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The Point

The Student News Site of Fitchburg State University

The Point

The Student News Site of Fitchburg State University

The Point

Mortal Kombat 1 Review

Even after twelve mainline games and two reboots, Mortal Kombat still knows how to pack a punch.
Logo From the Mortal Kombat website.

I bought Mortal Kombat 1 with much skepticism. Admittedly the only reason I bought the game was because Omni-Man from the Invincible franchise was announced as a future bonus character (sold separately). While I have played a few fighting games, some of which by Mortal Kombat developers NetherRealm Studios, I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of the genre. What was more concerning was that the studio’s most recent title, Mortal Kombat 11, was far too slow and clunky in my opinion. Fortunately, I was worried about nothing.

Mortal Kombat 1 is a great fighting game and a massive improvement on its predecessor. The fighting feels as impactful as ever, but with a greater speed and agility. People considered Mortal Kombat 11 to be one of the harder games in the franchise, myself included, but Mortal Kombat 1 had me chaining combos together like it was nothing. One thing to note was that learning combos was more difficult than previous titles due to something truly baffling. I used to be able to go to the move list and pin combos to the in-game screen in order to learn them more easily. This feature, which has been a constant in the studio’s games for years, is notably absent in this title. How the game launched without it is beyond me. Hopefully it gets patched in.

Upon booting up the game, I was greeted with a very simple and easy to navigate menu (unlike the maze that was MK11’s menu). The main menu has all the single player modes under one tab, all the multiplayer modes under another, character customization, extras and settings all listed on the left side of the screen with beautiful view of a lake taking up the rest. In MK11 each tab has its own submenu, which made finding anything a total pain. The first thing I did was go to settings so I could configure my graphics. I recently bought a high-end gaming PC and wanted to put it to the test. To my surprise, there was a feature that would configure my settings automatically to reach the fullest extent of my hardware’s capabilities (highest quality textures, sharpest image, smoothest framerate, etc.). Of the few PC games I have, this is the first time I’ve seen a feature like this and it absolutely blew me away.

Skip to the next paragraph if you want to avoid them.

After I had the settings in order, it was time to play the story mode. In this game, the universe was reset and the story was free to do whatever it wanted. Unfortunately, the story really let me down. They advertised the game as a clean slate to do whatever they wanted, but the entire story was about how this universe was falling into the same pitfalls as the old one. There were plenty of minor changes, but overall the characters’ journeys were a series of different paths to similar destinations. For example, Shang Tsung, one of the main villains of the franchise, was rebooted from a powerful sorcerer to a lowly swindler. However, the game starts by having a mysterious figure granting him his powers back. This creates a domino effect and causes many characters to become like their old selves. The overarching story, on the other hand, was very new. It wasn’t anything I feel like replaying one day, but I definitely enjoyed my time with it. Another problem I have with the story is that the ending chapters felt very different from the rest of the game. I won’t go into detail, but you’ll know exactly what I mean once you play it for yourself.

From a technical standpoint, the game is somewhat of a mixed bag. The cutscenes had great graphics and animations, some of which felt photoreal. On the other hand, the dialogue never felt like it was coming from the characters. The audio mix always made it feel like voiceover, which really took me out of some scenes. That’s not to say that the performances were bad, everyone actually did a really good job. Well, almost everyone.

It’s time I address the elephant in the room: Megan Fox as Nitara. It doesn’t matter what your opinion of her is, she gave a terrible performance in this game. Instead of delivering her lines, it sounded as if all she did was read them off the script and only did one take of each. It was like a bad school play. It’s not entirely her fault, as voice direction is key for even the best voice actors. Listening to Fox’s line delivery makes it abundantly clear that she was given little to no context or direction for her lines. She still could have done a better job, but I just wanted to make it clear that she’s not the only one to blame. To make matters worse they had a trained voice actor, Cristina Vee Valenzuela, record all of the grunts and cries heard during gameplay, which actually did sound good. Why were two people hired to voice one character? Why not hire a trained voice actor for the whole thing? After the backlash from having Ronda Rousey voice Sonya Blade in MK11, you’d think NeatherRealm would learn to only hire professional voice actors for their games. It’s ironic considering the entire story of the game revolves around avoiding past mistakes.

I give Mortal Kombat 1 a score of 8/10. While not a flawless victory, there is a lot to enjoy about Mortal Kombat 1. Even if you don’t like fighting games, you should definitely give it a try. Mortal Kombat 1 is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and PC.

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