Warner Bros has just released the latest part in NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat series. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, it’s time now to benchmark Mortal Kombat 1 and examine its performance on the PC platform.
For our Mortal Kombat 1 PC Performance Analysis, we used an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D, 32GB of DDR5 at 6000Mhz, AMD’s Radeon RX580, RX Vega 64, RX 6900XT, RX 7900XTX, NVIDIA’s GTX980Ti, RTX 2080Ti, RTX 3080 and RTX 4090. We also used Windows 10 64-bit, the GeForce 537.13 and the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 23.9.1 drivers. Moreover, we’ve disabled the second CCD on our 7950X3D.
QLOC, the team responsible for the PC version, has included a few graphics settings to tweak. PC gamers can adjust the quality of Textures, Shadows, Particles and Anisotropic Filtering. There are also settings for Chromatic Aberration, Ambient Occlusion, Bloom and Reflections. Furthermore, the game supports all available PC upscaling techs (DLSS 2, FSR 2.0 and XeSS), and features a built-in benchmark tool.
In order to find out how the game scales on various CPUs, we simulated a dual-core, a quad-core and a hexa-core CPU. And, we were shocked to find out that the game requires a modern-day hexa-core CPU for smooth gameplay. Our simulated quad-core, even with SMT/Hyper-Threading, suffered from major stuttering issues. These issues were occurring at specific scenes, so we don’t really know whether or not it has anything to do with its Denuvo implementation. We’ve seen the exact same thing in Tekken 7, where certain moves were causing stuttering issues. So, Denuvo MAY be causing stutters in this latest fighting game on CPUs with less than six CPU cores. That, or QLOC has f’ed things up with how the game runs on older CPUs.
Now contrary to its CPU requirements, Mortal Kombat 1 is more reasonable on its GPU requirements. At 1080p/Max Settings, most of our GPUs were able to provide a 60fps experience. Yes, even the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 was able to push a smooth gaming experience.
At 1440p/Max Settings, our top five GPUs had no trouble at all running the game. Do note that the game was crashing on our GTX980Ti due to VRAM issues. Thus, owners of this GPU will have to reduce the Texture Quality in order to avoid those crashes on higher resolutions. As for Native 4K/Max Settings, our top three GPUs were able to provide a constant 60fps experience.
Graphics-wise, Mortal Kombat 1 is the best-looking fighting game. The character models are highly detailed, and the fatalities look absolutely great. The stages also look amazing. Not only that but the cut-scenes look absolutely gorgeous (though it appears that most of them are pre-rendered). There is seriously nothing to complain about the game’s visuals as it looks amazing and runs smoothly on a wide range of GPUs.
Now in case you didn’t know, the game’s Fatal Blows, Intros, Fatalities and Cinematics are locked at 30fps. Thankfully, though, there is an unofficial patch that can remove the 30fps from Intros, Fatal Blows and Fatalities. Unfortunately, this patch introduces some visual glitches. And while there is currently no way to get the Cinematics at 60fps, I’m certain we’ll see a mod that will fix this via Interpolation techniques.
It’s also worth noting that the game’s Cinematics currently suffer from some annoying stuttering issues. Thankfully, there’s a workaround fix, so make sure to use it. QLOC has also stated that it’s looking into fixing this particular issue via a post-launch update.
All in all, Mortal Kombat 1 is a mixed bag. For instance, the game looks gorgeous and does not require a high-end GPU. However, we really don’t know why it requires a modern-day hexa-core CPU for smooth gaming. This is a simple fighting game with two characters on a small stage. There is seriously something wrong going on here. And then we have the cut-scene stutters as well as the 30fps cap on Fatal Flows and Fatalities. The constant switch between 30fps and 60fps can be really distracting. Yes, there is a mod for this but this doesn’t excuse the fact that the game should had a 60fps option on PC from the get-go.
So, let’s hope that QLOC will provide the necessary Quality-of-Life improvements via post-launch updates!
John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities. Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved – and still does – the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the “The Evolution of PC graphics cards.”