Despite feeling like a lifetime ago, Mortal Kombat 11 has only been out for a little over a year. In that stretch of time, though, NetherRealm Studios has constantly been tweaking their flagship fighter and adding new faces to the roster. And while I enjoyed it enough originally, it’s certainly not a stretch to say it has been improved considerably. With the first Kombat Pack was completely rolled out, I assumed the studio would jump right into a second set of DLC fighters. Ed Boon zigs when you think he’s gonna zag, though, which is how we instead ended up with Aftermath.
A full-fledged expansion, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is technically comprised of two parts. The first, and the one you have to pay for, includes three new Kombatants, additional costume drops, and a brand new story addition for the MK11 saga. The other part of it is a free update that was released alongside the paid expansion, which includes new stages and the return of friendships and stage fatalities. It’s a ton of content, both premium and free, and a lot more than I would have expected this late in the title’s lifespan.
Picking up immediately after the events of the main story, Aftermath actually takes place within the previously told tale. Due to Kronika’s Crown of Souls getting destroyed in the battle with Liu Kang, the ability to create a new timeline is in jeopardy. However, the destruction of the Crown may have inadvertently created a solution to that problem. Kronika’s defeat opened up the Void, a prison where Fujin, Nightwolf, and Shang Tsung had been imprisoned. In order to prevent the Crown from getting destroyed, Liu Kang sends the trio back in time to retrieve it.
Despite clocking in at less than four hours, Aftermath is an enjoyable trip through a familiar place. It’s a well-crafted tale that lets each of the main players of the expansion take a seat in the spotlight. While the original line-up of characters still plays a role, most of your time will be spent with faces who came out as DLC. In addition to the three listed, Sindel, Sheeva, and Shao Khan are all key players. The real star, though, is Shang Tsung, the former big bad of the series. Actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is clearly having a ball reprising the character, and the performance shows. It also helps that the sorcerer is a much more interesting personality than any of the new warriors introduced in the main game.
The new introductions to the Mortal Kombat 11 roster are a mostly solid group. Returning after an extended absence are Sheeva, the proud queen of the Shokan; and Fujin, Raiden’s wind elemental brother. Unlike some of the other characters NetherRealm has resurrected over the years, these two weren’t terrible their first time around. If anything, despite their intriguing stories, they just weren’t sufficiently developed. Thankfully, each one manages to not only make a strong impression during the story, but both are enjoyable to use in-game.
Fitting for her impressive stature, Sheeva uses her multiple arms to unleash devastating combinations. Her extra appendages also open up her moveset to include potent grappling and throws. If you’re a player who enjoys bringing the fight right to your opponent, you may just have a new favorite combatant. Plus, she still has her iconic teleportation stomp, which was always a go-to of mine from the days of Mortal Kombat 3.
If Sheeva is easy to get the hang of, Fujin takes a little more effort to learn. He sports impressive striking and has combos that are easy to memorize. However, he also has several long-range abilities that make him difficult to master. He has a bevy of air-based attacks and movements which seem like they can be potent when done correctly, but I haven’t quite managed to get the hang of them. Unlike someone I’ll get to next, I want to continue to train with him, though.
Rounding out the set is the character I was most excited to see, former movie star and WCW wrestler, Robocop. Of all the guest characters the series has brought in, he’s one of the few I was actually looking forward to checking out, and I think they did a good job of bringing him into this world from an aesthetic standpoint. They got Peter Weller to do the voice again, and the in-game model looks great. However, I absolutely hate using him. I don’t like his long-range style of fighting, and he moves too slow for my liking. It just doesn’t gel with how I enjoy playing the game, which bums me out.
Following in the footsteps of the likes of Ubisoft and Square Enix, NetherRealm has significantly improved a title that was noticeably flawed at launch, but admittedly, it has gotten better over the past year. The price point of Aftermath may be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s hard to deny the content included isn’t worth the cost. The new storyline additions flesh out pieces of the original and spotlight some of the more colorful faces on the roster. And while I don’t love Robocop, both Sheeva and Fujin are excellent additions. There’s clearly still juice in the title, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Ed Boon and company continue to expand upon it.
This review was based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. A copy was provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
Although the steep price may be tough to swallow, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is an impressive addition to the core game. The new additions to the roster are (generally speaking) a blast to use, and the additional story beats give fresh life to some of the more colorful faces of the franchise.