Even after 30 years since its first debut, the Mortal Kombat series continues to surprise in the most pleasant of ways. As we made our way to Gamescom 2023 ahead of a preview of Mortal Kombat 1, we were expecting a continuation of the good form the series has shown in recent years. We got all of that and more, as the glee and excitement from the press pack made it obvious Warner Bros. Games and NetherRealm Studios have another gem on their hands.
While the bouts between combatants remain the star of the show, everything else surrounding the main attraction has been elevated yet again. Take Invasion mode, for example, which delivers a single-player experience like a board game full of exploration and power-ups, like an amped-up and ultra-violent Mario Party session taking place in Mortal Kombat 1.
Depending on the current seasonal offering, players can choose from a roster of fighters to go through a board, engage in single fights, play minigames, and seek out treasures. The mode also throws in modifiers every once in a while to spice things up, resulting in a mode that always feels rewarding at every turn.
For us at Gamescom 2023, Mortal Kombat 1 gave us the opportunity to explore Johnny Cage’s mansion, with the motormouth joining us as a narrator who was always quick with a quip. From finding the hidden key to his main door to knocking out opponents while fire-spewing demons fly overhead, each move players will make seems significant and tailored for the mode. There were also plenty of Easter eggs and references as well just to hammer home the point that plenty of love went into Invasion mode.
Beyond the fights, there were also roleplaying stats to look out for while levelling up, as well as relics and talismans to collect via branching paths and secrets likely to be hidden on each board. Considering that the team is preparing for new content every six weeks, Invasion mode has all the ingredients to be the next big thing out of Mortal Kombat 1.
On the other end, we also got the chance to preview the first chapter of the fighting game’s Story mode. The series’ attention to detail and the quality of its cinematic work have always stood out, and the same applies here, even with the world getting a reboot of sorts. Expect the same kind of delightful cinematic direction that has been prevalent in recent entries, together with the franchise’s love for humour, and you already know what to expect.
One standout point is just how well the cutscenes meld together before transiting over to the actual fighting in Mortal Kombat 1. It really does feel like a playable movie at times, and telling the story through the rotating use of various characters, like Raiden and Kung Lao in this case, is just how NetherRealm does its thing. Fans need not wait too long for the greatness to arrive, as Mortal Kombat 1 is set to release this 14 September.
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