As divisive as downloadable content has become, it resolved one of the biggest issues with fighting games. Now that elements can be patched and characters added for a fee, players no longer needed to buy the same game, with a different subtitle, that contained a little bit of content. Where Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath somewhat differs from the recent trend of free patches and paid characters is by giving us more stories. Five new chapters, three characters, and a variety of different options depending on what exactly you own is a model that has worked well for Destiny and other games but will it be a win for Mortal Kombat 11 or will we be looking at the aftermath of the Aftermath expansion?
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath might take place after the events of Mortal Kombat 11 but really tells a story that happens alongside a different version of the original story. As a result, you can play Aftermath without finishing the base story, though you get some marginal spoilers, though it is largely a story that makes a couple of unfortunate mistakes.
Unsurprisingly, the content focuses on DLC characters, essentially having them all interact with one another in their own bubble. Occasionally previously included characters will say or do something, but this is really their story that honestly has very little to say.
Despite being centered around allowing the one negative outcome of how the original story ended to occur, it is shockingly repetitive and overly concerned with making fans happy. Throughout the adventure, almost every character has the same conversation with the new heroes about their uneasy alliance with Shang Tsung. The second his presence is known, there is some kind of animosity shown to the deceitful sorcerer, followed by Tsung giving the biggest shit-eating grin, almost as if he remembers what he did and relishes at the moment, only for a trustworthy character to explain we’re in an alliance with him and they’re ready for when he betrays him.
While it’s all build-up to the outright stated climax where Tsung does just that and the heroes, against all odds, weren’t able to prevent it, the fun comes from the road leading up to the event. There is no doubt a big part of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath’s thought process was giving the schemer more of a presence, giving him more of a reason to appear in this adventure, it offers some interesting new takes on established characters. Even if you know where the adventure is going, it’s engaging because it’s all build-up to an unlikely conclusion that features two distinctly different endings that may or may not be expanded upon in the rumored second expansion.
Naturally, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath might have a rather robust story for a fighting game, it’s still gameplay driven. This expansion brings Sheeva and Fujin back to the world of Mortal Kombat, with RoboCop being an unlikely guest. Sheeva is more of a deliberate brawler that has brutal grabs and devastating counters. She is easy enough to get an idea of what she is about but will likely take a bit of time before you master her moves. As for Fujin, he is much faster and combo heavy, making him a lot easier to pick up and play. A big part of his playstyle is pushing and pulling enemies so you can get them in the right position for a devastating combo. As for our guest, RoboCop is another extremely deliberate fighter, which makes sense for the character but is rather unfortunate. Out of the three, I found him the hardest to play, mostly due to how slow he is, making him an unlikely choice for less skilled players and will almost certainly be considered a lower tier fighter. Though for all his faults, he is a very accurate representation and something fans will likely appreciate from a design standpoint.
Since this will be, for many, the point where you get to experience the first kombat pack, it’s important to briefly touch on those characters. Both Sindel and Nightwolf feature a lot of range, great combo potential, and some solid zoning options. They’re extremely friendly for newcomers, though deep enough to stand out and with the right moves a delight to watch. Shang Tsung fits a similar mold, with the added bonus of being able to copy your enemy. The advantage here is, if you can legitimately play as every or at least most characters, you have new moves you can use to surprise and confuse your opponent with.
As for guest characters, Terminator is very similar to RoboCop, in that he is slow and methodic, again, similar to the source material, though said material will also save him from being sent to the sidelines. Fans of Injustice likely know what to expect with Joker. Most of his playstyle includes fun gadgets and using his cane to close the gap between the opponent and you. Finally, we have Spawn, arguably the most exciting and anticipated character in the first pack. Not only is he voiced by Keith David, who was the voice in the original HBO series, but the amount of effort and references that went into this character is also really what guest characters are about. Spawn also manages to be a far faster character, making him perfect for creating combos, shooting enemies and just showing what made him so fearsome in the first place.
In addition to these characters, a healthy number of costumes are included, with Aftermath getting three more sets sometime in the future, and despite not being listed, my copy of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Kollection also included Shao Kahn, another heavy hitter that requires good timing and smart plays to really get the benefit of him. I can’t comment on how long you have to go but it’s awesome to see the potential for players to at least walk away with every DLC character currently in the game.
As an added bonus, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath isn’t just a handful of new characters and some additional story, it offers some legitimately awesome changes for everyone to enjoy. Obvious things include stage fatalities and friendships to make their return. Regardless of their quality, as some of the friendships are not the most exciting around, they’re a welcome addition to the usual bag of tricks. New cosmetic items, including costumes and gear, were added, with even a couple new victory poses and more. There is a lot here, especially if you haven’t seen it and plenty to be excited about.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Verdict
In some ways Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath would work better as separate pieces of content that could be bundled but as a rerelease, it is shockingly good. The base game was already strong, so adding more characters is certainly welcome. It’s a shame some of them, like RoboCop, won’t have universal appeal and the story could be a bit better but in terms of straight gameplay, it is hard to dislike what Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is trying to do.
[Editor’s Note: Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]