Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Kritique

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Kritique

SUBTITLE'S INFO:

Language: English

Type: Human

Number of phrases: 3689

Number of words: 65787

Number of symbols: 285090

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES:

DOWNLOAD AUDIO AND VIDEO:

SUBTITLES:

Subtitles prepared by human
00:00
Jax: "Ah, shiiiiit. Here we go again." It's difficult to know where to start with this  one. There's just so much wrong with this game on   so, so many levels. Combine that with the fact  that, unlike the previous Netherrealm games,   I actually have talked about many of the  issues this game has in other videos,   and finding the right balance between being  thorough and not repeating myself is difficult.   So, one thing I'll be doing here is linking  to a playlist in the I-card of all the videos   I'm going to reference throughout this one. If  there's a topic I've got nothing more to add to,   I'll mention the relevant video and you'll be able  to find that there as a supplement to this piece. In addition, I'm going to be proceeding on the  assumption that you're familiar with my stance   on the prior four Netherrealm games, MK9 and X  in particular. If not, there's also a playlist   of my Netherrealm critiques in the I-card. Don't  worry, none of them are quite as long as this one. Beware, there will be unmarked opinions in this  video. If you can't distinguish between facts   and opinions, that's your fucking problem, not  mine, you worthless bitch. And if you disagree   with my stance on the game, you are, of course,  entitled your wrong opinion; but seriously,   if all you have to say in response is that I'm  wrong and you're right without any explanation  
01:02
as to why you feel a certain way or what makes  something good or bad, then your opinion,   right or wrong, totally lacks the depth that  gives an opinion value and is thus worthless. And speaking of lacking depth, let's  start as deep as Netherrealm fanboys are   willing do go and analyse the surface level  presentation before working our way deeper. First, the visuals have improved in  the four years since MKX. Graphical   fidelity isn't worth praising, because it  would be embarrassing if it wasn't better,   but the colour scheme is much improved  over the last game. I don't think I said   the same for Injustice 2 last time, but like  how that game brought colour back to the DCU,   MK11 brings colour back to MK, fixing the  biggest issue with MKX's aesthetic. It's no   longer ashamed of having brightly coloured ninja  characters. The lighting is often inconsistent   between cutscene and gameplay, which can lead to  a very noticeable shift in how a character looks,   but it's not a huge deal. The series has had it  much worse in the past. Like the Switch version! The face-scanning tech has also improved,  allowing for generally 1-1 likenesses of   the new face models to appear in the game.  But I must ask why damn near everyone has   brown eyes now. I understand if the face  models have brown eyes and that's why the  
02:02
initial scans came out like that, but they can  change the eyes, like with Scorpion, Raiden,   Shao Kahn, and even skin colour like Cetrion and  the revenants, but they didn't bother making sure   the "blue-eyed actor from Venice, California"  still has blue eyes when he is barely ever seen   with sunglasses over them in the story? It's not  just about consistency, it's also about variety.   Hardly anyone with a natural eye colour  isn't brown-eyed and it's fucking bizarre. But still, the likes of Scorpion and  Raiden's eyes feel more classic than in MKX.   Scorpion's eyes are very milky and white, but with  details to allow him to emote more than in MK9,   which looks far better than the awful  cataract-looking eyes they gave him in MKX.   Likewise, Raiden's eyes look supernatural  now, but with the ability to emote more,   instead of like they have coloured  lights shining through behind them. In terms of costumes, there are some  really good ones, some really bad ones,   and some that just baffle me. Klassic costumes  look generally more natural here than in MKX.   But the big talking point with  the aesthetic was, of course,   the severely reduced skin showing on the  female cast. You had one side saying it   goes against MK's long-established aesthetic,  with the extreme end calling it hypocritical   SJW pandering because of how much skin the men  show in some costumes, like Baraka's loincloth;  
03:07
and the other saying it's an improvement because  it's more practical, with the extremists calling   the other side sexist neckbeard chuds who just  want to jack off to the scantily-clad women. Some will say it's not the same for men and  women because Baraka's loincloth isn't meant to   be titillating, even though this is the internet  so you know damn well there are people who are   into that, and Kano's hairy chest has made him  more popular than ever, especially with gay men,   so it's not entirely different from a  woman showing off a bit of cleavage. I feel that going all skimpy or no skimpy is  dumb, and it should be on a character-by-character   basis, like Skarlet should be skimpy because  of how her powers work, while Sonya should   be more sensibly-dressed to fit her serious  professionalism, and someone like Kitana should be   somewhere in the middle to acknowledge her station  and the realm she grew up in. As it stands,   none of the lady ninjas have any personality  in their designs anymore, no longer expressing   anything about their characters or their home, nor  being distinct as "Mortal Kombat" designs anymore,   especially when the lack of face masks for Kitana  and Jade in story mode is taken into account. What didn't help matters was the official  justification from Steve Beran being so   poorly-thought-out. You wouldn't wear a bikini  into battle, but four inch stiletto heels are   fine, apparently. As well as being dumb on  its face, it's also insulting to the people  
04:08
who designed those costumes, which were  actually done by women quite a few times.   And it sure is a shame there were no female  MMA fighters involved with the game who they   could have consulted about how she wears  less in a fight than even MK9 Jade. That   would've been a good thing to have on-hand,  but unfortunately, they didn't have that. It's a strange thing for a series  with this extreme level of violence,   that was never afraid to push the envelope, to be  getting this puritanical about women showing skin   eleven games in, especially when stuff like  MK9's costumes were outliers and not at all   representative of the typical female looks, which  is quite apparent when looking at how the female   characters have changed since their debuts. It  is interesting that they eased off on the sex   appeal thing with the DLC characters and costumes,  particularly with Sindel, so it's not difficult to   read into it as Netherrealm considering sex appeal  okay for villains, but not for the good guys. And that's not even getting into the fucking  awful political references thrown into the script,   relating to both the change  in dress sense for the women, Shao Kahn: "But I miss your skimpier attire." Sheeva: "I do not dress for you, Shao Kahn." and to Donald Bloody Trump. Shao Kahn: "Let us make Outworld great again."
05:09
Is it any wonder the politics of the game were  such a huge point of contention when they're   doing the post-2016 equivalent of comparing  the villain to Hitler for easy villain points? And then Sheeva just puts down men  and other races a number of times,   but does not get called out for any of it. Sheeva: "Men are inherently the weaker sex." Sheeva: "Kytinn are worse than Tarkatans."  Sheeva: "Ever wonder why the Shokan   hate Earthrealmers?" Jax: "Get woke." Similarly, the game has a whacked-out  profanity filter used in its customisation   system where words as innocuous as "Mick"  and "Dio" aren't allowed. I did an entire   video pointing out the absurdity  and hypocrisy of that shit before.   They even censor the word "Hell", which  is used in Spawn's default variation,   and the company is named after the MK universe  equivalent of Hell. Plus, that part where they   actually bleeped the word "Fuck" in one intro  in a fucking M-rated game with extreme violence. Cassie: "And aren't you just  as creepy as [redacted]." And worse is that intros added before and  after leave the word "fuck" uncensored,   but you still can't use it in variations  in case someone names theirs "Fuck <insert   ethnic group here>" and someone fucking  cries about it instead of being an adult,  
06:11
like you're supposed to be to play  this game, accept that this other   person is a very sad individual not to  be taken seriously, and just move on. The animation has improved some, but not  by all that much during actual gameplay.   See the ABItorial on the subject for  more, because I'm hardly an expert. I appreciate the game including three  alternate language dubs by default,   but I don't understand why they put the  language options under "Gameplay" in   the options menu instead of giving it its  own section or putting it under "Audio".   And why do non-dialogue voice clips fall  under sound effects and not dialogue? The music is about what we've come to expect  since MKX - bland, unmemorable, aside from   the music for Tournament, which is just a new  instrumental version of Techno Syndrome. Well,   that and the DLC character trailer music, which  isn't in the game but is actually quite good.   Honestly, I'd say the tragedy of the blandness  of modern MK music is on-par with a Sonic or   Tekken game having bland music - these are  series with some fucking great soundtracks,   even in the bad entries, and this just does  not live up to that old standard. It's got   a kind of generic movie score vibe to it now,  and while I can think of multiple great tracks   from most of the Midway games off the top  of my head, I just can't for MKX or 11. And what makes this worse is that Mick Gordon,  
07:19
composer of modern Doom, Wolfenstein and  the first two seasons of Killer Instinct,   put his name forward to compose for MK11  and some fucking shmuck over there turned   him down. He's done intense music to accompany  ultraviolence, as well as fighting game music.   Put Doom and KI in a blender and you get MK and  they thought this bland crap was a better fit   than Gordon's work? Why is Netherrealm  decision-making always so fucking poor? I'll talk about the voice actors later, but  one of modern MK's most inconsistent aspects,   even rivalling the lack of continuity  in the story and character designs,   is the voice cast. Across the last three games,  only two voice actors have retained a role across   all three, with the rest either being recast  after 9 and carrying over from X to 11,   being consistent in 9 and X and then changing  in 11, or have a different voice in every   single entry. You'd think they'd want to push for  more consistency with characters that are deemed   important enough to make the roster three times  in a row (even after dying), but apparently not. On a related note, the pre-fight intros have  gotten unnecessarily longer since they were first   introduced. MKX had a short animation leading  into the first line and a more natural flow.  
08:19
Injustice 2 segmented them more into Character  2's intro animation, then three lines,   with each having a different shot, and this  game has both characters' intro animations,   then the three lines. It doesn't need to be  stretched out like this when Injustice 2's   take was fine. I appreciate that the character  poses during the exchange differ based on which   intro animation the character uses, instead  of just whether they speak first or second;   but this can lead to animations being a lot  more aggressive than the dialogue requires. Cassie: "So your future's looking bright?" Plus, the animation chosen when multiple are  equipped is set for the fight, even on a rematch,   which is more of an issue for recording intros  for a video than for normal gameplay, admittedly. Sadly, the writing is much weaker now,   as there was a lot more antagonism  to justify fights in MKX,   while a lot of 11's are either non-confrontational  exchanges with no real setup for a fight... Spawn: "You've been to other dimensions?" Scorpion: "Each has had its own injustices."  Spawn: "Maybe that's why my soul still burns." Kotal Kahn: "So we are agreed?"  Kotal Kahn: "Osh-Tekk hearts beat as one." Kotal Kahn: "Kronika will fall before us." or setups for awful pop culture references. Cassie Cage: "My god, pinch me." Cassie Cage: "You're wide awake." 
09:26
Cassie Cage: "Invasion of the body snatchers!" Noob Saibot: "Hello, darkness." Noob Saibot: "My old friend."  Noob Saibot: "I've come to fight with you again." Please die. There's also a tendency for intros to introduce   seemingly canonical details that  are, at best, questionable... Erron Black: "I stepped out  with Nitara before you." ...and at worst, contradicted within the game   itself with no clear explanation as  to which one is an in-universe lie. Kitana: "You claim to know my father?" D'Vorah: "This One killed him for Shao Kahn." Rain: "So Jerrod's death was your doing." Sindel: "Taking the man's life ended my misery." Sure, intros aren't necessarily  meant to be 100% accurate, but   why use them to give us more details  about the characters and setting if   the details aren't canonical? That  just muddies the waters of the canon,   on top of the thick sludge floating on the surface  that is the rampant retcons of this trilogy. Also it's rare that a character has intros that  reflect both versions of them from the story.   It's usually one size fits all, or one specific  version, even if you use the other's costume. Noob Saibot: "Your revenant still lives." Nightwolf: "He's nothing to me, Bi-Han." Past Scorpion: "You plan to marry my chujin." Jax and Sub-Zero have six different intros  between them, despite having not exchanged  
10:30
a single word in the story outside of Sub-Zero  addressing Jax and Sonya together back in MK9,   but they didn't make even one  specific to the older Jax? Liu   Kang has eight mirror match intros, but  none specific to the revenant. Instead,   we get a couple where one of them is evil and  one where one of them claims to be his ancestor,   "Cheh Kang", even though Kang is his given  name, as of MKX, because of Kung Jin. The game does offer a few  different announcers, though,   including Kronika, Robocop and  Johnny Cage. Johnny is easily   the best with his amusing nicknames for the  characters when chosen on character select. Johnny: "1.21 gigawatts." Johnny: "I'd buy that for   a dollar." Johnny: "Me." No idea how they missed the very obvious  opportunity to have Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa,   who was respiring Shang Tsung,   the original final boss and presumed  announcer for the series, as an announcer. Shang Tsung: "Fatality." How is that not the most obvious thing do do when   you have Cary Tagawa in the  studio recording voice over? And finally, the character selection screen  went from this awful misshapen diamond to this   even more misshapen diamond once all the DLC was  out. And the placement of the cast is completely   random, for the most part. One row  is the five revenants and also Kano,  
11:31
Scorpion is opposite Sub-Zero but one more  in from each and it's Noob and Jacqui,   Cetrion is on her own instead of next to Geras,  etc. I'll probably make a video about how bad   a lot of modern character selection screens  are at some point, but know that the one here   would be much improved by either filling out the  rectangle with one more DLC pack, or letting the   player rearrange the placements to their liking.  And don't even get me started on the stage select   screen. Most locations in the game have two stages  connected to each other, but they aren't grouped   up on the menu? That should be the first this  to cross your mind when assigning the positions! So, the presentation is pretty hit or miss (mostly  miss). Some areas are improvements over MKX,   while others are downgrades. But let's go beyond  the presentation and look at the game itself,   starting with the different modes on offer. The game is an improvement over the last few  Netherrealm releases, in terms of the amount   of game modes on offer. It's never gonna  be on Deception or Armageddon's level,   but we have more than just story,  online and Multiverse, at least. Of course, we have the Story Mode, here split into  the base campaign and the Aftermath expansion.   That's getting its own section later, so all  I'll say for now is that I can't stand the   interface when selecting a campaign. You go  from this really nice menu style with these  
12:33
portraits for each mode with the illusion of  internal depth, to this bland screen with two   generic screenshots. They actually changed the  Story Mode portrait when Aftermath came out,   so why not just use the two in this  menu? It would look so much better. I'll also be discussing the Krypt  later, so let's move on to the third   main pillar of offline modes that still  require an online connection to play,   because fuck you if you can't  get consistent internet, right? Towers of Time is the sequel to  Multiverse Mode from Injustice 2.   You enter a tower that will have a bunch of  random opponents, sometimes 1v2 or even more,   and there'll often be random konsumables on  the opponent's side - usually an assist from   another character. Towers are themed, sometimes  after certain games or groups of characters.   They rotate out regularly and the rewards  are limited to those specific towers,   with no way of knowing then they'll pop up,  leaving some skins borderline inaccessible. There are normal towers, tag team towers,  online team towers in sets of three that   used to offer rewards individually  but now require you to complete all   three to get any of the rewards that  can't even be gained in the shop. Each character has their own set of five tower  tiers used to unlock around half of their   cosmetics, which I'll be discussing in a dedicated  section. Each tier of character towers has a  
13:36
little text plot blurb given, with the logic being  that this is another timeline where the character   deals with another character or faction, but the  text is often just flat-out wrong or bizarre with   its claims. The rewards in the Towers overall are  mostly cosmetics. The character towers require   currency to unlock them and naturally, you have  to pay out increasing amounts to unlock a tier   and then grind out uppercuts, finishers and the  like to unlock the next tower in the sequence,   which isn't a problem later on, but it can be  quite draining on your resources in the beginning. Each tower set is capped off with a boss, which is   a basic 1v1 where the opponent gets super  armour towards the end of their health bar,   and sometimes more benefits. This makes  it so you can't do combos or grapples.   Difficulty is never fun when it comes from  simply limiting your existing options. The saving grace is that the mode has the option  to let the AI handle the fighting for most towers,   so you can do something else while the game grinds  itself. Unfortunately, you can't just leave the   system alone, because you need to press buttons  to move on to the next match or restart a fight   if your AI loses. The AI can be pretty braindead  under certain circumstances, like walking directly   into traps, often not using konsumables when given  the chance (even to heal up when almost dead),  
14:39
or using a move designed to set up a follow-up  attack, and not doing one, leaving them running   at the opponent or running on the wind until that  move runs its course and achieving nothing. The   saving grace of the saving grace is that the AI  will win most fights, as long as they're fair. What do I mean by fair? Like Injustice  2, the mode's difficulty comes,   not from the technical skill of the AI,  but from the konsumables, extra effects   like projectiles coming from offscreen or bonus  armour, and some of them are fucking ridiculous,   especially when stacked together in some  of the themed towers. Whoever designed   the panning lasers and the landmines needs a  slap. And whoever decided the konsumable that   specifically disables ground effects shouldn't  affect landmines needs an even bigger one. The Gauntlet Towers are the biggest offender  there. Seriously, whoever the fuck designed FUBAR   deserves to be pushed out a window onto a mattress  so they don't get hurt but do receive enough of a   scare to make them realise how much they fucked up  and strive to do better in the future. Arsehole. The larger goal in the mode is to accrue points  and get higher in the weekly Race Against Time   rankings to earn better rewards, similar to MKX's  Factions system, but with exclusive skins and   Time Krystals being the highest tier rewards. The  issue is that those skins are only available here  
15:41
and are on rotation. And with only one per week,  and with certain klassic skins taking the slots   more often, it can take up to a year for a skin  you're eyeing in this to become available again. The mode isn't fun, because you  regularly need to use konsumables   to stand a chance against the enemy's  loadout without being a top tier player,   like when you flat-out can't beat a spirit in  Smash Ultimate without equipping a specific   counter spirit to nullify their broken  advantage. Again, window and mattress. There are also Klassic Towers that avoid most of  these issues, but the only reward for doing them   is a non-canon ending (everyone's is non-canon),  but you get that for beating a character's first   tier of personal towers anyway, so the only  reason to come back here is to record footage   of Kronika getting wrecked by the Hourglass  with different people hitting her. And yes,   all the endings are non-canon, depicting each  character obtaining the Hourglass and what they'd   reshape the universe into. It has the same issue  as Armageddon, where every ending has the same   setup, and you can tell the writers ran out of  ideas and had to really push to find new angles.   Johnny Cage's is about his family so Jax,  the family-centred extremist, had to have   one about the fact that he's black instead. I've  covered that before. The rules are inconsistent,   with Jacqui getting erased by altering an event  from thirty years ago, while other characters  
16:44
make much larger, longer-reaching changes and are  fine. Some of them have decent ideas, like Johnny   deciding he needs the bad things in his life  to happen to make him a better man and keeping   things mostly unchanged, or Kano getting bored  of always winning and giving the SF an actual   chance against him. But most of them are pretty  uneventful, predictable, or just plain odd for   the character - Joker gets a bunch of cameos from  absent characters together to do chaotic stuff;   Shao Kahn makes himself the ultimate winner,  without even the idea that he goes insane with   nothing else to conquer, like in Armageddon;  and Kitana restores Edenia, but no longer feels   like an Edenian as she now considers herself an  Outworlder. And then, there are the offensive   ones... And for whatever reason, despite most  characters getting new outfits in their endings   when they become the Keeper of Time, none of those  outfits are available as costumes in the game. There's Tournament mode, which isn't an actual  tournament, but an offline vs mode that limits   you to only official tournament settings, i.e.  one of three pre-set custom movesets and only   the base costumes for the cast. It would  be a cool option for people practicing for   tournaments if it allowed for AI opponents  and let you use your customised costumes. AI Battles have you pick a team of three  fighters and pit them against another  
17:44
player's three chosen defenders in a best  of three series that actually lets you fast   forward through the battles, unlike TOT.  There's not much to it and there's little   reason to play it once you've unlocked all  the exclusive skins, but you can always use   it as a tool to gauge which characters are  high tier based on which ones are most often   assigned as defenders. In my experience,  it was usually Noob, Sonya and/or Baraka.   Strangely, there's no way to set up a custom  AI battle just to watch two characters fight. The game offers Tutorials as well. It  goes quite in-depth on the broad strokes,   while the individual character tutorials  are just the special moves and some basic   combos. It's more of a starting point  for individual characters than anything.   Character tutorials reward a skin, while  the broader ones reward a few Time Krystals.   It's fine, but some of the combos  are unnecessarily tricky to pull   off. And I mean so much so that nobody is  going to fucking use them, so why bother? Online, which I never bothered with, had its own  Race Against Time-like system every month or so   called Kombat League. The rewards here were new  themed skins (mostly cheap recolours) that were   given to four characters, along with a few gear  pieces. The themes ranged from Blood, to Edenia,   to Kytinn, to Black Dragon brainwashing. Each  character received two colours that fit the theme,  
18:47
and this was okay sometimes, like the blood theme  having black & red and white & red recolours, but   a lot of them were just slightly different shades  of the same colour, like the Edenian dark purple   and slightly darker purple. Considering most were  just recolorus anyway, I don't understand why they   never used two different models for it. Having  two purple recolours for Sub-Zero would be fine if   they were both different models being recoloured  instead of two slightly different shades for   the same one. There was genuinely no reason for  them to always be the same model for both. None. And naturally, these rewards were exclusive to  Kombat League, which then went onto rotation after   the final season. The only saving grace here is  that they occasionally put the gear rewards into   the store and Krypt Events, and that inputting the  Blood Code on the D-pad while a meteor crosses the   background of Towers of Time ten minutes into  every second hour, you get a random tower that   will net you one of the skins for a hefty fee  when you attempt it, but it doesn't take what you   have and haven't got into account and will often  offer one you already have, wasting your time. On the topic of wasting your time, losing  your internet connection causes a big one,   because the game is online-only for  everything but Story Mode, Klassic Towers,   practice modes and basic offline fights.  That doesn't sound too bad, but the Krypt,  
19:49
and the entire Towers of Time mode are locked  off without a connection, and the game will do   that fucking awful thing where it automatically  quits out to the menu if the connection is lost   instead of at least trying to reconnect  so you don't lose any fucking progress,   because that's apparently acceptable in 2019, you  fucking incompetents! And this is all assuming   the game loads up properly in the first place  and doesn't require a restart to function on   a basic level. And this especially paints the  Switch version as an utterly pointless product. Everything you've spend possibly hundreds of hours  obtaining through the awful grind that is every   aspect of this game, all of it will disappear once  the servers finally go down. When that happens,   the vast, vast majority of the game's content will  be lost forever, because the team didn't bother   to future-proof it. Because Mortal Kombat is no  longer made for any kind of artistic expression.   It exists solely as a product to make money from  you now before they move on to the next product.   And people still act like I'm the bad guy when  I call Netherrealm and WB out on this stuff. And speaking of contemptuous greed,  let's talk about the new Krypt. The Krypt received another huge overhaul this  time. Building on the dungeon-crawler style of   MKX, 11's has the player control a wanderer, the  Descendant of Deception's Apep, as he explores  
20:53
Shang Tsung's ruined island for stuff to pillage,  while Shang himself is more than happy to let him.   Why the island is in such disrepair if  the master of the island is still around,   I don't know. And it's not to make the design  line up with the canonical Story Mode version,   because it doesn't anyway. He's mainly just  there to chime in with a comment every so often,   like how Liu Kang beat him at the Warrior  Shrine, which lines up with the Midway timeline,   but not the Netherrealm one. Sadly, once you've  done everything and there's nothing more to do,   you can't reset the world state to hear those  comments again. You need a new profile for that. Regardless, the player wanders around, opening  chests with the three non-premium currencies:   gold, souls and hearts. Gold is obtained in decent  quantities just by playing the game normally,   souls are slightly more rare, and hearts  are obtained by performing finishers.   This is the encouragement to do the same  repetitive finishers over and over again.   More on that later. Heart chests are the only  ones with set content, as each base roster   fighter has their own chest with some loot  to find. The other types are all randomised   and can be restocked for a price. But the actual  earning of the currencies was so insultingly low   on launch that the devs had to patch the game  to increase the rate to something a bit more   reasonable and offer some free currency to make up  for all the hours players had wasted up to then.
21:57
The devs spoke about it as if each chest  was filled differently for each player,   and they'd have everything by the time they  opened all the chests. This is not true,   as it's all randomised every time you reopen  the chests, and the ability to refill them at   all proves there's more to get from  chests than there are chests in the game,   and you are guaranteed to have opened  multiple times more chests than there   are at any given time before you obtain  everything, if you even do get everything,   because it's all RNG and it gets really fucking  stingy with the concept art for some reason. You know what I miss? Cool unlockables made  specifically for the Krypt. Not just concept art   cobbled together to be unlocked there, or assets  already in the game locked behind Krypt chests.   Like, remember those fun fake ads from Deadly  Alliance? Stuff like false eyes sold by Kano,   Scorpion's charcoal, Reptile's skin cream,  Li Mei's shoe size or some actual love being   shown to Hsu Hao. Actual content made for fun that  incentivises returning more than timed exclusives   or RNG ever will. God forbid opening everything  in the Krypt be fun instead of a tedious slog. Another thing you'll encounter is the Kronika  Sphere, which will spawn randomly (sometimes   in inaccessible spots) and contain some good loot  for a small price. There is a second type used in  
23:01
Krypt Events, where some exclusive cosmetics  are kept. These include classic Liu Kang,   classic Shao Kahn and Jax's classic arms. It is  actually impossible to obtain these integral items   outside of these events, which have repeated only  twice since launch. Because this game does not   respect you or your time and you must be available  at the key times to obtain them. They lengthened   the window for obtaining them months after  launch because people pointed out that people   have fucking jobs and other obligations, and  timezones also exist, so having such vital items   be locked to a one hour timespan is genuinely  disgusting, so they extended it to 24 hours,   which doesn't help that much, but it's better than  one hour. But no, MK11's a good game, apparently! Spoony: "Yeah, take note of these assholes,   people. You know, I tell it to ya straight,  but theseare your mainstream game critics." Structurally, the mode is built around obtaining  key items belonging to established MK characters   to advance, such as Scorpion's spear to pull  objects closer or Shao Kahn's hammer to smash   stuff. It's pretty cool finding these items, but  some of the criteria is just grindy as all hell.   For example, to reach Shang Tsung's throneroom  near the end, you need to obtain the severed   head of every member of the cast to open a  door. These heads are obtained by performing  
24:03
25 finishers on that character, and the base  roster consists of twenty-five characters,   making for a total of six hundred and twenty five  individual finishers being required to do this. It   was originally fifty, but they cut it down to  twenty-five months after launch. And I'm sure   some people will say that twenty-five is fine,  especially when compared to the original fifty,   but regardless of whether or not a problem is  fixed, that is still the state the game launched   in and it can't be ignored, because it speaks  to how little respect either the developer or   the publisher has for you as a consumer to let  something like this get into your hands in the   first place. It was in that state that the game  was deemed acceptable to release. Think about it. Along the way, a number of threats appear,  like swinging blades and fire-spewing spiders.   I fucking hate these obstacles. You don't  lose anything from dying and you're reset   only a few feet back (or sometimes further  forward), so they really are just there to   waste your fucking time. As is the lack of any  kind of fast travel system, forcing you to run   all the way across the map when you need to  and the elevator rides are painfully slow. As cool as it is to have free reign of the island  and being able to walk into iconic MK1 locales,  
25:04
once you've opened everything up, traversal  really just becomes a slog. Getting around,   especially in the underground, is mostly a one-way  journey either way without many looping paths to   speed things up. Which really sucks when you have  to head from the courtyard to the Kytinn hive in   the deepest part of the underground for a Krypt  event or a unique chest you missed or lacked the   currency for. It's like when you start an open  world game and you enjoy the amount of freedom   you're offered to fuck around; but after a  few hours, the sandbox becomes effectively   an interactive loading screen between the  actual pieces of content in story missions   and you begin to wish the game just gave you  a list of missions to choose from instead. There is also the Nether Forge, where  you use ingredients you find to make   some cosmetics and consumables. It's really  pointless and Mileena's Veil still hasn't   fucking spawned for me, so one of Jade's  masks will elude me until the end of time. The new character, Kollector, also shows up  in the Krypt at certain times and offers a   rotating list of trade goods, including  exclusive skins whose trade components   refuse to fucking spawn, and there's  no other way to obtain his goods. The Krypt also has a few cameos from absent  characters. We find Kenshi dead down in Goro's   Lair and obtain his blindfold to see invisible  chest and the occasional ambush that just kills  
26:05
you on the spot; Reptile appears in certain places  after you find a statue resembling his film form,   and you can kill him for minor rewards; Ermac  falls to his death in The Pit so we can obtain   his amulet; Sektor is strung up in pieces as a  puzzle; Goro is found as a husk on his throne;   and Kano is found as a skeleton at a table, as a  nod to the original movie, which also proves this   isn't canon to the current timeline, since this  doesn't line up with Kano's fate in this game   at all. Nor does it line up with his actual  skull during Fatalities... While Kenshi and   Reptile reuse their MKX designs, and reasonably  so, Ermac got an entirely new look for this game,   which led to him being at the top of most  prediction lists for DLC, but it never happened.   Why they made an entirely new look for him  exclusively for a two-second cameo in the Krypt,   I've no idea. They didn't even put him in the  background of a story scene, when Kotal is   seriously lacking in followers in this game.  I don't think this is as great a design for   him as a lot of fans do, but I find it baffling  that they bothered making a new design if they   weren't going to do anything else with it, while  Reptile and Kenshi are just recycled from MKX. But if there's one thing that  definitely wasn't recycled from MKX,   it would be the gameplay, because MK's  gameplay has no consistent identity anymore.
