Review: Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Expansion DLC (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Expansion DLC
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (7.50 GB)
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive
Developer: Netherrealm Studios
Original MSRP: Full “Kollection” $59.99 (USD) Expansion Only $39.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: M
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Launching over a year after the release of the base game, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath attempts to rejuvenate interest in the 2D fighter with new characters, stages, finishers, and additional story content. So many enhancements, balance patches, hot fixes, buffs, nerfs, skin packs, etc. have hit Mortal Kombat 11 since its release that the already phenomenal base game has become augmented in a way I could not have predicted. While the total package of Mortal Kombat 11 including all post release content would earn from me the highest score possible here at PS Nation, this review examines and critiques only what’s new. My review for vanilla Mortal Kombat 11 can be found here.

Gameplay:
For the first time ever in a NetherRealm fighter, post launch content includes an expansion of the story mode. While the base game boasted twelve story chapters and a clear time of about six hours, Aftermath adds five chapters and about three hours of play, packed to the gills with beautiful cutscenes, intense matches, and unlikely alliances sure to intrigue fans of the franchise. While all of the tropes and mind numbing mental processing that comes along with stories rooted in time travel stopped being cool after Back to the Future 2, this one features a charming and charismatic portrayal of Shang Tsung by none other than Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, the very same actor who brought the sorcerer to the big screen in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie.

Aftermath also comes with three new characters in Fujin, Sheeva, and Robocop (yes, you read that correctly). NetherRealm Studios has mastered the art of adding characters by simultaneously tugging at the heartstrings of fans of Mortal Kombat lore and 80s action movies. With the release of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, fans can finally play out their fantasy fights of Robocop vs. Terminator. While I sometimes disagree with decisions to add guest or crossover characters like the The Joker in Mortal Kombat or Scorpion in Injustice, I was absolutely floored by the inclusion of Kratos in MK 9 and Spawn in MK 11. I suppose there’s a guest character for everyone.

Fujin, god of wind, and Raiden’s brother, on the other hand has not been a playable character since Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, released in 2006. His wind based combos include flashy animations sure to be classified as “swaggy” by the FGC, and his unorthodox sky walking will challenge players to both utilize him and defend against him with unconventional means. Sheeva was last seen in MK 9 and offers a suitable replacement for the legendary four-armed Goro. She’s a powerhouse grappler with a few unblockable commands, and her moveset is rife for exploration. As is always the case with new characters, the FGC will experiment tirelessly to uncover the full potential of these new combatants over time.

That about does it for the paid content in Aftermath but the update also comes with some pretty awesome freebies. New stages, stage fatalities, and a Friendship finisher for every character has been added. One particular new stage, titled Retrocade, features classic 16-bit and 32-bit backgrounds from past games. The backgrounds randomly change and offer up as much nostalgia as they do graphical contrast. The Friendships are a hilarious contradiction of the impossible gore, as they can deliver a refreshing laugh at the end of intense bouts.

Visuals:
As is the case with the base game, the beautiful visuals show NetherRealm’s ability to enhance the aesthetic with every iteration of Mortal Kombat. The game looks great while running in-engine but the story mode cutscenes steal the show. The facial animations are impeccable and the fight choreography is on par with the highest budget fight scenes of Hollywood’s action blockbusters.

Audio:
NetherRealm’s sound capture for effects includes squishing fruits to mimic the sounds of falling entrails and the jovial disgust always hits its mark. The vocal performances in the story mode are top notch, with incredible performances and tones that match the characters. Raiden sounds like a god both in depth and dialogue, while Shang Tsung’s slimy underhandedness is surfaced by Tagawa’s performance. Peter Weller even reprises his role as Robocop in an attempt to preserve the authenticity.

Online/Multiplayer:
Mortal Kombat 11 continues to showcase some of the best netcode in online fighting games and the already impressive multiplayer suite continues to grow and evolve. The Kombat League has been introduced since launch and it gives players even more of a reason to grind for loot and bragging rights.

Conclusion:
While the Aftermath update as a whole contains some substantial additions, the portion of it that costs $40 is really only three characters and five story chapters. The price becomes unjustifiable when considering that the holdouts win again. For $60, new players can get the game in its entirety with all the characters, stages, story chapters etc. Kudos to the patient gamer,; I am certainly not him.

Nonetheless, what we have here is a welcomed addition to an already great game. I was one of the fans that had been clamoring to once again get on the sticks as Fujin and my wish was granted. I will always invite more MK and I’m happy to see NetherRealm consistently considering new types of content to add to their games. It shows that there is always room for surprises even after double-digit sequels.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Emrah Rakiposki

Emrah Rakiposki

– Food
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It has been my life’s work to properly order the list of this world’s greatest pleasures. There is no right answer.

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