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The newcomer’s guide to Mortal Kombat 1

Before you jump into the violent world of Mortal Kombat 1 this September, here's all the information newcomers need to know.

Mortal Kombat first hit arcades in 1992. Now, after 31 years, the iconic fighting game franchise is about to launch its 12th mainline entry. Only, the new game is called… Mortal Kombat 1?

Yeah, that might seem just a little bit confusing if you’re a newcomer to the series. So, does the new game follow the continuity of previous entries, or is it a complete reboot? The answer is yes.

To simplify things, Mortal Kombat 1 does serve as a fresh reboot for the franchise. However, the context behind the reboot (story-wise) deals directly with the ending of Mortal Kombat 11‘s Aftermath DLC. Essentially, this actually makes the game more welcoming to both veterans and newcomers alike.

But if you’ve never played a Mortal Kombat game before, there might still be some stuff you want to know. That’s what this guide is for: helping you prepare to dive into this 12th major title before it launches in September. Let’s cover all the information you need to know.

Kombat reborn

The relationship between Scorpion and Sub-Zero will be completely different than in previous games.

Here’s the thing about Mortal Kombat 1: the new game will tell a completely new story that rewrites all the lore longtime fans grew to know over the years. So, you actually don’t need 11 games’ worth of knowledge to understand the 12th game.

Instead, the new game aims to break old traditions and put familiar characters in new situations. For instance, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, historically, are sworn enemies. However, the new game depicts them as brothers in Kombat who fight together, not each other.

Although the game does serve as a fresh new beginning for the series, it may be helpful to know the story-based context of why things are starting over. For those who didn’t play the Aftermath DLC for Mortal Kombat 11, I’ll provide a quick recap.

Liu Kang fights Shang Tsung for one final time and emerges victorious. With the sorcerer defeated, Liu Kang places Kronika’s crown on his head and uses the hourglass to create a new and better world.

Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath ending

With everything reset in a new reality, that’s where we’ll enter in the soft reboot of the series. Naturally, this means that the story of Mortal Kombat 1 will offer up new and refreshed versions of all our favorite characters. In addition, it allows for a brand new story without the baggage of previous entries to affect chronology.

Taking gameplay in a new direction

Kameos will shake up the flow of kombat

Standard gameplay in Mortal Kombat centers around learning and perfecting button patterns to pull of brutal combos and special moves. Though newcomers may be tempted to start by button-mashing, taking the time to memorize your favorite character’s special moves goes a long way in fights. In addition, fighters also have brutal X-ray moves, as well as finishing fatalities that can end fights in stylishly gory ways.

However, the new game’s fresh overhaul doesn’t end with the story. Mortal Kombat 1 also shakes up the standard gameplay formula as well. Though the 2D, combo-based fighting mechanics are still the focus, new gameplay features will set a learning curve for veterans as well.

Mortal Kombat 1 gameplay trailer

Primarily, Kameo fighters will play a major role in the new game. Explaining the Kameo system, Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon elaborates on how after you choose your character, you’ll also pick from a new roster for Kameo characters who show up in the fight. Essentially, you can combine all of the characters and customize your favorite teams. It isn’t a tag-team thing, but when you push a button, your Kameo fighter will come in to perform a double-team combo.

You won’t be able to use the Kameos indefinitely because there’s a limiting meter. However, you can summon the other fighter whenever you want. A lot of Kameo fighters are callbacks to older games. For instance, Goro appears as a Kameo character.

Is Mortal Kombat 1 approachable for newcomers?

Probably more than any other game in the series, Mortal Kombat 1 will be the perfect entry point for newcomers. Provided they’re ready for gruesome fighting and mastering challenging combos, there’s nothing that should prevent them from getting invested in the dawn of a new tournament.

The only caution I would give newcomers towards stepping into MK1 is if you have a weak stomach. Since the first game in 1992, Mortal Kombat became famous for its over-the-top and gory fatalities. In fact, it’s the game that prompted the M-for Mature rating!

So, if blood and guts make you queasy, you may want to stay away from the new game. Like previous entries, NetherRealm is looking to one-up themselves on how grizzly the fatalities can get. However, if ultra-violent games are your thing, then you’ll have a hard time finding a title more brutal than Mortal Kombat 1.

Mortal Kombat 1 smashes into your home this September

Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat 1 hits your PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC on September 19. You can also pre-order the game now to receive Shang Tsung as a playable character. Additionally, pre-ordering the Premium Edition will also give you access to six new playable characters, five new Kameo characters, a Jean-Claude Van Damme skin for Johnny Cage, a week of early access to DLC characters and 1250 Dragon Krystals (In-game Premium Currency).

To learn more, be sure to check out our article where we detail everything we know about Mortal Kombat 1 so far. In addition, you can also get caught up on the official announcement trailer below.

Announcement Trailer

Are you looking forward to playing Mortal Komabt 1? Will it be your first Mortal Kombat game? Let us know!

Sam Fronsman

A writer with a love for video games, both new and old. A collector of games, CDs and DVDs. Can sometimes be found behind a camera or playing guitar. The X-Men games for SEGA Genesis will always hold great memories.
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