Well I for one didn’t see this coming. I thought that, as is standard for the genre these days, MK11’s DLC would consist entirely of characters delivered via season passes, but here we are with extra story chapters. In my opinion MK11’s story ended quite well and didn’t need a follow up, but here we are. Aftermath as a piece of DLC includes five new story chapters and three new characters: Wind God Fujin, Shokan Queen Sheeva and Robocop. I’m no expert on fighting games so I won’t be going into full technical details on the characters but I will give some brief thoughts on them, after I talk about the new story content.
So Kronika is dead, Raiden’s mortal now and the new god of thunder and fire Liu Kang is ready to forge a new timeline. He’s interrupted by the arrival of Shang Tsung, Fujin and Night Wolf, who explain that they were trapped in a void after refusing to work with Kronika, and that Liu Kang cannot forge a new timeline without her crown. Shang Tsung plans to travel back in time to the point in MK11 when the past characters first arrived, nip off to his island and steal the crown before everything kicks off. It’s made clear that going back and interfering directly with other people and events will mess up the timeline, but somehow stealing the crown won’t do that? The time travel stuff in the main story was kept largely simple I thought, but this time travelling within time travelling just seems to confuse matters. Anyway things obviously go wrong and Shang Tsung, Fujin and Night Wolf travel back to a later point by accident, and faced with potentially insurmountable opposition the sorcerer suggests they revive Sindel, with the help of Sheeva, to deal with Cetrion should she try to intercept them. It’s quite a short story so I won’t spoil anything, but they don’t play it safe; when things go wrong they really go wrong, and by the end of it the MK11 timeline is ablaze and lying in a pool of its own blood. The stand-out in all this is Shang Tsung, who effortlessly steals every scene he’s in with something as simple as a single word or smile. Everyone hates him because he’s an untrustworthy scumbag and whenever they bring that up his response is always a “Who, me?” smile, like he just bloody loves being an evil sorcerer and has already planned ten different ways to betray and kill everyone else in the room. There’s some strong character work throughout; Sheeva and Kitana have some lovely moments focused on their relationships with Sindel, Erron Black gets to have a cool showdown with the heroes (and Shang Tsung) in the Dead Pool, complete with a funny moment where a Tarkatan gets knocked into the acid and everyone stops to watch him die, there’s a pause and then Shang Tsung apologises. Fujin is the weak link here; he has some good moments in his fight intros and his ladder ending is neat, but in the story content he doesn’t really add anything. It has multiple endings, and the “Good” one potentially sets up a new game or even series of Mortal Kombat games in a different time period, which would be interesting. That’s all I can say really; there’s a lot I don’t want to spoil but the story is good, it shakes things up for the home stretch and although the time travel stuff can become confused, its character work is great.
As for the characters, Robocop is a stand-out for me, because Robocop is my hero and putting the original, classic version in a game, having him be voiced by Peter Weller and looking amazing is a sure-fire way to get me on side. He’s got some new gear; a built-in grenade launcher, flamethrower and a shield that parries attacks without having to be activated within a small window. All three of the characters aren’t ones I’d usually play has; Scorpion is my main and I like Frost a lot, so I’m used to having a high number of flowing melee combos. Having said that, Robocop and Sheeva are both fun to play as, and I’m glad the latter is playable after I loved her re-design in the main story. Robocop is inserted into the story surprisingly well, too; far better than The Terminator was. Murphy’s mixed up in all this because he’s after Kano for dealing guns in Old Detroit, and his fight intros make it clear he’s ingratiated himself with the good guys in a friendly, give-and-take relationship and is out to arrest any villains he comes across. Finally we have Fujin, who like I said before has some good intros and a neat ladder ending; unlike his brother Raiden he’s looser and more easy-going, and has spent a lot of time living among mortals in an attempt to understand their lives and struggles. He’s not as fun to play as, but he has some interesting normals and special moves, which are something I don’t usually bother with; I’m more combo focused in MK.
So that’s Aftermath; it’s definitely good, but I think it’s currently too expensive for what it is. I traded in my physical copy of MK11 and the only DLC I bought was Shang Tsung, so I got a good deal paying £50 for the game, the Kombat pass and Aftermath. But at £35 for the three characters and five chapters if you already own the other two parts, that’s too much for this. If you like MK11 and you’re still playing it then definitely get this, but wait for a price drop. If you don’t own MK11 or its DLC, this is the version to get; it’s basically the Game of the Year version.
By James Lambert