• Mortal Kombat 1 and Street Fighter 6 may appear similar, but they have distinct differences in gameplay mechanics, including how timing is implemented in each game.
  • Street Fighter 6 emphasizes timing in executing combos, with each character having unique timings for their moves. Players must choose between easier, reliable combos and harder ones for more damage.
  • Mortal Kombat 1, on the other hand, puts less focus on timing with its “dial-a-combo” system. Players can input moves quickly as long as they come out before the preceding move ends. This makes the game more accessible, as it is easier to explore the roster.



Fighting games are entering into a new golden age. Mortal Kombat 1 was released this week, and Street Fighter 6 came out back in June. On top of these releases, Guilty Gear Strive has entered its third season of DLC, and Tekken 8 and Under Night: In-Birth 2 are both coming out early next year. The hype around the genre has pulled in a lot of new players, and right now, Mortal Kombat 1 and Street Fighter 6 are enjoying massive player hikes from previous entries. With so much excitement around the two games, some players have been left to wonder what sets the two apart.

One of the most important aspects of all competitive fighting games is timing. While timing is an omnipresent aspect of the genre, the way it plays into each game is entirely different. Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are seemingly similar since they are both grounded 2D fighters, but in reality, they are quite different. ​​​​​These differences extend to aspects of the game like aerial combat, which is a greater focus in MK, and the presence of supers in Street Fighter, but also to the game’s core mechanics. How timing is implemented into the core mechanics of Mortal Kombat 1 and Street Fighter 6 is totally different.

RELATED: Mortal Kombat 1 Fans Aren’t Happy With the Switch Version’s Graphics

Street Fighter 6 Places An Emphasis On Timing

Street Fighter 6

In Street Fighter 6, timing is a central aspect of how combos are executed. Throughout the series’ history, combos have required specific timing that is unique to each combo. Moves that can be linked together in combos must be timed in a specific way. Combos in Street Fighter may require small pauses or many inputs in rapid succession. This has contributed to each character in Street Fighter feeling unique, and while timings are often somewhat intuitive, it means that learning a character takes time. The other result of this is that in high-pressure situations, players must choose between going for easier combos they know they can hit reliably and harder ones that will do greater damage.

Mortal Kombat 1, on the other hand, has a lesser focus on timing. The game features what has become colloquially known in the fighting game community as dial-a-combo. Instead of timing moves specifically, players can input them as fast as possible, so long as the input for a move comes out before the move preceding it ends. This approach to combos makes Mortal Kombat more accessible. Players still need to remember combos, but there’s less need for practicing them. It also means that it is easier to explore Mortal Kombat‘s roster since inputs work largely the same character to character.

The Timing of Mortal Kombat Allows for Bigger Combos

Natara And Kung Lao Clashing

The way that timing plays into combo inputs impacts each game substantially. Because Mortal Kombat has easier combo inputs, and its focus on smooth animation and realism means that moves come out slower, generally, players will try and win the match in just a few interactions with longer combos and juggles. Because movement is less responsive, there is a greater focus on block strings and attempting to mix the opponent up during them in competitive Mortal Kombat. On the other hand, Street Fighter is more responsive, so timing plays more into moment-to-moment gameplay, and matches usually have numerous short interactions between players. Baiting attacks and whiff punishing them is a huge part of the game.

Street Fighter 6 and Mortal Kombat 1 are both excellent games with thriving communities. While Street Fighter is faster-paced and requires more precision, Mortal Kombat‘s de-emphasizing of timing has made the series more accessible to pick up and play and has given it longer combos and juggle strings that are fun to watch and do. Whether one should play Mortal Kombat 1 or Street Fighter 6 is a question of taste, not the inherent quality of one over the other. With plenty of DLC for MK1 and SF6 on the way, both games will provide players with a rich fighting experience for the foreseeable future.

Mortal Kombat 1 is available now on PC, PS5, Switch, and Xbox Series X/S.

MORE: How Mortal Kombat 1 Reviews Compare to MKX, MK11

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