Mortal Kombat 11

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Release Date: April 23, 2019


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PS4 Review - 'Mortal Kombat 11' Aftermath DLC

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 4, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Mortal Kombat 11 deepens and personalizes the experience unlike ever before with an all new Custom Character Variation System that gives players the creative control of building customized versions of the character roster.

Buy Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Kollection

Once Mortal Kombat 11 ended, it seemed as if it would follow the usual Netherrealms game model of adding new DLC characters but leaving story updates to the next entry in the franchise. That is why the announcement of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath was such a surprise. Not only did it add new characters, but it also added new story DLC. How has Aftermath panned out? It's a mixed bag.

The titular Aftermath follows the ending of Mortal Kombat 11. Liu Kang has achieved apotheosis and become a god, but his final battle with the evil Titan Kronika has shattered the timeline, and the crown that can fix it no longer exists. The timeline's only hope rests in a small group of individuals who have been thrust outside of time: Fujin, Nightwolf, and the evil Shang Tsung. Unfortunately for all involved, Shang Tsung is the only one who knows how to restore the crown, so heroes and villains are forced to make a deadly alliance to restore reality.

The Aftermath story may as well be called The Shang Tsung Story. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa's performance as Shang Tsung steals the show in every way, shape and form, and most of the story seems to be written to give him a chance to be various degrees of sarcastic, smug and snarky. He's in almost every scene, and any scenes without him are significantly less interesting. Pretty much all of the other characters serve minor roles at best, except perhaps Queen Sindel, who shows that her murder spree in Mortal Kombat 9 was no fluke.

Overall, the story is kind of forgettable. It shows an alternate take on the last couple of chapters of the game, but it's mostly about Shang Tsung messing up everything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a few hours of that, but it basically has to be what you're there for. The rest of the cast who weren't added DLC are pretty heavily sidelined, and in several cases, they basically vanish from the story. The biggest selling point is Shang Tsung, and it's a credit to Tagawa's immense talent for hamming it up that I left the story feeling relatively satisfied. The endings (of which there are two) don't really change much. One ending basically resets things back to where MK11 ended, and the other seems entirely non-canon, so at the end of the day, it's more content but nothing that's strictly necessary in order to understand the next game.

Beyond that, Aftermath has a few new features. It adds a handful of new characters: Fujin the Elder God, the previously cutscene-only Sheeva, and the original 1987 Robocop. All three characters are fun. Fujin commands the wind to perform long-distance attacks from tricky angles, while Sheeva is a brutal melee fighter who stomps and smashes opponents. Robocop is … well, he's Robocop. He shoots you, he has a ton of built-in gadgets, and in many ways, he feels like an updated copy of old cyborg ninjas, like Sektor and Cyrax. There is a ton of love put into each of the characters, and they clearly show what the development team has learned in the years since MK11's release.

This is also apparent in a frankly laundry list of updates and changes to the core gameplay. Just about every character has an Armor Break attack (or multiple) that can change the defensive gameplay, since you are no longer assured protection. There are also a number of small changes to every character's move list to adjust frame data, damage, and cancel information. It's hard to say how all of the changes will shape up until Aftermath has been in professional players' hands for a while, but at the very least, it looks like the developers are taking a lot of character complaints into account.

In addition to regular moves, there are also a bevy of new options to finish your opponent. Stage Fatalities are making a return, allowing players to use their environment to perform a nasty finishing move that's exclusive to the stage. There are even a handful of new stages, complete with their own Stage Fatalities, to give the game some more variety. My favorite addition are friendships, which replace fatalities and allow you to perform incredibly silly (and non-violent) moves in place of disemboweling your opponent. Not only are the moves hilarious, but it's also nice to have an option to end a fight between, say, Johnny Cage and his daughter Cassie that doesn't require them to perform horrific atrocities on one another.

One issue is that Aftermath costs $40 on its own. Aftermath Kollection, which includes MK11, all of the DLC, and Aftermath costs $60. Aftermath on its own offers about 2.5 hours of new story content and three new characters. If you've been keeping up with MK11 as new characters come out, you're basically paying $40 for a few new stages and three new characters. As enjoyable as the Aftermath content is, it isn't worth $40 on its own. For newcomers to MK11, the $60 pack is a very solid deal, but Aftermath on its own is too thin to cost so much.

All in all, MK11: Aftermath is a fun reason to revisit an aging game. The new story is enjoyable for Shang Tsung alone, and the new characters add a bit to the game. However, if you've been keeping up with MK, then the $40 price tag might be too heavy for the amount of content that you get. Once the price comes down, it'll be a worthwhile way to round out Mortal Kombat 11's story. You'll get to arrest evil sorcerers as Robocop, and isn't that what we've all wanted to do?

Score: 7.5 /10

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