Mortal Kombat 11 is a fine fighting game, one that we scored a very respectable 3.5/5 when reviewed upon launch. Since then, there has been a veritable avalanche of new content – sorry, Kontent – with new characters and skins appearing very frequently. However, it is with the release of the Aftermath expansion that the game looks to finally be complete, and so has given rise to what is a Game of the Year Edition of Mortal Kombat 11 in everything but name. The new Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Kollection gathers all the new characters and other content into one place. But is it worth the asking price? Come with me to a world of kombat, killing, Kitana, and possibly even some things that don’t begin with K.
The biggest thing that Aftermath brings to the table is a new story expansion. Picking up where the completely bonkers story left off last time, as Kronika is defeated it is left to Liu Kang to step up and fill her shoes as the Kontroller of Time itself. Of course things are never going to run smoothly, as it appears that in order to control the flow of time Liu Kang is going to need Kronika’s rather fetching crown. The only problem? The crown was destroyed in the fight – and how can he wear a destroyed crown? Well, don’t forget the time travel angle, as all things become possible with a bit of messing around with the space/time continuum. Now, I’m obviously not going to go into the details of the story here, but suffice it to say that there are a host of new fighters, and we need to take control of many of them throughout the course of the new storyline. After really enjoying the story of the original Mortal Kombat 11, this new chapter fits in with the overall story arc beautifully.
The rest of the Aftermath Kollection is a mixed bag, with new characters, skins, stages and finishing moves to be used. Making a comeback are the Friendship moves, which see your character being nice rather than ripping your opponents spine out in a spray of gore. These moves are certainly different, ranging from Kano using his laser eye to fire up a barbecue, to Kitana playing pat-a-cake with the defeated foe; it’s nice to be nice occasionally, you know?
Of course, if being friendly really isn’t your thing, there are new stages that have returned to the game, complete with the relevant stage Fatality. These include the “Klassic” Soul Chamber and Dead Pool arenas, and there is a nice thank you gift from NetherRealm Studios to the players who have been playing Mortal Kombat for a long time – the RetroKade. As NetherRealm themselves put it: “The Retrokade is a love letter to the fans who’ve been with us since the earliest days of Mortal Kombat. It gleefully mashes up old school game stages with our more modern presentation. It’s like someone opened up a portal to NostalgiaRealm!”. What this means, in effect, is that as you are fighting with the new shiny character models on the new shiny stages, in the background is a giant screen kind of effect, showing how the same action would have looked in earlier games, such as Mortal Kombat 2. It’s a fantastic looking stage, and seeing the same moves being replayed in an earlier game is great to see, but it is quite distracting; be careful you don’t get a spanking while gazing at the background.
In addition to Friendships and stage Fatalities, there is also the return of Brutalities to finish your enemy. These are not the same as they used to be, as I recall that a Brutality was a long combo that ended up with your enemy exploding in the early games, but here the Brutality is fairly brutal nonetheless, such as an uppercut that removes your enemy’s head and spine in one mighty punch. But there are others, and while the Klassic uppercut is in place, there are many more to discover. Who doesn’t want to see an enemy get reduced to their component parts in this way?
One of my main complaints about the original release of Mortal Kombat 11 was that Shao Kahn was locked away behind a paywall. With this Kollection, my complaint is no longer valid, as not only does the ruler of Outworld return – he’ll always be the boss to me – but a whole slew of new characters are also available. In addition to the three new characters that are exclusive to this pack – Fujin, Sheeva and Robocop – all the previously released fighters are also included. These are, in no particular order, Spawn, The Joker, The T-800 Terminator (Arnie!), Shang Tsung, Sindel and, last but not least, Nightwolf.
In addition, all of the skins that were previously released are also included, so if you ever wanted to make Kitana look like Katwoman, Geras look like Darkseid, or even have Cassie Cage dress up as Harley Quinn, you can fill your boots. I must admit to being a bit surprised by some of the choices for characters though, as having Robocop or the Terminator in a fighting game seems a bit odd. In the first Terminator film, it took a massive hydraulic press to finally stop the Terminator, but here in Mortal Kombat 11 he can be defeated by kicking him in the ankles. And why does the package check move work on Robocop? Does he have some robotic junk stored in those metal pants? It’s a bit weird, but the intros for these new characters are very amusing, so I’ll indulge in a bit of willing suspension of disbelief.
So we have the same great action, even more characters to master, new stages to learn the secrets of, and many new moves to memorise. Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? And I have to say, all things considered, Mortal Kombat 11 now feels Komplete. It has 34 fighters to choose from, a multitude of skins to pick, and still the character customisation keeps flowing, with new items found in the Krypt or awarded for completing daily challenges.
The rest of the game is still the same, however. The training modes are still impossible for a slow old man with creaky fingers, online is still working well – but as everyone seems to have had a lot more practice, it is easy to get destroyed even faster than before – and there are of course the Towers to contend with. I have to say, I much prefer the Klassic Towers these days, as the modifiers in the Tower of Time are still a pain to deal with, but having missions to perform in the middle of the Tower fights also adds a little spice. Fulfilling these missions only gives you some Kurrency, but they are a nice challenge to mix up the way that you would normally fight, so I say bring them on!
Are there any downsides to this Kollection? Well, for me, no there aren’t. I can see that if you had faithfully followed the game and bought the new characters when they released – and at £4.79 each they aren’t cheap – then you would probably feel the same way I did when Destiny released all the DLC for about a third of the price I paid for it. Other than that kick in the teeth, there is nothing not to like here. The new characters are all worth playing, with the Joker in particular being an odd character to get to grips with, the new moves are wince-inducing, and somehow the gore that is splashed around actually seems like a necessary part of the game, as opposed to being almost passe as it was when the game was first released. Whether it’s because Mortal Kombat 11 feels like it has a darker tone, I don’t know, but the moves are now more engaging. The action is fast and bloody, and there is now a strong case to be made for Mortal Kombat to take its place at the top table of fighting games. Mortal Kombat 11 has grown up with the Aftermath Kollection on Xbox One, and I for one think that’s bloody marvellous!