This time, however, the Chicago team opted for a different strategy, more virtuous and rich than previously seen, or so it seems. The proposed package takes the form of a real expansion called Aftermath, with lots of additional chapters for the main campaign, unpublished arenas, adjustments to the balance and the inevitable trio of new fighters. On the one hand, therefore, we have an avalanche of material to discover, on the other hand there is a distribution formula (and a price) that may not satisfy everyone. It is also true that some content will be available without having to purchase the DLC in question, such as the Friendship of MK 11 and the stage fatalities, therefore no one will remain empty-handed. The result is a delicate situation, which will surely make fans discuss, where the only question that matters is whether Aftermath is really worth the ticket price …
Shan Tsung and his gang
The first thing that catches the eye of Aftermath is without a doubt the new mini-campaign: it is an appendix that narrates the events that take place immediately after the final acts of the original game. It is a sequel to all intents and purposes, which adds new content as well as a conclusion if we want more “accurate” to the epic of Mortal Kombat 11, without however spoiling anything from the previous experience.
According to Ed Boon, Aftermath is a bit like the second chapter of the Back to the Future trilogy, in the sense that, under the pretext of time travel, the protagonists will have the opportunity to change part of the story already told, expanding their perspective. To continue the parallelism with Zemeckis’ film, one could say that in this case Marty’s almanac is represented by the crown of Kronica: a very powerful artifact without which it is impossible to maneuver the Klessidra.
What we liked most about this mini-sequel is that the protagonists will not be “the usual good”, like Johnny Cage or Liu Kang, but all those “secondary” post-launch characters who had not yet found a place in the script. Great space then to Sindel and Nightwolf, but above all to Shan Tsung, who returns triumphant and immediately pierces the screen thanks to the superfine and winking acting of Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa (exactly, the Shan Tsung of the original film of ’95).
The ambiguous sorcerer, accompanied strangely by Fujin and later by the imposing Sheeva, transports everyone into the past with his crazy plan, making a hit worthy of an Ocean’s Eleven, or at least he would like us to believe. An excellent story comes out, full of action and some twists and turns, perfectly condensed into five chapters full of fights and new locations, for a total duration that generously exceeds three hours, once again made with a decidedly spectacular cinematic quality.
Let’s face it: the narrative style is once again the light one that was strong in the 90s, made of simple pretexts and effect phrases, but if you appreciated the first story mode you will certainly not be disappointed, to the point that Shan Tsung’s saga may alone be worth the ticket price.
Know that the double finale is also planned, although, it seems fair to tell you, it is not exactly the most crackling of the epilogues. In any case, fandom or not, it is certainly a triple A content, created with very high production values, and this is certainly a point in favor for Netherrealm; even in the face of the old Kombat Pack, however, € 39.99 there are many, and to justify this expense, the new Kombattenti must also do their part …
The God of the wind, the Dragon Queen and the Robo-policeman
In one year MK11 has already given us excellent additional material, among which it is impossible not to mention Spawn, Joker and of course Arnold “Terminator” Schwarzenegger, not to mention the return of historical characters such as Sindel and Nightwolf. Although we continue to miss the good old Reptile, the three new arrivals of Aftermath have aroused our curiosity, and after a few days spent in their company we feel satisfied, with only a few small reservations.
Let’s start from Sheeva, iconic character of the series absent for too long, who returns here in style and with a much more human than expected personality. It is a rather simple character to use, at least at the beginning, capable of inflicting significant damage, equipped with long combos that are easy to chain and a very generous range of action. Then there is also the iconic dunk jump – literally learnable – which, as long as you don’t abuse it, becomes an excellent advantage, able to keep the enemy in constant tension.
Considering her size, the fighter is not too slow either, but keep in mind that she is a bruiser / grappler, and therefore automatically forces a somewhat repetitive fighting style, especially with the dragon style. He follows Queen Shokan Fujin, the god of wind first appeared in MK Mithology: Sub-Zero, which appears here as the placid and less authoritarian version of his brother Raiden. We are faced with a very particular Kombattente, as well as difficult to master, yet capable of giving us enormous satisfactions. Free means freeTo significantly raise the positive perception of the expansion, we think the new free content, which are available for all those who own even the base game. We are talking first of all about the new arenas, namely the unforgettable Klassic Dead Pool and the Soul Chamber (complete with stage fatality), which should not need any introduction, and then there is the Retrokade arena. The latter, as it is in all respects a gimmick, is also what fans of a decades-long saga want more than anything else, including us. In practice it is a sort of empty arcade room, with a projector placed on the ground in a good way, which randomly transmits all the old arenas in 16bit, including Living Forest, Subway and Temple.
In addition, friendship also returns, that is, the nice and peaceful cousins of fatality, where the fighters instead of mutilating the opponent give vent to their creativity. Here too it is a side dish, we agree, however it is impossible not to rejoice in front of some of the best finds of the entire series: Sub-Zero that sells ice cream in tandem, Liu Kang in full Saturday night fever, Jade at he took with the Piñata, the impressionist emo-painter Skarlet, Fujin and his kite and of course Robocop who delights in Moonwalking. Some of these are literally brilliant, really applause, but all of them are made with great care, and since free means free, we can only thank …
Of all the roster, Fujin is the one who definitely has the techniques more anomalous (such as suspended walking), and is probably also one of the most varied in terms of moveset. He is very fast, has an excellent range when holding his sword, and is able to drag his opponent towards him thanks to the control of the air element. The damage is not the most significant, and for this reason too the most difficult to manage new entries, but in our opinion it hides great potential, which we hope to deepen in the next period.
After the two great returns from the past, now it’s up to the guest star on duty, the Cyber-policeman played and voiced by Peter Weller, or the actor of the original films. Warner brings out another great cameo, certainly capable of sending crowds into raptures, but also a character playfully poorer than the others. Aesthetically it is a pleasure to see it in action, yes, but when it comes to the complexity of the moveset we have our reservations. Robocop is in fact a zoner in all respects, not even too particular in addition, which is completely based on its huge arsenal; missiles, pistols, rifles, grenades and riot shields. Practically an itinerant army, which however proves extremely vulnerable from the short distance.
In fact, how easy it was to imagine he’s one of the slowest fighters on the roster, and with a few rare exceptions, his combos aren’t particularly elaborate. However, it also has some very interesting and particularly fast low attacks, of those that you are constantly spamming, but in short, despite this, we are not afraid to label it as the weakest of the new arrivals. Also on this front, as you have already understood, the result is more than good, yet we are sorry to note the lack of opportunity to purchase individual characters separately.
The point is precisely this, it is not so much the price itself as it is the idea of bundle, which does not allow you to choose. In fact, some might be interested in story mode, others only in the kombat pack, therefore closing everything inside a package for as much as € 39.99 risks cutting out a good share of users, at least until a first price drop. It’s a bit of a shame, because the contents of the second year of MK11 are really valid, but once again the distribution misses the perfect shot …