27:08
-------------------------------------------------- #Gameplay As is standard for Netherrealm MK (but   not for Injustice, for some reason), the gameplay  has been overhauled yet again. The base is still   largely the same, but with the total overhaul of  the movesets that we've come to expect from modern   MK, which makes characters feel inconsistent  between games. I've said it before multiple times,   but you can't even predict what face button  Sub-Zero's Ice Ball will use from game-to-game   anymore and that makes long-term investment in  one character across the whole series feel like   learning a new character every time a new Street  Fighter or Tekken comes out. (They probably do   it so you won't notice that the roster is  largely the same between all three games.) There are small changes, like enhancing special  movies being done mid attack like Injustice 2,   instead of simultaneously with the  face button press like prior games.   Doesn't make a huge difference, but  it can take some getting used to.   The actual problem is that it's on the  same button as stage interaction now,   which can easily cause a conflict when trying  to enhance in front of an interactable, which   could easily be fixed if the fucking Stance Switch  function didn't still exist and take up an entire   button by itself for absolutely no reason. Make it  a taunt button, at least, you colossal imbeciles. The only notable addition to the gameplay is  Krushing Blows, which are heavier versions of the  
28:10
move with a slow motion X-Ray to show the internal  damage. Each can be triggered only once per match   and, similar to Brutalities, these impacts trigger  under certain conditions, like landing the move   multiple times in a row, or performing it as a  punish. It's a decent idea and it's good to see   the X-Ray tech still being implemented somewhere  because it's not part of the super moves anymore,   nor has it been implemented it into Fatalities,  as it should have been two games ago. The biggest alteration to the gameplay is  to the way meter works now. In all prior   Netherrealm games, meter worked about how one  would expect. It builds up as you deal damage,   but moreso as you take it, with a bonus  full pip being awarded to the player who   gets the first hit of the match. You can spend  segments of the gauge to enhance special moves,   perform defensive moves to escape enemy combos,  or save up for a super move that'll take about a   third of the opponent's health off. The latter  is more a crutch for lower level players,   while the former two are the tools of  more skilled players. Simple, right? Well, not simple enough, as it turns out. MK11  changed this system entirely. Now, there are two   gauges: offensive and defensive. Okay, that's not  too bad, putting less pressure on when it comes   to decision-making. But you no longer earn meter,  nor is it given to help you make a comeback. No,  
29:13
it just fills up over time now, turning it into  more of a simple cooldown system. And you start a   match with both meters already full. So, you might  ask, "How do supers work now?" Well, the new Fatal   Blows (which I'll tear apart in a minute) are  granted when the player's health reaches 33%. Just   free. And if you miss or the opponent blocks, you  just have to wait a few seconds for another shot.   Yes, you only get to land it once per match, but  there's no longer a punishment for missing. In any   other fighting game, if your super fails, you've  wasted all that meter that could have been better   spent on other utilities. The only downside to a  failure here is that you now need to wait a few   seconds and try not to die on that sub 33% health  you've got, which isn't even that difficult, since   your failure doesn't impact your ability to break  out of combos like it would have in prior games. I get why they made it this way,  of course. Obviously, Netherrealm   wanted to make the game more open to casual  players. That seems to be important for MK,   given the abundance of mainstream guest  fighters and how the subsequent trash   level of the fandom is only matched in  the genre by casual fighter Super Smash   Bros. And while this is a good change for  people who are not into spending tons of   time learning the game and preferring to  just do flashy moves at their convenience,  
30:14
it makes meter use far less interesting, because  the risk vs reward aspect of using it is gone. Thoughts like "Do I risk going for more damage  now when I might need to escape a combo later?"   or "Should I save up my meter for a super later?"  are no longer a factor because everything is so   segmented, and that makes the game less strategic,  and thus less interesting to play or watch. And the hell of it is, this isn't just some  personal gripe. I PREFER the new system when   I'm playing. I don't like the game enough to  spend time learning the characters (especially   knowing for a fact that that knowledge  will not carry over into the next game),   so this more casual approach is better for  someone like me. But even I can look at this   and say the gameplay just is not as interesting  anymore. You just spam augmented specials,   use your super when you have it without  worrying too much if it whiffs, and rest   easy knowing your defensive options  are still there when you need them. And the game outright incentivises  this approach, because of how the   gauges build over time. If your gauge is  full, you're not getting any more meter,   which is wasting it. The longer you spend at  full, the less uses you'll get from the gauges,   so you'll want to use it as soon  as possible to get more uses. And that just speaks to the game's general focus  on spectacle over anything actually interesting,  
31:16
that impacts every other aspect of the game, from  its story to its DLC offerings to the super moves. Replacing X-ray moves are the new Fatal Blows,  which are functionally identical, beyond the   way the player earns them. They're still lengthy  supers that a person can't reasonably survive,   but still do. They're still boring and repetitive  because every character only has the one.   They still get annoying because even if your  health hits zero by the end of impact one,   the move still continues, instead of  taking advantage of the segmentation to   let it end now and allow the fight  to move on this fucking century. But they're worse than X-Rays because the game  makes it easier to obtain one and has zero cost   to using it, as mentioned before, meaning you  see them almost every match. The only reasons   not to use one are if you're confident  you can deal more damage in less time,   or if the opponent's health is low enough  that you can't be fucking arsed to sit   through a lengthy super that's no longer  dealing damage. I hear that they even see   regular use in high-level competition,  which was not the case with X-Rays. And then, we have to discuss their concept.  X-Rays showed off an impressive internal   damage model being broken with heavy hits, which  really helped to sell the impact of the blows,   and the MK9 version used darkness and greyscale  to better highlight the damage and give the moves  
32:17
some style (and they were usually only two hits  long). MKX dropped style in favour of length,   which ruined the moves. MK11 moved the X-Ray  tech to Krushing Blows and replaced it in the   supers with blood. Because there wasn't  enough of that in MK, was there? Now,   every major hit just makes the opponent spurt out  a gallon of strawberry jam and it looks awful.   For a series all about bloodshed that's going for  realism in its aesthetic, the blood in this game   looks fucking horrendous. The slow motion effects  in general look bad in this game under scrutiny,   because the bodies and blood often don't  match each other's speed correctly. This is really noticeable in Fatalities. The team  brought over the slow motion tech from Injustice   2's victory poses for both victory poses and  money shots in Fatalities. The former is fine,   but the latter is awful and just tends to  give you more time to notice how inconsistent   the effect is on flying limbs and blood  spurts, which combines with how fake the   blood looks to make the whole thing feel  like you're looking at placeholder blood.   This is especially noticeable when you look at the  extensively detailed internal damage systems being   displayed when characters are torn open. And  these damage models are impressive and gross,   but it was not worth the crunch and alleged  PTSD the artists suffered to realise them.
33:17
I know people want me to talk about that:  the crunch and the PTSD stuff, but really,   what is there for me to say, other than, "Don't  crunch your developers or make them look up real   gore to make realistic innards for your fucking  video game. We can wait longer for the game and   accept less realism or a more stylised aesthetic  if it means real people aren't suffering mental   and physical trauma. And, yes, I'm sure there are  people in the fandom who wouldn't accept that,   but those despicable cunts can fuck off  and die; and so can anyone who forces   their developers to suffer like Netherrealm and  Naughty Dog's devs have these last few years." Speaking of dying, when will it be my turn? But also speaking of dying, Fatalities  in this game are needlessly violent,   and continue to suffer the issue of often  taking multiple Finisher ideas and blending   them together to make the entire cast  look like super violent arseholes,   when that doesn't fit most of their personalities.  I keep saying this, but why not just split them   into separate finishers and have more per  character? That would be a godsendad when 1: The AI is designed to employ  Finishers more often when it wins. And 2: The game incentivises doing  Finishers as often as possible,   because that's how you earn  the rarest Krypt currency,   and is even vital to advancing in the  Krypt at one point, as previously stated.
34:18
So, having a higher number of shorter finishers  would be an improvement over two per character   that cram in the ideas for four or five.  And what's with all the eye trauma? What,   did the team just feel really bad for  the person who made the eyeball model   because they put a lot of work into it, but  it wasn't going to be used that much and so   they just forced it into a bunch of other  finishers? And why does the eyeball come out   impaled through the side here when the  blood spike went in through the front? Fatalities are just boring now, and they  have been for about a decade. MK12's gonna   need to do something big to make them feel less  generic and boring. Especially since Brutalities   are still around and are quicker (ironic, given  the name) and more interesting to see employed   because of the way they're activated. Although,  I do have to criticise one thing about them:   "The Klassic" is the uppercut the head off  finisher, which pulls the spine out with it.   Everyone can do this, but some characters have  an easier time with it, like Jade and Baraka   with their long-reaching uppercuts, while  Cetrion and Sheeva have the worst reach to   where you basically have to be inside the  opponent to land it half the time. Yes,   the super tall, super buff, four-armed lady  has one of the worst ranges for her uppercut,   because Netherrealm fucking hates you. But, this  move doesn't change to reflect the way the head  
35:18
is removed, other than Terminator's shotgun,  which makes the head explode. Everyone else   knocks the head off with force, even Baraka with  his blades. They don't cut, they're blunt force. It's another example of how the game doesn't take  specific characteristics into account at all.   For example: remember back in MK9, when Kratos  had distinct responses to certain finishers to   not show fear, and instead remain defiant to the  bitter end, because that's how his character is?   Well, you'd think they'd take the same  consideration for the Terminator, the   emotionless robot character, but nope. He shows  fear and responds to pain like everyone else,   even though he cannot fucking feel it because he's  a goddamn robot! All you'd have to do is disable   his facial animations and use the default setting,  not make something new, but that's too much work,   apparently. It's not like I'm asking them to add  fun details like having him give a thumbs-up as   he descends into the Dead Pool acid. It's less  work than it took for Midway to make Mileena's   eyes change from Kitana to Tarkatan as she took  damage in Deception, which no one even noticed at   the time, but it showed an attention to detail  that is almost totally lacking in modern MK. Or, look at D'Vorah's feet (I swear, I'm going  somewhere with this). The human feet with natural  
36:19
high heels are gone, in favour of new bug-like  feet. But if she gets skinned, the game doesn't   have a unique skinless model for her, she just  uses the normal human one, meaning she has human   feet underneath. And this is connected to the  team not bothering with unique body types. Like,   why is Liu Kang, the Bruce Lee homage, generically  muscular instead of lean like the man himself?   Because that would require more time spent on  a unique damage model that wouldn't be used in   more than one game because Netherrealm wants to  make every MK game feel like a totally new game   and has to sacrifice any kind of cohesion between  games in terms of gameplay or aesthetic to do so.   Again, you can play Kilik in SoulCalibur II and  still have a good idea how he'll play in VI,   but you have to completely relearn  Sub-Zero from one game to the next. The team only bother with unique damage models  when absolutely necessary, like when they added   in a robot, a cyborg, and a shokan, and when they  needed a female tarkatan skull. Frost, who is a   full body cyborg now, still has human innards,  as does the automaton Geras, and Jax has human   flesh inside his robot arms, which is not at all  accurate. They added robot innards for Robocop and   Terminator though, because guests get more respect  and consideration than actual MK characters do.  
37:21
And when it comes to the blood colours, this game  is adamant about not giving anyone anything other   than red unless it's their new favourite character  D'Vorah, or a guest who NEEDS to have it. D'Vorah, our favourite character, had  blue blood last time? She gets blue,   how can she not? Spawn has green blood  in the comics? OF COURSE he gets green,   you think we wouldn't put in the time and  effort to accommodate such an iconic aspect   of the character? Noob Saibot's had black blood  consistently since 2004? Nah, mate, red. Frost   is a cyborg, which have consistently had black  blood since 1995? Aw, mate, it was red in MK Gold,   so that's what we're going with. Sektor and Cyrax  are fightable NPCs with black blood in the story,   proving we do have black blood already programmed  in? Who would want a character to have black blood   in normal gameplay? Robocop is mostly robotic  and thus has oil instead of blood? Of course   we'll make a weird greyish blood colour just  for him. Hell, we'd even patch that into other   characters that should have it if we cared at all  about consistency in any aspect of our franchise. God, I bet if Reptile was on the roster before  Spawn, he'd have had red blood and they wouldn't   have fixed it, even after Spawn was added. Like,  your base game has four characters who should   have black blood and one who should have blue,  but you prioritise making sure blue blood is  
38:22
available in normal gameplay, but black is only  there for the two you can't actually play as.   Christ, there's more black blood in Doki Doki  Literature Club than there is in this game.   MK with all red blood is fucking boring, guys.  The variety of blood colours makes it interesting.   Black, green, orange, hell we almost had fucking  gold if Kollector's severed head render is to   be believed. Geras had blue when he was first  revealed, but they made it red during development,   and Cetrion has blue in her severed head  render too. And I know that it's not as   simple to implement so many blood colours and  body types as it was back in the 3D Era, but   that's only because Netherrealm insist on going so  overboard with the visceral damage being done now.   If they were simpler, they wouldn't need so  much detail and could thus have more variety.   As is, the only body types are: man, more muscular  man, woman, naknadan, robot, cyborg and shokan. See, this lack of variety is what gives  me the impression of the team being lazy,   because this is the kind of thing that should be  looked into because it adds variety to spice up   the generic, obnoxious overabundance of blood  and gore that this game has placed a higher   priority on than any other entry in the series'  three-decade-long history. But they can do it,  
39:23
when incentivised to, like with guest characters. And speaking of guest characters, I  guess we might all well discuss the   DLC offerings of this game, because  they are predictable and bland. -------------------------------------------------- #DLC MK11's DLC   offerings are mostly divided into three sets:  two Kombat Packs and the Aftermath expansion. But before that, we had the pre-order  bonus of Shao Kahn, because we're   still doing this. Unlike Goro, Kahn is actually  part of the story, so I'm not sure which is worse:   locking off a major story character  behind pre-orders/new copies,   or doing that with a character that you remove  from the story entirely when they could have   had an interesting role in it. Maybe having  it be a side character who then gets play   in Aftermath is the middle ground option?  Either way, it sucks. Like, just make an   early access costume pack for pre-orders or  something. This practice is just tiresome. In addition, there's also the option to pay  a fiver to unlock Frost early. Excuse me,   what? All you have to do to get her is finish  Chapter 4. And you don't even need to be good   at the game, because we have difficulty options,  so why the fuck would someone do this? It's such   a pointless option that really benefits no one.  You don't even get a bit of premium currency along   with it. Whoever thought this was a good idea  is scum that needs serious disciplinary action.
40:28
Other Day One content consisted of  Kold War Skarlet (because Netherrealm   is obsessed with Russian-themed costumes  as if they're trying to set up MK vs DC:   Red Son), this Brazilian bandit Kano that  I'm not even going to try to pronounce,   the Gold Demon Scorpion recolour exclusive to the  Kollector's Edition with no other way to get it,   and the Ninja Mime Johnny skin that came with the  Kombat Pack purchase. The former two occasionally   pop up in the in-game store (in about six  different colours to dilute the stock pool),   but are not readily available for people  who want them, even if they'd be willing   to spend money to get them, which makes the whole  design philosophy of the game even more bizarre. The first DLC offering of actual  substance was the Kombat Pack,   containing six characters and  six sets of four costumes. First up is Shang Tsung in both young  and old versions. On the one hand,   Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa reprised the role  from the 1995 movie and Legacy Season 2,   and he's just as fun to watch onscreen as he was  back in the nineties. He just oozes charisma and   proves that the slippery serpent Shang is the best  version of him, so I hope he'll be like this all   the time from now on, with or without Tagawa.  Unfortunately, there are two problems with him.   One is that they wanted to bring back the morphing  ability. This was easier when the game just needed   to load up a spritesheet and moveset. Nowadays,  you have to load up a full model, moveset,  
41:32
animation set and unique voice clips, which would  cause loading problems. The obvious solution would   be to let him turn into his opponent, and he can,  but they also gave him a selection of moves where   he morphs into a ninja and does one of their  moves. That way, there's only one model he   can morph into with a few different textures.  It's not a bad idea, and the morph effect has   certainly improved since we last saw it, but it  does make him feel more like Chameleon than Shang   Tsung as a result. And they didn't even give him a  ninja costume so we can pretend Chameleon is back. The bigger issue is the movie costume. They gave  us his movie costume with and without the coat   and in multiple colour schemes, but none in the  all-black he actually sported in the film. Is it   really so hard to make it all-black? Or was there  some kind of rights thing that prevented them from   using a black trenchoat? See what I mean when  I mention these very obvious things that should   be the first things implemented, but simply  aren't, making the devs look woefully inept? His skin pack was the MK2 ninja pack, since  he's ninja-themed. One of three ninja skin   packs in this game, and they're all just  as lazy as they've ever been. You know how   people tried for years to discount Rain as  a DLC fighter because "Netherrealm don't do   repeat DLCs" when the MK2 lady ninja costumes  have been available in every single Netherrealm  
42:32
MK game? The reason we keep seeing these over and  over again is twofold: 1. It's yet more nostalgia   bait. 2. It's cheap and easy. You make one model,  attach three different heads and colour schemes,   and you've got three costumes you can sell for  the same price as a real costume pack with three   unique models. The most work any of these ever  got was Reptile still being Saurian in MKX,   but that was mainly because of how  his design and moveset had changed,   making it difficult or impossible to make a  human version work, hence the extra effort. But speaking of extra effort, despite how  easy selling it would be, as mentioned,   there is no UMK3 male ninja pack, even though  they announced the game with a trailer that   featured the damn costume. Some people try to  brush this off by saying they probably intended   to have it in the game but plans changed, but  I don't fucking care. They didn't just market   the game with it; they announced the game  with it as the big reveal at the end and   they had a year and a fucking half after  launch to put it in, but didn't. You could   tweak the existing MK2 ninja model to do  it, so there's no excuse for its absence. The second character was Nightwolf in  a classic form, and an older form with   a revenant variant. He has some animal  spirits that can augment his abilities   and that's kind of it for gameplay.  He's just Nightwolf, which is good.
43:35
Alongside him came the MK3 costume pack  of Jax, Kung Lao and Kano, with Sonya   as the Season Pass-excusive. Yeah,  no, Netherrealm never do repeat DLCs,   nor do they make redundant DLCs of old costumes  that existing costumes in the game are already   based on instead of giving Kabal a burnt human  version with a coat like the mobile game got! Soon after, there was a special  standalone skin added for free,   the Dimitri Vegas skin for Sub-Zero, changing  his face and voice to that of the Greek/Belgian   DJ who made the Techno Syndrome remix used  in the game's launch trailer. Supposedly,   he asked for this as payment as a joke and  they just did it. His readings get a lot   of flack and some compare him negatively  to Ronda Rousey's performance as Sonya,   which I'll discuss more in the story section, but  I think it's unfair to compare the two because: Ronda plays Sonya in the story, where  the performance is more important,   while Vegas is only available in pre-fight intros. He's not an actor by trade, unlike Rousey. And 3. English is not his first language. So yeah, I'm gonna cut the non-canon cameo  by a DJ who grew up in Belgium some slack.   The neon lights on the costume  are fucking wretched though. If   you could choose Vegas and the clothes  separately, this would be way cooler. Third was our first guest, The Terminator, as  a tie-in to the release of Terminator: Dark  
44:37
Fate. This one released on my birthday, because  Netherrealm decided to have mercy and hold off   on ruining one of my favourite MK characters until  the next month. Featuring the likeness of Arnold   Schwarzenegger himself, this character is voiced  by Chris Cox. And the impression is fucking awful. Terminator: "My arrival here is a mistake." I don't get how people can say it  sounds like Arnold when it just   doesn't. CorderyFX had a  better impression of Arnold. CorderyFX: "I just want a Terminator movie that  I can take seriously! <unwritable Arnold sounds> Johnny Cage has a better impression! Johnny: "I be whack." And those are mostly for the sake of parody, not  a genuine attempt at passing for Arnold as their   voices come out of his actual mouth. Honestly,  if you couldn't get Arnold to do the voice,   you shouldn't use his face, because the  likeness is spot-on (in his Dark Fate form,   at least) and that just draws  attention to how off the voice is. Terminator: "Still, my mission remains unchanged." And worse, just about every intro he  has is designed around setting up an   Arnie quote when its not even his voice saying it. Cassie Cage: "You wouldn't hurt me,   would you sweetheart?" Terminator/Matrix: "Wrong." Baraka: "What did Cage teach you to call me?" Terminator/Dutch: "An ugly motherfucker."
45:38
If they were all Terminator references, they'd  still be cringeworthy, but could still work. But   this is just painful on so many levels. And his  costumes continue the lazy trend, being Dark Fate,   T2, T2 no jacket with Cage Gym shirt, and Dark  Fate without a jacket and with battle damage   that brings to mind T2 but isn't available for  the younger incarnation and also leads to some   fucking stupid moments when the skin on that  arm is removed in a finisher. There's so little   variety here that Terminator is the only character  I don't have five variations for. I even managed   it with Kollector, but not Terminator. And I love  the Terminator franchise. Well... some of it.... I've heard the reason Arnie didinn't do the  voice was because he didn't want to be associated   with a violent game, which seems bullshit  since he voiced Dutch in Predator:   Hunting Grounds the following year, but I'll  pretend I believe it so I have the excuse to say,   "Yeah, don't put your face in one  then, you fucking brain surgeon!" The accompanying costume pack was kinda  vague. It's T2 Sarah Connor for Sonya   (but without a change of face or voice, sadly),  Tuxedo Johnny Cage (with plastic-looking arms   that don't match his normal skin), Cyborg Kano  (with a body stolen from Cyrax) and Cassie as   Harley Quinn, because Joker released around  this time but they were obligated to release  
46:40
Terminator then to tie into Dank Fart instead  of the critically acclaimed clown movie that   the mainstream media shat its collective pants  over the same way it did over MK in the '90's. Fourth was Twindel. I'll save any further  discussion of her for the story section,   but the fact that I have a playlist of breakdowns  of why this version doesn't work should tell you   all you need to know for now. She plays fine,  even having a Kwan Dao like in Deception,   which some people think is enough to counter  the horrendous story decisions and - news flash,   dumbass - it's not. Her costumes are fine:  MK3, a dress, and revenant versions of both.   At least her revenant actually does  have two costumes, unlike Nightwolf. The costume pack was a Halloween-themed one,   even though she released in November and  there was already a Halloween costume pack.   Vampire Raiden with hair, Frankenstein's  Monster Geras, Mummy Cetrion- No, not that kin- ProZD: "I want her to step on me." and the so-called "Klassic Cassie", which  most assumed would be her MKX look - since   her 11 redesign earned a fair amount of ire  from her fans - but is actually a workout   costume that vaguely resembles her outfit from  the comic if you squint and disable the colour   of your monitor. There's nothing "Klassic"  about it and it's bizarre that the one time  
47:41
I would have been fine with a nostalgia costume  of some kind, they lied and pretended it was one,   when it wasn't. Really, it just highlights how  rare a nostalgia costume is in MK that's not   based on the original trilogy because those  fans don't get serviced enough, apparently. As mentioned, we also received a separate  Halloween pack that wasn't part of the Kombat   Pack, just so we could actually have some horror  costumes in October without interfering with the   Terminator tie-in. The pack consists of  Day of the Dead Liu Kang, Wicked Witch   Jade with green skin, and Jason Voorhees  Kabal for some reason. I like the Jade one. Character five was The Joker. Ironically, he  released around the time Harley Quinn and the   Birds of Prey released, which features Harley but  not the Joker, while MK11 released Joker but had   already released the Harley costume. His moveset  isn't based on his Injustice incarnation, nor are   any of his costumes. In fact, he actually has a  pretty good selection of costumes, but without   anything based on the film he was presumably  included to tie into, not even a simple recolour   or facepaint. He is still voiced by Richard Epcar,  though, who remains a criminally underrated Joker. Joker seems like an odd choice, but this was  clearly a Heihachi in SoulCalibur situation.   The first tease for the Kombat Pack had a  chainsaw sound, and with the guest theme  
48:43
here being violent action heroes, Ash from the  Evil Dead was the obvious conclusion. And then   came the in-game notification and e-mails sent  out for the pack that outright mentioned Ash in   place of the Joker. Then, the proper trailer for  the pack dropped and we had a clearly unfinished   Joker who looked like a porn parody version (and I  mean a very specific porn parody version) because   they had to rush to make a design for another  guest after the deal fell through. And with   Netherrealm's connections to DC, one of theirs  made sense. But it had to be a character DC was   fine depicting killing and being killed, and  since Joker had a film coming out that year,   he made the most sense. And he's not too bad. His  finishers are a bit much for Joker's capabilities,   but not for his personality. And personality  is something sorely lacking in MK11,   so I'll take Joker as a substitute for Ash.  Unfortunately, this led to Ash being requested,   demanded and predicted every step of the way for  the rest of the game's content cycle. Virgin MK11   over here with Joker instead of Ash while Chad  Smash Ultimate's had both since April 2019. Alongside him came the DC costume pack, featuring  The Batman Who Laughs for Noob Saibot, which was a   brilliant choice, even if I despise that character  (and hate that the mouth is a mask and doesn't   move); Killer Croc Baraka, which works well  enough; Catwoman Kitana which barely resembles  
49:47
her and only exists because Kitana already has  skin-tight body suits; and Darkseid Geras, which   is fine. It's a shame we didn't get something  like Reverse Flash Kabal, Captain Boomerang Kano,   Green Lantern Sonya, or Booster Gold Johnny Cage.  Would be better than what they actually got. The final character of this set was Spawn from  Spawn, making him the second character to appear   in both MK and SoulCalibur. The contrast  is shocking, since the tech is now there   to render Spawn's cape and the effect is genuinely  fantastic. Combine that with Vice President Keith   Fucking David reprising the role from the  animated series and some decent costumes,   Spawn is probably the highlight of the  entire Pack and I'm not even a Spawn fan. Conversely, the accompanying costume pack  was fucking wank. Unpainted Kotal with hair;   another standard outfit for Erron Black; Jacqui  as Spawn (with a mouth so it looks weird) instead   of at least basing it on a canonical female  counterpart of Spawn; and Jacqui as Ellen Ripley,   even though Alien isn't in this game. The  highlight was definitely that one time   someone got mad about the jumpsuit having an  orange alternate that they then connected to   prison jumpsuits and got triggered because it's  on a black character. Now that was hilarious. Next came the Aftermath expansion. It came  with four new stages, three of which appear  
50:49
in the story expansion that's roughly half  the length of the main story and actually   does some cool gameplay things. It added one  Friendship per character, which are kinda shit.   They turn the characters into children doing dumb  comedy bits that don't even feature the opponent.   Some people defend it by saying  classic Friendships didn't either,   but the opponent was at least onscreen, so you  could infer the Friendship being built. Here, the   character just does their own childish thing away  from the opponent. Why couldn't Sub-Zero offer   his opponent one of his popsicles, or Mileena  invite them to her tea party? They're lazy, dumb,   and the only good thing about them is that they're  a temporary reprieve from the incessant bloodshed. The pack also added three more characters:  Fujin, Sheeva and Robocop. Fujin's fine.   It's good to see his character getting fleshed  out a bit for once and his playstyle's alright.   Just don't give him that air run ability with  an AI controlling him. Sheeva was broken for   a year until an infamous stream clip and a  tournament ban over a piss-take variation   name led to a nerf. That's what it takes to  make Netherrealm get off their arses, I guess.   Shame they never got off their arses to fix her  lower arms causing problems when Kintaro's arms   burst out of her body... Robocop's fine. They  actually got Peter Weller to provide his face   and voice for it because he's a chad.  But having all of his blood be black,  
51:52
even when it relates to his face, always looks  wrong, even if it is technically correct. Pre-ordering the expansion rewarded you with  the Eternal Klash Pack, featuring MK9 Scorpion,   Deception Sub-Zero (the singular 3D Era  costume return in the trilogy aside from   Kenshi and Quan Chi), and an attempt at  Deadly Alliance Frost, but it's just her   cosplaying MK2 Sub-Zero with high heels that  serve no purpose being here, since neither the   original costume nor her current cyber form have  them. Scorpion had human eyes initially for some   reason and despite having all of his MK9 gear and  Sub-Zero's Deception mask in the game by default,   they revealed the pack with different gear,  because Netherrealm don't know what they're   doing even when making trailers. And I'm also  told that this is not available as a separate   purchase. I think they showed up in the  in-game store once, just after release,   but that's it. You can't get some of the  best costumes in the game anymore. Good job. Three more costumes packs were released  for those who purchased Aftermath, but they   released 3-4 months later without even telling  us what they'd be until closer to the release.   We had 4th of July Erron, Barbeque Baraka and  Summer Kitana, which confirmed that someone on   the team is really into feet. I mean, look how  detailed the toes are. You never see anything  
52:53
that immaculately and lovingly-modelled.  The UMK3 lady ninja pack was second,   wasting a pack slot. And finally, another  Halloween one, featuring Teen Wolf Johnny,   Nurse D'Vorah and what I like to think is a nod  to the Winter Shogun concept for Sub-Zero. Aside   from that huge miss in the middle, not a bad set,  with Sub-Zero and Kitana being the highlights. The expansion also implemented Deus Ex: Human  Revolution's yellow piss filter. And hey, maybe I   don't need a broken in-game pop-up ad to tell me a  DLC is on sale when I already have the damn thing. Kombat Pack 2 was the last really  substantive addition to the game,   bringing the much-requested Rain, Mileena and  Rambo (I assume he was requested so he could   fight fake Arnie). Rain has some new style with  his katar and his costumes are really good. He   actually gets four distinct ones instead of two  with variants. My only problem is that random   and pointless Bohemian Rhapsody reference  in one of his finishers. Like, the other   ninjas have no affiliation with him, they don't  get involved, he doesn't draw on their power,   and the musician Rain was made as a reference to  is Prince, not Queen. If you want to shoehorn in   a pointless music reference, either find a  character it fits like Triborg or Chameleon,   or make reference to the guy the character was  made as a joke about in the first bloody place!
