Mortal Kombat 1 has been receiving rave reviews from several critics. I've been playing it on PC, which has been a lot of fun. Paired with a GeForce RTX 4070 and a Radeon RX 7800 XT (reviewing GPUs means you can play the same game with different hardware), it looks fantastic - and even a little disturbing when the violence is dialed up to 11.
Playing it on Nintendo Switch, though, and it's an entirely different experience. Over the past week, the Switch version of the game has gained quite the notoriety due to the visual disparity between it and the PS5 version, with characters looking ugly and weird and the overall detail looking like something from the PS2 era.
Many believe that charging the same price for a visually inferior version of the game that performs worse is a bad move by publisher Warner Bros. Games. To make matters worse, the Nintendo Switch trailer for the game showcased higher-quality visuals than the retail release and even included a Steam Achievement popup.
And that's included in the past tense because the trailer, which was live on Nintendo's own YouTube channel, is now offline and set to 'private' so no one can see the Steam Achievement popup towards the tail-end. What made the trailer look even worse was that the visual settings were dialed down to showcase 'this is what it looks like on the Switch,' but it was clearly footage from the PC version.
It's pretty common in the gaming space to showcase PC footage of games for console versions, with settings set to what the final release should look like. Trailers are put together during the development phase, and performance tuning and optimization happen just before release - so as long as there's a disclaimer, it's fine.
The good news is that the trailer noted at the beginning that the gameplay footage was not final, but the lower-quality gameplay (compared to the PS5) looked good for the Switch. Many of the comments praised the graphics, noting that if this is how the game will look on the Switch, they'll buy it on day one. We know how that turned out.
Here are a few examples of the Switch version compared to the PS5 release of Mortal Kombat 1, with a full video comparison below. Will developer NetherRealm Studios and publisher Warner Bros. Games release an updated trailer with actual footage from the Switch version of the game? Time will tell, though my guess is no - unless it gets patched to look a lot better.