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Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Review – Messing With Time Comes With a Cost (PS4)

It’s not unusual for fighting games to get additional characters after launch, adding to the roster and increasing the diversity of combatants. Mortal Kombat 11 got its own pack of fighters over the last year, but also just launched Aftermath, a story expansion that brings a new chapter of the campaign along with even more new characters and features.

For a more casual fighting game fan like myself—I enjoy the characters, story, and fatalities, but drop off when it comes to competitive online play—the story expansion is just the thing that reignites interest in the game. A few new characters are cool, but if you’re not into learning their every single move, block, i-frame, etc., then their novelty can wear off rather quickly once you’ve seen their endings and performed their fatalities a few times. Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath continues the story exactly where the original game leaves off as God of Fire and Thunder Liu Kang is restarting time so that history can now play out beyond the machinations of Kronika. Turns out even gods can’t control the hourglass without Kronika’s crown, which was destroyed in the final battle with her.

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The return of Shang Tsung really gives this new campaign chapter a klassic flair.

And so enter three tentative allies to help in the fight for time itself: Fujin, Nightwolf, and the sorcerer Shang Tsung. The uneasy alliance sends these three back in time to retrieve Kronika’s crown from Shang Tsung’s island before she can get it. Of course, things go wrong, they don’t quite end up when or where they were supposed to, and the ensuing meddling with the timeline changes a number of things along the way. I don’t want to delve into the realm of spoilers, but it’s amazing to have Shang Tsung back at the forefront of the Mortal Kombat conflict. Having him as a central figure in Aftermath’s plot goes a long way in not feeling like the expansion’s story is simply going back in time and retreading the ground that Mortal Kombat 11 already walked. The sorcerer is a fantastic character that was sorely missing from Mortal Kombat 11’s main campaign, so it’s nice to see his machinations return as he takes lead alongside Fujin and Nightwolf.

It also provides the opportunity to play as characters that were originally added as DLC during the first year’s fighter pass. While Fujin and Sheeva are new (along with RoboCop as a bonus guest character, but he doesn’t show up in the campaign), the campaign has starring roles for Shang Tsung, Sindel, Nightwolf, and has a few other surprises up its sleeve that changes the pace of the battles. Some of these include fighting two combatants in a row with just a single health bar and the ability to call in a tag-team partner to do an attack.

Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath Review – The Price of a Soul

All that said, the Aftermath expansion’s story can be completed in just a few hours. Considering the brief story and three new characters are pretty much all you get for $40, it’s a bit of a steep asking price. However, the game feels so much more robust with the free update that added three new stages, stage Fatalities for a few of the levels, and Friendships for every single character (hilariously previously teased by one of The Joker’s Fatalities). But for players who already bought the base game and the first fighter pack? The ask might be just a little bit too much. And for PlayStation players? There aren’t even any new trophies to earn.

I understand the price though, given just how much work goes into adding even one new character (unique interactions with every single other character in the game being one of the biggest factors), and the production value on the Aftermath campaign is incredibly well done, even if it’s all over in an afternoon. Even selling for $30 would have helped make it just a little more palatable. As far as I can tell, Aftermath doesn’t make any huge changes or additions to the Krypt or other parts of the game, so once the story is done, it’s just the three new characters and everything that came with the free update.

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Stage fatalities are a novel welcome addition, but also limited to three stages and part of the free update, not the paid Aftermath expansion.

However, on the flip side, if you have yet to jump into Mortal Kombat 11 at all, the Aftermath Kollection, which includes the base game and all add-on content up to this point, is an amazing value at $60, particularly for players who just want to enjoy the story and perform a few fatalities in the Tower fights. The komplete saga is a huge story spanning time and realms and countless bloody battles, and there are now 34 distinct and unique characters, each with brutally fun move sets that are exciting to play around with and discover.

In terms of the quality of the content, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is a great addition to a genre that typically only sees smaller updates like characters and stages. Shang Tsung taking a lead role brings a classic Mortal Kombat feel back to the story that has long since abandoned the more grounded conflict between the realms for events taking place on a much grander scale across time. While its price as an add-on may be pretty high for what it ultimately delivers, being part and parcel of a complete collection of Mortal Kombat 11 makes it a great entry point for new players who didn’t pick the brutal fighter up since it released last year.

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on a PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.

  • Shang Tsung takes center stage
  • A great addition to the campaign
  • New characters
  • Great as part of the kollection
  • Pricey as an expansion
  • Not much new beyond the campaign and character additions
  • Campaign can be completed quickly, little replay value
  • No new trophies