53:57
Rambo is fine. He has Stallone's voice and  face, but the costumes are a bit bland.   the other guests all had an MK-themed  redesign, but Rambo gets vest,   shirtless, army coat and rags, which is  mostly First Blood-focused. His intros   and outros reference other films, but there's  nothing from Last Blood, not even a costume. As for Mileena, aside from her costume  selection, I don't like her in this game.   She suddenly has invisibility and a serpent  tongue like they wanted to integrate Saurian   blood into her, and the voice they had Kari  Wahlgren go with is just too cartoonish, Kitana: "Be gone, Mileena." Mileena: "You would banish me, Sister?" when she has a much better one she  used in a Kitana mirror match intro, Kitana: "Another of Shang Tsung's clones?" Kitana: "Straight from the Flesh Pits, Sister." And after the full year of Mileena stans bitching  and moaning and replying to every Ed Boon tweet   about Mileena needing to be in the game, because  God forbid she miss out on one game after being   in the last two. I mean, God forbid we don't have  the full MK1-2 roster every fucking game instead   of letting other characters that haven't  been around since 2006 get another chance.   They even pulled this shit in response to Ed  Boon tweeting about Kobe Bryant's fucking death.  
54:59
These cunts did not deserve her. They have  tainted the Mileena fandom and they deserve   to be unhappy. Now, I'm sure Netherrealm were  always at least considering Mileena's inclusion,   hence Kitana never getting Mileena colour schemes  (though that could just be incompetence), but I   think it would have been better to change course  and leave her out. Because whether or not fanboy   backlash is the reason she made it in (that one  intro with Erron Black seems to suggest it is), Mileena: "A million souls  cried out for my return!" they now have reason to believe  their shitty behaviour will be   rewarded if they do it in future.  Can't wait for them to demand she   be in Injustice 3 and that new  IP they're working on too... And another thing about this pack was that  it didn't include any new costumes. Instead,   they just made the klassic costumes available  for Mileena and Rain, but they couldn't even put   any effort in there. I mean, even putting  aside the fact that Rain was not in MK2,   the male ninja costume has the character's  faction's logo on the flap: Sub-Zero has   the Lin Kuei, Scorpion has the Shirai  Ryu, Noob has the Brotherhood of Shadow,   and Rain has the Shirai Ryu - a faction he has  never been associated with even once! If you   get mad when I say the klassic costume packs are  lazy, then your refutation is factually incorrect.
56:00
Pre-ordering gave players Skarlet's comic costume,   Liu Kang as Johnny Silverhand (I'm debating  which of these two games has more issues) Kabal: "Gonna be that cock-" and some sci-fi armour for Noob. Not terrible,  but not impressive. And there's also Avalanche   Sub-Zero from the MK11 Ultimate Kollector's  Edition. I hate there being content you   cannot get if you don't buy at a certain  time or for an exorbitant amount of money. A week after that, a costume pack featuring  the voices and likenesses of Raiden, Johnny and   Sonya's actors from the 1995 movie were released.  None of the performances are particularly good,   since live and voice acting are different  fields, plus the actors sound off due to   the twenty-five year time difference between  when they last played the characters and now,   and the movie versions are not the  same characters as the MK11 versions.   Raiden's very dry and serious dialogue isn't  suited to the jokey Christopher Lambert version;   Andrew Bowen consistently kills it as Johnny and  the dialogue is generally more quippy than Linden   Ashby's version, but at least Bridgette Wilson  isn't as bad as Ronda, even if they really didn't   translate her face over well. It looks like it's  the wrong size and her head is a weird shape. This was the final piece of content the game  received, and it really speaks to Netherrealm  
57:01
and WB's obnoxious focus on nostalgia-pandering.  Don't get me wrong, I adore the 1995 movie,   and Lambert and Ashby are a big part of that. But  there was a new movie released during this game's   lifespan - two if you count 2021 releasing before  the announcement of the game being over - and yet   there was no content included to tie into either  of them. No 2021 costumes or actor likenesses,   no recolours with or without cell-shading  to celebrate Scorpion's Revenge. At least   a Kombat League season isn't too much  to ask, right? It's like Rambo having   nothing based on his new movie; I don't  even like those newer movies, but this   is basic brand synergy and marketing. Whoever  is in charge over there is terrible at this. And one more thing, for the love of God,  Netherrealm and WB, if you absolutely   must give influencers early access to  DLC, even earlier than the early access   the actual paying customers received  for buying the fucking Kombat Packs,   limit it to gameplay only. Don't let them upload  the endings because then everyone just knows and   people who are holding out for release to earn it  themselves are inevitably going to get spoiled,   because social media exists and spoilers are  borderline inescapable, you fucking dinosaurs!
58:01
And you know what else should have been  an easy win but was dragged down by...   incompetence, greed or both? -------------------------------------------------- #Customisation The biggest new addition   to MK11 is the customisation system. This one is  entirely different from Injustice 2's, where you'd   mix and match certain pieces that mostly looked  the same, and that you'd inevitably get rid of   later because the stats assigned to them became  insufficient in the bullshit Multiverse towers. MK11's doesn't do the stat thing, thank God. It  has you begin by selecting a costume. By default,   base roster characters have six costumes and  DLCs have four, which is a fucking lie. Only   Aftermath and Kombat Pack 2 characters have more  than two. The actual system is that you're given   two versions of the characters: Past and Present  for classic characters who are still around like   Raiden, Present and Future for characters  who only exist in the present like Cassie,   and Past and Ancient Past for those who only  exist in the past like Baraka. Each costume then   has three variants with ten colour schemes that  have to be unlocked individually. Johnny Cage,   for example, has his Present military self  and Past actor self. Present has the default,   a heavy jacket and a tank top. Past has a jacket,  topless and tank top. And each colour scheme is  
59:02
designed for the base versions, which can lead to  very samey alts, like how classic Johnny has three   sets of pants that are barely any different,  because the colour schemes were made for the   jacket version with no consideration  for how samey the topless ones will be,   and thus how unsatisfying unlocking them is. There  are occasionally small changes made to certain   details between variants, but you can't mix and  match those parts, like how topless Revenant   Liu Kang isn't allowed shoes, or how the flaps  on Sub-Zero's outfit change between variants. The game is also missing a ton of very obvious  colour schemes, which I've addressed in a   separate video already. But in brief, the obvious  black and red for Johnny, MKX black for Sonya,   or Hornbuckle green for Liu Kang, are totally  absent, despite the team having to come up with   ten different colour schemes for each costume,  so you'd think their first ideas would be things   that already existed in the past. Even though  Kombat League rewards are mostly reskins,   they didn't think to add these later either, going  for mostly garish themes that look good on maybe   two of the four characters that get them.  But that's not to say the base game doesn't   have its fair share of garish alternate  colour schemes, like half of Sub-Zero's. Gear is in a similar boat. Each character has  three gear slots where you can customise certain  
01:00:04
items and weapons. Some characters are handled  decently enough, like Scorpion with his spear,   mask and swords being selectable,  while Sub-Zero has his mask,   ice axe and these pointless items on his belt  that you'll barely even noticed during gameplay.   It's even worse for some characters, like  Jacqui's little shield grenade which is   really only seen in her Fatal Blow and a couple  of finishers, Skarlet's bottle of blood that's   seen for about a second when she produces and  throws one, or Terminator's grenades, which are   so heavily covered in effects that you can't even  see them. Some characters clearly need more slots,   like Erron Black having both guns separate, while  his hat and mask are only in set combinations. Some of these items get very samey, despite the  lack of legacy options. You'd think that the team   would have gone through every past set of cyber  arms for Jax or cyber eyes for Kano, for example,   and made sure they're all in the game before  having to come up with new ones, but only a   few such items exist, like Scorpion's MK9 and X  gear. This contributes to them being so samey,   especially with items multiple characters  share. So many sunglasses for Johnny,   Cassie and Terminator, or masks for Jade and  Skarlet look very similar, and it makes one   wonder why they didn't just have a shared  pool of these items for use by all of them.  
01:01:06
A character has sunglasses? Here are all of  them for any of the characters that use them. Icons are assigned to your variations as kind of  a shorthand to help you remember what each one is,   I guess, like giving Scorpion a spear icon  to remind yourself that the moves chosen are   spear-related, or a classic sprite for a classic  costume. It should be an inoffensive addition,   but not only do you have to unlock  them all separately, but you get white,   gold and black and red versions of each,  each unlocked separately, and it's clearly   just used to pad out the rewards pool and make  it take longer to get anything of substance. And I need to ask, why are icons even a  thing when the arguably more substantial   round end taunts can't be customised?  I'd like to be able to pick and choose   those in accordance with the theme like  I can with intro and victory animations,   but that's simply not an option. You  unlock them and you then can never turn   them off. Again, simple things that are  bafflingly not options for the player. And why is it that, even  with the content cycle over,   the number of Brutalities available  for each character is still listed as   "X out of ???" You know how many there are,  there aren't going to be any more added! Another issue is how this all relates to Story  Mode (where everything is also pre-set). First,  
01:02:07
some costumes, like the Osh-Tekk  disguises worn by the two monks,   are not available. They made the models, so  why not make them available for the player?   They even did an Osh-Tekk theme for Kombat  League, in which Liu Kang got a new skin,   but it wasn't this one. Even though someone found  the model in the game files. Second, some gear   slots have blank options, like face masks for the  ninja characters (which have to be unlocked for   each of them), while obvious things like Raiden's  hat and amulet, or Johnny's sunglasses, don't,   even though the Story Mode doesn't depict  Raiden with an amulet or Johnny with sunglasses.   Seriously, aside from his first few seconds  of screentime here, Johnny hasn't canonically   worn sunglasses in the games since Jade's  chapter in MK9, but we can't take them away. And it's not like the models aren't designed  to lose these items, since Fatal Blows,   Krushing Blows and most Fatalities remove them  anyway so you can see the pained expressions   of our intricately detailed facescans. Sure, some  finishers require the opponent's mouth to be free,   but you can plan around that. Have D'Vorah  scratch the opponent's face before she vomits   in their mouth as a way to remove any obstruction  and easily justify their mouth being open as they   scream in pain. Have Saibot push the opponent's  mask off when his hands come out of their mouth.  
01:03:08
This really is not difficult to do. And it makes  it harder to appreciate what you've actually made   with the systems because most close-ups are going  to remove your contributions. At the very least,   the items should be visibly knocked off by big  hits to sell the impact, instead of just going   poof and then coming back for no reason. Remember  back in MKX when masks were simply smashed through   by the opponent? That was so much more impactful  than the mask just disappearing between shots. The other issue is the fakeness of the system. It  alleges that each gear slot has thirty items but,   even if we ignore the sameyness of  them, it's really closer to fifteen.   Most gear items have two versions: usually  one with a set colour and one that adapts   to the skin's colour scheme, but sometimes  it's just a normal one and one with neon   lights attached that are often as garish  as the distinctions between MKX variations. Speaking of variations, this system is intended  to replace that one by having the player select   up to three extra moves that version of  the character will have. The idea is good,   as it allows the player to better create  a theme, like a sword-focused Scorpion,   or a drone-focused Cassie, but there are still  weird limitations placed on it. And I'm not even   talking about the fact that they made a game with  customisable movesets and didn't include Shujinko,  
01:04:11
Chameleon, Khameleon or Triborg even  after three sets of DLC characters. For one, you can't match the  characters to Story Mode versions,   as they can have four of these moves available,  but the player is limited to three, at best.   I say "at best" because some of the moves take  up two slots, which limits the combinations you   can have. They did something interesting with  Shang Tsung a few months after he released,   where you could equip a three slot item that  gives him all four ninja morphs at the cost   of a few base special moves. It would have been  cool to see them do this with other characters,   like an all drones option for Cassie that  removes some gun moves to make up for it.   Alas, no such thing was done. Sure, that could  have made them a little unbalanced, but it   wouldn't matter because of how these variations  work in competitive moves. Or rather, don't... Some moves are outright banned from  competitive play and are only allowed   for offline modes. This is an improvement  over what the system was for about a year,   where you could choose one customised version  of a character to use online, but had to choose   one of two pre-set movelist variations, thus  making that entire aspect of the customisation   pointless for many players for a year. Thank  God you don't have to unlock moves too... But that just speaks to Netherrealm's absolutely  fucked priorities with this game. The entire  
01:05:13
game is built around customisation.  The rewards you earn in Story Mode,   Towers of Time, Kombat League, AI Battles  and the Krypt mostly consist of skins, gear,   icons, taunts and intro and victory animations.  The other stuff you get are concept art, gold   to spend on chests in the Krypt that unlock more  customisation items, tower consumables that are   exclusively used in Towers of Time to further  your advancement towards more customisation stuff,   and Time Krystals that are used in the  rotating store to buy more customisation stuff. And let's talk about the fucking store.  The store works on a rotation system.   Every day or two, different items are put in  stock and you can spend the premium currency,   Time Krystals, to buy them for exorbitant prices.  But because of the rotation, you rarely have an   opportunity to get something you actually want,  and it's usually put in a pack with other things   you can unlock normally, which you'll want to  do to save the Krystals for shop exclusives and   Kombat League stuff you missed. Especially when a  DLC character dropped and had stuff you might want   in the store, alongside the intros and stuff  you knew you could unlock for free in Towers,   but might miss the chance for a skin you really  want that isn't obtained in character towers. And,   oh yes, exclusives, because some items are  only available in the shop. Which works on  
01:06:14
a rotation. So, once you have enough Krystals,  you might have to wait months to finally get   a chance at what you missed. Or, you could pony  up some real cash for the premium shit to get it   now. And you can't trade in gold for this stuff,  leaving most long-time players with 9,999,999+   gold and nothing to fucking spend it on. Why can't  we just have a store where you can simply buy   the items you want with the gold you've earned,  instead of relying on the rotation of the store   or Towers of Time? And all this for a system  that you can barely even make use of anyway. It's fucking sad that Tekken 5 had a better  customisation system back in 2004. At least   that let you choose three different colours for  the costume. And if you compare it to modern   games with such systems like Tekken 7 or, God  forbid, SoulCalibur VI, this is just embarrassing. At least those games don't have a tendency to  fail to save changes to your customisations   because it's all server-based, which is an  issue that has frustrated me to no end when   making this video, be it failing to update  intro animations when I want to record them,   or failing to update skin choices. And that's  not even getting into the fact that the game   has consistently failed to properly save  portraits for DLC skins since launch,   instead defaulting to a base game skin, with  the only known fix being a complete reinstall,  
01:07:18
which I don't want to do because I still remember  when the only way to get the Eternal Klash skins   to work on PS5 was to have the PS4 version  installed too, and they might have fixed that   since but I shouldn't have to risk losing  access to those skins again just to check. Maybe that's why the game is almost afraid to  let you actually use this stuff. There's the   aforementioned online issues, which were finally  resolved around eighteen months after launch.   You can't use this stuff at all in the story,  because the cutscenes are still pre-rendered.   You only get five slots per character, limiting  your ability to freely switch costumes between   matches like you could in MKX (and if you  think the game shouldn't have more slots just   because you won't use them, please jump off  a bridge, cunt). No. No mattress this time. And I'm not even going to touch the  augments that tweak certain stats   when assigned to certain gear pieces  because it's such a nothing system.   All I'll say is that the third slot every gear  piece had was locked for a year, and all XP those   gear pieces had for adding augments got reset  when they finally unlocked the third slot and   overhauled the system, because Netherrealm  have no idea what they're fucking doing. And speaking of not knowing  what they're fucking doing... -------------------------------------------------- #Story The Story Mode is unchanged from   Injustice 2, which is a shame, because seeing what  new and unique gimmick each game tries was about  
01:08:22
the only hope for change and improvement  we've seen over the course of this era,   since the gaping flaws of the structure still  remain. I have an entire video on the subject,   but I'll still discuss how those issues  affect certain story elements as they come up. I'm going to be criticising the writers a lot in  this video, because the writing is often the worst   in the franchise. But I want to make clear that  I understand that not every issue is on writers   Shawn Kittelsen and Dominic Cianciolo. Some  of this will be down to demands from Ed Boon,   WB, etc. More people than just the writers  had a hand in crafting this piss-poor tale,   so when I say "the writers", I'm being a lot more  broad than just meaning the two dedicated writers.   Whoever is responsible for that particular  thing I'm discussing is who I'm referring to.   Now that I've made that clear,  let's get into the story itself. The story opens before MKX's post-credits scene  at Raiden's Sky Temple. Raiden is torturing   Shinnok in the Jinsei Chamber. Raiden now has  red lightning, which isn't consistent with any   previous depiction of Dark Raiden, but it's fine.  It's a solid visual, if a tad silly. I like it. I'll be discussing the cast as we're introduced  to the characters, starting with the return  
01:09:22
of Richard Epcar and Troy Baker as Raiden and  Shinnok, respectively. Both are as good as they've   ever been in the series, but Epcar has stated  that this will be his final time playing Raiden,   which is a shame, because he really has been  the perfect Raiden since 2008. It's also a shame   because he is the only voice actor who has been  here for the entire trilogy, other than Jamieson   Price as the announcer. And it's even more of a  shame that he wasn't given better material to work   with for his final time playing this character  he's embodied for a little over a decade. Shinnok says that Raiden has embraced the  truth that Shinnok was cast out for speaking,   but this is never elaborated upon. I guess  its just that good is dumb and evil is rad?   He also laughs at Raiden's threats,  since Raiden can't kill an Elder God.   The wording seems to suggest that it might  be possible, despite MKX establishing that   it's not. More on this later. Raiden  repeats his line from the end of MKX: Raiden: "There are fates worse than death." suggesting that he likes the line  so much here and that he decides   to use it later when threatening the revenants. Raiden: "There are fates worse than death." He creates a blade of lightning and severs  Shinnok's head. He cannot use these blades in   gameplay, outside of Fatalities. He then puts  the still living head on a table and leaves.  
01:10:27
The reason he does this is so our new antagonist,  Kronika, can enter the scene, even though Raiden   leaving right after laying out his plan to use  Shinnok as a warning against the revenants seems   like it should come right before he does that,  but he leaves first, then comes back for the head,   then takes it there? Maybe he's just gone  to change into his MKX Dark Raiden outfit   and bring that cap for Shinnok that will let  his head roll when it's thrown on the floor.   Which the revenants will then replace with  this one, despite Raiden not bringing it... Another way to make this scene work would be  to have Raiden create his blade, cut or fade   to Shinnok's head on the ground at Liu Kang's feet  as he picks it up and places it on a table, using   this opportunity to establish his motivation for  the early game, then have him and Kitana leave, at   which point Kronika arrives there instead, making  this all more efficient and less convoluted. Anyway, Kronika walks over to Shinnok (I'm  pretty sure she never walks again after this   scene because she can levitate). She  claims that Raiden has "once again,   upset the balance of history" harkening back  to the intro of MK9. Keep this line in mind,   because I'll be referring to it later to debunk a  theory some fans use to defend the big plot twist. After the title, we move to a  Special Forces base for Chapter 1:   Next of Kin - Cassie Cage. Yes, we're still  on this awful character chapter system.  
01:11:31
Sonya enters to give a speech to the troops,  observed by Johnny. Is it intentional that   Johnny's primary colour has gone from blue  to green and Sonya's has done the opposite? Only Cassie and Jacqui are present of  the four Kombat Kids. Takeda and Jin   are completely absent and not even mentioned  in the story, nor is Kenshi. There are intros   that suggest Takeda is either on a mission  or preparing for his and Jacqui's wedding.   Jin has returned to the White Lotus, but  he's not even mentioned when the Shaolin   are revisited. He's also referred to as Lao's  nephew in intros, which is flat-out wrong.   Cassie and Jacqui have had design overhauls  with Cassie having a look that I prefer,   but I do admit that it makes her look less  distinctive than in MKX. This look could   easily have been used for a younger or rebooted  Sonya, while the other was very distinctly Cassie.   Jacqui is fine, even if her footwear looks too  soft for her new range of kick-based attacks.   I do like that the game actually makes use of  the customisation stuff here by using versions   of their outfits with less armour while they're  not on missions. I wish the system had been used   like this more often; I think the only other  instances are, like, Johnny and Liu Kang. Sonya (in all blue while everyone else  is in green) gives a speech about the   SF's history as Earth's defenders. She  claims it's been twenty-five years in  
01:12:32
the same line as she references fighting Shao  Kahn, which combines with Johnny's later line   about it being two years since MKX to suggest  that MKX's timeskip really was twenty years,   not twenty-five, which is  still really hard to believe. Johnny is the only one here with the  same voice actor from MKX, Andrew Bowen,   who continues to crush it in the role,  becoming the definitive version of Johnny   for me. Cassie has gone from Ashly Burch  to Erica Lindbeck, whom I prefer overall,   and does good work with the material,  which is less cringeworthy in the story,   but her quips in intros are generally  worse than the MKX counterpart's. Spawn: "I'm King of Hell." Cassie Cage: "And I'm Queen   Shit of Fuck Mountain." And yes, like in MKX, Johnny and Cassie are  generally very serious in the story, but non-stop   quip factories in the intros, as if they're  completely different characters. Some people   might argue the situation in the story calls for  seriousness, but that doesn't really hold water,   when they're up against the likes of Shinnok  and Shao Kahn and they just make fun of them. Jacqui has gone from Danielle Nicolet to fellow   Arrowverse actress... Megalyn  Echikunwoke? Jax, any ideas? Jax: "E-chi-kun woke." I'm not... sure that's right? Megalyn was also Vixen in Injustice 2, which is  amusing because of this intro from that game:
01:13:36
Atom: "It's like we're Jacqui and Takeda."  Vixen: "What are you talking about, Ryan?" Atom: "Play more fighting games, Mari." And then, we have Sonya. First off, her  outfit is just the one from MKX but in blue,   with black not being available at all  (probably to hide how lazy they were). Second,   and more prominently, she is now voiced, not  by Tricia Helfer (who was the best Sonya),   but instead by Ronda Rousey. Now, we don't  know the reasons so much of the cast changed   in this game. Some attribute it to the voice  acting strike that impacted Injustice 2's DLC,   or the subsequent changes that  came about because of the strike. Batman: "It's not too late to walk away." Starfire: "Your concern   is appreciated." Batman: "It's where you   go from here that matters." Jay-Z: "Jigga what?" But whatever the case may be, Ronda  Rousey was a terrible choice for Sonya.   Her delivery typically is either way too  forceful or very flat and bored-sounding,   coming off like a movie actor reprising  a role for a game on PS2 for the paycheck   and giving no fucks about the project  because they think they're above it all. Some fans dismiss criticism on the grounds  that Ronda is supposedly a huge fan of MK,   and Sonya in particular, but one would then assume  she'd be more enthusiastic about playing her and  
01:14:37
put some actual effort in; and besides, that's not  an excuse to cast someone who is a terrible actor   in her movie and WWE appearances, never mind  voice acting, which requires a different skillset. Other fans will compare this to the  Midway titles like MK4 and Deception,   where barely anybody involved was  an actor, but at least they tried.   It was campy and goofy, but this is just flat.  It's like comparing Dynasty Warriors 3's English   voice acting to Dynasty Warriors 9's. Campy  overacting beats out flat unenthused reading   the lines every fucking time. Ronda's casting was  purely done for marketing reasons, so they could   wheel her out at the reveal event, not because  she was in any way appropriate for the role. Sonya: "Any ring I step into is mine." Ronda: "Any ring I step into is mine." Ooh, yikes, I... guess it could've been worse? If we had to have Ronda Rousey be involved,  why not just make it a skin like Dimiti   Vegas? One skin that has Ronda's face  and voice in a few different colours,   and make that the pre-order bonus  instead of Shao Kahn. There's an idea. If we absolutely could not have Tricia Helfer  back, nor Dana Lyn Baron from DCU and MK9,   they should have gone with Jennifer Hale, who  is in the game anyway as Kronika. Not only is   she one of the best voice actors currently  working, and she played Sonya back in 1995,
01:15:42
MK:TJB Sonya: "Lt. Sonya Blade, Special Forces.   We got a tip a wanted man  was going to be on the ship." but her work as Commander Shepard gives you  a taste of what her modern Sonya would be, Scorpion: "My clan isn't bound to your laws." Sonya: "Are you trying to scare me, spectre?" and it's a hell of a lot more compelling that  Ronda Rousey sleepwalking through her lines,   including scenes that are the bulk of  the Cage family's drama in this game.   But more on that as we get to it. Sonya says that none of Earth's victories have  come without cost, with a nice subtle look from   Jacqui to setup her and Jax's story this time,  even if nothing actually changed for Jax during   MKX, since he'd already retired before then,  despite Sonya claiming that Jax's discharge   was recent. Did he come back full-time  for a couple years and then retire again?   She mentions Jax's wounds, but he didn't  receive any in MKX, unless we're to accept his   MKX ending where he's ambushed by Erron Black as  canonical despite it never being mentioned again. Throughout the scene, you can notice  multiple extras using the same faces,   which is jarring when they're in clear view  because the camera lingers on one shot for   too long. I do wish the game would justify Cassie  and Jacqui not wearing the basic uniforms too. I   know a lot of media does this to give characters  more distinct looks, but it's very rarely ever  
01:16:44
addressed. Sonya calls Cassie up to promote her  to Commander, if she can beat Sonya in a fight,   which is apparently an SF tradition. I feel  like this would make more sense if this was   the Outerworld Investigation Agency from the  old timeline, which was formed by Sonya and Jax,   more easily justifying such an odd tradition  where they want to make sure only the best   receive promotions in this organisation  made to deal with otherworldly threats. Once the fight starts, Cassie's new  drone enters the picture. Some fans   don't like her having a drone, and I do  think that it would fit Jacqui better,   but I don't mind it too much. My issue is  that it's never acknowledged in the story   itself. Think about how useful a drone with  a camera on the front could be on operations,   but Cassie solely utilises martial  arts and guns in the story. After the fight, cheering can be heard as Cassie  helps Sonya up, even though no one is cheering   as the camera shows the gathered troops. Or are we  to assume the four soldiers casually watching from   the opposite side during gameplay are filling the  hangar with cheers by themselves? And strangely,   even though he appears in the background during  normal gameplay and is currently standing in   roughly that same spot, suggesting that this  alignment was intentional, Johnny does not appear   in the background during Story Mode. Johnny hugs  Cassie while Sonya smiles, which is nice. What's  
01:17:48
also nice is him and Sonya actually kissing,  which feels really rare to see in games, somehow. Johnny's off to star in another Ninja Mime  sequel, which is a meme I wish they'd let   go of already. It seems like that's the  only thing that's ever brought up about   his career in the Netherrealm Era. Still,  it does confirm that he didn't quit acting   entirely for the military life, even after  getting back with Sonya. Raiden arrives,   referring to Sonya by rank, Cassie by name  and Johnny not at all, which is dickish. Raiden: "General Blade. Cassandra Cage." Cassie: "What is it, Raiden?" Raiden plans to pre-emptively strike at the  revenants, who are amassing an army of demons.   Sonya asks what the target is and then brings up a  hologram of the target herself, rather than having   Raiden do it. The plan is to destroy Shinnok's  cathedral to cripple the Netherrealm army. Sonya, Cassie and Jacqui go with as Raiden  confronts the army himself as a diversion.   He tells the Netherrealm army to withdraw, but  I'm not sure where he's supposed to expect them   to withdraw to, since this is their home  turf. It's like if I broke into your house   and told you to go home more. The demons just  casually walk closer to him and make no attempt   to actually attack him, even as his raises  the amulet and starts lasering them to death.   They could easily gang up on him en  masse, but they do nothing and just die.
01:18:51
Liu Kang and Kitana send out more forces,  giving Sonya's team an opening to get inside.   Cassie has both a rifle and a machete, which  are not used in-game. Not even through the   customsiation. Why does she have equipment  only available in gameplay or cutscenes and   not the other? I feel like there are too many  lengthy shots of the squad slowly advancing.   Like, we get it, guys, look at the lenth of this  video, let's move things along a little faster. After about ten years, they finally find a  chamber where Shinnok's head is being kept,   I think as a power supply for something. Kabal  and Jade show up. Kabal has a new mask that I   don't think fits him, and Jade's absence in MKX  is never once acknowledged, even in an intro.   We did finally learn who the mystery woman who  possessed Jade in her MK9 ending was, though:   she appears in Jade's non-canon ending here and  isn't actually identified and had to be on Twitter   by the writers and she's Jade's mum. YYYYYeah,  eight years of waiting and it's just her mum,   whom this game says gave her up to Shao Kahn and  nothing further is done with the character. No   name, no insight into her motivation for  giving up her daughter, no explanation is   offered for what made her so powerful or what  she wanted to possess Jade for, nothing. Just   shallow fanservice that was too shallow for most  people to even realise it was there. Good job.
