Nowhere Close To Annihilation
It is increasingly rare that we see true expansions in the world of gaming. Sure, Blizzard is still packaging up WoW content into boxes, and you could argue that battle passes and seasons in ongoing online games fit the bill. However, there's something special about a true follow-up, a sizable injection of new content by developers at the top of their game. It takes confidence to release an expansion rather than carved up DLC and piles of costumes, and that confidence has paid off for NetherRealm Studios and Mortal Kombat 11. Named Aftermath, there's a little for every breed of player here, and it all gels perfectly with what was already an excelled fighting game.
What is Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath's Story?
Shang Tsung, fresh from the days of the original tournament, has arrived at the beginning of time. Alongside Nightwolf and MK4's Fujin, they inform the newly godlike Lu Kang that he's missing one vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to rebooting the universe. Beyond what you'd assume from mere DLC, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath focuses in on a new story campaign that starts off right where the original game ended. NetherRealm finds good reason to extend MK11's sizable single-player offering by a few more hours, focusing on how their DLC characters factor into the saga-spanning war.
As you might expect from the Mortal Kombat team at this point, these new chapters don't disappoint. Ridiculous action movie setpieces, surprisingly complex character drama, and exciting match-ending one-liners all keep you going through the new story. It's well worth playing in one or two sittings, as it has great pacing and knows how to keep fans guessing. The matches suffer the same way they always have in NetherRealm's most recent work, in that they're pretty easy and fatalities don't get involved. I wish that more of the action in the cutscenes was represented with gameplay, but what is here at least uses a few new mechanics to keep things interesting.
How Does Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Improve On Gameplay?
For the first time in MK11's campaign, some of the fights are more complicated than 1v1. You have two characters working as a team, and the assist features from the Towers of Time come into play. I wish there was more of this variety, as each mixup only occurs once or twice in the DLC missions. There's not a great middle-ground in single-player between easy AI and masterful tournament-level death machines. I just wish that some of this variety provided unique experiences that only the story could provide.
One thing Aftermath's story excels at is reveling in Mortal Kombat's roster of villains. Both Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn get glorious moments of victory here, something that we've rarely seen from these new games. After spending so much time with Quan Chi and Shinnok in past games and Chronika in past MK11 content, it's invigorating to see two of MK's original big bads get the spotlight they've always deserved. We also get to see the returning revenant characters from MKX shine a bit more, especially in the case of Liu Kang. Just give me the grand return of Onaga next time out and I think we're set.
Who Does Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Add To The Roster?
Gameplay-wise, the three additions to the roster fill their roles well. Fujin's return is something fans of the franchise have waited for since Mortal Kombat 4 fourteen years ago. His wind powers and unique weaponry are most welcome, giving him great reach and plenty of opportunities for combos. Queen Sheeva returns from Mortal Kombat 3, bringing another well-needed powerhouse to the roster. Any Mortal Kombat game without a Goro-equivalent is lacking in some way, and Sheeva's playstyle is most welcome.
Of course, the main event of the character additions here is RoboCop, played exquisitely by the only RoboCop that matters, Peter Weller. Before Aftermath's announcement, I didn't know I needed RoboCop as a fighting game character, but NetherRealm knew and delivered on that need. Everything you can think of in regards to the character's inclusion, from ED-209 to the Cobra Assault Cannon to every memorable action moment is here. It's rare that a character transfers over this well into a new genre, but RoboCop's move set and presentation are definitive. The only shame (besides the fact that he doesn't factor into the story mode WCW-style) is that he has to go up against the lesser Dark Fate Arnold in the Terminator Vs. RoboCop dream matchup.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Review | Final Thoughts
Add in the nostalgic Friendship finishing moves (which were included in a free update alongside this DLC), three new stages, and the continued support on the online front, and Aftermath is a sold expansion worthy of any player's time. The story expansion finds a way to continue on from a pretty solid endpoint and leave things off in a much more interesting place. This could easily be the end of the franchise, but Mortal Kombat has persisted for so long that it seems crazy to think about that. While it's known that NetherRealm is working on a new property next, we'll return to EarthRealm eventually. Whatever changes about the gameplay, the multi-era saga of fire ninjas and thunder gods is still in good hands.
TechRaptor reviewed Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath on Xbox One X with a code provided by the publisher.
- Everything About Robocop
- Smart Roster Additions
- Story Spotlight On Villains
- Fleeting Variety In Campaign Matches
- Robocop Vs. Terminator: Dark Fate