Mortal Kombat 1 is finally here, and it is so exciting to see the next iteration in one of my two favorite 2.5D fighting games. The game is wonderful so far, with incredible visuals, refined combat, and, of course, visceral gore. There is a lot to love here with the story mode, online multiplayer, and a neat customization system to change gear, color palettes, and finishers, but can it keep up on the Steam Deck? So far, yes, but it needs a little compromise here and there, it seems.


Mortal Kombat 1 - First Impressions on the Steam Deck

Starting off, Mortal Kombat 1 does have to optimize and build the shaders, which takes a little, but it doesn't need to do it again once it's done. Then, we get into the game. After a lot of testing, I found 60 FPS to be near impossible, which is unfortunate due to how important a stable, solid framerate is with fighters. I usually saw a fluctuation between 45-50 when on the lowest settings with FSR 2 on Ultra Performance. But, there is one other option that we could take advantage of: 30 FPS.

By limiting the framerate in-game to 30 FPS, the fights don't feel like there is any latency and work pretty okay. I did try 40, but some attacks felt like they were slowed down a bit so that I wouldn't recommend it. 30 FPS felt like the perfect framerate to play without any issues, though, of course, this doesn't feel nearly as fluid as 60. This can be a make or break for this type of game, especially if playing competitively.

At 30 FPS, I could keep the quality on low, but bump up FSR 2 to Balanced, which made the game look pretty decent. Pair this with no TDP limit, and I was getting an average of 19W - 22W battery drain. I do have some hope that this could improve with Proton updates or a driver one. There was a Nvidia driver 2 days ago for Mortal Kombat 1, so that could mean an AMD update could help a lot, but there hasn't been any word on it yet.

There are also some awesome accessibility options, including one that can increase subtitle size to be very very large. Probably a little too large, but still nice to have!

For now, if you are okay with 30 FPS fighting, this is awesome to have on the Steam Deck. I wouldn't play this way in competitive, and there is still a lot more to test, but this is how it is so far. Mortal Kombat 1 has a lot going for it, and I love the game, but it definitely will need some compromises to run at a stable rate.

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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