Since the Mortal Kombat series received a soft reboot in 2011, it has rubbed shoulders with the most elite combat franchises thanks to superb 2D combat mechanics and constant support after launch. However, NetherRealm Studios’ doom-filled fighter reigns supreme in its story mode. Since the reboot, the series has delivered three cinematic stories that have expanded the franchise’s universe in interesting and absurd ways. Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath adds a new tale that picks up where the base game left off, giving you another thrilling adventure featuring Mortal Kombat’s growing cast of characters. As Aftermath begins, series antagonist Shang Tsung emerges from a portal to inform Raiden and Liu Kang that they need Kronika’s destroyed crown to rewrite time without destroying the universe. Once the duo agree to form an alliance with the devious wizard, players are treated to an entertaining time travel story featuring several characters that were previously only available in DLC, including Nightwolf, Shao Kahn. , Sindel and Shang Tsung himself. As you navigate through five new story chapters, you experience a story of deception and betrayal with beautifully choreographed fight scenes, fun character interactions, and plenty of bloody battles. I love how the story of Aftermath highlights characters that previously weren’t part of this story; seeing Sindel and Shao Kahn wreak havoc is nice, and I enjoyed watching Shang Tsung try to convince everyone that he isn’t the snake they know. Between fights, Aftermath continues the series’ legacy of incredible cinematic sequences. Characters clash, limbs are cut off, souls are stolen and alliances crumble in the most explosive way; these cutscenes hold nothing back. The awesome face and motion capture tech is on full screen, with battles that would feel right at home in a modern action movie. Believable facial movements sell character interactions, whether they’re reacting to dialogue or receiving a devastating blow. However, the tale is rooted in the performance of its main character: Shang Tsung as played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Tagawa is best known for his portrayal of the Evil Wizard in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie, and he effortlessly returns to the role as the star. Peter Weller, the star of the 1987 film RoboCop, also returns to a familiar role. Although RoboCop doesn’t appear in the story, Weller plays the character perfectly three decades later, and it’s fun to see him again as a Cyber Police Officer as one of three new characters included in the Aftermath bundle. The technology-based bruiser is great; I had fun combining RoboCop’s heavy shoulder loads, flamethrower, and Auto-9 pistol for creative combos that intimidated my opponents. Longtime Mortal Kombat fans also see the return of two familiar faces in Fujin and Sheeva. Sheeva’s powerful wrestling approach gives her all sorts of powerful ways to launch opponents onto a stage, and Queen Shokan’s Dragon Drop movement can cause problems for players trying to stay out of her reach. Fujin has been a lesser character in the franchise recently, but due to his limited role, his story chapter is particularly interesting. This gives the player a glimpse into his history and dynamics with other characters, including his brother Raiden. Fujin’s playstyle is much more agile than RoboCop and Sheeva, and using the wind to manipulate your enemy is a blast. His killing blow, where he uses his divine powers to launch his katana, is among my favorites. In addition to the story, characters and premium skins of Aftermath, NetherRealm has released a free update that adds several offerings for all owners of Mortal Kombat 11. The biggest inclusion is the return of friendships, moves exaggerated and wacky finishing touches introduced in Mortal Kombat II. These hilarious finishers offer friendly gestures that stand in stark contrast to Fatality’s bloody mutilations, ranging from Sub-Zero rolling an ice cream cart to Noob Saibot performing an energetic skipping rope routine. Every friendship is hilarious in its own way, and I always can’t wait to see the silliness that ensued when we were initiated. The free part of the update also includes a series of new milestones and deaths associated with them. I loved going back to the Acid-Filled Deadpool, but the Retrocade is my favorite addition. This scene offers a 90s arcade complete with a changer machine, cardboard racks from old Mortal Kombat games, and even Primal Rage and Rampage arcade cabinets. Plus, it has classic, pixelated scenes projected onto the wall behind you. While you can play through the story in just one evening, Aftermath gives you a more in-depth look at the Mortal Kombat universe as seen through the eyes of characters who are not usually stars of the series. When combined with three additional characters, Aftermath offers a solid package for fans of the latest iteration of the bloody fight franchise.