01:19:55
The revenant aesthetic has changed a bit since  last time, swapping out the yellow glowing   parts for a more generic red. Jade tells the  troops to eliminate Raiden if he gets this far,   and it's like, yeah, obviously. But then,  maybe she saw what those outside were doing   and wanted to make sure these guys weren't  that stupid. Jade is now voiced by Mela Lee,   who has something approximating a British  accent, but I'm not really sure why,   since no other Edenians have that, not even  the royal family. She's not bad, though. I'm not sure how Cassie recognises  Kabal as a burn victim when his skin   is barely distinguishable from Jade's,  but she calls him one of Kano's goons,   and Sonya does not acknowledge that  he fought and died for Earthrealm.   More on that later. Sonya heads off to set the  C4, while Cassie and Jacqui fight the revenants. Cassie loses her gun to Kabal and he's  the second fight. Rather than David Lodge,   Kabal is now voiced by Jonathan Cahill.  He's one of the performances I've most   seen get criticised online, but  I don't think it's all that bad.   Of course, I still prefer Lodge's  deeper voice, but Cahill is still fine. After the fight, the game does that thing where  the defeated opponent vanishes between shots,   presumably to excuse Cassie not trying to kill  Kabal here to let him be used again later.  
01:20:57
And this is also where you might notice  that post-fight cutscenes are always   designed on the assumption that you  won on the left side of the screen,   making the shift back utterly jarring if you  were on the right, especially in tag chapters.   Sonya says she needs ten minutes because the  support columns are "further apart than expected",   despite the distance visually not being that  large, and the chamber itself being pretty small. Jade reports the intrusion while Cassie's  team comes under siege from another wave.   Yet another shootout ensues and you kinda  get sick of the constant focus on the SF in   this fighting game. Another group attacks from  behind and Jacqui beats them all one-at-a-time,   which makes these demons seem even dumber than  the ones fighting Raiden, since you could maybe   argue they're being cautious around a  literal god, but this is just Jacqui Briggs. Liu Kang and Kitana enter the fray and Cassie  fights Kitana, who sports a Shao Kahn-esque mask,   possibly intended to be his actual mask,  despite what we'll see of his design later.   I have to question why Kitana would  ever wear a mask reminiscent of the man   responsible for the deaths of her parents,  but I'll save that for later and discuss   the other issue with this mask. This is  our first example of something that exists   in the game for the story or other modes,  but we cannot have ourselves. The mask  
01:22:00
is available in its forehead position, but  actually covering her face is not an option. Kitana is now voiced by Kari Wahlgren and I can't  fairly compare her and Karen Strassman's takes,   since Wahlgren is my favourite voice  actress, so I'm biased towards her.   But I think, at the very least, I can  say that the softer-spoken human version   is better with Wahlgren, while Strassman's  take on the bitchy Outworlder/revenant   version is superior. Strassman's Mileena is  the better of the two, unquestionably though. Jacqui goes down to Liu Kang, who  then causes a cave-in around Sonya,   then fights Cassie. She refers  to him as the "Chosen One",   which is a term that comes up a lot in this  game to refer to him and I cannot stand   it. Maybe it's supposed to mean that Raiden  chose him after he proved himself the best,   but it carries destiny vibes that always take  away from the character's accomplishments, because   they were destined to be victorious, rather  than earning that victory all by themselves. He's voiced by Matthew Yang King, replacing  Tom Choi from the last three games.   I'm not sure which one I prefer overall, but  the difference is that King's take has more   of a Chinese accent and feels more reserved than  Choi's often more emotional take. It's debatable   which one fits the character more, but I think  Choi was the better revenant, if nothing else.  
01:23:02
Cassie decides he's a lost cause and fights  him, ending the fight with a very generic Cassie: "Fuck. You." This next scene is frustrating. Sonya is buried  and there's no way out. She orders Cassie to   leave so she can detonate the explosives,  which Cassie is eventually forced to accept.   Lindbeck and Rousey both do their best work here,  which in the latter's case is really not much,   but it's... fine. She actually has some  emotion in there now. The writing is good,   the facial capture is superb, the music adds to  the emotion of the scene and Lindbeck kills it. Cassie's team retreats and somehow make it through  the mass of demons to reach Raiden, who teleports   them all back to base as the temple collapses. But  yeah, the first woman of Mortal Kombat is dead. In   the opening chapter. Solely to motivate another  character after this. So much for that whole Jax: "Get woke." thing, eh? Raiden: "Your mother died a warrior's  death. May we all be so fortunate." This line seems too dispassionate of Raiden. He's  corrupted into caring too much about Earthrealm,   to the exclusion of everyone and everything else;   not into not caring about the  people of Earthrealm. And this is   basically the closest to an evil act this  corrupted Raiden does in the entire game.
01:24:04
Johnny arrives on the scene and the phenomenal  aspects of the prior scene continue as he hugs   Cassie. This could all have been spectacular  if not for the weird writing of Raiden and the   sub-par delivery of Rousey. I mean, this scene  is the death of Sonya Blade - the version we've   been following for two prior games, and  a death she will not be coming back from,   so we really needed someone who could carry the  emotion, which Rousey just is not capable of. Back in the Netherrealm,   Kronika appears and restored the spire.  There's a lot to be said for this scene. First, it's frustrating to have all the  achievements of the chapter be immediately undone. Second, it's even more pointless, since the spire  will not appear again in the base game's story,   only in Aftermath, so this scene only exists so  Kronika can prove her power to the revenants. Third, Shinnok's head will also not appear again,   despite Kronika taking action now being  in direct response to Shinnok's fate. Fourth, the opportunity to bring  back Sonya through this and do   something interesting with her is passed up on. And finally, are we to assume that  Kabal and Jade died inside the spire   as it collapsed and are restored here? They  don't appear in the scene otherwise, so... Honestly, if they'd kept the spire  destroyed, that could have justified   any revenant absence, by claiming they died  in the collapse, rather than suggesting they  
01:25:07
were killed by Raiden in intros that  are then contradicted by Aftermath. Nightwolf: Raiden destroyed my revenant? Sub-Zero: He took no prisoners in the   Netherrealm war. Kronika takes the two revenants to her Hourglass,   where she claims that her attempts to keep the  realms balanced have been tainted by Raiden,   which I'll be using in the previously mentioned  debunking of the fan theory. Strangely,   Liu Kang says that the past is the past and  questions how Raiden's actions could be undone,   despite him knowing about the visions from MK9,  so he already knows that time can be altered. Liu Kang: "More visions, Raiden?  Do you still see the future?" Kronika plans to rewind time to the dawn of  time and restart everything. She wins the   two over by saying her new timeline won't  include Raiden. And that's it. She doesn't   appeal to anything specific to them, like saving  Edenia or stopping Shao Kahn's rise to power,   or anything like that. Just that there's  no Raiden, because the revenants have no   personality in this game and are just  generically evil enforcers for Kronika. We then cut to the Koliseum in Outworld,  where Kotal is about to execute one of our   other newcomers, Kollector. Kollector is a tribute  gatherer for Shao Kahn, basically an evil taxman,   and he does very little of note in the story,  making one wonder why they even bothered to  
01:26:11
introduce him in this game, instead of waiting  for the next one. Erron Black is also present,   but he'll only be making cameos in background  shots and having no dialogue until Aftermath.   It would be so easy to add Ermac and Reptile  alongside him, but they're completely absent and   it's never addressed. Ferra and Torr at least come  up in an intro as being dead by D'Vorah's hand. The Osh-Tekk have a totally new look now, sporting  body paint to better resemble Kotal, which I like,   but the lack of any models featuring the  masks from MKX is weird. Retroactively,   it feels like the MKX ones were a holdover from  Shao Kahn's regime, who have now been replaced   or have swapped over to a style more in-line with  Kotal. Speaking of, Kotal's body paint actually   looks like body paint now, with patches of  untouched skin to better sell the idea than MKX,   where he looked like his skin had actually  turned green. And the paint is more blue now,   like in the comic. It helps him be more of his  own character than just a poor man's Ancient Ogre. We now enter Chapter 2: Timequake - Kotal Kahn.  Kotal, luckily, is still voiced by Phil LaMarr,   who continues to do good work with the material  he's given. I appreciate that the chin guard on   Kotal's helmet is split into parts so it can  move more realistically than the stretchy  
01:27:12
rubber armour most game characters  wear. But for me, I feel like Kotal,   for all the spectacle he's making out of  this execution, really should be speaking   so that the crowd can hear, not just at a  volume where Kollector can hear, you know? Kotal: "Your master is dead. So is his law." This is when the titular timequake begins. We jump   back and forth between the Koliseum and  the SF med bay, where Cassie is in a bed,   despite not having received any injuries last  chapter. Kronika uses the sands of time to pull   past incarnations of characters from the time of  the Outworld tournament into the present. Johnny,   Sonya and Jax arrive at the base. Cassie  seems more focused on Johnny than Sonya,   strangely. But they have little time to comment  on it as Raiden soon turns to sand and is gone.   This gets a limp justification later, but for  now, let's talk about the waste of Dark Raiden. MKX featured the reveal of Raiden's corruption in  its post-credits scene. This sets up the concept   as a significant component of the follow-up story,  but we see here that he's gone before the first   fight of Chapter 2. Despite this, however, you  couldn't get away from marketing that featured   Dark Raiden over his upcoming past incarnation.  The game was announced with a trailer featuring  
01:28:14
Dark Raiden prominently, game magazines had  exclusive art of Dark Raiden looking like   he's gonna square off with Kronika, and he's  the default version in the game, seen on the   character selection screen and the first version  the player is given for customisation. That last   point applies to a lot of characters in the game,  as it's the past versions we'll be following for   the bulk of the narrative. Johnny, Jax, Scorpion,  Liu Kang and Kano are the only characters with   both versions being prominent in the story. For  most, the present version is a generic villain who   only shows up to job to the heroes, a character  who dies early on, or a background extra. The reason is that the default versions  are supposed to be the present versions,   as a rule. It's a fucking dumb rule because  these aren't the most prominent versions of   them in the story. But then, I suppose it's  consistent with the dumb way MKX did things,   as Scorpion and Sub-Zero once again do not  wear these default outfits in the story,   with Scorpion being undead in his default but  human in the story, and MKX had the older human   forms of Kitana and the two monks that weren't  even canon, while this game also uses what are   essentially alternate versions of the characters  from their actually Story Mode defaults. This is all yet another example of both  Netherrealm's overreliance on 2D Era nostalgia  
01:29:15
(particularly MK2), and their refusal to let the  story move forward and have actual consequences.   Sub-Zero's revenant transformation in MK9 was  dropped after a chapter in MKX (and his cyber   transformation was dropped even before  then), and now the consequences of the   massacre are entirely undone because we've now  got younger versions of the cast to replace them,   negating the "it can no longer be undone"  plot point from MKX. Those versions of the   characters that we've followed for the past  two games are largely abandoned and left to   their fate because we have classic versions to  replace them. It's like a more extreme version   of Earth-3 Oliver Queen replacing his dead Regime  counterpart as Dinah's husband and as Green Arrow. Netherrealm has a serious commitment problem,  because any time they set up something new   in this "new" timeline, they just  undo it first chance they get for,   I can only assume, fear of alienating  the 2D Era fanboys who'll piss and   moan if they don't get the full  MK1 and 2 roster in every game,   exactly as they were back in those games. This  kind of thinking is holding the series back.   While I may disagree with a lot of the new ideas  in Netherrealm's games, they are, in fact, new. Kombat Kids? Eh, not too hot on Jacqui and Cassie,  but the group could have become a core component  
01:30:17
of the franchise if they didn't drop half of  them in the vey next game and sideline the ones   they did keep to focus on the previous generation  again. For as bad as Tekken's story has gotten, it   at least kept Jin as a prominent character in the  story up to Tekken 6. They didn't demote him from   the central conflict just because they brought  Kazuya back in 4. This series seriously needs some   new direction, someone willing to try new things  and not just fall back on MK2 nostalgia again. So, we cut back to Outworld, where Kollector frees  himself in the confusion just as the characters   from the past arrive. Despite them being pulled  from, as we'll later learn, right after Kung Lao   defeated the Deadly Alliance, the roster here is  suspect. Half the characters present in MK9 are   absent, while Erron Black is present. And with his  new backstory, Erron being here makes no sense.   I won't even get into how Liu Kang and Baraka  are the only ones here whose designs are in   any way similar to their MK9 looks, but I  will discuss some the new designs as we go. Johnny's absence from this scene will cause  some eyebrows to be raised, seeing how he was   here with Raiden and Smoke at the time, not with  the SF. Same with Jax being already fitted with   his metal arms, despite how soon after the Ermac  encounter he's presumably from. Dominic stated on  
01:31:18
Twitter that the characters aren't all from the  same point in time, but there is nothing in the   game itself to suggest this is the case, and I'm  hesitant to accept the inconsistency as proof,   because Erron Black is here, so I'm inclined  to assume that he was just covering for a   continuity error, which is par for the course  with this game's slipshod writing, sadly. After all, why Kronika brought these  heroes into the present is never addressed,   nor even questioned, by the cast  or the fanboys. If it was just an   accident when she tried to bring the villains  through, that makes her look like a screw-up,   and it raises the question of why other  characters present at the time - Smoke,   Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, Reptile, Ermac,  Mileena and Motaro - were not brought   through as well. But this is just the tip of  the "Kronika is a dumb piece of shit" iceberg. So, everyone is confused by what's happening and  the soundscape and Kotal's movements do a good job   of selling this confusion. Raiden is quick to pick  up on time shenanigans, likely because of his own   then-ongoing interference with time. Kotal  confirms that Skarlet died between the comic   and now, though we never learn how.  He's happy to learn that Jade is back,   right before Kahn comedically shoves her  aside to an actually comedic music sting.   He threatens Kotal and the crowd cheers. It's not  clear if half the audience was brought with them,  
01:32:24
or if these are contemporary people who  would rather see Shao Kahn take the throne   back from Kotal. The game never suggests  that anyone outside of the fighters and   the tarkatans are brought through time,  though, so we're probably supposed to   assume it's the latter? As the two Kahns  clash, let's talk about Shao Kahn here. First off, the new design is trash. It looks  absolutely nothing like his MK9 or MK2 looks,   the leather additions really don't  suit him, and the weird draconic   elements are never explained. Some  fans speculate that- Shut the fuck up,   it's pure conjecture. No attempt  is made by the game to explain it,   which is a serious problem when this is supposed  to be the very same Shao Kahn we saw back in MK9. I also do not like his new voice. Rather  than Bob Carter, he is voiced by Ike Amadi,   who was Atrocitus in Injustice 2 and went on to  play Jax in Scorpion's Revenge. He works fine in   those roles, proving that he can do a good job,  but his Atrocitus voice does not suit Shao Kahn.   It works for a being powered by his rage,  but this voice sounds too much like Kahn is   projecting a threatening tone. I'm sure you could  find another character this voice could fit in MK,   but for the series' staple antagonist whom we  always come back to because it's what the fanboys  
01:33:27
crave, he needs a voice I can take seriously.  Still, he's hardly the worst in that regard... Kahn just swings his hammer around like the dumb  brute he is now, while Raiden claims he's heard   Kotal is a man of honour. More on this at the  end of the chapter. With Raiden and Liu Kang's   interference, Baraka makes his way over to Kotal,  sporting his classic metal blades, even though the   game otherwise defaults him to bone blades for  no reason. How does he even produce a spark be   scraping those together? Kotal suggests that the  tarkatans are all dead. Again, more on this later. Baraka is now voiced by Steve Blum,  whose voice initially sounded too   much like his Reptile voice, but  they fixed it for the final game. Reptile: "Disgusting Earthrealmer."  Pre-Release Baraka: "Then why  don't you flee, Earthrealmer?"  Final Game Baraka: "Then why  don't you flee, Earthrealmer?" As Kotal fights his way over to Jade,  he is taken below the arena by Skarlet.   One thing you may notice is that she, unlike  human Kitana and Jade, is wearing her mask.   For whatever reason, only the villains  consistently wear masks in this story,   not the heroes. And actually,  this also applies for MKX,   where Scorpion and Sub-Zero stopped wearing them  after turning good. It's dumb and arbitrary.
01:34:28
The dialogue reveals Skarlet's retconned  backstory; rather than a Flesh Pits creation,   she was an orphan taken in by Kahn, no  matter how out-of-character that is for   him. I'll be covering this retcon  more in another video, but I have   to stress that this retcon is absolutely an  intentional change and not a simple mistake,   because she has one game and one comic to draw  from, not three decades worth of storylines.   They just randomly decided to change her  backstory, and absolutely nothing is gained   from the change. Other than this and one or two  other mentions later, Skarlet's role in this   game would not change an ounce if they'd kept  the old backstory, making one wonder what the   fucking point of changing it was. Same goes for  Skarlet claiming to be a master of blood magic,   when her wanting to learn it was the entire  reason she was working with Havik in the   comic. I wouldn't mind as much, if one of this  game's writers hadn't written the comic too. Skarlet is voiced by Beata Poźniak, a  Polish-American actress who actually won a Voice   Arts Award for her performance as Skarlet and, for  the life of me, I cannot tell you why. Aside from   the accent she made up for the role, there really  isn't anything noteworthy about this performance.   There are much better performances  with the likes of Raiden and Scorpion,  
01:35:31
so I do not know why Skarlet was the  one picked out and given an award for a   fairly pedestrian performance that often feels  dragged down by having to include this accent. Skarlet: "I didn't know this was possible."  Skarlet: "Shao Kahn's been hiding secrets." Skarlet: "He will teach us everything." Moreso in Story Mode, because she tends to  drag her lines out more there, for some reason. Skarlet: "Better to thrive in Shao  Kahn's court than starve in the street." Skarlet: "We should commingle our blood  magic. Why waste yourself on that Edenian?" Interestingly, Skarlet also saw changes made to  her design after the initial reveal. Back then,   she had short black hair, which survived for  a few alternate, but most of her costumes   stick to the long red hair she's known for.  Maybe they changed it because she looked more   like Mira from Killer Instinct than she did  Skarlet. They didn't fix it in ending art,   but let's ignore that. She's another character who  doesn't sport her default costume in the story,   probably because it sucks  and doesn't suit her at all,   given how she absorbs blood through her skin,  making an outfit that covers her up a bad idea.   Of course, that power probably got axed  along with the old backstory, so...
01:36:34
Jade arrives on the scene and she and Kotal  kiss, because they were apparently a couple   before her death. Yes, all throughout  MK9, Jade and Kotal were and item,   which is why they never mentioned each other  before now and why Kotal never got involved   with the Netherrealm conflict to save her. And  he will never meet her revenant. Needless to say,   fans generally did not take to this  revelation well, because it comes out   of nowhere and only exists because Shawn  Kittelsen likes writing romance stuff.   I've addressed the rampant shipping mentality  in this game's writing in another video. Kotal explains his absence from MK9 by saying  Kahn betrayed him and imprisoned him in the Flesh   Pits to be experimented on by Shang Tsung.  Why Kahn would betray such a powerful general,   the one he originally tasked with assassinating  Reptile but then let him live when Kotal asked   for his services... in the invasion  of Earthrealm... When exactly was   he imprisoned? It can't have been long if the  invasion was right after that comic flashback. Erron Black enters and Jade just leaves to help  the others, instead of helping Kotal who just   now declared he wouldn't lose her again.  Erron is once more voiced by Troy Baker,   but now with a lighter tone and a thick  Southern drawl, because the entire industry   just collectively decided at some point that  Joel from The Last of Us was Baker's best role  
01:37:37
and so he should emulate it in every other role,  but only for established characters who don't   already sound like that. Erron here is basically  an entirely different character, between his more   chaotic and flirtatious personality, and his  new backstory. Rather than an actual cowboy   from the Old West who was hired as an assassin by  Shang Tsung in exchange for freedom from ageing,   Erron is just some arsehole from Texas  who joined Kano on an Outworld adventure.   Despite it being made clear in MKX and the comic  that Erron was never part of the Black Dragon. Kano: "Y'could join the Black Dragon..." Erron: "I can barely stand one of you." While this retcon removes basically  everything interesting about Erron   from MKX, it does at least serve a narrative  purpose, as Kotal will be on the good side,   meaning so is Present Erron, while his past self  is a villain who hangs out with Kano. Granted,   we already have another Black Dragon in the game,  and if Past Erron was originally in Shang Tsung's   employ, there's absolutely no reason not  to have him just be part of Kahn's faction.   Or leave him out and give us Past and  Present Skarlet. That works as well. Kotal heads back up in time to witness Kahn  smacking Jade aside while no one tries to help   her. Weren't Raiden and Liu Kang just fighting  him? Why did they stop? And where the hell is  
01:38:38
Kitana throughout all this? Kotal claims Outworld  rejected Kahn's pointless wars, while the crowd   cheer for this pointless fight that features  Shao Kahn generally beating up everyone. After the fight, D'Vorah arrives in swarm form  to break up the battle, which Skarlet and Erron   just rejoined offscreen at some point, making the  prior fights with them entirely pointless. Then,   D'Vorah appears through a sand portal, even though  the bugs clearly suggest she was already here?   Why not just have her form from bugs  and make the portal open after that? D'Vorah: "Shao Kahn! To me!" To "This One," actually. Kahn's group all flee,  including the now fully clothed Kollector,   but the portal closes as D'Vorah disappears,  which looks weird. The animators should have   given it another second before closing it. I do  like her more angular head now. Looks more unique   than the smooth head she had last time. But of  course, there's no story explanation for it. Kotal talks with Raiden and claims that Earthrealm  and Outworld worked together to beat Shinnok,   and acts like Raiden's corruption is  what caused unease between their realms,   not the fact that Kotal fucking betrayed  Earthrealm to join Shinnok in Chapter 11.   I know this isn't an attempt at a retcon because  Scorpion calls him out for it in an intro for  
01:39:40
trying to kill Takeda. That's just about the only  acknowledgement of Kotal's betrayal. The Story   Mode will continue to act like Kotal is some  just ruler, rather than criticise his blatant   hypocrisy and underhandedness, until it brings  a different point all together against him. We   really needed at least a line where Johnny or  Cassie tells Raiden what happened and he says   that their best option is to put that in the past  for now and work with Kotal and his resources. Liu Kang says goodbye to Kitana before he,  Raiden and Kung Lao head to Earthrealm. The   presentation of his relationship with Kitana is  of being close enough for her to hug him goodbye,   even though their only interactions up to  now are him pretending her assassination   attempt never happened, a nod and smile,  and his attempt to free her from her chains.   That's it. But for some reason, this game is  resuming from their invasion-era relationship.   For some reason, Kitana's voice has a  mask filter, despite her not wearing one. Kitana: "I can't leave while  Shao Kahn threatens Outworld." The game is normally really good at having  a distinct effect for masks and not having   one for an exposed face, even for  different kinds of masks at times, No Mask: "I still grieve my wife and son."  Cloth Mask: "I still grieve my wife and son." Metal Mask: "I still grieve my wife and son."
01:40:43
Except Rain... Rain: "Taven and Daegon must die." Rain: "But won't that   unleash Armageddon?" Rain: "Go! Galactic!" And it would be easier to fix if the cutscenes  weren't pre-rendered. I'm also not sure why Liu   Kang wears his gauntlets with the thick leather  on the inside and the laces on the outside.   What if they got cut while he was  blocking and the gauntlets came off? In a Kytinn hive, Kollector fills Kahn  in on the last thirty years. Kahn is,   for some reason, incensed to learn of Mileena's  execution, despite having never been portrayed as   caring about her as a daughter before. She's never  been shown as anything more than a tool for him. Kronika enters the scene with her enforcer Geras  and a mysterious woman in a hood who is very   obviously Frost. I've no idea why she's wearing  this robe, other than to hide the reveal from   the player. It always pulls me out of a story  when a character's disguise is to hide their   identity from the audience and not the characters.  Kronika claims to have stopped time, but in what   way her actions have stopped time is unclear.  Maybe no one will age? I dunno. She also claims   to have merged past and present, which doesn't  really make sense with how the past versions   will be shown to affect the present versions  later. Nor does her motive for the merger,  
01:41:43
but I'll save that discussion for later. For  now, I'll just say that the merger is not an   actual merger, because only people and a statue  come from the past. The world state otherwise   is still the present and little of the past  is represented in the grand scheme of things.   Supposedly, the plot was conceived as including  a future version of the setting as well, which   may explain Cassie and Jacqui's other costumes,  but it was axed due to being too complicated.   Imagine how few fights anyone would win  if there were three versions of them all. Back at the base, Johnny's trying to figure  things out while being annoyed by his past self.   Raiden and Cassie enter, costing us a potentially  interesting scene where the present characters   see the uncorrupted Raiden and the monks  and learn about Kahn's return. This could   be where the Kotal discussion happens. I  guess it's up to me to write that then... Johnny: "Right?" Raiden explains that, as an immortal, he  exists outside the normal laws of time,   which will seemingly be disproven later. But if  that's the case, then why is there no evidence   that this affects the Elder Gods in the same  way? As far as we know, when Raiden talks   with the Elder Gods later, they're the present  versions. And this raises the subsequent question:   why doesn't Kronika pull Shinnok's past self  into the present, erasing his present self,  
01:42:44
the same way Raiden is? That's kind of a  massive fucking plothole in this narrative. The real reason is probably that someone high  up just really doesn't like Dark Raiden and   should have vetoed his inclusion in MKX, like  how DC should have vetoed Batwoman proposing to   her girlfriend that time, instead of approving  it and changing their mind like a week later. It's weird that Cassie's just over here talking  casually with Raiden and still not acknowledging   that her mother, who just died a few hours  ago, is now back. This next bit is timed   weird. Sonya and Jax look over at Past Johnny,  we cut back to them for Jax to have one line,   and then the two Johnny's just walk past with  Past Johnny mid-conversation, trying to get his   future self to star in a movie with him. It's  really abrupt. Instead of checking his nails,   he should have been already talking with his other  self to make the scene progress more smoothly. Speaking of Sonya, she's the only Earthrealmer  whose look does not change, aside from clothes,   between the two time periods. Her face was tweaked  after fan complains after the reveal event,   so I wonder if they scrapped her second  look while they were reworking her face.   Or if perhaps the reveal event was  her older self and her younger self   always looked like this. Either way, it's weird  that her age has doubled and she's not aged a day.  
01:43:48
Then again, Kerri Ann Hoskins hasn't aged  in thirty years, so I guess it's accurate. Jacqui leads the monks in and Liu Kang is  now wearing this weird jacket and shirt   combo that looks more fitting for  Captain Jack Sparrow than Liu Kang.   No idea where he got it from, and he's sadly  going to wear it for the rest of the game.   Raiden says he's been having visions for months,  which would suggest that the attack on the   Wu Shi Academy and the start of the Outworld  tournament were secretly months apart. Doubt. He leaves to confer with the Elder Gods and  Sonya approaches Cassie. Cassie struggles her   way through telling Sonya about her future  self's death - great performance and just   as good facial capture (for Cassie,  anyway). The score's pretty good too. Cassie: "This morning, we were on a mission.  And... And you gave your life to save it." But then Sonya, whose face looks oddly  rubbery and stiff compared to Cassie's,   has this reaction to her own death: Sonya: "Sonuvabitch. Seriously?" This time, it's not just the awful delivery by  Rousey. It's such an inhuman thing to say. It   would have been better if she's  just sat down and said nothing. Before the moment can be ruined further,  Jacqui calls Cassie over to tell her about  
01:44:49
a Netherrealm incursion at the Shaolin temple.  Liu Kang explains that the subterranean Dragon   Grotto has the Jinsei running through it in  its water. Strange, then, that this never came   up in MKX. No reason Shinnok couldn't have  gone there instead of Raiden's Sky Temple. The expressions of the two monks just as they're  about to be told of their fates are great.   And this leads us into Chapter 3: Shaolin  Monks - Liu Kang & Kung Lao. There is a   brief conflict where Kung Lao is unsure about  trusting Raiden while Liu Kang has total faith,   despite them being pulled from after  his faith in Raiden started to fail. Rather than Will Yun Lee, Kung Lao is  now voiced by Sunil Malhotra. He's fine.   It's hard to get attached to any of Lao's  three voices in this trilogy without bias   from their other roles like Wei Shen  or Jun from Halo. I really don't know   why it's so difficult for them to  have some consistency in the cast. They spot a monk murdered on the steps and very  slowly walk their way up, which is a recurring   problem in these cutscenes, where the characters  very slowly walk over to something or somewhere,   like during the Netherrealm mission, and you have  to keep in mind that we have a video game to play,   so it would be nice if these scenes could get  to the damn point already. But yeah, we have a   second massacre of the Shaolin, which is maybe  a couple days since the last one for these two.  
