between, this latest entry is one I wholeheartedly recommend. It represents NetherRealm Studios’ most remarkable work to date.

Mortal Kombat 1 has now claimed the top spot as my personal favorite in the series, and I eagerly anticipate the game’s evolution and the intriguing directions the narrative may explore in the future. Mortal Kombat 1 stands unmatched as the reigning champion among fighting games.

Mortal Kombat 1 Screenshot
Mortal Kombat 1 Review
Mortal Kombat 1 provides captivating features for both offline and online gaming, with noteworthy additions like Kameos and Invasions enhancing the gameplay, and comprehensive tutorials facilitating skill improvement. The storyline unfolds masterfully without overstaying its welcome. However, online play disappoints with limited modes. Nonetheless, Mortal Kombat 1 offers an exceptional gaming experience for fans, whether you're a new fighter or long-time enthusiast.
Kameo Fighters
Great campaign
Large replayability
In-depth Tutorials
Lackluster Online Modes

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Final Score