• Mortal Kombat 1 maintains familiarity with the franchise while offering new features and revamped characters, making it a promising reboot.
  • The introduction of Kameo Fighters adds a new element to matches that can change the viability of certain fighters, but they require learning and fine-tuning.
  • Mortal Kombat 1 provides a welcoming gameplay experience, making it beginner-friendly and allowing casual players to learn without feeling overwhelmed.

With the release of Mortal Kombat 1 on the horizon, developer NetherRealm Studios gave dedicated players who have pre-ordered the game a chance to experience it early over a period of nearly four days, August 18th at 8am PT to August 21st 3pm PT, in a Pre-Order Beta. During this Beta, players did not have access to the full roster, but were still able to gauge the overall gameplay feel and get an introduction to this twelfth entry in the franchise.

Despite coming thirty-one years after the original Mortal Kombat release, Mortal Kombat 1 is serving as a second reboot to the series, offering a reborn MK universe featuring familiar faces and new characters. Though there is still plenty to come with the full release, the Mortal Kombat 1 Beta offered an opportunity to experiment with new features on an engine that doesn’t feel too far off from the eleventh entry in the series.

Familiarity That Resonates

Mortal Kombat 1's Smoke appears coming out of a tornado while talking to Sub-Zero and Scorpion.

While Mortal Kombat 1 is considered a reboot for the series, it does maintain many aspects that feel true to the franchise. First and foremost is the fact that, despite being advertised as something completely new, it runs on an engine that players of Mortal Kombat 11 will find comfortingly familiar. Another aspect of familiarity is the return of several characters in Mortal Kombat 1 among the new.

Despite the many popular fighters who are making a reappearance, they won’t feel like the same old designs, as many have received major revamps to their story and mechanics. Additionally, not everyone returns as a traditional fighter and is directly playable. Rather, they are assist characters that work as a companion for players, creating a new aspect to matches that will add unique elements to experiment with. This includes faces like Sonya and Frost, both of who make quite the impression in the new Kameo feature as some of the best options for players.

A True Rebirth

Mortal Kombat 1 Getting to Play as Johnny Cage Fighter and Frost Kameo in Open Beta Trailer

Kameos are one of the exciting features that gives Mortal Kombat 1 a brand-new feel. Kameo Fighters serve as an assistive partner fighter that players may utilize to their advantage for a variety of purposes, which adds a new element to matches that can completely change the viability of certain fighters. However, just as with the fighters, it’s clear that certain Kameos shone above others in the Pre-order Beta, especially those that players are willing to put in the work to learn. Though Frost appears to offer more support to specific fighters, those who have taken the time to invest in learning how she operates have come to realize that she can be a real game changer for any fighter.

While many players faced initial disappointment at the idea of certain fan favorites being introduced only as Kameos, the Beta has proven that the Kameo status is just as important, if not more so, than choosing the right fighter. They require just as much fine-tuning to learn as the main fighter, since misusing Kameos could be the difference between a win or loss.

While another new exciting aspect of a new installment is new characters, a limited roster meant it’s still yet to be determined what the overall meta will be. However, for anyone concerned that this reboot is not going to be beginner-friendly, that is not the case. Those looking to introduce themselves to the franchise are likely to find that Mortal Kombat 1 is a great place to start, especially with its exciting new revamp to many Mortal Kombat character stories that play vital roles in the campaign.

With the new features being introduced, there will be a bit of a learning curve for players all around. The story mode is also incredibly welcoming with a gradual introduction to mastering chain moves. Though many recent fighting games, like Street Fighter 6, have proven punishable online for those not willing to dedicate time to mastering it, Mortal Kombat 1 offers some most welcoming gameplay. Casual players may learn the ropes without feeling like there is an impossible gap separating the player base.

Final Thoughts

While the Beta did provide some expected letdowns in the sense of a limited roster that prohibited more experimentation with several characters, there were still enough there to provide a sense of the gameplay – and it’s a promising start. With exciting aspects to keep old players on their toes and a great foundation for new players to build on, Mortal Kombat 1 built up the hype around its reboot with this Pre-Order Beta preview.

Source: PlayStation/YouTube

Mortal Kombat 1 releases Sepetember 19th, 2023 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Screen Rant was provided with a PS5 code for the purposes of this preview.

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