It is finally here; those who pre-ordered the premium edition of Mortal Kombat 1 can now get in on the action. Here are our first impressions of the latest installment of the epic franchise.

Characters and Stages

There are 22 playable characters immediately available. These playable characters include Kitana, Mileena, Tanya, Rain, ShanTsung, General Shao, Sindel, Reiko, Smoke, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile, Raiden, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Kung Lao, Li Mei, Kenshi, Baraka, Geras, Ashrah and Nitara. Havik makes 23 but is currently locked. 

Immediately playable kameo players include Darrius, Sareena, Cyrax, Kano, Sonya, Sektor, Frost, Jax, Stryker and Goro. However, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kung Lao, Shujinko and Motaro look like they must be earned. We currently have access to 18 playable stages, not including one locked stage. 

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Fatalities are the bread and butter of the Mortal Kombat; here are just some of our experiences. Rain splits his opponent like Moses split the Red Sea with his water-based fatality. Darrius has a pretty basic fatality where he rips off his opponent’s arms and then knocks their head off with said arms. 

One of Mileena’s fatalities, called “Appetizer,” has her straight up feasting on the opponent’s brains like Hannibal Lecter. As she walked away from winning a match, I noticed she injected something into her neck. Perhaps something to slow the spread of the Tarkath disease?

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Invasion and Kustomization 

Invasion mode lets you choose a character to take through Johnny Cage’s mansion. The player moves like a pawn on a digital board game map. The first task had us fight a Tarkatan to retrieve a key card, which gave us access to the mansion. A movie theater in his estate plays the official Mortal Kombat 1 trailer. Kurrency is rewarded for completing tasks and can be used to buy various items throughout the map. 

Kustomization mode allows you to change the character’s gear (weapons), palettes, finishers and taunts. Taunts are basically the Mortal Kombat version of emotes. You can only customize the kameo character’s palette and armor. I was excited to see more customization options, though I wonder how much will be unlocked in the game and how much will be purchased in the store. 

Final Thoughts

Stunning graphics and over-the-top gore are to be expected from this franchise, and they certainly deliver with this game. Things like invasion mode and expanded character customization will be the things that separate this installment from the others. I look forward to exploring every nook and cranny of this game, which is a great sign. Kudos to everyone at NetherRealm Studios for blessing us once again. 

You can pre-order the premium edition of Mortal Kombat 1 and play today. The game will be released on all platforms on September 19, 2023.

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