A little more than a year ago, Mortal Kombat 11 launched and we loved it. Fast forward to the present though and the latest expansion, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath has just been released. Does the game still deliver the goods and is it worth playing? The answer is a slightly mixed bag, but one that fans of the franchise will be pleased with.
First and foremost, it is definitely worth noting that Mortal Kombat 11 is not for the faint of heart. The sheer amount of violence, blood and gore in the game is at an all time high with decapitations, stab wounds, broken bones and fractured femurs being standard fare throughout.
If you’re not a fan of extreme violence in video games, this might seem disturbing to you and the shock value might put you off the game completely. For fans of the franchise though and for those that enjoy over the top action, the game will be an absolute treat. Aftermath delivers much of the same throughout.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath takes place directly after the events of the base game. Some mild spoilers lie ahead so if you want to go in blind and enjoy everything the game has to offer, avert your eyes for the next two paragraphs.
After a major plot event draws to a close in the base Mortal Kombat 11 game, timelines need repairing. Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath deals with this by adjusting the ending of the base game somewhat.
Instead of the original ending happening, an anomaly occurs. Shang Tsung, Fujin and Nightwolf are freed from the void and bring with them a cautionary tale. The timelines are in danger once more.
The newly freed void prisoners are tasked with being sent back in time to thwart Kronika’s nefarious schemes. Kronika, a time keeper, is introduced in an early chapter of the base game’s story. She warps timelines in the game and creates a new one featuring past and present versions of series staple heroes and villains.
Thanks to this, the base game’s story doesn’t involve much of the previously established background from MK9 and MKX but passing mentions to certain events do take place in some cutscenes.
Nevertheless, newcomers can jump right into the story and will enjoy the tale it tells. This is applicable to Aftermath as well since players can dive right into it from the story mode selection screen.
Much like its predecessor, each chapter of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is entertaining. The story is significantly shorter than the base game but there’s still plenty of action to get through. If you picked up the bundled package of the game, you’ll have a blast from start to finish and will have around 12 hours of gameplay to get through.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath still features the other gameplay modes from the base game albeit slightly changed, and this gives it extra longevity. The story mode is the true star of the show though and players will spend most of their time with this.
This of course only applies to the more casual crowd. Hardcore fighting game players will want to invest heavily into learning each and every single character’s gameplay mechanics and move sets. Thankfully, the tutorial and practice modes ensure that this is possible.
The Krypt section of the game makes a return and has been given an overhaul. Kombat Towers also make a return and playing through these will unlock various different character endings.
Mortal Kombat 11 features a gameplay style that’s extremely similar to the franchise’s core arcade mechanics established decades ago. Players can also charge up certain attacks to inflict more damage.
Executing combos in Mortal Kombat 11 is not all that difficult. Button bashing can lead to victory but if you’re able to pull off some of the more nuanced battle techniques, such as combining blows that stun with throws and other special attacks, the game opens itself up as being quite a technical fighter.
Being able to “Kustomize” your character’s special attack loadout, as well as appearance, also adds additional flavour to each fighter making them truly unique to you.
Gameplay in Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath has been altered slightly from the base game though. Aftermath brings with it a full year’s worth of balances and tweaks. There’s also multiple new characters to play as that weren’t featured in the base game at launch.
Sheeva, Fujin and RoboCop are the DLC’s 3 new playable characters and if you purchased the Kombat Pack, you’ll also have access to Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, Terminator T-800, Sindel, The Joker and Spawn as playable characters outside of the story mode.
Friendships also make a return and are really quite something to behold in-game.
Graphically, since the game uses Unreal Engine 4, it is downright gorgeous. This hasn’t changed at all with Aftermath and the environments of the game still border on the photorealistic side of things with characters being slightly less so.
The character models are however still exceptionally good, and you can even see details like sweat on their skin or unique aspects like Sindel’s flowing hair or Shang Tsung’s aged face in high detail.
The intense depictions of blood and violence are over the top but thankfully, blood doesn’t seem to be vividly real and is instead, rather darkly coloured and resembles viscous jelly. This does help mitigate some of the shock value.
Being a Mortal Kombat game, the fatalities are obviously going to be visceral, powerful and brutal. Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath delivers on this for every new character. It’s a spectacle to behold and when you pull a fatality off for the first time, you’ll be in for a visual feast of blood and guts irrespective of the character you’re playing as.
Overall, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is a well-rounded fighting game with some incredibly over the top depictions of violence. The game has come a long way since launch and plays out a lot better overall thanks to the balance tweaks and changes.
Whether you’re a fan of the Mortal Kombat franchise or not, Mortal Kombat 11 is still however a great fighting game with a great story mode. The addition of Aftermath’s story and tweaks, and the Kombat Pack’s multiple characters, complete the package and help it reach far greater heights than it could at launch. Highly recommended if you can stomach the gore!