Netherrealm Studio’s Mortal Kombat 11 turned out to be a great success on the Nintendo Switch. However, the direct sequel and semi-reboot, Mortal Kombat 1, aims to surpass its predecessor. The game boasts stunning visuals and an expanded combat system that allows players to call in additional ‘Kameo’ fighters to assist them in battle. After the gameplay reveal at Summer Game Fest, the game received a lot of attention, and we managed to go hands-on with Netherrealm’s latest effort for roughly 30 minutes.
The Gameplay and Experience
The first thing that struck us with Mortal Kombat 1 was just how smooth the whole experience was. After choosing your fighter, there is a brief transition screen during which your two chosen characters will face off against one another before the environment around you loads in. The seamless transition makes the whole experience feel incredibly smooth, and the characters interact with one another according to how they relate in the world of Mortal Kombat, adding a good sense of narrative weight to the upcoming fight.
The gameplay in Mortal Kombat 1 feels very similar to Mortal Kombat 11, but the improved this-gen visuals make everything feel infinitely more cinematic and bombastic. Punches land with absurd weight, and you can see individual droplets of blood fly through the air before landing on the ground, drenching the environment in scarlet. The stunning environments with beautiful sunsets and detailed set pieces make it one of the most beautiful fighting games.
Kameo fighters introduce an added layer to the already remarkably deep fighting mechanics, but calling them in is easy. Simply tap or hold down ‘R1,’ and your Kameo character will leap into battle and perform one of their signature moves. You can link these in with your main character’s move set to perform a slick combo or use your Kameo character to give yourself some breathing room if you’re getting trapped in a corner.
Fatal Blows also make a much-appreciated return, and you can rope in your Kameo character to assist you here too. It makes the Fatal Blow sequences, which were already wonderfully cinematic, much more impactful.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Mortal Kombat without the iconic Fatalities, and we’re pleased to say that these are just as gruesome as ever and just as easy to pull off. Lui Kang’s signature Fatality will be immediately recognizable to anyone who watched the debut trailer for Mortal Kombat 1, but the other characters’ sequences are just as memorable. If you’re not content with using your own character’s Fatality, you can bring in your Kameo character with a simple combination of Up, Up, and ‘R1.’ Your own fighter will step aside with a smirk while your Kameo character unleashes hell on your opponent.
Over the years, Netherrealm has proven itself to be one of the most prestigious fighting developers around. However, with Mortal Kombat 1 being a significant step up from Mortal Kombat 11 in terms of visuals, presentation, and depth, there are concerns regarding how the game will hold up on the Nintendo Switch. Since the prior game already made some pretty heavy compromises on Nintendo’s platform, it is unknown how drastic the visual cutbacks will need to be on Switch to keep it running at a steady clip. All we can do is hope Netherrealm delivers something approaching the standard of its previous Switch version.
Mortal Kombat 1 looks like a promising addition to the Mortal Kombat series. The game boasts stunning visuals, an expanded combat system, and the ability to call in additional ‘Kameo’ fighters to assist in battle. The gameplay feels very similar to Mortal Kombat 11, but the improved this-gen visuals make everything feel infinitely more cinematic and bombastic. While there are concerns about how the game will hold up on the Nintendo Switch, all we can do is hope Netherrealm delivers something approaching the standard of its previous Switch version.