NetherRealm Studios accomplished something very special with Mortal Kombat on it’s original release. It had taken everything it had learned from Mortal Kombat 9 and 10 as well as both Injustice Games and brought it all together in one the best fighting games of this generation for me personally as a fighting games fan. From the incredible cinematic story that brought old and current MK universe characters together whilst introducing a few new ones for the game. With the story mode completed and the move to DLC character packs well underway I just expected that would be it until Mortal Kombat 12…..
I was really quite surprised to see a trailer for a story expansion for Mortal Kombat 11 last month, this time of year I was expecting the usual Game of the Year edition to be released which would have the base game and all the DLC from the year the game was out or possibly even a tease for Mortal Kombat 12 now we are only months away from the next generation of gaming consoles launching. What we really have is a blend of both, a Game of the Year Edition in the form of the Kombat Kollection but also in the story expansion ‘Aftermath’ along with three new characters, two introduced in the new story campaign in Sheeva and Fujin but another guest character in the form of Robocop, yes you read that correctly….Robocop.
*Spoiler Warning – Naturally the ending to the MK11 Story Campaign must be revealed in order to talk about Aftermath*
Aftermath literally continues the story of MK11 mere moments after brand new God of Fire and Thunder, Liu-Kang following Raiden sacrificing his own powers and Elder God state to give Liu Kang the power to not only defeat Kronika but to also use her Hourglass to forge a new era for all the realms. But as he attempts to use the Hourglass to remake history, a fiery portal appears and Fujin, Nightwolf ad evil Sorcerer Shang Tsung himself walk out and tell Liu Kang to stop as his attempt to recraft time would fail and shatter the hour glass because he was without the Crown that Kronika used to control the ability to manage the hour glass. Shang Tsung himself comes up with a plan to go back into the event of MK11’s story to steal the crown in order for now Lord Liu Kang to complete his new task.
Aftermath is a 3-4 hour campaign depending on how fast you play through it and just like the main campaign it is essentially a long CGI movie with several fights controlled by the player dotted throughout and I loved every moment of this campaign and there is one huge reason why this expansion works and not just because the story itself adds so much to the original campaign and successfully feels like a true expansion than a tag on but it is truly glorious for one major factor, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as the likeness and voice of Shang Tsung, returning to the role he made so iconic in the first live action Mortal Kombat film (and the only good one) who had a cameo in the main MK11 campaign. But here in Aftermath, this really is the Tagawa show and it all the better for it.
The story is completely self-aware that not only should all the characters not trust Shang Tsung who for some reason is willing to help the good guys, but the writing is so clever that it completely recognises that the player and audience will also be shouting at the screen that this guy should not be trusted. The way that Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa beautifully beings Tsung to life with the subtle little changed in the dialogue which is then enhanced further by the incredible animation such as that evil cunning smile Tsung has whenever he knows that the people around know and what the player already knows that they do not trust him, but when the smile comes into play it really becomes one of the best characters in any video game and for me, cements Shang Tsung one of the greatest video game villains.
The actual moments where the player can get involved such as taking the role of one of the characters in a fight or choosing out of two options which character gets to fight is still fun even if you are unable to use a fatality or the new Friendships that Aftermath has brought for free int the main game and in reality you are just watching a rather long film with occasional moments to take part. The story is brilliant and expands on how MK11 ends and completely leave it open for how MK12 might pick up as the player will get two different endings depending on their choice with either one completely leaving the door open for anything to be possible, which is exactly how I felt at the end of MK11 story originally.
Along with the story expansion comes the character pack finally bringing Sheeva and Raiden’s brother, the God of Wind Fujin into the playable roster, both of which the player will have an opportunity to control during the story. The third new character is another guest on in Robocop and I have to be honest, not a big fan of the random non-MK universe characters being included and it began with MK characters being included in the Injustice games. I get the fun of having Robocop but it still kind of grates at my Mortal Kombat fandom that now with Aftermath I can actually have Robocop Vs Terminator and it just feels strange.
All that said, Aftermath is a great addition to the game but it comes at a high price point of £34.99 for just a three to four-hour story mode, even though its superb and a new character pack and some skins for that money. Fujin is the best new fighter with visually impressive move set whilst Sheeva is a quick bruiser character with big moves but speedy combos. Robocop is really the most forgettable once the nostalgia of where the character comes from wears off and unlikely to become a regular character for players to gravitate towards.
If you have not purchased the original MK11 or you did but never got round to buying any of the DLC and character packs than for the asking price I would absolutely recommend the Kombat Kollection which has the original game, all the DLC to date as well as the Aftermath expansion and content all together in one package for just a little more than the expansion by itself. This really is the best version to buy and it just makes the standalone price seem over the top but at this point, it is probably fair to say if you have purchased all the DLC than Aftermath is a no brainer for you. For me, revisiting MK11 because of Aftermath reminded me just why I loved this game on release and now thanks to the Kombat Kollection I am inspired to try out all the DLC characters I missed along with all the quality of life updates and refinements made along with this new update.
Quite frankly, just having Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa voice Shang Tsung to deliver his iconic “IT HAS BEGUN” makes Aftermath a must have just by itself!