Nintendo Switch: Mortal Kombat 1 is the wake up call for new hardware

WB Games / NetherRealm Studios
WB Games / NetherRealm Studios /

Imagine wanting to play the next-gen Mortal Kombat 1 on a portable system and shelling out $70 for a game that is buggy, choppy, and downright ugly. That is the complaint of a lot of Nintendo Switch users who pre-ordered Mortal Kombat 1 for the same price as next-gen users.

Horrible textures, rubber hair, creepy dead eye models, glitches, and bugs mark the arrival of NetherRealm’s newest edition. Not too long ago Mortal Kombat 11 was released on the Switch to glowing reviews. The game did a decent job keeping up with a game that was made for the PS4 and Xbox One. Nintendo Life gives the latest offering a 40 out of 100 for long load times and stuttering glitches. A patch is coming says NetherRealm to fix the more unplayable bugs, but some things can’t get fixed by a patch.

Nintendo’s hardware is over 6 years old and it wasn’t competitive with PS4 or Xbox One when it came out. The idea is that the portability and motion controls of the Switch would make up for it’s graphical shortcomings. Nintendo has proved that its system could use workarounds, clever shortcuts, and hacks to make next-gen games look passable. That isn’t the case anymore as we have seen AEW Fight Forever and Mortal Kombat 1 be too much. With blazing frame rates, clean textures, and rich resolutions being the reward of those who can afford a next-gen system, the Nintendo Switch can’t cut it.

Mortal Kombat 1 should be the wake-up call that Nintendo needs to rethink its hardware. Fans are ready and willing to throw their wallets at a Switch 2 or Switch Pro, but Nintendo is content with keeping the Switch out just a little bit longer. If Mortal Kombat 1 is giving the system such a hard time just think what the new Call of Duty is going to do.

Maybe it’s time for Nintendo to move forward with new hardware or be content with their system being a first-party, last-gen port, and indie game machine. When the Wii couldn’t measure up to the PS3/Xbox 360 third-party companies found clever ways to bring new games to the system. The Wii didn’t get the new Transformers War on Cybertron game when it was released, but it did get a more system-appropriate rail shooter. When Goldeneye came out for the Wii, the PS3/Xbox 360 got 007 Bloodstone. No one was complaining that the Wii should have gotten Bloodstone. But when the Wii tried to port over Modern Warfare 3 it was considered far inferior to the next-gen.

I don’t think a single soul would object to NetherRealm if the Switch instead got an exclusive remaster bundle of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (I would honestly want the bundle over the new game). What if Mortal Kombat 1 was made with an old-school 16-bit style for the Switch? Work smarter, not harder.

To be honest, Mortal Kombat 1 is not playing that much better on Steam Deck either (you need to play it on the lowest settings to get a good frame rate). Maybe this is a reality check for the entire portable market. Portability comes at a sacrifice that does not favor graphics and FPS.

Take the hint, Nintendo Switch. Evolve or stay in indie game town. Mortal Kombat 1 is just the beginning.