01:45:53
And no, this massacre does not come up again,  and in fact, we see a bunch more Shaolin later,   so I'm not sure what the point was, other than  possibly as another nostalgic reference to MK2. Also no, despite how obvious it would be, Kung  Jin does not appear here, nor even get mentioned.   Remember when I said they couldn't possibly fuck  up by not giving us an encounter between Jin and   Lao in an earlier video? I should probably stop  giving Netherrealm the benefit of the doubt.   This game has two Kung Laos, each with  a different dynamic with Jin, and we get   nothing. Jin might as well have not even been  a fucking Kung, for all it mattered in the end. After a weird bit where Lao is painted  as a slacker who skipped classes (making   his misgivings about not being chosen for the  tournament even more petty), they get through   the first trap and encounter Scorpion, who  throws his spear right in front of them, rather   than right at them while they're standing still.  Naturally, he's working for Kronika, who offered   to restore his family and clan. You choose your  character and the other goes to stop the traps. Rather than Patrick Seitz, voice of Scorpion from  DCU up to Scorpion's Revenge the year after this,   Scorpion is now played by Ron Yuan, who apparently  played Scorpion in the unreleased third season of   MK Legacy, MK Generations. He works well as  the wise Grandmaster Hasashi, but not so much  
01:46:56
as the revenge-fuelled Scorpion. He just lacks  the intensity that Seitz brought to the role. The issue is that Seitz did not know he'd  been replaced until the game was announced.   "You know, he's only been playing  the character for a decade and   has probably already recorded some  work for the upcoming animated film,   but Kojima replaced David Hayter as Snake after a  decade and a half, so it's fine if we do it too."   And he wasn't the only one they screwed over like  this. Needless to say, this is pretty fucked up. Strangely, when this scene was featured  in the reveal event's story trailer,   Scorpion's mask was black, but  they fixed it in the finally game.   I honestly have no idea how something like that  makes it into anything shown to the public.   I mean, it's not like Scorpion's mask has been  consistently yellow since 1992 or anything. Anyway, the room fills with poison gas  and Scorpion teleports out in what a lot   of people call a dab, but it looks more like  a tokusatsu pose. The monks are trapped in a   cage for a few seconds before it and the gas  are removed, so Jade and Scorpion can enter.   Genuinely no reason to include this bit, because  it makes Jade and Scorpion looks fucking stupid. Jade says their plan requires the two to live,  but it really doesn't. We later learn that harm   inflicted on the past versions affect the present  versions, but the present versions are already  
01:47:59
dead. So, would anything really change by killing  them? As long as you have someone turn them into   revenants in the Netherrealm soon after, it's not  a big deal. And this also raises the question of,   if Lao was removed from shortly before his  death, surely him not being dead yet should   rewrite his revenant's history and make him human  again, right? Revenant Lao will even acknowledge   Past Lao's life being saved by Kronika's actions  later in this chapter, and an acknowledgement of   this fact could have helped to set up Cassie and  Jacqui's fears about their own existence later on.   The time travel rules in this game are some  of the most inconsistent and poorly-defined   I've ever seen. It's like Looper. They  even copy a bit from Looper in Aftermath. And before we move on, I need to address  something I've seen a few people say,   but the past characters aren't from the original  timeline. Some people genuinely thought that,   and I feel the need to say that the game  is quite clear they aren't, as again,   things that affect the past versions also  affect the present versions, but not the   other way around. If they were from different  timelines, that wouldn't make any sense at all. Liu Kang asks Jade what happened to her, even  though you'd think Cassie would have told them   about all the revenants earlier. Scorpion is still  referred to as a revenant in this game instead of  
01:49:00
a spectre, which is ludicrous when you have him  and Jade stand side-by-side and have all these   very clear differences between them. Meanwhile,  Jacqui calls Noob a revenant in an intro and he   insists he's a wraith. That gets to stay correct,  but the face of the franchise doesn't. Okay, guys. You pick your fighter and the other fights  Scorpion. If you, as I imagine most players would,   change character from last time, then the other  character has an offscreen rematch with Scorpion.   Since we're not fighting him ourselves  here, this really could have been anyone,   like Kitana, but I don't think Liu Kang  ever has anything to say about her revenant. If he fights Jade, Lao says he likes the  "real" her better, despite having never   interacted with her. And then the fighter goes  to help the other against Scorpion, which is the   only time something like this happens, but  I don't see why they should need the help. As they enter the Dragon Grotto, we cut to  Raiden, just now arriving before the Elder Gods.   Strangely, nobody in the scene acknowledges  outright that Raiden is from another time.   It's here that we get our first introduction to  Cetrion, the series' second playable Elder God.   This place and the manner in  which the Elder Gods appear   before Raiden, and their weird speaking in  unison thing are totally inconsistent with  
01:50:01
how MK9 portrayed them, of course. They claim  that they will be erased with everything else,   which raises the question of why they won't  step in to help. Raiden addresses Cetrion   specifically, despite all of them speaking to  him. They send Raiden to find Kronika's Keep to   claim the Hourglass, which will make far less  sense later on. And it's strange that this is   the first time Raiden hears Kronika's name in the  story, but he has no significant reaction to it.   Cetrion speaks as if Raiden already knows Kronika  is involved. And given what we later learn about   Cetrion's involvement, one has to wonder how  much the other Elder Gods know about all this. The Elder Gods assure Raiden that  his destiny is his own and he isn't   guaranteed to become Dark Raiden, which is  set up as if Raiden fears becoming that,   even though we barely saw him do anything  to justify him being so hung up on it.   Raiden's only heard about it from Cassie and  we've only seen him being a bit out-of-touch.   This would be more justifiable and interesting if  both Raidens were around and clashed over their   approaches to protecting Earthrealm. But no, why  would we have Dark Raiden as a prominent part of   this narrative that's supposed to highlight  how much things have changed since MK9? The monks find Geras taking something from a  very high-tech device that feels at odds with  
01:51:03
everything else the Shaolin have been portrayed  to have access to. The revenant versions of the   monks arrive. They insist that Raiden is  responsible for their fates, with Liu Kang   claiming Raiden wanted the glory of defeating  Kahn (he was actually planning to let him win),   but the human versions just don't see it as  Raiden's fault. This is the most interesting   fight choice in the story, as you choose  which character's mirror match to play out,   skipping the other fight entirely. Not  sure why we needed to fight Jade again   instead of letting us fight both monks  and decide if it's mirror matches or not. This time, the other character just wins their  fight, proving definitively that the revenants   are weaker than their human counterparts, making  them impossible to take seriously. And considering   that this mission will end in failure and the  revenants aren't trying to kill them, I see no   reason not to have us end the chapter by playing  as the revenants to set them up as a threat. They confront Geras and Kung  Lao immediately decapitates him,   but characters are only allowed to  be pragmatic and attempt to avoid   fights when it's fruitless. Geras, despite  his intimidating voice by Dave Mitchell Geras: Are we the baddies?" No, not that Dave Mitchel, Dave B Mitchell. Despite his intimidating voice  and his supposed unkillability,   Geras is really overhyped by the game. He claims  to be a fixed point in time, becoming stronger  
01:52:05
with each death. Despite this claim, he will  never win a fight, of course, and jobs harder than   fucking Kano. He actually loses more fights than  anyone else in the game, if we count Aftermath. For some reason, he can no sell their punches, but  one hit from some nunchucks staggers him enough   to drop his ill-gotten gains. Liu Kang fighting  him leads to Geras saying that Kronika has a keen   interest in him, which is setup for possibly  the worst twist in the history of fiction.   Also, the other character goes for  the viabels Geras was stealing,   but Liu Kang will have them in the cutscene  afterwards, regardless of who goes. Geras then freezes the two in time, which is a  power he will never employ again. Nor does he use   this opportunity to capture them. Instead, he just  take the vials and gives them to Kronika when she   arrives. Kronika's excuse for not killing them is  that their revenants will be wiped which, again,   makes no real sense. No excuse is  given for not capturing them, though. Back at her Keep, Kronika meets with Shao Kahn,  Kitana and Sektor. Kahn has nothing to say about   what appears to be his mask, or one styled after  his at least, maybe taunting Kitana about becoming   like him after her betrayal. And that Kitana has  no problem working with, and standing by the side   of, the man who killed her father and led to her  mother's death speaks volumes about how lacking  
01:53:07
in character the revenants are in this game.  Rather than corruptions of their former selves,   with their ideals twisted into villainy and  motivations steeped in specific desires each one   has for the new timeline, kinda like they were  in MKX, they're just generic bad guys for the   villain side. Outside of mirror matches, I think  Liu Kang is the only one who actually has anything   specific to them to say. If not for the claim that  they would be erased if their past selves died,   they could be replaced by any generic villain  from the series and bugger all would change. Kronika says she can do her thing now with  the Jinsei water from the Dragon Grotto,   even if she neither calls it that, nor explains  why she needs it. She asks when Kahn will deliver   his army and he replies that it will be once  Kotal dies. Keep this line in mind for later. Raiden returns to the SF base after  the monks have, making one wonder why   Raiden takes so long to teleport, while the  monks get around faster with, at fastest,   a jet. Kung Lao isn't reassured by Raiden's  claim that the timeline can be changed,   despite there being evidence to the contrary  before he was brought to the present. We get an okay bit where Johnny forgets for  a minute that Sonya isn't his Sonya. I wish   it went on a bit longer, to show how Sonya's  death is affecting Johnny and give Sonya a  
01:54:09
glimpse into the man he's become and give her some  insight into how she could have fallen for him. Cassie tells Raiden that Sub-Zero's reported heavy  losses to the Lin Kuei because of Sektor's return,   with Raiden knowing about Sektor's coup years  ago. It's not clear if he knows this because of   his visions from the Midway timeline, from  being filled in by Cassie, or if we're to   assume Sektor was already Grandmaster before  he and Cyrax showed up in Outworld and Raiden   just somehow knew. It's also unclear why the  table display seems to be overlaid on top of   the light fixture above them. Cassie says that  Sektor's using the same factory from years ago,   even though it was in a jungle, not a  quarry, and it blew up in the comic.   And no, other than the Koliseum, there is  no evidence that places from the past can   be brought to the present, only people.  I kinda like Raiden's surprise about   Hanzo being a grandmaster as we transition into  Chapter 4: Fire & Ice - Sub-Zero and Scorpion. What I don't like is that this is another joint  chapter. While it makes sense, this chapter is   built around Sub-Zero, and Scorpion will be  receiving a dedicated chapter later on, so I   don't see why Sub-Zero couldn't have his own too.  Nor do I like that the title places "Fire" first,   but the user of said fire is listed second. And  that title is a nod to an unmade Shaolin Monks  
01:55:12
sequel about Scorpion and Sub-Zero, which I have  to mention so people won't get mad that I didn't. Sub-Zero, in his best Solid Snake cosplay, scopes  out the factory that Sektor apparently uncovered,   got back up and running and managed to  capture enough Lin Kuei to convert into   an army to defend it in a matter of hours,  as Cassie recently confirmed it's the same   day (unless time doesn't pass anymore and  we're just not told) Hanzo then shows up,   equally unmasked. Sub-Zero is still voiced  by Steve Blum, fortunately. No other Lin   Kuei ever appear, so I guess we're to assume  that every single one was killed or captured,   while Sub-Zero got out scot-free. Strangely,  this parallel to the events of MK3 is never   acknowledged. He claims he can get help on  the inside and they knife some poor sentry   to death before going inside. Yeah,  for some reason, even though they're   supposed to be Sub-Zero's guys converted,  he shows no remorse when dealing with them. Another slow walking scene ensues and we see  the very inefficient cyberisation methods with   lots of dismembered corpses scattered around  with a convenient Lin Kuei medallion lying   around to confirm that they're Lin Kuei. Cyrax  and Frost enter to reactivate the machinery,   despite having no new subjects, and the machinery  just stars sawing them apart for no reason. Frost  
01:56:14
has a Fatality where she puts the brain in  a cyber body, but if that's the process,   then why is this person having their head  cut in two? This whole factory sequence   was not thought out at all. Cyrax is the  inside man, with Sub-Zero's plan being to   disable his neural inhibitor so he can shut  down the cybers via their shared network.   A shared network that didn't trigger an  alert when they killed that one guy outside. Sub-Zero freezes Frost so that her robe can  shatter when she breaks free and reveal who she   is, despite how obvious it is. It's not like  her presence on the roster was kept secret,   even without the option to buy her with real  money in the in-game store. Not only is her hair   an awful blue Karen haircut instead of the cool  icy look she used to have, her cyber body is more   human than the others, suggesting it was a Kronika  augmentation, which no one else gets. And this   body has a detachable head and a cybernetic spine,  but it has a human spine during finishers, because   consistency is for chumps. She's also still pissy  about the alliance with the Shirai Ryu which,   along with her sudden obsession with cyberisation,  I have explained the problems with on Wasted   Plotential. Basically, she's written like this  was supposed to be Sektor, but the decision to   make Frost playable led to her being included  in his place. Also, Sub-Zero acts like this is  
01:57:16
a betrayal, when her bio makes clear he banished  her after the scene in MKX, so it really isn't. Even though Kelly Hu is back as D'Vorah, Frost  is now voiced by Sara Cravens, who was Power   Girl in Injustice 2. Her performance gets a lot  of flack, but I honestly think it's the writing   that's the issue. Granted, her tone is a tad  one-note, constantly projecting like Kahn does,   but projecting an entitled bitterness,  rather than intimidation. But again,   I think it's because that's how every  line out of her fucking mouth is written. The other character fights Cyrax,  who then activates some other cybers,   which the other character will fight  while your character fights Cyrax.   At no point will either character attempt  to free these guys from Sektor's control,   despite how easy it is soon shown to be. They  aren't named characters, so they get to die. Cyrax is voiced by Ike Amadi, whose voice  works better for him than Shao Kahn.   Hanzo briefly relates to Cyrax's slavery  if he fights him, but it's just one line,   sadly. Noob then enters the scene. Noob: "Recognise me, little brother?" Yes, he already met you as Noob two games ago.  The score seems to think this is a big reveal.   Strangely, this is the same Bi-Han who was thrown  into the soulnado in MK9, not a past version.  
01:58:22
In fact, neither Sub-Zero has a past incarnation  in this game. Even though that has so much story   potential with their human and brainwashed  selves being active at the same time and   having clashes between Kuai Liang and his cyber  counterpart, as well as his two evil brothers.   But no, we need two Kanos and Kabals who don't  contrast at all instead. Fucking clownshoes. Speaking of clowns, Bi-Han is  now voiced by Sean Chiplock and   they've got him going this awful  Doctor Claw/Black Doom impression. Noob: "Still trading on my name?" Chiplock isn't a bad actor,  but this just does not work.   And it's weird because it's  not consistent with MK9... MK9 Noob: "You are not worthy  of the name 'Sub-Zero'." ...and the other language dubs  don't go this far with it. French Noob: "You are not the original Bi-Han." Spanish Noob: "You are not the original Bi-Han." Except the German version. German Noob: "You are not the original Bi-Han." And worse, Jamieson Price, who voiced Bi-Han  last time, is still in the game as the announcer, Jamieson Price: "Noob Saibot." so unless he didn't want to reprise the role  for whatever reason, there is absolutely no   reason not to have him reprise. Especially  since a normal voice would have made it   easy to give Sub-Zero a Bi-Han skin that  changes his voice and intros to Bi-Han's.
01:59:24
Kuai Liang: "Bi-Han?" Bi-Han: "Yes, Kuai Liang."  Kuai Liang: "You must answer for your crimes." Seriously, who the fuck  thought this was a good idea? Oh, and they didn't give him the default  Geiger-like mask and reaper hood, instead   opting for this awful metal equivalent of his old  mask that exposes his ears and just ruin his image   even more than his edgelord spikes do. There's a  reason MK Mobile went with the hooded version of   this mask instead. Because those guys actually  do know what they're doing. Also, his skin is   more of a brown in this game, and is inconsistent  with his arms in his MK2 outfit, because nothing   about this character is allowed to be in any way  competent. Even his colour options are all crap. Kronika has offered him a new clan and you  pick who fights him. The other character   presumably fights Saibot. Sub-Zero winning has  him repeat Bi-Han's words to him from back in MK9. Noob: "We share blood. We are not brothers." Sub-Zero: "We share blood. We are not brothers." Only, you need to "but" in the middle to present  the two sentences as opposing sentiments. As in,   they aren't brothers even though they share  blood. Without it, it's present as one sentiment.   They do share blood and are therefore  not brothers. This is basic English.
02:00:26
Yes, that's how the line  was presented back in MK9,   but it was in direct response to Kuai  Liang calling him "bother" and that   immediate context makes it work in a  way it doesn't when isolated like this. Sub-Zero helps Cyrax up. The dialogue  is some of the best in the game,   though it's nothing spectacular. Sub-Zero voices  how he can relate to Cyrax's experience and Cyrax   comments on Sub-Zero having gotten old.  I'm not sure he should recognise Hanzo,   since he's older and as far as we know,  Cyrax never saw him unmasked, but it's fine.   And ironically, Hanzo actually looks older  in his younger incarnation when unmasked,   while Sub-Zero looks the same aside from his  beard. Also minor, but Cyrax should know what's   happening with the time merger, unless he has  total amnesia of his time under Sektor's control. While the two playable fighters stand around  awkwardly, like they're being scolded by   their mum, Cyrax says he can shut down the  factory and all the cybers connected to it.   Sektor then arrives, voiced now by Dave Mitchell.  Sektor attacks your character with a flamethrower,   which Sub-Zero blasts with ice like in  the comic scene they're rehashing here,   while Hanzo just no-sells it. Even though I'm  fairly certain Hanzo isn't supposed to have any   powers now that he's been restored to human. He  didn't display any of them in MKX's Story Mode,  
02:01:27
after all. Or, are we to assume that, as a  "revenant", Hanzo's powers weren't granted   on death? If Hanzo is chosen, we reiterate MKX's  retcon that Sektor gave Quan Chi assistance in   return of the slaughter of the Shirai Ryu, even  though they were slaughtered two years before   MK1 in return for Bi-Han obtaining the map  in Mythologies. And yes, Mythologies is still   canon - it's referenced in Aftermath. Hanzo then  says "For Harumi and Satoshi" after the fight,   as if Sektor was in any way responsible for  their deaths. Really, I think the line is   just there so Shawn can prove he knows their  names after getting them wrong in the comic. As per usual, the offscreen activity of the  partner character doesn't begin until Sektor   is defeated. God, do I need to make a video  on how rarely the other character actually   does something? Cyrax says goodbye, Sub-Zero says  they'll restore him, Cyrax says he can't live as   a machine, which is an insult to the character,  who lived on for a decade after cyberisation in   the old timeline. Really, it's just an excuse to  remove him from the plot, since he's only an NPC.   Still, the writing is mostly good here. Putting  aside the continuity issues and the rehashing   of the comic scene, right down to Cyrax's death  to destroy the factory (I know an intro claims   he's still alive, but the story never suggests  that), this is some of the strongest writing  
02:02:29
in the story. But, as is often the case, the  storytelling is held back by the structure. Sub-Zero's chapter is shared with Scorpion, even  though the latter gets his own chapter later.   Every fight in this chapter is  made for Sub-Zero: his apprentice,   his brother and two former clanmates. And because  this is everyone's first appearance in the story,   the only one who gets any resolution here is  Cyrax, since he shares a moveset with Sektor,   and the latter will be returning, so there's  no need for him to return too. Frost and Noob   show up later and Sub-Zero is robbed of any  resolution to his stories with them. This game,   arguably more than any other, really shows  the inherent limitations brought about by the   campaign structure. Imagine if Sub-Zero was able  to deal with Frost, Sektor and Bi-Han himself,   instead of having them be dealt with by people  with no connection to them in other people's   chapters. Actually make this trilogy feel  like it has arcs that go somewhere instead   of dropping all of them in the finale and  making the whole thing feel disconnected. And yes, in addition to achieving  nothing (which I'll explain in a   second), all four of Sub-Zero's story  fights take place in this one stage,   and two of them are against functionally the  same opponent. You'd think he was a huge fan   of Richard Roundtree for how much of  the shaft Netherrealm gives him...
02:03:30
Geras brings Kano and Erron to Sektor  to fix him up (with a too-long shot of   them rounding a corner), and asks them  to replicate Sektor into an army. So,   yes, there are still cybers to come in the  story, making Chapter 4 entirely pointless. Imagine if this chapter was moved to much later  in the game, right before the final fight.   Sub-Zero could go to the factory with Cyrax  after having freed him in an earlier scene,   and the two face off with Sektor, Frost and  Bi-Han, ending with all three of them being   dealt with, plus all the cyborgs being shut down,  killed or freed, and maybe Sub-Zero sacrifices   himself to achieve this, leaving the Lin Kuei  in the hands of Cyrax for the final fight. Present Kano then enters with an orchestra  sting that treats him as a big reveal,   followed by an awkward silence that  I have to assume is intentional.   Given that he's bald, Past Kano  looks older than his counterpart.   The only real indication that  Present Kano is older is his tattoo. Instead of Michael McConnohie from the last  three games, Kano is now voiced by JB Blanc,   which is another performance I see get  criticised a lot, but I really don't   see the issue. Where I do take issue is how  both Kanos have very similar eyepieces that   are based on the original. Neither MK9,  nor MKX had eyes that looked like that,  
02:04:35
and this is a good chance to show off  the gear options: give Present Kano a   more advanced one like that seen in MKX,  and give Past Kano one that's simpler,   closer to the MK9 one. I have one more comment  about Kano's gear that I'll save for later. I do like how gay Past Kano is for himself  though, and how uncomfortable that makes Erron. Kano: "Over fifty and still a ripper." He's over sixty, actually. He was  already thirty-five in MK1 and a   little over three full decades have  passed since then. That's probably   why we never fight this version of him in  the game, lest he break a hip. Honestly,   making him more of a cyborg to keep up could  have been a cool way to go with his design.   And it would ahve justified the score  acting like Kano was come kind of reveal. Kronika's promised that the Black Dragon will  run "every market", whatever that means. Really,   it's just way of saying they'll be rich and  the SF can't stop them, which Kano achieves   in his ending, but finds it boring that he never  loses. It's one of the few endings with something   interesting to say. And one of even fewer  that wasn't horribly bungled in the execution. Back at the base, Jacqui can't get through to  Jax. I like Johnny acting as a mentor/parental   figure for Jacqui in Jax's absence,  which we haven't seen before,   despite how close the two families are  .We then cut to the Briggs farmhouse.  
02:05:38
The camera pans along a corridor with  photos of Jax and Jacqui on the wall. Jax, in his best Barrett Wallace cosplay (why  does he look so military when he's just at home?),   is turning his house upside-down to find  his phone, but can't reach Jacqui. He   sits down and cries, showing off  how good the facial capture is,   and falls asleep with a bottle in his hand.  Kronika then enters the scene and offers   him and his family a better life in the New  Era, where Jacqui never joins the military. It's not revealed just yet, but Vera, Jax's wife  and Jacqui's mother, has died in between games.   This serves as Jax's primary motivation for  the game, becoming extremely overprotective   of his daughter, to the point of it being  his dramatic flaw. And for a lot of players,   this motivation did not justify  Jax's actions throughout the game. Here's the issue: we don't know Vera. She's  mentioned by Sonya in MKX and she appears   in two or three scenes in the comic, one  of which gives her no dialogue. And there   aren't even any pictures of her on the walls  of the Briggs home. She is not a character;   she is a concept - the concept of Jax's dead  wife and Jacqui's dead mother. And this game   makes no attempt to make us feel their loss,  so it's difficult for us to get invested.   It's like how Assassin's Creed III didn't  bother to showcase Connor's relationship  
02:06:41
with his mother before she dies and gives him  his motivation, (actually, Vera kinda looked   like Ziio at first) and so when Jax does bad  things in this game, it's hard to empathise,   unless you yourself have lost a partner like this.  I've got a Wasted Plotential planned where I'll be   providing an alternative to this, but you don't  need a big rewrite to communicate the loss. If   Jax and Sonya had come from another point in  time, Vera could have been brought with them. Or, she could have appeared early on and then  died. Or, you could use the pictures on the walls   that we very slowly pan across. There are two ways  you could use this shot to convey some of what Jax   is going through. First: include some pictures of  Vera. I get that you don't want to make an entire   character model just for this (even though you  could at least make the picture Jacqui drew as   a kid feature her), so get the face models for  Jax and Jacqui to do a photo shoot with another   woman to play Vera, and use those pictures.  It's not like live action would clash so much   with this level of graphical fidelity that a  simple filter couldn't fix it. Or option 2:   have some spots on the wall where there is a nail  and a discoloured patch of wall, to suggest that   there was a picture here before, but Jax can't  bare to look at pictures of his wife and has taken   them down. Just simple things like this can help  to make up for the deficiencies in the writing.
02:07:46
Back in Outworld, we begin Chapter 5:  Truths Revealed - Jade. I'm not quite   sure what truths are revealed here.  The title is kinda like Resident Evil:   Revelations - nothing is really revealed here.  Jade certainly doesn't find out that Kotal fucked   D'Vorah. Kotal confirms that the tarkatans  are extinct, meaning he enacted genocide,   which no one has an issue with. Jade says some  tarkatans were tracked to "the Kytinn's Lost   Hive", but no one makes a big deal out  of that either. A lost hive of Kytinn,   another enemy race (of which we only  see one member). You'd think someone   would acknowledge that this is a big discovery.  Raiden leaves to consult the Elder Gods again. Kotal dispatches Kitana to  form an alliance with Sheeva,   possibly as a nod to MK4. It's a  shame Raiden doesn't suggest it   and cite visions of her success with Goro  as just cause for her to try with Sheeva. Jade: "Sheeva's always respected  your opinion more than anyone's." Which is why she had nothing to say to Kitana  while holding her captive in MK9. As Kotal leaves,   Kitana is jealous over the attention and devotion  Jade is showing to Kotal out of nowhere, as if   she's aware of how bad the writing is, not only  for bringing this relationship in out of nowhere,   but also how Jade's entire character now revolves  around him, instead of her friendship with Kitana  
02:08:49
and loyalty to Edenia. Jade thinks Kotal  will show loyalty to Kitana if she forges   an alliance with Sheeva, but I've no idea why.  Kotal is the ruler of Outworld and Kitana has no   claim to the throne. And Kotal isn't exactly the  kinda guy who'd give up his power that easily. I've already addressed the change in style of  the character designs, but Jade's outfit is just   awful. They went so far in the opposite direction,  even though this is supposed to be her MK9 outfit,   so it's a massive visual continuity issue, and  it's fucking brown! Her name is JADE! Her name   comes directly from her colour of choice. All the  other ninjas get to keep their primary colour,   but not her. And there are other outfits that are  better approximations of the previous outfit and   with green as an option, but no, she gets this  awful outfit that covers almost her entire body   like a severe overcorrection of her MK9 attire,  and it's bloody brown! Or purple or burgundy,   no one really knows. It's like they got mad that  fans complained when she was fair-skinned in MK   Mobile and decided, "You want brown Jade,  here's your fucking brown Jade." I mean,   even the planned MK Miniatures Collection has  recognised that and is using a different costume   for Jade. And this is why the cutscenes would  be better rendered in real-time, like Street  
02:09:53
Fighter V, so we could change her outfit to  something more suitable and more consistent. Kotal and Jade have some not great dialogue  where Jade calls him a noble warrior,   despite the revelation that the tarkatans  are extinct, which can only mean he did it.   He says no other woman succeeded in bedding  him because none of them were Jade. Except   for D'Vorah, but, you know, we don't  talk about that in the Story Mode. But this brings up another issue  with the writing of this game:   Kotal just treats Past Jade like she is his Jade.  But like how Past Sonya is not Johnny's Sonya,   Past Jade is not Kotal's Jade. The game really  needed to add some awkwardness here to make   their dynamic interesting, because at least  then, we could say that the retcon served a   purpose. As is, the only reason the retcon was  introduced was to have Jade work with Kotal,   which would take more effort to set up otherwise.  Again, gonna do a Wasted Plotential on this. Kotal quickly proves Jade's assessment wrong  by ordering the tunnels of the hive be burned   to smoke Kahn out, but huge bugs attack  and Jade is dragged into the tunnels and   brought before her revenant, who happens to  be waiting here. Jade easily gets free and   the music just overpowers the dialogue here,  like, balance your damn audio, Netherrealm!
