HIGH The fight versus Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Sindel’s hot mom energy.
LOW The pricing structure.
WTF Robocop’s appearance in story mode.
This review covers only Aftermath, the DLC add-on to Mortal Kombat 11. For an in-depth look at MK11 itself, please see the full review here.
It seems crazy that Aftermath, the latest add-on to Mortal Kombat 11 is the series’ first story-based expansion. After all, story is one of the things MK is known for since blowing the doors off its singleplayer campaign in MK9 and spinning one wild yarn after another since then. But here we are, and even in their first attempt at this sort of content, NetherRealm Studios nails it.
For me, the biggest draw to Aftermath was continuing the saga of the MK cast I’ve grown to love over the last few years. The ninjas have been mostly cool since ‘92, but the rest have ranged from ‘okay, I guess?‘ to ‘cringeworthy spandex cosplay fail’ until recently, but those days are long gone. The scriptwriters and character designers have been on-effing-point for three games in a row, and MK has never been better. Getting more of their adventures, betrayals and dramatic pauses? Yes, please.
I won’t spoil anything, but Aftermath’s events take place immediately after the ending of MK11 and continues right past where players thought it ended. A lot of time-traveling, dimension-hopping hijinks ensue, and along the way players are treated to three new additions to the roster – Fujin, Sheeva, and sci-fi legend Robocop, featuring voicework by the actor who portrayed him in film, Peter Weller. Robocop isn’t someone I use much, but Fujin’s wind-based powers are great and dropping down on someone’s head as Sheeva never gets old. Overall, these are welcome additions.
The campaign content consists of five chapters with a total of 27 fights that rotate through different characters. (33 fights if players go back and complete the other side of matches where they must choose between two kombatants.) I loved what I got, but I wish it lasted a bit longer. Between battles are high-quality cutscenes that must have cost a fortune to produce – they look excellent and do a great job selling the action, whether it’s choreographed martial arts or large-scale battlefields.
As for the quality of play, there’s not much to say – it’s the same hyper-polished top-notch brawling that satisfied in MK11’s base game. The controls are tight, the ability to customize characters is still ace, and the variety on offer, both in the cast and in play modes, is strong. This stuff is at the top of its class.
Alongside Aftermath, players can get a separate update — no purchase necessary — that brings two new stages (Klassic Dead Pool and Soul Chamber), stage fatalities and friendships – they’re a variety of finishing moves that offer the equivalent of warm hugs instead of the usual screaming decapitations and sharp objects rammed into eye sockets. Seeing Kano barbecuing or Jax playing the sax is priceless.
Aftermath comes in a couple of flavors – newcomers can get an all-in-one pack that includes the base game, Aftermath and its three new characters, and six others that were released earlier including Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, Sindel, The Terminator, Joker, Spawn (ugh) and a whole passel of skins. Those who already own MK11 can get just the new stuff. It feels like the marketing department missed a trick here, though. The ‘everything’ bundle ($60) is a hell of a deal, but but the Aftermath-only pack ($40) feels too steep for those who’ve already shelled out for the game.
Mortal Kombat 11 was already fantastic, and Aftermath gave me the perfect excuse to revisit it. It looks great, it plays great, and for players (like me) who would rather not get beaten to a pulp by the savants online, dipping in for some drama and a few offline matches is hard to beat. The price is an eyebrow-raiser for players that have already put money in, but for anyone who enjoyed MK11 and wants more, this is a no-brainer.
Disclosures: This game is developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by WB Games. It is currently available on PC, PS4, XBO and Switch. This copy of the content was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the game between the story mode and offline modes, and the story mode was completed.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Strong Language. The official ESRB description is as follows: This is a fighting game in which players engage in one-on-one battles against characters from the Mortal Kombat universe. Players punch, kick, throw, and use special attacks (e.g., guns; blasts of fire, ice, or lightning; bladed weapons) to drain opponents’ life meters. Battles are highlighted by screams of pain, realistic gunfire, and exaggerated impact sounds; large blood-splatter effects occur frequently. Some attacks are depicted with slow-motion x-ray views of characters’ bones shattering. Each character can perform various finishing moves (Fatalities, Brutalities) after an opponent is defeated; these over-the-top moves can result in characters being dismembered, decapitated, and mutilated. Instances of intense violence include a character’s face and skull torn off; a character ripped in half leaving entrails exposed; a character cut into pieces by a hat blade; a character’s spine and head ripped from its body. The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” appear in the dialogue.
Colorblind Modes: yes, there are three colorblind modes available in the options – tritanopia, protanopia and deuteranopia.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: While there are sound cues that accompany certain moves, the game runs at such speed that I never found it helpful to listen for the cues and would instead focus on the visual information. I also played it with the sound muted and had no issues. All dialogue is subtitled and the text size is not adjustable. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody's looking, and his favorite game of all time is a toss-up between the first Mass Effect and The Witcher 3. You can catch his written work here at GameCritics and you can hear him weekly on the @SoVideogames Podcast. Follow Brad on Twitter and Instagram at @BradGallaway, or contact him via email:
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