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Mortal Kombat 1: Bloody Bolstering Pre-Order Beta Impressions

Elton John says, “Saturday’s Alright for Fighting,” which means the weekend is perfect for extreme bloodshed. The release of Mortal Kombat 1 is close enough that fans can already taste the iron in their mouths, but a Mortal Kombat 1 Pre-Order Beta – much like the art of releasing a solid demo – is guaranteed to have fans rabid for this epic fighting game.

Not to sound like I’m driving the hype train, but this feels awesome. The Beta is a taste of what we’re about to get, and I cannot wait to sink my teeth in further. I spent several hours practicing with each character in the towers and then took them all online for multiple rounds, even if I felt like I wasn’t getting the hang of the fighter yet. This entry simply feels enjoyable to play and looks like it may surpass what I thought was a tremendous outing in Mortal Kombat 1.

Right off the bat, I’ll say that everything handles well and is incredibly responsive, minus understanding a few instances where I question which moves receive priority. Some people have been complaining about the speed in the last couple of Mortal Kombat games, and this one legit feels just a bit slower, but even if that’s not the case, it’s an issue that will come up, guaranteed. The characters feel fleet and nimble, however, like their attacks have so much power and lethality behind them, while crossover maneuvers and aerial strikes can still come without warning. This style of fighting almost resembles a chess match with fists, and reacting to the opponent is incredibly satisfactory. I pulled out several wins that felt so rewarding, testing other players’ boundaries with distance, executing the right counterattacks, and watching them play out, all parts of a package that sums up excellent gameplay.

Mortal Kombat 1 Pre-order Beta_Kitana Kenshi

Blood and brains have never looked so pretty splashing across the screen. Visually, the presentation is superb, as always. It may not be a huge improvement over MK1 – which already looked stellar – but there is such a nice polish on the old girl, and the two stages we are given look detailed, and busy without being distracting, and each has a day and night variant. It is weird not to be constantly looking for interactive objects on these. All of the character models in this demo look slick, and I adore the klassic costumes, moves, and fatalities (which look to be simplified, no longer requiring certain distances) with the Kameo fighters. Possibly the brightest game in the series, especially with the menus and title color scheme, but I’m digging the aesthetic even more so with that dynamic audio backing it up.

Speaking of the Kameo fighters, I was admittedly a bit worried about how that system might change the gameplay, but this Beta Test didn’t simply satisfy my need to fight; it also assuaged my fears. These additions are a clever extension, a way to further enhance a character, string attacks together, find solid combos, and unify movesets, especially when it comes to fighting in the air now or pressuring opponents. They feel effective, but they don’t seem like their absence would hamper a player who simply wanted to do things independently. Frost and Sonya Blade are my favorites, but Kano isn’t bad, and the only one I wasn’t gelling with, sadly, was Jax (I also had the most trouble pulling off his Fatality for some reason). Some moves can be interrupted, so there is a little planning involved, but they work more often than not, and though MK has traditionally been a one-on-one affair, nothing beats good teamwork.

We were given six playable characters to feel out in this early test, a handful of old stalwarts in the series and a smattering of the newer generation. It’s a strong mix of playstyles that gives new players an idea of what to expect. Liu Kang is an absolute beast here and easy to pick up and play, while Sub-Zero is versatile and also familiar to anyone who has selected him in the past. Li Mei – a character many may not be familiar with – and Johnny Cage are my underdog favorites and the two characters I spent the most time with, attempting to find combos and perfect my strategies with.

I can’t imagine I won’t be putting a lot more time into them when the full game drops, but I look forward to being surprised by some of the other additions as well. Kitana feels right, but most of my losses came from playing her and Kenshi, a character whose backstory I love but I’m just having trouble getting comfortable with. This doesn’t mean they aren’t all fine, and I play on giving each of them more time, so we’ll see what changes. It looks like Cage is the current favorite for a ton of people, and you love to see it.

Mortal Kombat 1 Pre-order Beta_Li Mei Sub-Zero

Playing online against other people is usually full of ups and downs, yet is also pure enjoyment. Everyone is a little closer on skill level, and we’re all learning, so even the few vicious beatings I received have taught me something or given me fresh aspirations. I’ve had my share of sweet victories, discovered several new strats during tense fights, and made one person quit when I accidentally knocked their head off with a Brutality. By the time I pulled a Steve Urkel and asked if I had done that, I was already finding another opponent and yearning to throw hands again. That’s some solid gaming.

After a little looking around, it seems that Mortal Kombat 1 is going to have decent accessibility options. The Beta starts off asking about screen reading and descriptive audio, but there is also extensive button remapping and a few other features players may find interesting. I was wondering what their answer to Street Fighter 6’s modern and dynamic control system might be, but haven’t seen anything here. Honestly, MK1’s tutorial was quite good, so it may not be needed as much or could be an element we see their own twist on in future entries.

The Mortal Kombat 1 Pre-Order Beta is a strong presentation of what looks to be a magnificent game, allowing players to dip their toes into the blood pool and realize their hype isn’t wasted. Mortal Kombat has always tried to come strong and dazzle the players in some ways, but the focus has been on delivering fierce action, violence, and entertaining gameplay. This one is looking like a flawless victory in the making.

Mortal Kombat 1 will be available for the PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, and PC as of September 19, 2023. However, players can jump in a few days earlier, on September 14, 2023, if they pre-order the Premium or Kollector’s Edition of the game.