Against all odds, Mortal Kombat 11 turned out pretty well on the Nintendo Switch. Like many ports from the PS4 and Xbox One, there was always a concern that Netherrealm Studio’s cinematic fighter wouldn’t be able to cut it on Nintendo’s hybrid console. Still, with 60fps performance and all the content you could possibly want, it proved to be a more-than-competent option for Switch owners.
Its direct sequel and semi-reboot, Mortal Kombat 1, aims to crank everything up a couple of notches, boasting stunning visuals and an expanded combat system that lets you call in additional ‘Kameo’ fighters to assist you in battle. After the gameplay reveal at Summer Game Fest, we managed to go hands-on with Netherrealm’s latest effort for roughly 30 minutes and came away utterly gobsmacked. And, honestly? It makes us worried about the Switch version.
The version we played at Summer Game Fest ran on PS5. We poked and prodded Netherrealm for information on how the Switch port is going, but the most the team is able to say right now is that development is “progressing well”.
The first thing that struck us with Mortal Kombat 1 was just how slick the whole experience was. After choosing your fighter from a selection of Sub-Zero, Kitana, Lui Kang, and Kenshi (with an additional four Kameo characters), there’s a brief transition screen during which your two chosen characters will face off against one another before the environment around you loads in. It’s seamless and makes the whole experience feel incredibly smooth. In addition, of course, your characters will also interact with one another according to how they relate in the world of Mortal Kombat, adding a good sense of narrative weight to the upcoming fight.
Gameplay, predictably, feels very similar to Mortal Kombat 11, but the improved this-gen visuals make everything feel infinitely more cinematic and bombastic. Punches land with absurd weight and you can see individual droplets of blood fly through the air before landing on the ground, drenching the environment in scarlet. Add in the stunning environments with beautiful sunsets and detailed set pieces, and you’ve got a fighting game that not only rivals the likes of Street Fighter 6, but may be even more beautiful.
Kameo fighters introduce an added layer to the already remarkably deep fighting mechanics, but you need not worry, as calling them in is very easy. Simply tap or hold down ‘R1’ (which will presumably translate to ‘R’ on the Switch) and your Kameo character will leap into battle and perform one of their signature moves. You can link these in with your main character’s move set to perform a slick combo, or simply use your Kameo character to give yourself some breathing room if you’re getting trapped in a corner.
Fatal Blows also make a much-appreciated return, and what’s particularly great is that you can rope in your Kameo character to assist you here, too. It makes the Fatal Blow sequences, which were already wonderfully cinematic, much more impactful.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Mortal Kombat without the iconic Fatalities, and we’re pleased to say that these are just as gruesome as ever and just as easy to pull off. Lui Kang’s signature Fatality will be immediately recognisable to anyone who watched the debut trailer for Mortal Kombat 1, but the other characters’ sequences are just as memorable. If you’re not content with using your own character’s Fatality, you can bring in your Kameo character with a simple combination of Up, Up, and ‘R1’. Your own fighter will step aside with a smirk while your Kameo character unleashes hell on your opponent.
Over the years, Netherrealm has proven itself to be one of the most prestigious fighting developers around, and if our 30-minute’ session with Mortal Kombat 1 is anything to go by, the studio is going from strength to strength. With that in mind, our concern regarding how the game will hold up on the Switch is undeniable. This is a significant step up from Mortal Kombat 11 in terms of visuals, presentation, and depth, and since the prior game already made some pretty heavy compromises on Nintendo’s platform, we wonder just how drastic the visual cutbacks will need to be on Switch to keep this thing running at a steady clip. All we can do is hope Netherrealm delivers something approaching the standard of its previous Switch version.
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Mortal Kombat 1 is scheduled for launch on 19th September. How do you think it will hold up on Switch? Are you looking forward to playing it? Get over here and let us know.