When the credits roll at the end of Mortal Kombat 11‘s excellent story mode, the slate has been wiped clean. After a variety of entertaining time-travelling hijinks, everyone’s second-favourite Shaolin monk, Liu Kang, has ascended into godhood and is ready to begin writing an all-new chapter in Mortal Kombat history. It’s as close to a perfect ending as you can get to the almost 30 years of convoluted lore this series has. But now, there’s Aftermath, Mortal Kombat 11’s optional expansion that tacks on a handful of new chapters to that narrative. And while the idea of a story-focussed add-on to this fighting game is an exciting prospect–and it certainly has its high moments–when the credits roll for the second time there isn’t that same sense of gratification.
At the beginning of Aftermath, which immediately follows the end of Mortal Kombat 11, Liu Kang is interrupted by the nefarious sorcerer Shang Tsung. Along with the righteous wind god Fujin and badass indigenous shaman Nightwolf, the trio stops Liu Kang from proceeding with his rebuilding plans with the warning that they need to go back in time, again, to retrieve a MacGuffin in order to stop the process from going to shit. Over five chapters and a cinema-appropriate two-and-a-half-hour running time, the five Mortal Kombat characters that have now been introduced to MK11 as post-release content get to make their mark in the story. The chapters cover the hijinks of Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, and the banshee queen Sindel from the Fighters Pack 1 DLC, as well as two characters newly introduced in Aftermath: Fujin and the four-armed Sheeva.
The relatively brief running time of the whole thing allows it to be mostly filled with great moments. The blockbuster flair present in the original story mode is again in full force, as is the excellent fight choreography that makes you want to leap out of your chair. There’s still that weird disconnect when an extravagant fight cinematic transitions into the more rigid nature of the game’s actual one-on-one fights, but there are some good moments that lie in the gameplay portions too, like the handful of battles where you have an assist character to call on.