The Student News Site of Chandler High School

The Wolf Howl

The Student News Site of Chandler High School

The Wolf Howl

The Student News Site of Chandler High School

The Wolf Howl

Mortal Kombat’s newest release breathes new life into the series


Fighting games are some of the oldest video games to date, and arguably the most recognizable. NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat was the first franchise to come out in 1992, with Capcom’s Street Fighter being released to directly compete with it just two years later. 

Now, Mortal Kombat 1, the twelfth game in the series, has been released for PC and all major consoles. This latest installment sees a lot of triumph for the series as a whole. That includes getting Jean Claude Van Damme, whose movies inspired the creation of Mortal Kombat, to be included in the game as well as including beloved pop culture icons as playable characters— like Alien or Predator from their respective movies, who were featured in past games. Mortal Kombat 1 also features a brand new story, new environments, and an entirely revisited fighting system. Overall, it looks like this iteration in the series is top-of-the-line, surpassing every version before it.

Mortal Kombat, as a series, has a reputation for threading the needle of playing off itself and doing something completely new. Mortal Kombat 1 is no different, instead taken further. With the fact that Mortal Kombat 11 finished off a trilogy in the series, Mortal Kombat 1 acts as a soft reset. Characters are given new context and backstories, some even in different roles than before, and the universe’s lore is remade nearly from scratch. There’s an in-universe reason for this, but in reality, NetherRealm most likely wanted a new direction for the game series. This is for the better, considering the very little amount of material they had after Mortal Kombat 11. With a new perspective on the world of Mortal Kombat, the developers were able to deliver a breath of fresh air for the fans.

The new takes on the realms in Mortal Kombat certainly prove this. Earthrealm, of course, hasn’t changed much, but Outworld and the Netherrealm were reworked from the ground up. Instead of barren wastelands and empty deserts featured in the preceding trilogy, Mortal Kombat 1 dresses its alien realms in ethereal textures. You’ll battle through lush forests and city festivals more often than you will be in a dank cave or dungeon. This not only offers a nice juxtaposition for the players, but also stands as a testament to the amount of attention paid to the little details of the game. Backgrounds are active, and people and elements are moving around and reacting to the fight going on. Characters are rendered beautifully and movement is fluid, not abandoning the motion capture and well-made transitions of previous games.

The movement in the fights themselves hasn’t lost any of the reactivity or ease of previous games either. The combo and combat systems of Mortal Kombat 1 are quite more streamlined and toned down compared to the game just before it. As opposed to the complicated button-mashing and environmental interactions of Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat 1 instead focuses more on reactive and fast-paced gameplay. Aerial combat was also overhauled, letting players keep their opponents in the air for much longer and in more creative ways. On top of this, Mortal Kombat 1 features online combat options, allowing players to fight others all around the world.

As much as all these improvements better the game, players have seen issues in their experiences. For one, it wasn’t released on all consoles at the time of release. This is fair, some platforms take more priority than others, but the biggest problem with this is the appearance of glitches between platforms. Players have noticed a significant lack of damage output, others being outright prevented from performing certain combos, and generally a lack of polish on non-AAA consoles. This surprised many, but it is important to keep in mind that the developers are still actively updating the game! 

What has yet to be explained, however, is the shocking lack of quality on the Nintendo Switch port of the game. Graphics are sub-par, at best, and the framerate is laggy and unpredictable. This naturally floored and outraged players. Mortal Kombat 1 is just as expensive on the Switch as it is on the PS5, running a steep $70. This price and the abysmal quality of the game have left players upset and confused. Why was this allowed to happen? It seems that the PS5 port was simply moved onto the Switch, but the Switch doesn’t have the hardware or computing power to handle all of the game’s material— resulting in all the problems players have seen. Thankfully, NetherRealm has been putting in the work to troubleshoot issues and improve every version of the game. The first updates have helped with problems, but it still seems like a long way to go for the Switch port.

Keeping in line with tradition for the series, Mortal Kombat 1 will feature paid DLC characters for players to purchase. This time around, the newcomers will feature a mix of characters specific to the Mortal Kombat series and recent pop culture icons like previous installments. The first of the characters to release is Omni-Man, from the hit series Invincible. Already, from the trailers that have been released, fans of both Invincible and Mortal Kombat are thrilled with the first look at DLC. Omni-Man’s fantastic model and movement have caused ripples of positive traction among all forms of fans.

“I think it does add some novelty to it,” One long-time fan stated, “I think that it helps in the marketing of it, and helps draw in people with that, while still sticking to that kind of theme.”

Suffice it to say, that a lot of hype has been built for the first group of DLC characters. 

Mortal Kombat has been a pillar in the video gaming industry for ages. It’s inspired hundreds of other games and has subverted tropes of all kinds. It’s refreshing to see such a beloved in this new form. NetherRealm has made an effort to pay attention to what the fans want, while still creating something entirely new. Compared to other video game reboots, Mortal Kombat 1 makes the case, just like the iterations before it, that old characters and stories can be brought back to life with enough care placed into them by the developers. Not every reboot has to be a cheap cash grab, and Mortal Kombat 1 certainly proves that ten times over.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sif Woolf, Reporter
Sif Woolf, a sophomore on the Chandler Wolf Howl team, has big plans. They have a deep respect for life and nature, inspiring their work here as a reporter.  Their driving mantra for joining Newspaper is simple: “Giving people a perspective that they might not have seen before.”  Writing opinions articles is where they shine, and expressing their thoughts on paper has been an excellent outlet.  In the future, Sif hopes to pursue a career in the creative arts with photography, writing, or painting.