02:10:56
Jade: "I would not trade Kitana's  friendship for anything." Except Kotal's blue-painted cock. Revenant Jade: "It is pitiful  you choose servitude." You mean like how you serve Kitana and Kronika? Even though Jade has a mirror match here,  we still don't get to play as the revenant   to give her some presence as a threat. As is,  she jobs harder than fucking Kano. And Geras. Jade: "By the gods, it's  true. This is what I become?" All you need to do is have the revenant beat  Jade and have Kotal come in for the save,   or have the first fight be Revenant Jade vs Kotal,  then have human Jade come in for the save and   defeat her. How do Netherrealm keep having games  with multiple versions of the same characters,   and still fail to give the villains any  wins when those characters get chapters? Jade hears Kotal shouting something, then we smash  cut to him falling into the hive with D'Vorah.   Again, awkward cuts and mess with out perception  of time and the pacing of a scene. D'Vorah stabs   Kotal in the shoulder, and that's another thing  to keep in mind for later. She starts vomiting   maggots into his mouth, but Jade interferes.  The attack amounts to nothing, and Jade forces   D'Vorah to tell them where Kahn is in return for  her life. Stupidly, we'll learn later that Jade   really did let her go instead of killing her, and  Kotal was presumably simping too hard to protest,  
02:12:00
despite the fact that D'Vorah betrayed him,  and his law would see a bread thief executed. They find the Tarkatan camp, which Jade and  a few Osh-Tekk infiltrate with no effort,   despite numerous times they are directly in a  tarkatan's line of sight. One of them is even   voiced by Jamieson Price, because we can't let  him be Bi-Han again, but a tarkatan who speaks   their made-up language is fine. They quickly run  into a female tarkatan, who is terrified of them,   but she's not the one who raises the alarm.  It's another tarkatan whose location,   in relation to Jade's group, we don't know;  so I don't know why the female is here if she   doesn't raise the alarm or later defend  Jade for stopping her from being killed. They flee deeper into the camp, where  Jade becomes separated from the others,   pursued by inconsistent numbers of tarkatans  between shots. These ones have the bone blades   and no explanation is offered for why this  is. There are so many explanations you could   come up with, from different races of tarkatans  to Baraka's metal being a gift from Shao Kahn   or something he did himself to make himself  more efficient a killer, but we get nothing.   Of course, the blade bones can still  slice through flesh, for some reason. Jade has little trouble fighting her way through  the tarkatans until she reaches Kollector, just   as Kotal's forces arrive. After the fight, Kotal  has the tarkatans lined up and set for execution,  
02:13:05
starting with the female from earlier. He offered  Shao Kahn refuge and let the treacherous D'Vorah   go, but tarkatans existing? Nah, mate,  ethnic cleansing, apparently. Jade steps   in to stop him, despite being racist towards  tarkatans herself in her last appearance. Jade: "Good boy." Strangely, even though Shao Kahn  arrives right after this (and only   being able to capture Kotal because  the latter got knocked out by his GF),   they didn't have Kollector lined up for execution  too, which would make sense for him to do,   considering he was trying to execute him  earlier on, and then it wouldn't go through   this time because of Kahn's arrival. But  instead, he's just gone from the scene. Raiden arrives in the Elder Gods' domain to find  it in ruins. Cetrion enters and blames Raiden,   citing Shinnok's decapitation as the catalyst,  once more painting this as a key event,   but still not having Shinnok's head appear again  after Chapter 1. Cetrion reveals she is Kronika's   daughter and Shinnok's sister, and is loyal  to Kronika. She starts talking about balance   between her light and Shinnok's dark, because  what this series for mature audiences needed was   some Kingdom Hearts shit about darkness and light.  Between this and the power of love shit from MKX,   this series comes off like it's written  for 13-year-olds. Why not make them the   Elder Gods of Life and Death? It fits both their  aesthetics and gets the same basic idea across  
02:14:09
without literally talking about good and evil  as if they're measurable components of reality. And if Shinnok being active is so vital to  this balance, how was him being sealed in   his amulet for two decades not enough  of a problem for Kronika to intervene? Cetrion: "We balance the realms for Kronika." Kotal Kahn: "Your mother's logic escapes me." And the concept of an antagonist seeking  balance between good and evil seems like   the setup for a morally grey character who has  somewhat noble goals behind their evil deeds,   but Kronika has absolutely zero nuance and  wants balance, not because it benefits all,   but because she just does. And this  is just the tip of the "Kronika is   an awful character" iceberg. But  we'll get more into that later. I can't stand that Cetrion is a full head  shorter than Raiden. You'd expect an Elder   God to be taller than a Lesser God, or at  least as tall. It's like how Raiden himself   is dwarfed by everyone else in the latest  movie. She confirms that this is set after   the last fight by mentioning Kotal's capture,  so Raiden really is just that frigging slow. Back at the base, Jax is practicing with his  metal arms, talking about his arms as an upgrade   in a way that suggests he really has just recently  gotten them. Jacqui tells him about his stint as a   revenant and this is where it's confirmed that  Vera is dead. The writing's pretty good here.  
02:15:12
It's funny how it's in the small character-focused  moments where the writing tends to get good,   while the actual plot is fucking atrocious. I'm  just put off by how young Jax looks compared   to his MK9 self, and how his present self  isn't much older, visually. Keep in mind,   Jax is older than Sonya. He was a  Major while she was a Lieutenant.   She was twenty-six in MK1, so he was easily  over thirty at the time, over sixty now,   but his present self has not a grey hair on  him, while his past self looks barely twenty. Alex Myers: "Like, here he looks like  an eighth-grader on Disney Channel,   and then over here he looks like  an eighth-grader on Riverdale." I've always had the feeling  that people forget Jax is older,   given that Sonya is the main SF character and  was the head of the OIA in the old timeline,   but Jax should look at least  a few years older than Sonya. Cassie shows Sonya how to work a  computer as we enter Chapter 6:   War of the Homefront - Johnny  Cage. The Johnnies watch Sonya. Johnny: "As Younger You, I solemnly swear  to tap that as the earliest opportunity." Okay, look. A lot of people like the  contrast between the two Johnnies, but I   can't stand it. Yes, Johnny is the character  with the most clear arc in this trilogy. Yes,   he has changed a lot since MK9. However, the  sheer level of braindead audacity on display  
02:16:17
from Past Johnny here feels incorrect. Yes, he was  very full of himself back then. Yes, he pestered   Sonya even after she told him to stop. But this  is just going too far. He honestly wasn't this   much of a cock. It's like when the '80's Ninja  Turtles show up in crossovers and are portrayed   as incompetent joke characters to provide contrast  with the more action-oriented successor shows. Everyone reacts with shock, if a little too  slowly. Yes, madam, he did say that, can you   hurry it up a little? Sonya and Cassie respond  in shock, but this has no bearing on either of   their relationships with him. Mainly because  they're gonna be too wrapped up with their own   forced drama for the foreseeable future. Present  Johnny drags him out by the ear and Sonya asks: Sonya: "How the hell do I  ever sleep with that guy?" The better question is, why  does your delivery sound like   it was cobbled together from two different takes? Sonya: "How the hell do I  ever sleep with that guy?" And her delivery when she awkwardly realises  she said that in front of Cassie is another flat   delivery that continues to prove that Ronda  Rousey was an awful choice for this role. Now, you want a really petty  criticism? When Cassie says: Cassie: "He... Grew up." the subtitles capitalise the G as  if it's the start of a new sentence.   It's not. It's a continuation  of "He". Get your shit together.
02:17:24
The computer randomly scans Sonya and pulls up  her file. She doesn't stumble upon it or look   it up out of curiosity. The computer just  does it on its own, which is pretty dumb,   considering the ramifications will affect  Sonya for the rest of her screen time. We get more awful, uncharacteristic dialogue  from Past Johnny, who claims to be the best   fighter here, raising the question of where  the monks are, since they won't be showing   up during the fighting to come. It's almost as  if all these unrelated sequences should've been   happening simultaneously to justify characters  being so segmented, instead of characters just   disappearing for extended periods of time  or just sitting around and doing nothing.   Past Johnny is basically portrayed the  same way he was in Scorpion's Revenge   (and Battle of the Realms): a guy who sucks  at fighting and can't back up his ego,   even though MKX made it clear that he is one of  Earthrealm's best fighters, beating Scorpion,   Sub-Zero and even Shinnok. Yeah, Johnny  had his powers, but that just protected   him from Shinnok's magic. He was still a good  enough martial artist to take Shinnok down. And a small opportunity was missed with  the gear system by having the sunglasses   Past Johnny pulls out to replace the ones his  future self breaks being the exact same and not   a different model. Personally, I think  that would have been a little funnier. Sonya pulls up the incomplete audio recording  of Cassie having to leave her and immediately  
02:18:27
goes to confront Cassie for "abandoning her",  which some people defend as her being emotional   over learning about her death (even with how  lacklustre her reaction to it was earlier),   but those people don't know what they're talking  about. This is totally out-of-character for army   brat Sonya Blade, daughter of Major Herman Blade.  She hears Cassie giving the order to leave in a   barely audible recording and goes right up to  her to chastise her for leaving her behind for   the sake of the mission. One would think that  Sonya would understand that such sacrifices are   sometimes necessary and might think to ask  Cassie for clarification on the situation,   but nope. She's just an impulsive idiot  who doesn't consider that her daughter   might feel bad for having to leave her mother  to die earlier that same day. This is awful and   exists only to provide petty drama between the two  until a scene two chapters from now resolves it. The base comes under attack from the Black Dragon  and Cyber Lin Kuei. Despite them supposedly being   copied from Sektor's augmented body, the other  cybers are visually identical to those seen in   Chapter 4. Erron enters the hangar and has a  shootout with the Johnnies. Even though they're   on the same side in the same scenes, Past Johnny  will not be playable during this entire chapter.   Which means he won't be playable in the entire  story mode. It wouldn't even be difficult to  
02:19:29
implement. You just have the player choose which  one to play as and then make different dialogue   for each one facing off with a given opponent.  Or just switch between the two per fight. Past Johnny's cheek is grazed by a bullet,  giving Present Johnny a scar. This is how we   confirm fully that the past characters affect the  present ones. Erron stops shooting just because   he loses his rifle, even though he still has  two pistols. Johnny is surprised to see Erron   as a Black Dragon, making one wonder if he's only  supposed to have joined them in the time merger,   thus making it less inconsistent with  MKX, but still strange that he'd then   be Kano's right-hand man. With Erron saying  he picks the winning side before the fight,   Johnny quips after that he chose poorly. I know  I criticised Shawn for overindulging in classic   MK quotes in the comic, but this was a prime  opportunity for a Test your Sight reference. Announcer: "You chose unwisely." Johnny meets up with the Briggses offscreen and  enters the wrecked command centre. Cassie's there,   but they took Sonya. Why the Black  Dragon would leave Sonya's daughter,   current C.O. of the SF branch opposing them, I've  no idea. You'd think she'd make good leverage. As the cybers try to take Sonya away, Johnny  comes out in a tank, blowing it up to take   out an enemy jet. It's a shame they didn't bring  back QTEs or minigames, because that could have  
02:20:32
been a fun way to do this scene. Unfortunately,  as it stands, with Sektor returning to where he   was standing when Johnny arrived, the sequence  basically may as well not have happened at all.   Johnny then says that Sektor was dead when  Johnny beat Shinnok, except he wasn't. Sektor   was killed around five years before the end of  the timeskip, so he was absolutely still around. Past Kano arrives and Johnny whacks him in the  dick before he can shoot him. After the fight,   Johnny is shot in the knee by Present  Kano, who has Past Johnny at gunpoint.   Really, Kano could just shoot Past Johnny now and  wipe out three of his enemies with one bullet.   Another jet arrived and an unburnt Kabal enters  the scene. With Past Kano and the hostages aboard,   the villains leave, Cassie getting a tracker  on the jet and Raiden gets the survivors out   of there before a bomb inside Sektor detonates  and wipes out the base. Why they didn't just   have a normal cyber detonate instead and keep  Sektor around remains a mystery. But yeah,   Sektor is dead and Sub-Zero will never get  proper closure there. The group arrive at   the Shirai Ryu Fire Garden, where Hanzo  gives them refuge for the rest of the game.   It's not clear where Sub-Zero is at this  point. And also no, we will not see any other   Shirai Ryu in this game, even though it's  kinda suggested that they're still around. The monks and Sub-Zero are just here now, as  Raiden fills the others in on what he learned.  
02:21:36
Raiden says Kronika isn't driven by  vengeance, despite how personally she   took Shinnok's decapitation and something  Geras will say later. The monks return to   Outworld to help Kitana in Chapter 7: Coming  of Age - Kitana. I guess Kitana's just been   negotiating with Sheeva the entire time.  Why not just say that Raiden already sent   the monks to assist Kitana before the previous  chapter happened to explain why they weren't   there? Sheeva agrees to the alliance, if  Kitana can get the tarkatans on her side. We then see Kotal only now being loaded onto  a wagon for the Koliseum, despite Jade having   knocked him out an entire chapter and at least  two time jumps ago. Is this some time dilation   shit like in Final Crisis? Skarlet finally  returns to torture the captive Jade. And   since Jade is having her head touched, they  changed her model to the one without a hood,   which is clearly not the same outfit. The monks  disguise themselves as Osh-Tekk and take Kitana   into the camp. Kitana has her mask on now, despite  having not had it up to now and I have no idea why   they felt the need to include it here, but not  anywhere else since she first showed up. And   Kung Lao is bald here, like his revenant and  most of his human skins, but the default story   one has hair under that dumb cap they gave  him. I guess it's just part of the cap then.
02:22:38
Skarlet sees through the disguises and Kitana  jumps over her to get into the Player One spot.   This hasn't been an issue up to now in this game,   since the characters usually walk into position  during the cutscene-to-gameplay transition. Plus,   Kitana jumping over Skarlet serves the purpose  of cutting off her retreat, so it's justified.   For once... After the fight, the monks are back  in their normal clothes, the body paint gone,   and Kung Lao has his hat back. They really  should have just kept them in the disguises   for the rest of the scene and had then change  back on the way to the Koliseum afterwards.   And did Jade just have to sit there and watch  while they changed clothes and cleaned themselves? Baraka arrives and a fight breaks out  during Kitana's clash with him. The fight   is called off and Baraka lets Kitana  speak. She removes her mask offscreen,   making one wonder why they gave it to her in  this scene at all. She uses her resting bitch   face and promises to help Baraka kill Kotal  if he refuses to treat Baraka as an equal. The audience is very on-board with Kotal's  execution, so the people of Outworld respect   only power. That, or they just hate Kotal that  much. Can't say I blame them... Then again,   considering they all are either giving a  blank-eyes stare or are cumming on the spot,   I'm not sure any of them are thinking straight.  Just as Kahn is about to execute Kotal,  
02:23:40
the battering ram gets the gate open and Kitana  leads her army inside, including Present Erron,   who hasn't been seen since Chapter 2, and proud  Sheeva way in the back there for some reason. Kitana approaches with a weird swagger before  attacking him. Kollector intervenes and is mad   that Kitana is throwing away her privilege  of being Kahn's 'daughter'. She spares him,   even though he won't appear again in the  story, so she may as well have killed him.   Kotal ambushes Kahn with pocket sand. The  feathers in his headdress are back now,   after being gone while he was in the stocks.  Did he go and find them and put them back   in? I think it would have been cooler if they  stayed gone to show some minor battle damage.   You know, before the major battle  damage of getting his back broken.   And yes, KK in a wheelchair, KK in a wheelchair,   he started off hating tarkatans now  he doesn't really care, I get it stop! Kitana intervenes and there's somehow a huge gap  between the two Kahns as a result of the camera   pan? Did Kotal roll out of the way after Kitana  intervened? Did she roll him away with her foot?   Or was Kahn just seriously about to hit  nothing with his hammer, the dumb fuck?   And then, there is a clear difference  in audio... either level or quality,   or filter between Kahn's  cutscene line and in-game line. Kahn: "I kept you only to appease your mother." 
02:24:46
Kahn: "Do not expect mercy this time." Gordon Ramsay: "Look! LOOK! Fuckin' RAW!" Kitana gets him down, unmasks him and slashes  him across the face. Rather than kill him,   she just blinds him, despite how much  of a threat he is and how much she's   personally suffered because of him. And like  Kollector, he's out of the story after this,   so there is no reason not to kill  him. But, the game doesn't even do a   good job of communicating that he's still  alive, given how quiet and still he gets. Kotal is paralysed from the waist down. Jade  unironically thinks she can change Kotal. Jade: "I know your heart. It can change." He makes Kitana the new Kahn, not Kahnum, which  I've discussed before. But before you point out   that I said earlier that he wouldn't give up  his title easily and that I'm thus proven wrong,   consider that Outworld needs a physically capable  Kahn to lead it into battle against the current   threat and Kitana just beat Shao Kahn, while Kotal  can't even walk. He really had no other choice. Kung Lao: "She's now  officially out of your league." To steal a clip from poqreslux, poqreslux: "Why is Kung Lao, of all people,  the funniest character in Story Mode?" Seriously, why is he the quip machine  instead of Johnny and Cassie in Story Mode?
02:25:49
Now, before we move on, let's talk about  Baraka. I've seen people wondering what   I think about Baraka's development from the  loyal lackey of whatever villain is currently   in charge to a champion of his people who  wants fair treatment for his slave race.   I like it. It's good that he finally has something  of his own to strive for, and to see him get a   victory for once. I'm partially biased because  my first exposure to Baraka was in MK Gold,   where he died in his own ending, and after how  much of jobber he's been the last four games,   it's just nice to see him on the winning side for  once. Just a shame his ending has him basically   kill everyone who's not a tarkatan. Lame.  Plus, it's hardly unprecedented for him to   have ambition, seeing how his endings  in MK2, Trilogy and Armageddon went. At the Fire Garden, Raiden claims that Kronika's  Keep is beyond the realms, which will later   prove false. I think. Not as in Raiden being  wrong in the story, just inconsistent writing. Hanzo: "Do you know of Kharon, Raiden?" Karen, what are you talking about?  They repalced her with Kari Wahlgren. No, Hanzo is talking about Kharon,  the ferryman of the Netherrealm,   as a taste of the awful Greek influence this game  has taken. Raiden somehow doesn't know who he is,   but Hanzo thinks Kharon might know how to  get to the Keep, so he and Sub-Zero set off. Raiden says that the Dragon Grotto is now  sealed, as if that could realistically stop  
02:26:55
Kronika or Geras, who can teleport, and  that the Well of Souls on Shang Tsung's   Island is the next greatest source of energy;  even though he said upon arriving at the Fire   Garden the first time that the Sky Temple,  where the actual Jinsei Chamber is located,   has been compromised, so Kronika could  get what she needs from there, if Raiden's   assumptions about her needing more power  holds true. Jax and Jacqui head to the island. Raiden warns Cassie that if either of her  past parents die, she'll go too. Not only   does he use just their given names, which is  very unusual for him, especially right after   calling Cassie by her full proper name, but this  raises the question of where Present Johnny is,   since he's gone from the plot as well. These games  just love dropping important characters from the   plot midway through without explanation. Jax is  gone after capturing Quan Chi in MKX, all the   Society members drop off after Cyborg reclaims  Brother Eye, and half the cast of this game are   already gone or will be soon. Don't make me make  a video about that as well, for fuck's sake. Sonya wakes up in Kano's fight club in Chapter  8... um, Fight Club - Sonya Blade. They've taken   her gauntlets, meaning she can't use moves  associated with them in the next few fights.   You can trigger her animations, but the move  won't work. Even her Fatal Blow is off-limits,  
02:27:56
since it uses them. It's nice to see some kind  of gameplay shakeup like this in the story,   but it's sadly the only one here until Aftermath. Kabal enters the scene and it's weirdly shot  like a reveal, as if there's mystery to who this   opponent is, but we already saw him earlier, so I  don't get it. Present Kano has told him that Sonya   burned him to rile him up. He dashes into the  cage with super speed, which he shouldn't have yet   because he got those powers from the operations  Kano and Shang Tsung did on him post-burns in MK9.   Maybe it's the device on his back with all the  tubes connected to it, but there's no explanation   for it. Maybe it's done for gameplay purposes,  but there's no reason they can't lock off some   of his moves for this. You know, because  they do it with Sonya in the same fight. Now, let's talk about Kabal's role here.  If he is from the same timeframe as the   other characters whose origin points we know, he  should realistically be a cop by now. However,   his bio claims he was a rookie cop who was  bought off by Kano and joined the Black Dragon. Kabal: "Tried a face turn, didn't take." They have completely inverted his arc and made  it make absolutely no sense. With this version,   what the fuck were the circumstances surrounding  Kabal's transformation into a revenant? If he was   Black Dragon around this time, he wouldn't have  been at the cathedral to get killed by Sindel.   This is the problem with Netherrealm retcons -  they make grand changes to the canon that make  
02:28:59
the story impossible to follow because they  don't think about the ramifications of the   changes they're making. The incompetence in the  writing of this game really is something else. And Kabal being Black Dragon here could have  worked with the old backstory. He can be:  1: Brought from a point further back in time;  2: Secretly working with the SF,  revealing his true colours once   Cassie enters and gives a signal; Or 3: Brought back into the BD after   becoming a cop because Kano lied to him  and Kronika's camp backed his claims up. This really is not difficult. You know what else isn't difficult? Giving a  more convincing performance than Ronda Rousey,   who is at her absolute worst here. Sonya: "Don't believe every rumour you  hear. I'm done entertaining you clowns!   Get in here, you cowards!" Johnny is brought in to fight Sonya. Sonya: "I won't fight him." Sonya: "Cut the shit. You'll   kill us whether we fight or not!" Mika: That was absolutely terrible! It's the  worst delivery I've ever heard in my life!" *Sigh* The story is clearly important to the team,  given how much time and resources are put into   each Story Mode, and the fact that the game's  launch trailer was focused exclusively on the   story. And voice acting is an important part of  communicating that narrative. I don't care that  
02:30:02
Ronda Rousey is a big fan of MK or of Sonya. She  should not have been cast as anything more than a   Dimitri-Vegas-esque bonus skin for Sonya. The  main, canonical version of her needed someone   who can actually act to avoid dragging down  every goddamn scene the character is a part of.   Ronda was clearly cast solely for her celebrity  status to sell more copies and you will never   convince me otherwise. I pray that Netherrealm  and WB never pull this shit again because,   even without the petty drama with Cassie, Sonya  is ruined in this game by Ronda's performance,   especially when put in scenes with the much  more convincing Erica Lindbeck and Andrew Bowen. The fight is interrupted before gameplay can  begin when Cassie enters and the Black Dragons   make no attempt to shoot her with the guns in  their hands. She also never needs to reload,   no matter how many shots she fires. Erron enters  the cage and shoots and knocks out Johnny. Erron   goes down easy and Cassie gets Sonya her her  gloves back. Just a small thing, but this was a   chance to utilise the gear system by having Cassie  give her a new set that she brought with her. They get outside, where Present Kano attacks  with a minigun. He uses his cyber eye's x-ray   vision to predict when Cassie's about to pop  out of cover and shoots her in the shoulder.   With a minigun. And she's fine. This isn't like  getting sniped with a rifle, this thing would have  
02:31:05
torn her fucking arm off. But she's fine, other  than a minor wound that doesn't even keep her   off her feet. Well, that and the brain damage  that led her to popping out of cover as Kano   was already firing. And somehow, she will recover  from this better than either Johnny. Kano changes   tactics and just fires without using his eye to  keep track of them, allowing Sonya to get the   drop on him and disarm him. She does a "hiyah!"  as she fires her gauntlets, for some reason. Kano retreats and Sonya runs after him, instead  of shooting him with her gauntlets or the pistol   she's later shown to have, or trying to use the  minigun he dropped, just so Past Kano can ambush   her, even though he could have done that where  they already were. Both Kanos approach and Sonya   easily beats Present Kano by beating on his  past self, which he feels too for some reason   that I'm sure doesn't exist. If simply hitting  the past version hard harms the present one,   how was Present Kano able to stand right after  Johnny kicked his past arse? Or after this   fight here? How do mirror matches work? Surely,  every time Revenant Liu Kang hit his past self,   he should have been hurt too? See, the scars make  sense because they're long-term damage. But the   simple hurt doesn't, and it's only here to remind  Sonya about the rules so she can exploit them. And to make the scene even dumber,  the transition to gameplay changes  
02:32:07
Past Kano's chest piece. This isn't like  a mistake in a pre-rendered cutscene,   this can be easily fixed with a patch by changing  like one line of code! And at the end, she says, Sonya: "Let me give you a break." which is just a reference to the original movie Kano: "Aw, give me a break." During the fight, Present Kano got his  hands on Johnny and has a knife to his gut.   Where Cassie is and how Kano got Johnny away  from her are never explained. Naturally. Kano: Can you break his neck  faster than I can gut Pretty Boy?" Considering her foot is already  on his throat, I'd imagine so.   Kano threatens that Johnny dying will take  Cassie out too, reminding Sonya of the rules,   making the damage Present Kano received in the  earlier fight entirely pointless. Sonya then pulls   a gun and shoots Past Kano in the face, which  would take way more time that just putting more   pressure on his neck. And I'm not sure when she  got the gun, or why she didn't use if before now. This could've worked if Sonya had her foot on  Kano's face so that his right eye couldn't see   her - we establish that the right eye can only  look forward and can't look to the side - so he   doesn't see Sonya subtly getting her gun out  from behind her, and barely moves her body so   as not to set Present Kano off, and shoots  Past Kano with the pistol still behind her. Present Kano then throws Johnny aside, rather  than just losing all energy and allowing Johnny  
02:33:10
to get free by himself. Kano now has the  bullet hole in his head and is erased. Honestly, this really is working on Looper logic.  In that film, a guy's future self goes on the run   in the present, so his present self is mutilated  to have those wounds afflict his future self,   including the removal of his legs, which, if  the past injuries affect the future version,   he shouldn't have been able to run  away in the first place. Likewise,   Kano's erasure here should have undone everything  he played a part in: the invasion of Earthrealm,   stealing Shinnok's amulet for Mileena, being  interrogated by Sonya to learn Mileena's location,   getting Sektor back online, capturing Johnny  and Sonya. But no, it's just Kano as of the   present moment that is erased, and no explanation  related to the merging of the two eras is offered. I actually predicted that Sonya would kill  Kano back when the reveal event happened,   because I knew they'd want to give her a  big moment now that she had a celebrity   playing her. And for a rivalry almost thirty  years old at the time of the game's release,   with both characters appearing in MK1,  MK3, Deadly Alliance, Armageddon, DCU,   and the entire Netherrealm trilogy, with the  two fighting in all three Netherrealm MKs...   this is kind of a limp note to end it on.  After everything that's gone on between them,  
02:34:10
Sonya should have gotten a more violent, more  cathartic kill, like maybe using one of his own   knives to gut him. It could have even been  used as a turning point in her relationship   with Cassie where she makes a point of telling him  how much he fucked up by threatening her daughter,   indicating that she now views Cassie as her  daughter and not just the woman who abandoned her. Sonya (to Geras): "Stay away from my daughter." More on that awful plot thread soon... Also, why is Kano always on the ground  when Sonya kills him? What's that about? After patching Johnny up and getting an  apology from Johnny for his earlier comment,   Geras arrives and massacres a bunch of SF  troops while the heroes just watch and make   no attempt to help them. Johnny doesn't know who  Geras is, but Sonya can recognise him on sight,   despite the fact that the monks are the only ones  who've seen him. Johnny's too injured to fight so   Sonya goes in. Geras jumps over to where  she is, despite having been in direct line   of sight not far from her when he started his  rampage and having only gotten closer since.   And of course, the blood that splattered on him  disappears with the transition into gameplay. Geras: "Cassie Cage defeated Shinnok, son  of Kronika. I am his mother's vengeance."  Raiden: "It is not vengeance that drives Kronika." John Cena: "Are you sure about that?"
02:35:13
With that contradiction out of the way,  Cassie drives a forklift into Geras   and grenades him into oblivion. Sonya  apologises for what she said earlier. Sonya: "I'm so proud, I can almost   picture myself dating Johnny." Clemps: "Yeah. You sound it." Sonya: "But I re-read the file." First, she didn't read anything to  begin with, as she opened an audio file,   immediately confronted Cassie and got interrupted  by the attack and has been in Black Dragon custody   since. When exactly did she have time to go  back to the file and get more information?   It would be less baffling if she just  said that Past Johnny had looked into   the file earlier and told her, or that  Kano taunted her with the information. She says they all have to choose their  destiny and it's actually a decent use   of an iconic phrase that doesn't stand  out and drag you out of the experience.   Has... Has Shawn learned from his time writing the  comic? Is this genuine improvement from someone   writing for Netherrealm? Damn, I bet he'll  be even better on their next- Oh. ...Shit. Geras starts to reform from his blood, which  is suddenly everywhere now. And they retreat.   Aaaand that's the end of Johnny and Sonya  in the story. No explanation is offered,   they're just... gone. You know, the central  family dynamic of this trilogy, jsut... just gone.
02:36:16
Kronika says she'll strengthen Geras for the  final battle, which won't make a difference.   She doesn't care about the loss of the Black  Dragon or Kahn's army, confident that their   work on the island will be enough, as mortal  souls contain temporal energy, which is why she   crafted Shang Tsung's destiny to collect souls  in his Well of Souls for this express purpose.   Not only does this take away Shang Tsung's  agency, as much of the story involving Kronika   does with the setting at large, but he didn't  just collect them - he absorbed them. And if   souls are what's needed, why not just harvest  them from the Netherrealm? It could have made   for a potentially threatening reveal, where it  turns out that everyone who's died so far has   become fuel for the hourglass, meaning the heroes  have unwittingly been helping her to succeed. This brings us to Chapter 9: All  In The Family - Jacqui and Jax,   as the two are en route to the island via ship.  Despite being aboard this massive warship,   they will land on the island alone. They have a  nice discussion, where Jacqui is concerned that   Jax needs to have a shitty future in order for  him to meet Vera and lead to Jacqui's birth,   while he assures her she's not just some  accident. It's good stuff, but it mainly exists as   foreshadowing for her non-canon ending, instead of  something that actually happens in the Story Mode. Jax is now voiced by William C. Stephens,  rather than Greg Eagles or Marz Timms.  
02:37:18
He's fine. Sounds a bit too  young, even as the older version,   but I appreciate that he does try to make the  two versions sound at least a little different. After multiple lengthy shots with no dialogue to  pad out the runtime, the two reach the courtyard,   where the monks from this classic stage are all  hanged or rotted. Revenant Kabal ambushes them,   taking a fierce clothesline form Jax. Your  character fights him while the other fights Jade,   who manages to get the upper hand,  somehow. She then uses necromancy to   revive the monks as zombies that the other  character will be dealing with. Strangely,   one of the moks is shown as decapitated when  they're all being revived, and he never appears   again. But the entire fight with the monks  is shown before we fight Jade, instead of   showing the start and then cutting back to it  after Jade goes down. And yes, this is, indeed,   the third time we've beaten Jade in the story. And  the fourth time she's lost, all together. And the   fifth fight we've had with her if you count both  fights from the two tag chapters. Like I said,   jobs harder than Kano and Baraka, who've only  lost twice each. And she's not done jobbing yet. The Briggses head into Goro's Lair and I  have to wonder why they bothered making   two versions of the island - one for story  scenes and one for the Krypt - when they   could have just saved time by making  one consistent map to use in both.  
