From WB Games and NetherRealm Studios comes a new expansion for Mortal Kombat 11 that contains a decent amount of content.
The Mortal Kombat franchise has what is perhaps the most bizarre and convoluted storyline of any fighting game franchise out there as it's full of parallel dimensions, alternate timelines, and contradicting endings. At its core, it's yet another Enter The Dragon knock-off but you do get an overall sense that there was just a little bit more thought and effort put into the lore and writing of the characters than similar franchises like Street Fighter and Tekken. Last year's Mortal Kombat 11 contained what was arguably the franchise's best story but as it turned out, that story wasn't quite finished.
The storyline of Mortal Kombat 11 involves the various characters of the franchise's universe and their conflict with Kronika, The Keeper of Time. Bitter over Raiden's meddling with the timeline, Kronika attempted to restart history with a new era shaped by her but was thwarted at the last minute by Liu Kang. The story ended with the Mortal Kombat protagonist Liu Kang (now a god of Fire and Thunder) and a newly mortal Raiden preparing to reshape history having failed in their attempts to stop Kronika from resetting the timeline.
Mere moments after the final battle, Shang Tsung, Fujin the God of Wind, and Nightwolf escaped the void Kronika banished them to. Shang Tsung then reveals that Liu Kang's battle with Kronika destroyed her crown which was the only thing capable of creating a new timeline. In order to prevent this destruction from happening, Nightwolf, Fujin, and Shang Tsung must travel through time and claim the crown before Kronika can then give our heroes a shot at restarting history all while waiting for Shang Tsung's inevitable betrayal.
The best way to describe Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is that it feels like a full expansion such as Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening or Age of Mythology: The Titans. Just like in those, the storyline functions as a quasi-sequel to the main game, providing more immediate answers to what happens next without being a full sequel. Similarly, Aftermath's story is enjoyable and provides a bit more closure to Mortal Kombat 11's otherwise frustrating ending but it's ultimately unnecessary and doesn't really add that much to the plot.
To be clear, the storyline in Aftermath isn't bad. It's actually quite a lot of fun with a decent amount of unexpected twists and turns. Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, and Fujin make for an unlikely trio and the 3 play off each other in entertaining ways. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung in particular steals the show with a performance that seems to relish every line of dialogue that he speaks and his plans do take surprising turns that play with our expectations of the franchise. The issue, however, is that the story is at most half as long as the base game's and lacks anything resembling its deeper moments. For example, nothing in it is ever quite as stupidly awesome as Sub-Zero and Scorpion's buddy cop style chapter nor does it ever get as heartfelt as Raiden seemingly sacrificing himself in order to save Revenant Liu Kang. It's enjoyable but the same level of care and devotion was clearly not put into this expansion's story.
Fujin and Sheeva both make welcome additions to the roster and it has been far too long since either of them were playable characters in the franchise. However, the main selling character of the expansion is, of course, Robocop. Like other characters who are from different franchises, Robocop has fun banter with the main Mortal Kombat cast and it is fun to play as the iconic '80s action hero.
Finally, the Aftermath expansion is a separate purchase to the existing Kombat Pack. While the content in Aftermath has its value, it's still merely an additional storyline that is barely half as long as the base game and only includes 3 new characters.
Ultimately, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is a decent expansion. It has a solid story and the additional characters are a welcome addition but none of it is as good as the base game. In the end, Aftermath just might be asking a little too much from fans.
- + Shang Tsung is a show stealer
- + Fun story with good twists
- + Welcome return for Fujin and Sheeva
- - Lacks when it comes to overall value
- - Story pales in comparison to the base game's enjoyable scenarios and plot
- - Where's the beef?