Mortal Kombat 1 feels like a dream to play | Hands-on preview

by on June 26, 2023

Although Mortal Kombat 1 isn’t out until September, NetherRealm has put out a stress test to give players a chance to experience the latest instalment in the popular fighting series. I adore Mortal Kombat and have done ever since the ancient days of the SNES, and seeing just how far it has come, being as popular as ever, warms my heart. Although the stress test is limited on what and who’s on offer, there was still enough for me to know the full release is going to be incredible.

There were four fighters available (Sub-Zero, Kenshi, Kitana, and Lui Kang), and three Kameo fighters (Kano, Sonya, and Jax). Before I mention the fighting, it was obvious from the menu just how damn amazing the visuals are. MK11 was consistently stunning, and from the Mortal Kombat 1 beta, they’re even better. The battle environments are so detailed and the lighting is flawless. Watching character animations through simple movement to Fatal Blows and Fatalities left my jaw on the floor, and the thought of how good the campaign will look has made me feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Mortal Kombat 1 stress test impressions 1

In my first fight, I played as Kenshi, and his movements with a blade are so fluid. While not as quick as Lui Kang, he can harness the power of the demon to pull off some beautiful special moves, transitioning into some decent combos, however, he’s a little more complex than Kitana or Sub-Zero. While I played as everyone, Lui Kang was by far my favourite. Connecting a couple of moves can end up with 15-hit combos, and when you find the right balance, he’s an absolute menace. Harnessing fire, quick kicks, and other elemental abilities made him such a force to be reckoned with.

The new Kameo system helps to make the series reinvent itself while keeping the core of the fighting familiar. Much like Street Fighter 6 did with allowing you to call upon your teachers in battle, a simple button press or command can call upon your Kameo to jump in and catch an enemy unaware. Kano was my favourite, especially his laser eye, and the fact that there are so many combinations already gave me hope for the full release. They can attack from afar or come in up close for a grab move, and experimenting with them was half the fun.

Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat has always been more methodical in its approach to fighting. While Street Fighter often relies on speed and quick offence, Mortal Kombat 1 is all about patience, drawing the enemy to you, and pulling off smart combinations to achieve maximum damage. There’re more than enough moves in each of the playable fighter’s sets to stack up a varied offence, and getting to play MK1 in its entirety is going to be one hell of an experience.

The beta is obviously not the full game, acting more as a way to tease the fanbase and test the servers, but I don’t see a single problem so far. The four fighters in the Mortal Kombat 1 stress test gave me a good idea of how they play and the styles on offer, and the Kameo system could be a game changer when September rolls around. The visuals took my breath away, and the various fatalities were utterly brutal, especially Kenshi’s sword down the throat performance. Folks, I can’t wait to play more, and when the beta in August happens, I urge you to join me.

Mortal Kombat 1 is coming to PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S|X on September 19th.