02:38:19
Neither has anything to say about Goro's  husked out corpse as they pass by. Intros   from Aftermath suggest the unused Season 2 plot  of the comics did still take place, with Goro   becoming possessed by Onaga and regaining  his arms, before being put down by Kotal. As they go for the crown, Noob appears and they  completely fail to hit him when they open fire.   Then an army of Saibots grab the two. One of  them even screams as it attacks despite being   a mere shadow double. Jax described Bi-Han's  death as Scorpion ripping out his spine,   which is technically true, but the burning and  skull removal were the more important parts. I'm   not entirely sure how he recognises him on sight,  but it's not a huge deal. Your character breaks   free of the Saibots and fights Noob. The other  character makes no effort to break free, despite   them being able to do so easily if chosen. Not a  criticism, but instead of the existing "Ermac took   your arms but didn't kill you," "Yeah, I'm tough"  exchange, I'd have had Jax reference Bi-Han's   fight with Sonya in this exact spot and how Jax  is her superior officer, so good luck, n00b. Noob: "And I do not lose." Lost to Sonya, lost to Scorpion, lost to Kung Lao,  lost to Kabal while fighting alongside Mileena,  
02:39:19
lost to Kuai Liang, lost to Hanzo  or Kuai Liang, lose here, lose in   Aftermath and get a victory from Mythologies  retconned in Aftermath... Uh, yes, you do. With Bi-Han now out of the story for good  (wait, his eyes don't close, is he dead?),   the two approach the crown, only to be confronted  by Present Jax, now sporting Kronika clothes and   new arms. Also, he's randomly smoking a cigar  as they approach for the visual. Jax lays out   his regrets and his desire for Jacqui have  never been a soldier. This fight is Jax only,   and I like Jax choosing to not let  Jacqui have to fight her own dad,   but I think giving Jacqui the option would be  a good idea so she can stand up to him herself. Jax: "I can't let you do-" Jacqui: "I'm not discussing it." As they take the crown and  Present Jax through the courtyard,   Cetrion arrives to retrieve the crown and  Jax. Jacqui knows who she is on sight,   despite having only heard of her through Raiden.  Seeing how Cassie beat Shinnok with magic powers,   one of the Briggses uses the crown to power  up and challenge Cetrion. Despite everything,   Cetrion seems genuine, at least to me, in  urging them to remove the crown before it   seriously harms them. And no, you can't get  the crowned version of them as a usable skin. Cetrion opens up a crevice, which Jacqui  falls into. Cetrion upholds her end of   the bargain and brings Jacqui back up once  the crown is handed over. Unfortunately,  
02:40:23
this nobility Cetrion displays is severely  underutilised, which I'll discuss later.   Cetrion takes the crown to Kronika, so Cassie  suggests utilising Shinnok's Amulet. Raiden   talks about it like it's the One Ring, calling  out to people to use it and become corrupted,   but the amulet was never suggested to be like  that. Raiden used it because he was corrupted by   purifying the Jinsei, but this game acts more like  the amulet played a bigger part in his corruption. We move to the shore of the Sea of  Blood in the Netherrealm for Chapter 10:   To Hell And Back - Scorpion. Like I said  earlier, Hanzo shared Sub-Zero's chapter,   but he now sends Sub-Zero to report back to  Raiden while he proceeds with this chapter   alone. Hanzo approaches Kharon's home,  where he is being tortured by D'Vorah.   Kharon is voiced by Sean Chiplock, who  works much better as him than as Bi-Han. Hanzo drags D'Vorah down to the beach with his  spear, using the Ed Boon voice clip like MKX did.   It's a tad less awkward this time, since they  don't highlight that this isn't Hanzo's normal   voice by showing his mouth as he says it,  but I don't think it'll ever not be goofy   in a proper story, and he's using the spear to  launch her away so it's not really "Over Here". As soon as the fight ends, Scorpion attacks. He  views the new Shirai Ryu as fake, just because  
02:41:26
it doesn't have the original bloodlines. I dunno,  this seems like a really weak justification. We're   pushing Scorpion as some kind of blood purist  now? I could maybe see Bi-Han being that way,   at least post-corruption, but I feel like this  wasn't the right way to go with Scorpion. Maybe   this would work better if his point of contention  was that it's an all-new clan, suggesting Hanzo   has given up on those that were lost, instead of  continuing to try and find a way to revive them. Hanzo urges Scorpon to let go of his anger and  help the new Shirai Ryu to protect Earthrealm   and stop Kronika from bringing back Shinnok, who  is ultimately responsible for Harumi and Satoshi's   deaths. It's good stuff, but it's brought down  by what follows. D'Vorah sneaks up on Hanzo and   neither one reacts in time, despite there being  a full three seconds between Scorpion noticing   and D'Vorah stabbing Hanzo with a stinger. And  keep in mind that Hanzo canonically can still   teleport. Scorpion continues doing nothing while  D'Vorah finds a good spot to stab Hanzo again,   and Hanzo only acts after the second stab.  Because both are idiots who did nothing,   Hanzo is now poisoned. I'm not sure why she  didn't poison Hanzo when she stabbed him in MKX,   or Kotal when she stabbed him in this  game, but it's suddenly lethal now.   Scorpion cuts off her stingers and she flees,  never to be seen again, even in Aftermath.
02:42:29
And this is why so many fans fucking hate her.  It's not just that she kills three popular   characters and might have been responsible for  Jerrod's death but the game can't make up its   mind. She keeps incurring the wrath of other  characters and keeps getting free passes due   to stupidity or lazy writing. Kahn is angry that  she killed Mileena, but never pursues it further   after Kronika interrupts him. She tries to kill  Kotal after having betrayed him two years ago,   but Kotal and Jade just let her go. She kills  Hanzo and escapes Scorpion's wrath, even though   having him kill her would be incredibly  cathartic for fans who've grown tired of   how much she's been pushed, and you wouldn't need  to worry about not being able to use her again,   because she's obviously going to be back by  at least MK13, due to how the story ends. Many fans have misgivings about this, not  only in the very clearly flawed execution,   but also in the concept. I can't tell you how many  times people suggested the idea of Bi-Han popping   up and being the one to mortally wound Hanzo.  In fact, I've even used that very idea in two   separate videos. It makes his death feel more  like the end of an arc, as one of his biggest   mistakes finally catches up to him. I also think  it would have been beneficial to have one of the   revenants be here for similar reasons, as it was  Hanzo's actions that doomed them to being trapped  
02:43:29
as revenants. Instead, we get yet another kill for  Netherrealm's new favourite character and she gets   absolutely no punishment, despite how the game  ends making it a case of, "You might as well." Hanzo dies in Scorpion's arms  after directing him to the Fire   Garden. He dies talking about how the new  Shirai Ryu are warriors for their heart,   not their blood, but it loses a lot of its  impact because we don't see either of them   leading any Shirai Ryu, since the entire  clan is absent, even in the final battle. So, yeah, we'll be playing as Scorpion for the  rest of the chapter now that Hanzo is dead,   making him the only character we get to play  as both versions of, even when they're fighting   together or against each other in their chapters.  Scorpion truly is the Batman of this franchise... Scorpion arrives in the Fire Garden,  amazed that the Fire Garden is back,   with good facial animation and voice acting  that is once more drowned out by the score. Scorpion: "The Fire Gardens... rebuilt?" Sub-Zero doesn't believe he is here as an ally,  mainly because he confirms that Hanzo is dead   but makes no effort to explain that D'Vorah did  it, thereby implying it was him. After the fight,   Sub-Zero's body disappears between shots as Raiden  attacks him, having his MK9 amulet in gameplay,   but not in cutscenes, making one wonder why he  doesn't have it in the story when he's supposed  
02:44:31
to, considering this is the MK9 version. Or, at  least, he did have have it originally before they   patched it out, proving that they just didn't care  when it came to Kano. But Raiden having the amulet   he's logically supposed to have but doesn't in  the pre-rendered cutscenes? Nah, mate, get rid. We move swiftly into Chapter 11: Cutting The  Strings - Raiden. Liu Kang urges Raiden to listen,   but he begins using Shinnok's amulet. Only  one scene after being incredibly reluctant   to do so... This leads to yet another fight  between the two, and once again played from   Raiden's perspective. It's getting as repetitive  as Scorpion vs Sub-Zero and Sonya vs Kano. But at   least those don't have this serious, important  fight open with Liu Kang's fucking turkey cry. Raiden's lightning turns red as Liu Kang  reaches the point he was at by the end of MK9,   prepared to kill Raiden, if need be. This  gives Raiden pause, recalling the end of MK9,   but with the MK11 designs for Raiden and Shao  Kahn, even though there are much closer designs   that exist in the game that would fit better, but  that would be acknowledging that these costumes   aren't the same ones. Of course, the portal is  a different colour, the dialogue is different   (even though you could just reuse Raiden's  old voice lines as is) and Kahn steps out of  
02:45:34
the portal before the fight instead of after  it. And worse, the scene is dominated by that   fucking billboard for Hsu Hao watches. It's like  the original cut of Highlander: Endgame where the   big emotional climax where franchise lead Connor  McCleod dies is dominated by a bright fucking red   JVC billboard, which was later airbrushed over  with a really obvious grey effect to hide it. This transitions into a scene where we watch  the two fight, with the location and their   costumes changing regularly between shots, finally  utilising the gear to make them more distinct,   but often with awful colour schemes that simply  do not fit them, like purple Raiden and yellow   Liu Kang. Raiden casts aside the amulet and  makes sense of the vision. The sound team fuck   up by having the offscreen Liu Kang's voice come  quietly from the far right side, with no change   at all as he appears in the next shot, right  in front of the camera. It sounds like this: Liu Kang: "I do not understand, Lord Raiden." When it should instead sound more like this: Liu Kang: "I do not understand, Lord Raiden." Raiden explains that there were more  timelines before this one, with Kronika   resetting time more times than we knew, and  always pitting these two against each other,   as if they've always been at odds, even  though they never once fought prior to DCU,  
02:46:36
so this is just an attempt to justify a modern  MK meme and act like it's a series staple. Everyone but Raiden becomes frozen in time  (although the trees don't) as Kronika emerges to   taunt Raiden. She flat-out admits that his and  Liu Kang's combined power is a threat to her,   even though it's never actually explained why them  specifically and how, other than them just being   really good fighters, even though Raiden just  said that Liu Kang died by his hand every time.   She claims this conversation has happened  beyond count in past timelines. Alright,   it's finally talk about this fucking awful  villain and plan we've been presented with. The game really wants you to think Kronika is some  brilliant mastermind, but she really isn't. Her   manipulation of her followers is all very basic  and only works because every single one of them   is an idiot who takes her at her word. She doesn't  use her time powers to grant them boons as a taste   of what she's offering, like producing warriors  from the clans Frost and Noob want that existed   in dead timelines, resorting revenants to human,  restoring Edenia, or showing visions of previous   timelines where they had what they wanted  as proof that she can give it to them again. Her motivation is to achieve  balance between good and evil,   hence why she was so upset by what Raiden did to  Shinnok, but if that's the reason she's upset,  
02:47:39
by did they bother making her Shinnok's mother,  if that plot point amounts to absolutely nothing?   She didn't get mad because Raiden harmed her son  - unless we acknowledge Geras claiming otherwise,   which I will because it's inconsistent writing  due to Geras' words not being called out as   wrong - no, it's supposed to be because of  what Shinnok represents in this Kingdom Hearts   bullshit. But, if balance was her main thing, how  has Raiden unbalanced the scales so much? Yes,   Dominic apparently confirmed that Kronika  straight-up cannot restore Shinnok as that's   beyond her power (begging the question of  how her New Era is supposed to work then),   but surely, if she can manipulate events as  she claims, she could just guide events to   restore the revenants, or make Dark Raiden  take Shinnok's place in her grand design? And if Shinnok's presence was so important,  why did she not simply interfere before   Raiden could decapitate him? We learn later  in Aftermath that her power can affect Raiden,   despite what the base story would have you  believe. All she has to do is freeze Raiden   and kill him before he can decapitate Shinnok.  Or, better yet, if Kronika's plan here is to   erase Raiden in the next go around (i.e. that  is within her capability), why the fuck did she   not just get rid of him in a previous reset? He's  not in her crosshairs solely because of what he's  
02:48:39
done in this timeline - she's always pitting him  and Liu Kang against each other because they're a   huge threat, but she's never once thought that  she could just exclude them from the next go   around? If she erased one of them forever, she'd  be unbeatable, by the story's logic. But, no,   that would be the smart thing to do, much better  to taunt them and tell them how to beat her. She's a fucking idiot who makes no attempt to kill  one of the two people who can stop her while one   is frozen and the other is isolated because  all of his allies are frozen. She doesn't try   to kill any of them, she just abducts Liu Kang  for another plot that makes no fucking sense.   And why not open a portal right here and now to  let her forces come in and kill them all? Kronika   is the kind of villain who is written to be so  unbelievably powerful that the heroes only have   any shot of beating her because she makes very  obvious mistakes, but the game doesn't present her   as if overconfidence is he weakness, or that she's  a fucking idiot. At most, she's sometimes referred   to as being mad, which is a really pathetic  explanation for the villain's blatant stupidity. The fact that she can only be defeated by Raiden  and Liu Kang uniting is not only some more chosen   one bullshit, but it blows a massive hole  in her plan. If only they can stop her,  
02:49:40
why does she bring past versions to the present?  As things stood, Dark Raiden and Revenant Liu Kang   were already enemies willing to kill each other.  If she'd just let them be, one would have died and   denied the other the ally he'd need to stop her.  But instead, she erased the corrupted Raiden and   brought forward heroic versions of both who are  still allies and are in opposition to her actions. The merger opens another gaping hole in the  plan as that's what alerted everyone to there   being something afoot. She tells Kahn that  she needs his army to defend the Hourglass,   but the act of bringing Kahn and his army to  the present is what causes there to be anyone to   threaten the Hourglass in the fucking first place.  If she'd just sent Geras to get the Jinsei water,   he could have retrieved the crown before anyone  even noticed the water was taken and rewound   time with zero interference. The only reason  her plan has a chance of failing is because   she's the stupidest fucking arsehole in the  entire MK universe, and no amount of arrogance   or insanity can excuse the fact that the villain  directly causes her own downfall by making a big   spectacle of her plan for no reason at all. This  writing is genuinely on the same level as General   Katana provoking Connor McLeod into stopping him  in Highlander Fucking II! Yes, this game's story  
02:50:44
is on-par with one of the most infamously bad  sequels of all time. And you can't deny that. And Raiden's earlier speculation as to why he is  affected differently from everyone else raises   even more questions now. When a character  speculates on a subject they don't have   an answer to, if no alternative explanation  is offered, this is the writers telling you   how it is. That being the case, if the gods  exist outside of the normal flow of time,   then how have Kronika's repeated resets of the  timeline gone unnoticed up to now? Why aren't   they aware when the timeline is reset and try to  get to the bottom of it? And were they wiped by   the merger while Cetrion was shielded from it, or  did Cetrion just kill them all, despite Elder Gods   being unkillable as of MKX, with MK11 backing that  up with Shinnok's severed head as living proof? This twist that Kronika has reset the timeline  countless times is clearly supposed to make her   the biggest threat in the entire history of MK,  but not only does it make absolutely no sense   if you put even a modicum of thought into it  (i.e. more than the fucking writers ever did),   but the fact that she has to keep resetting  to try and get her way paints her as a   child throwing a Crisis-Event-level  tantrum and sabotaging her own success  
02:51:46
every step of the way, because she's a  fucking idiot who acts without thinking. Kronika: "I literally just shit myself." And you know this isn't how she's intended to come  across because none of the characters acknowledge   how dumb she is. They act like she's this genius  mastermind, but the writers have somehow created   a character who is so unfathomably cretinous that  she cannot be taken seriously for even a second.   God, Jennifer Hale deserved a better role. They  should've swapped her and Ronda Rousey around.   At least then, Kronika would have a performance  befitting this broken fucking character that   Cianciolo claimed is above The One Being! At least  Shawn has his head on straight with that one... And as for the fan theory I've alluded  to before now, some fans believe that   this revelation serves to justify any and all  continuity issues in the series, and possibly   make every ending canonical in one timeline or  another. And it could be intended to do that,   except that time has explicitly not been reset  since prior to MK9. Raiden references the visions   from MK9, even though he wouldn't have been  having them if Kronika had reset the timeline   since. Kronika said Raiden had "once again"  upset the balance by decapitating Shinnok,   and the only other way he's done  this is by sending the visions back.
02:52:48
Sure, maybe Kronika means something he did in a  prior timeline, but no such idea is elaborated on,   so we're left to assume she's talking  about something we've actually seen,   and the only thing that could possibly qualify is  the visions. Unless this ties into her saying that   she and Raiden have had this exact conversation  countless times, suggesting that she keeps taking   action after Raiden decapitates Shinnok or  does something else to disrupt the balance,   and Kronika just keeps letting him and then  getting mad about it. You know, when you give   the character the benefit of the doubt, she just  comes off as even more of an incompetent twat. So this revelation, contrary to popular  belief, does not actually excuse   any continuity issues between MK9, MKX and MK11.  It does excuse contradictions with older titles,   as it's possible time was completely reset  between the Midway timeline and MK9's intro,   creating a similar sequence of events in the  broad strokes but different in the small details,   like who goes where and what the  character motivations are. But   anything changed during the Netherrealm  trilogy is not covered by this and is   simply a continuity issue. Rewritten  backstories, inconsistent designs,   characters being where they shouldn't - it's  all still an issue even with this awful reveal.
02:53:48
Now, that we've got all that out of the way and  have calmed down, let's get back to the story. Kronika: "You cannot win. You are   welcome to try, of course." The Doctor: "Kill yourself." So, Kronika's power over the others  comes undone. By choice or limitation,   it's unclear, but with how she just taunted  Raiden, I'm inclined to assume the former.   Liu Kang is held at the Keep by the upgraded  Geras. Kronika enters with all the revenants,   bar Kabal, who I guess died earlier then?  since the game didn't show it, allow me. The ships make their way across the Sea  of Blood. We have Special Forces (whom I   guess we're supposed to assume either evacuated  the base and left the hero characters to fend   for themselves, or Raiden teleported them  out before coming to save his champions),   Shaolin (whose presence after the massacre isn't  even granted an off-hand remark about survivors   or another temple) and the Outworld army. For  whatever reason, Sonya and the two Johnnies   are totally absent, along with the Lin Kuei  and Shirai Ryu. Present Johnny's injury could   almost excuse his absence, but Raiden can heal  people, which he even did to Scorpion earlier   after calming down, so he should have  at least been able to heal Past Johnny.
02:54:51
But these absences, as well as being odd, also  take a lot of the wind out of the sails of this   entire trilogy. This is the big finale (aside from  Aftermath), the culmination of every plotline and   development from the last three games. But  the guy who stepped up after the hero died,   and the wife his entire story in MKX revolved  around, are sitting this one out. And the two   rival ninjas who puts aside their differences  and revived their respective clans as forces   for good are here sans clans, as if they were  never reformed in the first place. Even without   the very obvious absentees from this third  instalment, the characters that did show up   for this game still don't get proper closure  or representation in the climax. It's galling. Technically, the Sea of Blood was originally in  Outworld in Shaolin Monks, but I'm okay with it   being here instead, if only to give us Netherrealm  locations that aren't generic Hell for once.   Really harkens back to Mythologies. Plus, with  the claim that the Hourglass is outside the realms   and the Sea connects to it, one can imagine  it also bleeds (so to speak) into Outworld. Frost and Geras lead their own fleet of Cybers  to intercept. These cyborgs have red blood,   unlike Sektor and Cyrax. Raiden is attacked by  She Kinda Bad Though. While Raiden talks him  
02:55:53
into joining them, Hanzo fights the cyborgs  in the background. Yes, Hanzo, not Scorpion.   How does one fuck that up when we are a mere  three scenes out from his emotional death?   Jax apparently didn't know Shinnok was Kronika's  son, which seems to be the tipping point.   Once again, the character chapters bugger up the  arcs because it's Raiden, who has barely said   three sentences to Jax over the entire trilogy,  who gets through to him. Not Jax's own daughter,   or past self, or his closest friend who I  don't think Jax even knows died at the start. Geras appears next and says one of the  stupidest things I have ever heard: Geras: "I have died a thousand  deaths to prepare for this battle." To reiterate my earlier point about Kronika:  FAILING A THOUSAND TIMES DOES NOT MAKE YOU   THREATNING, IT MAKES YOU LOOK PATHETIC! Like  mistress, like literal black slave, I guess. iDubbbz: "Yikes." So, yeah, the unbeatable Geras gets beaten  and Raiden drags him to into the Sea of   Blood with an anchor, claiming the Sea  of Blood is bottomless. Which kinda...   negates the purpose of having an anchor,  right? And Geras is done now. Wow, what   a great and intimidating villain. Still, he'd  have been a better main villain than Kronika.  
02:56:55
It was stated that Kronika was a man for most of  development (and yet they still went out of their   way to mention her being the series' first female  boss despite that not being the case at first and   Dural having existed since 1993), so they should  have had Geras and Kronika be one character.   At least that way, Geras could utilise the  time rewind finisher that Kronika stole   from him instead of being straddled with two  finishers that have nothing to do with time. Frost comes over right after this and wants  Raiden's attention and is angry that he   "ignored her her entire life", despite their only  prior interaction being Raiden sending her to the   Lin Kuei in the comic... off-panel. Why is it  that the only thing Frost cares about that makes   any sense is revenge on Sub-Zero for kicking  her out? The Shirai Ryu stuff, the cyber stuff,   Raiden's attention... none of it has any  relevance to her character, in the slightest. Sub-Zero comes in and says the line, having missed  the final confrontation with the failed protégé   who presumably wiped out his clan. Raiden  fries Frost's brain, probably killing her,   and taking out all the cybers, proving that  both Frost and Kronika are complete morons for   putting the key to half their army's remaining  forces on the front lines. And if bombs can be   planted inside them like Sektor, they could  easily have used them as suicide bombers.
02:57:56
Back at the Hourglass, Revenant Liu Kang  steals the soul of his past self. I repeat,   he steals the soul of his past self! There are  two ways to interpret this and both make no sense.   One might think this is a clear violation of  the rule about past self death killing the   present self, as acknowledged by Kronika  herself earlier when regarding Liu Kang,   but it actually isn't. The correct  interpretation is that, as we'll see later,   Past Liu Kang is actually still alive, even  without his soul, which makes about as much   sense as placing the fight between the  classic, uncorrupted version of Liu Kang   and his corrupted modern incarnation in Chapter  3 and not the finale. This is so fucking stupid. And Liu Kang having learned to  steal souls like Shang Tsung   could have been used to set up a good moment  where he realises how far he's fallen, or uses   this fact as ammunition to tear into Raiden,  but the parallel is never brought up, sadly. The revenant then tells Kitana and Kung  Lao to lead the army at the shoreline,   which they will not do. Liu Kang jumps onto the flagship to attack Raiden.   Raiden jumps into the Player 1 position  and fails to talk him down. One flying   kick is all it takes for Raiden to  conclude that Liu Kang is stronger now,   even though the more impressive feat was the jump  onto the ship. And despite being stood nearby,  
02:59:00
Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Jax don't lift a finger  to help. Liu Kang pulls an Injustice Superman, Superman: "You'll have to kill me." Liu Kang: "You will have to kill me." But Raiden instead merges with both  Liu Kangs, leading into Chapter 12:   End Of An Era - Fire God Liu Kang. Liu Kang taking Raiden's power and  becoming a god isn't a bad idea,   but the way it's achieved is so dumb. And if  Raiden could do this at any time, why didn't   he do it after knocking Liu Kang out in MKX, or  during the climax of MK9 to save his life and give   him clarity on the plan? They really should have  either depicted Raiden learning he could do this,   or acquiring something he needs to do so. Even  Shinnok's amulet could serve that purpose. But if we had to go this fusion route, the least  they could have done is had Raiden extract Past   Liu Kang's soul and merge with him, and then have  Fire God Liu Kang vanquish his revenant self. Shawn Kittelsen wrote an article for  Polygon in 2019 about this moment,   describing it as Raiden "learn[ing] the lessons  that history has taught humanity time and again,   but which we often conveniently ignore. Fighting  leads to fighting. Feuds only end when we humble   ourselves to make peace." This paints the story  as if it's all been about futilely fighting when  
03:00:01
the correct act is to stop fighting to end the  cycle of violence. There are two issues with this: The nature of MK's narrative is that the heroes  have to fight, or their world will be conquered   or destroyed. They cannot simply stop. If they  stopped in 1-3, Kahn would conquer Earthrealm,   merge it with Outworld and rule it with  an iron fist. If they stopped in 4,   Shinnok would have conquered Edenia then set his  sights on Earth. In Deadly Alliance, the titular   threat would have conquered Outworld then turned  its attention to Earthrealm. In Deception and X,   the villains would have merged all the realms  and brought about the return of The One Being   and the end of all reality. Even Armageddon,  a plot that revolves around the constant   fighting leading to a scenario where the  realms are in danger of falling apart,   requires them to fight, because the  villains obtaining the prize will   spell doom in a different way, as highlighted by  the scene that kickstarted this very timeline. 2. This isn't an end to the  violence. There's still another   chapter of fighting to go and the way  to beat the villain is to fight her. This message could only possibly carry  any weight if it was displayed in the   final confrontation, with no  more fights happening after it,   and if there was realistically a better way  to stop Kronika, which there just isn't. He also talked about the "redemption" of  Liu Kang and Raiden in the same article,  
03:01:04
and I have to hard disagree. He paints the  corruption of the two back in the 3D Era and   the cycle repeating itself in their second  chance in MK9 and X as something for them to   need redemption for, but that rings hollow  when it's neither of those versions of them   that is putting a stop to this cycle  of corruption; it's a third version. If this story was about redeeming  the two and ending the conflict in   a different manner than fighting, it would  have been a story about the two fighting   in their corrupted forms as MKX set up, with  massive collateral damage for all the realms,   and one or both having a moment of  clarity during their final battle,   putting a stop to it by talking each other  down, or one of them letting himself be   killed to open the other's eyes - probably  Raiden letting Liu Kang kill him to rid him   of his deep-seated desire for revenge for his own  death at Raiden's hand and reawaken his old self. I get the impression that Shawn wanted to inject  something more meaningful into the game's story,   but had precious little room to do  so because of a core premise that   simply disagreed with what he was trying to do. Kung Lao and Kitana board the flagship,   Lao doing so by teleporting. He could've  just used that to get past the Shaolin traps,   but I guess he kinda forgot he could do it  back then. At least, he gets a good quip in. Kitana: "Incredible." Kung Lao: "Now he's out of her league."
03:02:06
Kronika is surprised by this turn and says they  must make haste... before casually walking back   to the Hourglass, and continuing from where  she left off when she went to go walk over   to where Liu Kang was held instead of  just having Cetrion do it. Oh, look,   she does walk when she wants to be fast,  even though hovering is clearly faster. The ships land and the heroes go forth to  kill the oni that are all that remains of   Kronika's forces. The Kabals, Erron,  Noob, Kollector, Skarlet, D'Vorah,   all are just randomly absent. They should  have either all been killed before this point,   or all appear on the shoreline and fight the  heroes to the death. Jacqui enters the fray   without her armour but by the time Present Jax,  who shouldn't even be on the same ship as them,   joins her soon after, she's got it back on.  And Past Jax switches positions between shots,   behind Present Jax before he turns and then still  being behind him when he finishes turning. The   fighting stops because Fire God Liu Kang just  wipes out damn near the entire enemy army on his   own. And then everyone's grouped together,  despite having stopped fighting to watch,   so there was no point at which they could have all  reunited. Despite there not being that many oni on   the bridge behind the gate after the first shot,  only Kung Lao and Kitana follow Liu Kang inside. Once they enter the Keep, Liu Kang says
03:03:07
Liu Kang: "May the Elder Gods protect us" despite them all being dead and thus  only slightly less useful than usual. Interestingly, there was a part earlier  on when Raiden was about to say it,   but then cut himself off and  said something different. Raiden: "May the Elder Gods  protec- May you return victorious." Don't know why things have changed now. Inside the Hourglass chamber, they find the  remaining three revenants augmented. I guess   Kronika can do it in like a minute, so I really  don't see why no one else got that treatment.   The stage is set for a 3v3 as Kronika stops  working to taunt them and then get back to work,   the self-sabotaging twat. Kitana and Kung Lao  freeze before slowly reversing back outside.   The direction and the Bioshock-like score  do a good job of selling the alien nature of   this scene as the entire battle is undone and the  framerate of the pre-rendered scene goes to shit. But if the past selves are rewound, then how do  the present selves make it through? Did Kronika   make them immune? If she can do that, why did  she not do so for all her Present followers and   have them go nuts against the Past versions?  It would've been way more interesting if a   good version died and their evil present self  was still active, or if Past Kano died but  
03:04:08
Present Kano was still a threat. Think about  all the scenarios that could come from that. Kronika stops working again to say that Raiden's  power protects Liu Kang from the power of the   Hourglass, somehow, which you'd think would  protect Raiden and thus make him aware of   Kronika's countless rewinds, but it's apparently  too much to ask for clear and consistent rules in   this story nominated for the 2019 Golden Joystick  Award for Best Storytelling, fucking clownshoes. Liu Kang fights the revenants, who beat  him back easily but then stop fighting to   let him catch his breath and power up with  the Jinsei power. This lets him easily beat   them all back and knock Jade out without  even a gameplay fight. I'm not sure if him   breaking her staff over her throat actually  kills her though. Kitana gets a real fight,   blaming him for her death in MK9, as if she  joined Earthrealm because of him and not because   she'd made an enemy of Shao Kahn and had nowhere  else to go where she could be relatively safe. Kung Lao goes next, calling Liu Kang  egotistical and saying it should have been him,   proving that he has the out-of-control ego,  but Liu Kang is just too nice a guy to throw   his hypocrisy back in his face. Kung Lao says  it will be him who is the hero in the New Era,   but that presumably isn't what she told Liu  Kang, which you'd think would tip Lao off to  
03:05:09
the fact that she's lying about everything,  but again, all of her allies are idiots. Kronika stops working again to claim  that a demi-god's power can't rival   an Elder God. You'd think she means a  mortal and god merging makes a demi-god,   but she means Raiden's power, the power of  a demi-god, which as I've explained before,   Raiden is not, no matter how many fucking  times this game insists that he is. Cetrion is also upgraded, but with a kind  of autumn look that doesn't match the other   augmentations. This would work better, I think,  as the state she's in after losing to Jacqui,   like if she received a serious wound  in that fight and now this life/nature   goddess has transitioned from spring to autumn.  As with all upgrades in this game, it changes   nothing and she goes down easily. Liu Kang now has  lightning powers that only manifest in gameplay in   a teleport and a few altered effects that leave  his moveset, otherwise, seemingly unchanged.   He tries to talk Cetrion down and she clearly  agrees, but she's honour-bound to serve Kronika,   to the point that when Kronika asks for her  soul to power herself up, she just does it.   Unlike with the mortal Liu Kang, this actually  kills the Elder Goddess. Go on, roll the clip. Shao Kahn: "Such wasted potential."
