Mortal Kombat 1 launches on September 19th for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch. It’s hard to believe it was revealed a few months ago, especially after so many rumors, but NetherRealm’s fighter looks great. As a clean slate for the franchise, it changes up several things we know about the lore while adding unique little twists.
The presentation has looked solid so far, but the new features and game modes also look very enticing. Here are 15 things we can’t wait to do in Mortal Kombat 1 at launch and well afterwards.
Experience the Story
First and foremost, the story. So much has changed in the world of Mortal Kombat 1 that it requires a readjustment of sorts. Why is Kuai Liang now Scorpion? What happened to Hanzo Hisashi? What are the Lin Kuei’s motivations? How does Mortal Kombat work, especially with Liu Kang extolling how peaceful the new era is? How did certain characters from Mortal Kombat 11 survive, and what are their motivations? Seeing how everything has changed is already intriguing.
Revisit Classic Characters
Of course, seeing how each character plays should be fine. Despite Raiden having thunder powers, his play style is significantly different. General Shao, aka Shao Kahn before he got his title, wields a battle axe, which he also uses in innovative ways, and seeing returning characters like Tanya, Li Mei, Havik, Kenshi, Reptile and Ashrah being so different also has us excited.
Uncovering and Experimenting With New Combos
Mortal Kombat 11 had flaws, but perhaps the most egregious were those related to the combat. Some felt it wasn’t fast enough, while others saw it as “figured out” pretty early on. Mortal Kombat 1, at the very least, offers some enticing new strings with fewer restrictions, faster movement speed and aerial combos. Time will tell how the balance shakes out, but for now, it’s looking mechanically interesting, even with the lack of character variations.
Part of that is due to the new Kameo Fighters. They serve as assists but have unique move sets for specific situations, whether breaking out of combos or repelling projectiles. They’re also on a cooldown timer, so you must choose the right moments to use them. Of course, it’s also nice seeing characters like Sonya, Jax, Frost, Cyrax and more returning in their classic outfits (even if many aren’t playable).
Fatalities and Brutalities
It wouldn’t be Mortal Kombat without the Fatalities, and somehow, some way, Mortal Kombat 1 dials them up to 11. You have Li Mei turning an opponent’s head into a fireworks display, Johnny Cage taking grotesque selfies, and Liu Kang straight-up banishing his opponent into a black hole. Having Brutalities return for those sudden shocking kills is also cool.
Kameo Fighter Fatalities
But that’s not all, as Kameo Fighters also have Fatalities. Many are callbacks to classic character Fatalities, like Sonya’s Kiss of Death, Kano’s Heart Ripper, and even Jax straight-up stepping on fools (complete with him turning into a giant, which is great). Nostalgia bait? Sure, but together with the playable roster’s Fatalities, it’s the perfect mix of old and new.
If you enjoyed the banter between combatants before fights, good news – they return in Mortal Kombat 1 and are as endearing as ever. For example, when Johnny Cage clashes with Sub-Zero, the former politely informs him that he’s not the noob (a callback to Bi-Han’s role as Noob Saibot). Based on the amount already seen in the pre-order beta, there is much more to look forward to in the main game, and we’re all for it.
Playing Klassic Towers
After Towers of Time, with its unlock requirements, Kurrencies, AI fighters, and so on, it’s nice to have Klassic Towers. You select a character and Kameo Fighter and work your way up through a series of opponents, each increasing in difficulty. That’s more or less it. It could be a lot more complicated than NetherRealm has let on, but for now, it’s beautiful in its simplicity.
Quitalities also make a return in Mortal Kombat 1 and are still performed in online matches when an opponent suddenly leaves a session. Rage quitting sucks, even if we’ve all been there, so why not have fun with it? The fact that your opponent can either spontaneously fall or explode after a simple move accentuates it even more.
Invasions is the new game mode in Mortal Kombat 1, offering a unique spin on Konquest and Towers of Time. Players traverse a board game-style map, taking on different invaders from other worlds and unlocking new areas. The premise is already pretty unique while being in line with Mortal Kombat, but throws in some proper RPG elements and challenges, like bullet hell scenarios, perfect blocking attacks and more to shake things up. It feels more fleshed out than Towers of Time, with way more variety.
Partaking in Invasions means battling alternate versions of characters. It currently involves fighting reskinned versions of existing fighters, whether it’s Kitana or Geras (seen as Feral Royal or Ancient Construct, respectively). Whether these skins become unlockable remains to be seen, but we’re keen on the different strategies they use and the challenges posed.
Customizing Characters and Unlockables
Throughout Invasions, you can customize characters, leveling up to increase their stats and using Talismans to provide advantages like healing, projectiles and more. There are also various shops and secrets to uncover, though NetherRealm remains tight-lipped. For now, it seems there won’t be a gear grind like Mortal Kombat 11, with players unlocking Kurrency, concept art and more by playing.
Unlocking New Outfits
Another reason to play through Invasions is the cool skins you can unlock. As revealed by those who went hands-on with the title in previews, there are fire-themed skins for Kitana, Sub-Zero, and Tanya, and even color palette changes for Kameo Fighters like Cyrax. It also seems some skins are customizable with accessories, individual palettes and more, which is a massive upgrade over Mortal Kombat 1. Hopefully, there are enough color palettes to appeal to fans.
Playing Arcade Towers
It’s felt like forever since we enjoyed mini-games in Mortal Kombat, and thankfully, Mortal Kombat 1 is bringing back some classics. You get to partake in Test Your Might, destroying objects (and body parts) with the right timing and Endurance, where you fight several opponents solo. There are even Secret Fights triggered by fulfilling certain conditions in some encounters.
As annoying as the seasonal battle pass has become, Invasions is taking a novel approach. Every six weeks, there’s a new experience with new rewards, bosses, invaders and more. Furthermore, lead designer Derek Kirtzic confirmed to GamesRadar that there are no Battle Passes. You get Seasonal Credits, which can’t be bought with real money, and use those to purchase cosmetics. It sounds too good to be true, but for now, we’ll remain optimistic.