03:06:12
I'll do a Wasted Plotential on her  just as soon as someone explains to   me the mechanics of Kronika's plan so  I can understand Cetrion's role in it. With only a little more time, Kronika  rewinds history back to the Prehistoric Age,   where there are actual dinosaurs  that Kronika can utilise in combat,   even though acknowledgement of dinosaurs seems  weird in a setting with humanoid gods. And it   raises the question of the natural ground and  plant life now surrounding the Hourglass. Is that   stuff native to this place before Kronika built  her spire around it, or is the Hourglass now in   a different location? Was it moved from here  or is this just a random part of the process? But putting those admittedly fairly pedantic  questions aside, this is why I said that so   many characters might as well have been killed,  because it wouldn't affect anything anyway,   since they all get wiped. Let them all  die to show how high the stakes are,   and don't worry about the storyline implications  for future games because it's all been undone. And so, the final fight begins. Kronika is a terrible boss fight. She can't be  thrown, swept or comboed. She can't be stunned.   Multi-hit specials like the Bicycle Kick  don't work on her. Difficulty is never fun   when it comes from simply limiting your existing  options. Every third of her health she loses,  
03:07:13
she summons a random opponent to fight you,  but they have drastically reduced health.   There's even a chance of a guest fighter being  summoned, because the devs programmed the fight   and never thought about the Story Mode version  again after launch. The challenge comes from   not having access to half your options, which is  fine for a one-off sequence like the fight club,   but that should never be the sole  challenge of the final boss fight. For some reason, if you lose a round,  Kronika says she intended to keep Liu   Kang's role in history intact before he became  immortal. Why would she do that? Why would she   not just erase him to make sure he can never  be a threat to her? This is fucking stupid. After winning your first round, Kronika reveals  that she is a Titan, because this game has added   more Greek myth influence than was ever wanted to  MK. Titans that produce Olympians (Elder Gods),   who produce Demi-Gods. Fuck. Off. And this calls  into question the entire creation myth with the   Elder Gods and One Being, because like all hack  writers who come into a franchise decades into it,   these guys think their ideas are so  much better than what came before,   so fuck what had been established a decade and a  half ago, we're adding Titans to the MK mythos,   despite the fact that other Titans  only appear in non-canon endings,  
03:08:14
so bugger all would actually change  if they just made Kronika the Elder   God of Time who is close to Cetrion, which  makes her the most powerful of them all. And, as is standard for Netherrealm, the arcade  victory cutscene is a way better defeat than the   one seen in the story. Instead of being  sliced apart by shards of the Hourglass,   she just gets burned to crystal (which  Liu Kang's fire can randomly do now)   and shattered to pieces, crown and all. So, all told, I think the idea is  supposed to be that Elder Gods can die,   as Cetrion dies and presumably killed the other  Elder Gods, but Raiden lacks the power to do so,   hence Shinnok's survival. Of course, the "Elder  Gods can't die" thing was presumably introduced   in MKX to explain why Shinnok wasn't  killed after his original failed coup,   MK4 or MKX's first chapter - it's impossible,  so he can only be imprisoned again. But then,   how can a Titan, a being supposedly above an Elder  God, be just killed outright by a deified mortal?   The rules of this setting have been irreparably  damaged by this game's piss-poor writing. Imagine how much cooler a finale it would  be if Revenant Liu Kang fought her as the   penultimate fight while his past self was  fighting his way through the other revenants,   stole her power, and became a dark god, making  the final fight one between two Liu Kangs.  
03:09:19
It would defy expectations in a good way,  partially justify how shit a villain Kronika   is by making her simply a tool to facilitate the  rise of Death God Liu Kang, be more thematically   appropriate for the finale of this story, and  be a better actual boss fight mechanically. The game has three endings  here. If you win both rounds,   time remains in the Prehistoric age and Liu  Kang will shape the new timeline alongside   human Raiden and a Kitana he somehow plucked from  the timeline that, according to Kronika earlier,   no longer exists. And they stand in the Chaotian  Era, not the Prehistoric, so I guess he chose to   reset things further? If you lose a round,  Kronika reverts time to the Chaotian age   and Kitana will not be restored. If you lose  both rounds, Liu Kang dies and Kronika wins. I think a better approach would have been to have  the first round come before the reset, allowing   the Good Ending be the prevention of the reset and  allowing this timeline to persist in that reality,   while the middle ending is a reset with hope that  Liu Kang can forge a better timeline, and the last   being Kronika's victory with an actual taste of  what her new Era actually entails, because the   only real clue we get about it is in Cetrion's  ending. If they showed it in this ending,  
03:10:19
or had someone receive a vision of Kronika's  goal earlier, we'd have a better understanding of   what the loss state is. After all, a fair balance  between good and evil is theoretically better than   the unbalanced state the universe was in after  MK9, right, so why not show that it wouldn't be? But, that's the end of MK11's base story.  I'll save my overall thoughts until after   we've covered Aftermath. But for now,  I'll just say this about the main story: Hannibal Buress: "Hahahahahaha, this sucks man." Aftermath released about a year later,  after the first Kombat Pack was complete.   I'm not entirely sure as to the exact timeframe of  events, but Shawn Kittelsen left Netherrealm not   long after the base game launched. However,  he did co-write both stories, so I believe   both were written prior to launch. But despite  this, Aftermath still feels like it was written   way later, with how the new additions  here this aren't set up in the main story,   nor are they properly justified, and some aspects  feel like they were made partially in response to   the scant criticism the story received, or  frustrations the dev team may have had about   how the previous campaign turned out. Maybe  Cianciolo went back and made some changes to   address some issues, or add things that he felt  were missing or unanswered in the base story,  
03:11:26
but it still feels like it wasn't always was  intended to be part of the whole package. I've always been bugged by the Aftermath  poster. For one, Shang Tsung never uses   this costume in the story, it's not his default,  and he's an old man for almost the whole thing.   Raiden has his Dark Raiden hat despite being  his past self, like this was the toyline,   and positioning Raiden front and centre as if he's  the lead character, or divided between Liu Kang   and Shang Tsung makes no sense. It should either  be Shang in front with the other two behind,   representing them having to put their trust in  Shang as he heads into the past, or put the actual   three leads on the cover. I seriously don't  understand what they were gong for with this. Aftermath begins right after the middle ending. As   Liu Kang is about to start shaping  the sands of time, a portal opens. Shang Tsung: "Cease, Liu  Kang. Before you doom us all." And Shang Tsung, Fujin and Nightwolf enter the  void. Shang claims that with the crown destroyed,   attempting to manipulate the sands now will only  destroy the Hourglass and leave the universe   broken. I mean, it worked for Raiden in MK9... And  the crown was never suggested to have this kind of   purpose before, seemingly only being a source  of power for the wearer. After all, how many  
03:12:29
characters actually use the crown when reshaping  history in their endings? But Fujin backs him up   on this, saying that Kronika wouldn't dare restart  history without the crown, which is why she left   its defence to four people, one of whom had  already been beaten three times in that same day. Nightwolf says Kronika asked each of the three  for their help, offering places for them in the   New Era. Why she would ever think Fujin would join  her, I've no idea. And, obviously, they did refuse   and got banished to a void beyond time, from which  they could only observe events, until Kronika's   death let them out. Why she didn't just do this to  everyone else who opposed her is never explained.   It's necessary in order for these three to survive  the reset and come back, but I'm sure you could   find a better way to do this, like if Shang found  some artefact of Kronika's and used it to make   himself and the other two immune to her powers  so they could join him in helping the others. Shang proposes the use of time travel, saying  that having Liu Kang go back would be too risky.   He instead suggests sending himself into "the  current timeline"... which Kronika rewound,   so it shouldn't exist anymore. Or is this  suggesting that only the present time is rewound,   and that prior timelines do still exist in the  past, like how DC characters are sometimes able   to time travel into previously-thought erased  timelines? If so, Liu Kang should just travel into  
03:13:33
the Midway timeline and erase all of Netherrealm's  crap. And doesn't this create a huge plothole by   making it that Kronika could have sent someone  back in time to tell her of her future plans not   working out? Or hell, the heroes could send  the trio back do trick Kronika by claiming   they changed sides later and are here to warn  her after everyone else in her service died.   She's certainly dumb enough to fall for something  like that... Anyway, putting that plothole aside,   the plan is to have Shang retrieve the  crown from before Chapter 9, giving it to...   I'll call this Liu Kang and Raiden Future  versions to keep it simple - give it to   Past Raiden and then defeat Kronika again.  That's right, we're doing a time heist. Yes,   this is very much the Endgame to MK11's  Infinity War. Or, it's supposed to be. Also, Netherrealm fanboys   whenever they can't deny that I'm right: Raiden: "Why are we listening to this snake?" Shang says he worked alongside Kronika, but he  didn't like being a pawn, so she cast him out,   hence how he knows how the Hourglass works.  Liu Kang has a private word with Fujin about   something risky and asks him not to say  anything about it. He insists that Fujin   and Nightwolf join Shang on this, but Raiden  is to stay behind to counsel Liu Kang. I feel   like the more obvious reason is that, even if  Future Raiden is mortal, Past Raiden isn't,  
03:14:36
which could erase the god Raiden that is key to  their plan to stop Kronika in this next timeline. Raiden calls Fujin his brother,  because they actually are brothers now,   despite only one piece of MK4 marketing  material having called them that before.   And this just makes all the times Fujin failed  to aid Raiden, like Deadly Alliance, MK9 and MKX,   all the more galling. They aren't  just colleagues, they are brothers. The three arrive just after Kitana's forces  break into the Koliseum, with a full minute   and a half of reused cutscenes, starting with  Kahn's speech before he tries to kill Kotal.   At least cut it down to open with  Kitana's confrontation of Kahn. We   don't need this much context to know where  we're going back to. Something like this: Kitana: "My 'sister' was an unholy monster.   Exactly like you, 'Father'." The trio arrive and Chapter 13: Time's Arrow  - Nightwolf begins. They realise this is   the wrong Koliseum battle. This gives them  little time, and they opt to go undetected,   lest Cetrion go for the crown early because of  a changed outcome. Of course, Kollector spots   them going underground and pursues. Even though  he's supposed to be fighting Kitana right now.  
03:15:42
Despite the fact that they're low on time, they  walk at a leisurely pace, allowing Kollector to   catch up and release some creatures to fight  Shang and Fujin while he fights Nightwolf. Nightwolf is voiced by Daniel Luján instead of  Larry Omaha. He carries the sense of stoic wisdom   well, and is better suited to this younger-looking  Nightwolf than we saw in MK9. I'm not sure when   this version is from, as Shang is supposedly from  right before Kahn restored his youth, so he could   be a younger version than we saw in MK9, but his  intros do reference MK9, so it's hard to say. Nightwolf: "Does the truth sting, Scorpion?" Scorpion: "You did not let me win." When the fight ends, we see Fujin and Shang  kill the creatures, rather than show them   do it before the fight begins as is so  often done in these stories. Good job. The trio get away just as the battle ends.  Shang says they can't just go for the crown   as Kronika will be alerted now, even though  the only person who saw them was Kollector and   Nightwolf could easily have killed him before.  As such, Shang proposes recruiting Sindel,   who can be restored (despite MKX saying it  was impossible) and who plays no major role   in the conflict (meaning she was around but  left in reserve for no reason) and can thus   be recruited without disrupting things,  even though they already are disrupted  
03:16:44
by Kronika knowing they're here and  delegating resources to stop them. Fujin believes Sindel was as evil as Shao  Kahn, which Shang says is because she   was being controlled. Everyone else knows  the story of MK3, but Fujin just doesn't?   Nightwolf should probably have been the one to say  this instead. Shang says they need Sindel's power,   the power that nearly killed all the  Earthrealmers, but no one points out   that she was powered up by Shang Tsung's soul and,  presumably, all the souls he'd taken up to then. Nightwolf says they'll "finish"  Shang at the first sign of betrayal,   because the writers like to use "finish"  in place of "kill", even if it gets weird   and awkward after a few uses and should be  used sparingly. In absence of a better plan,   they head to Earthrealm to get some  Jinsei energy to restore Sindel's body. We return to the Hourglass, where Kronika learns  of the trio's presence. I was under the impression   that Kronika existed outside of time, but she has  a past self? I dunno, that just seems weird. She   dispatches Geras and Frost. Fujin stays to "secure  the grotto", but I've no idea what that actually   entails. Shang triggers a spike trap, revealing  the body of the Descendant of Apep from the   Krypt - evidently a different version. Strangely,  this trap was not present in the main game,   as it was a simple barred gate. Geras and the  cybers arrive, but our heroes topple the cybers  
03:17:47
easily. Yes, the choreography's alright, but  this has that common issue of the enemy engaging   one or two at a time instead of actually  using their numerical advantage. And Shang   just stands in the background while he waits for  some cybers to get past Nightwolf to engage him.   Nightwolf fights Frost while Shang fights Geras.  Shang is oddly spry for an old man. Geras is   still going on about how tough and unbeatable  he is as walks through Shang and Fujin's blasts,   drawing parallels with the intro of Deception. He  takes the other two down, so Nightwolf fights him. Geras mentions previous fighting Nightwolves, as  Nightwolf is now a title passed between guardians   of the Matoka. It's not a bad idea, and it could  have been really interesting if the Nightwolf   featured here was a new Nightwolf out to destroy  his predecessor's revenant and free his soul,   maybe even mentored by Fujin and joining him and  Shang on their mission. There's potential there,   but all they've used this new  concept for is pushing females,   with the only specifics on any past Nightwolves  being that one was a woman, the potential next one   in his ending being female and also calling  The Great Spirit female, which I've heard   is actually quite offensive as The Great  Spirit is a real thing in numerous Native   American cultures and is considered both male and  female, but typically described with male terms  
03:18:48
like "Grandfather". I'm not here to criticise  that aspect, as I don't know this for sure,   but the Great Spirit isn't just some made-up  thing the writers can do whatever they want with.   It's not an "inspired by" situation like with  Raiden - this is based on a thing that real   people still believe in today, so it needs  to be handled with care when adding onto it. Fujin asks if Nightwolf cutting off Geras'  arms was necessary, as if this were some   impressionable or desperate person forced  into this situation, not one of Kronika's   most powerful enforcers who can manipulate time  and can't be permanently dealt with. Shang opens   a portal and they send him to Chaosrealm. Shang  says that Havik will keep him busy. I believe   Cianciolo said that Havik didn't actually  die in the MKX comic and actually came back,   but how does he come back after having his  head removed and crushed. Why did they take   "can live with a broken neck" to mean "completely  unkillable"? Shang opens a portal and you have to   imagine that this fight could have been avoided  if Shang has just done that in the grotto. They observe the Netherrealm army being led  by Jade and Kung Lao, meaning Jade was a late   addition to the crown protection force, devaluing  the claims about the crown's importance further.   Fujin questions what Sindel's role was in  the events and I don't think we actually get   an answer for that, same with Nightwolf, whose  revenant appears with Liu Kang and Kitana. Liu  
03:19:51
Kang now has an amulet of some sort that he uses  to capture them and never does anything else with. The three awaken in the Bone Temple, whose  restoration finally serves a purpose.   Sindel and Nightwolf arrive to threaten them.  Nightwolf breaks free and frees the others,   then fights Sindel. Revenant Nightwolf defeats  Shang Tsung and horribly burns his face. Then   begins a mirror match. Yes, we have five fights  and this is the case for every Aftermath chapter.   Except for the one that has six... I'm not sure  why they upped it to five instead of keeping it at   four and using the extra time for another chapter  for someone else who didn't get one before. Shang begins taking Revenant Nightwolf's  soul, and Fujin stops the human Nightwolf   from stopping him so he can survive, thereby  setting off a ton of butthurt fans that got   mad when they read too much into Fujin  putting a hand on Nightwolf's chest   and Netherrealm didn't make them gay  for each other. Fucking clownshoes. Now,   for some reason, having his soul ripped from his  body actually kills this Nightwolf. Fucking pussy. They meet with Sheeva to get aid escorting  Sindel's body to the Soul Chamber for the   ritual in Chapter 14: Guardian for Life - Sheeva.  Sheeva is painted as devoutly loyal to Sindel,   the way Jade is to Kitana, since MK9 retconned  her being Sindel's bodyguard during the invasion  
03:20:52
to having filled that role long before her  original death. Shang guilts her into agreeing,   but she is reluctant, as it would be a betrayal  of Kitana, as they don't want to tell for fear   she'll kill Shang Tsung. With his shokan morph  ready, they proceed through the Dead Pool. Sheeva is voiced by Vanessa Marshall  instead of Lani Minella. I'm not   a fan of the voice. To me, it feels  artificially deep, if that makes sense. MK11 Sheeva: "Men are inherently the weaker  sex. Do you have the strength to bear children?" It seemed more natural with Minella. MK9 Sheeva: "He is terminating  your agreement. And you." Present Erron Black enters with Baraka and some  tarkatans, now actually sporting his default   mask instead of just the hat. And he even gets to  speak. Baraka can smell through Shang's disguise,   and the tarkatans attack. Shang throws  a fireball that misses one tarkatan,   but he somehow gets sucked backwards  and to the side, falling into the acid.   I'm not sure what was being conveyed here,  but I assume the tarkatan is supposed to   get hit or dodge too broadly and fall in? As  it's animated, it makes absolutely no sense. Nightwolf fights Erron while  Sheeva goes for Baraka,   continuing her vaguely racist  rhetoric about the tarkatans. Sheeva: "Were you not warned?  Tarkatans are all mouth and no ears."
03:21:52
Erron shoots her in the shoulder, but it  reflects off, which is fine if Sheeva's   on the left and her right shoulder guard is  hit, but if she's on the right, it clearly   impacts the fabric over her left shoulder with  no substantial armour underneath. He then fires   wildly in multiple directions and fails to hit a  single target, despite firing twenty-four shots,   which don't require him to reload, until  Sheeva sends him flying with a hilarious punch. After the fight, Nightwolf and Fujin pick up  the coffin, Jade enters, and they put it down.   And thus begins a long series of picking up the  coffin, moving it a few feet, and putting it down,   as SonicHaXD expertly made fun of in his Aftermath  Sucks video. Jade apparently noticed them at the   Koliseum. This should have been established  earlier to make the group's new plan after   leaving the Koliseum more justifiable at the  time. The Soul Chamber is not far from here,   suggesting that Jax and Sonya were just  really slow back in MK9 when they took   the duration of Smoke's chapter to make this  same trip. Jade says that Kotal is mending his   spine in the Soul Chamber and interrupting  it could do irreparable damage to his body.   This is the first instance of things  being different for no clear reason.   Kotal healing himself was never brought up in  the main story, and he wasn't seen at all after   Kitana became Khan. Even Jade was by Kitana's  side during the final battle, but not Kotal.  
03:22:55
I can only imagine him riding into battle with  his fucking wheelchair... The least they should   have done is had Kotal get fixed up later, after  Shang Tsung explains that the Chamber can do this. Sheeva knocks Jade out and they reach the Soul  Chamber, now redesigned to combine elements of   the Temple from MK3. Despite their promise not  to disturb him, Sheeva wakes Kotal up and he   staggers out of the skull... tree thing and goes  for Shang for his imprisonment in the Flesh Pits. Sheeva: "You need more time to heal." Why did you wake him up then, dipshit? Oh, wait,  hand on chest, hand on chest, we got a new ship! He says necromancy is forbidden and Sheeva fights  him while the others perform the ritual. You know,   after a lengthy series of shots showing her entire  slow journey into the flames, as if we couldn't   work it out from a few shorter shots. Sindel can  actually be seen in the background of the stage   during these fights, which is surprising, because  you wouldn't expect Netherrealm to add something   to a stage for story reasons, when they sometimes  don't remove things that shouldn't be there. Sheeva chokes Kotal out as Kitana saunters in,  despite being angry. She says she's dreamed   of having her mother back for a thousand  years, despite her having been dead for ten.   That is ten thousand, which I need to specify  because the last time I worded it that way,   some people genuinely thought I mean a  mere ten years, despite how stupid that is.  
03:23:59
Kitana thinks Shang is going to  corrupt Sindel, so Sheeva fights her. The ritual is a success, restoring Sindel's human   form and even changing her clothes  and hair and applying makeup. They   really should've kept the hair the same for  this scene and had her change it manually later,   and included the human version with the revenant  outfit to make this transformation less silly. I'm not sure if it's intentional, but the delivery  by Sindel's new actress, Mara Junot, sounds really   off here. I can't tell if it's intentionally  insincere, or just a bad delivery, but none of   the others notice it, so I'm inclined to believe  Junot was playing her hand a bit too much. Sindel claims Quan Chi murdered her and  staged her death as a suicide after saying   she was a distraction for Kahn, setting the  Outworld-Netherrealm alliance as something   at least ten thousand years old. And to be  clear, there are intros that support this claim,   and later revelations in the story will make  it the only possible explanation for her   death. But MK9 already retconned her suicide  into a sacrifice to protect Earthrealm which,   while I disagreed with that change, shouldn't  be changed like this, because the setup for that   game's final third hinged on Sindel's ward needing  her resurrection to lift it so Kahn could invade,   but this game is suggesting there was no  ward and Kahn could have gone through at  
03:24:59
any time but just didn't know, and Quan Chi  brought Sindel back solely to support his lie.   Because even when he's dead, we can't  go one game without bumming up Quan Chi   as the ultimate mastermind with plans ten  millennia in the making. Fuck off, mate. And it's also a wasted opportunity to have her  secret murderer be someone who is not in the   game. imagine if they picked someone like,  say, Skarlet, Baraka, maybe even Sheeva,   or Shang Tsung if we're going with a one  thousand years ago retcon, and had Sindel   confront them over it for an easily justifiable  fight. Especially after we get the reveal. Sheeva claims she always suspected Quan Chi  was involved, but she never acted on it at all.   The subtitles put Kitana's "But" and "All"  as one hyphenated word, which they're not,   then the word "Lies" is capitalised despite being   part of the same sentence as the words  that came before. Get your shit together. Some people complained that, not only was  Kitana now "suddenly Asian", but also that   Sindel isn't. I always figure Kitana was  supposed to have Asian features anyway,   but I do agree that Sindel looks nothing like her,  which would be fine if Jerrod was around and did,   but with only one parent in the picture,  you'd hope they'd look more similar. Kitana: "I would go with you,  fight by your side, but..."
03:26:00
"I've already had a chapter, so I'd just  get my arse kicked by jobbers if I did." Kronika knows about Sindel's return, even though  there's no one who knows who would tell her,   and she needed to be told about the trio's arrival  earlier, so she doesn't seem to be omniscient.   Kronika tells Cetrion not to let her better  nature get the best of her, so she transforms   into her second form, as if this is some devil  form that suppresses her goodness, when we saw   in the main story that it doesn't. Additionally,  her transformation is onscreen this time and it's   shot like a reveal, as if we didn't already know  she has this form and still kick her arse in it. Sindel and the trio arrive on the island in  Chapter 15: Winds of Change - Fujin. I have to say   that this is easily the best chapter in Aftermath  and possibly in the entire game. Right away,   Shang is saddened to learn of the monks' suicides.  The affiliation of these monks had never been   addressed before, so it was nice to finally get  that. Sindel calls Raiden a fool, which finally   gets a concerned look from Fujin and Nightwolf.  Kabal attacks and gets blown away by Fujin. Fujin: "You may run like the  wind, Kabal, but I command it." Pretty good quip. Fujin is voiced by  Matt Yang King, who is also Liu Kang   and would go on to voice Kung Lao in Battle  of the Realms, even though Troy Baker is still  
03:27:02
around as Shinnok and Erron Black. He does a good  job of making the two characters sound distinct,   even if their similarities are clear  once you realise it's the same guy. Fujin: "Your fire is flickering, Liu Kang." Liu Kang:   "I may flicker, but I will not fade." Fujin: "Said the candle to the wind." Fujin almost sounds like an older Liu Kang  with more experience with the English language. Jade then arrives and does her necromancy  thing. Strangely, she has nothing to say about   the restoration of Sindel, nor does Sindel about  her daughter's best friend still being corrupted,   nor even Shang about the zombification of  his monks. Fujin fights Kabal and Jade goes   down to Shang Tsung. Those two head for  the crown while the others stay in the   Courtyard. Fujin promises that they'll be  ready when Shang inevitably betrays them. While he had something to say about the background  extra monks' deaths, Shang has nothing to say   about Goro's death, once again skipping over it.  If you want to hear his thoughts, you have to come   here in the Krypt. As they approach the crown,  Jax and Noob appear together. Jax calls back   to his torture here and fights Shang while Fujin  goes for Bi-Han. Bi-Han has black hole magic now,   sucking Fujin into one and starting to walk  towards Goro's corpse after thinking he's won,   despite not closing the black hole and Jax  and Shang being over by the crown (despite  
03:28:06
not being there in the shot). Fujin escapes and  Bi-Han calls back to their fight in Mythologies   while claiming Kronika made him stronger.  Kronika made him stronger than he was when   Quan Chi perfected him into a better fighter  than when he was Sub-Zero and beat four gods,   three Brotherhood assassins, Scorpion twice, Quan  Chi and outwitted Shinnok? Either Bi-Han is the   worst judge of his own ability, or everyone  he beat as Sub-Zero is fucking pathetic. Fujin: "You did not win that fight. You ran away." Um, no, he won, Fujin. You fucking exploded  into gibs! This is like how Nightwolf claims   in an intro that he let Scorpion win at the  tournament, jeopardising Earthrealm in its   time of need. Either these are bad retcons,  or these two on a whole other level of cope. Shang tries to take Jax's soul, but Fujin stops  him and fights Jax because Jax can't be swayed   by words about the villains he's allied with  when Fujin's working with Shang. I can't tell   if Shang is in every scene to make the most  out of Cary Tagawa's fantastic performance,   of it it's to use him as a tool to make others  not trust Fujin and Nightwolf to facilitate more   fights. It's like in Warriors Orochi 3 when  no one trusts the Coalition Forces because   they're working with Daji via time travel.  Of all places to steal your ideas from...
03:29:10
Jax lays out his reasons for working for  Kronika, which I think is the only time   he says Vera's name in the story, and says  that Fujin can't understand how he feels.   Fujin talks about how he left the Sky Temple to  live among humans, which Raiden disapproved of.   Fujin talks about how emotional attachment is  a strength that makes him and Jax stronger,   but how it also hurts more when they fail.  It's a good bit, but I can't help but feel   this is painting Raiden as some stern, detached  figure, when his many failures over the trilogy   clearly haunt him, so he does get it too. Still,  it's a good bit overall and Jax is talked around   sooner this go around when Fujin explains what  Kronika wants him to do when Jacqui arrives. Sindel crashes into the lair and is then  dragged back up to the Courtyard by tentacles.   Nightwolf backs her up and starts to do  his big sacrifice move when Cetrion gets   the better of him, but Sindel pulls Cetrion  out of it and he stops. With his injuries,   Nightwolf can only... be used as an assist  in the fight, utilising the existing assist   mechanics from the Towers of Time? Wait,  we're actually using that stuff now? Granted,   it's only for this fight, but we're actually  acknowledging that those systems exist and using   them to enhance the encounters and not just  having the others stand around doing nothing  
03:30:12
or repeatedly get incapacitated like Shang  Tsung has been for this entire story so far? Church: "Wait, that's illegal." Sindel uses her banshee powers that sometimes have  a banshee spirit overlay, Fujin sticks a bunch of   rocks in Cetrion and lifts her with wind, and  Shang uses his big fire snake from Deception to   beat her down. And she's gone. I'm not too fond  of Cetrion losing like this, since before this,   every loss of hers required a power-up from the  crown or Raiden, which is fitting for a non-fallen   Elder God. But all you need is a few powerful  characters and they can just kick her arse. But   then, I guess it goes some way to avoid the DBZ  problem where you can't even hurt someone without   a sufficient power level, so I can't call it  objectively bad, just a personal preference thing. Jax and Jacqui then arrive with a whole platoon  and rifles. Jacqui did mention a squad in the   previous version of the scene, so maybe she  detected what was happening on her tablet and   brought backup, which does raise the question of  why the fuck they didn't bring these guys before.   Could be another unexplained change, or  just them being dumb previously. Either way,   Present Jax talks them down. Nightwolf and  Shang make clear that things have changed   too much for them to predict what will  happen next. Sindel returns to Outworld,   giving Shang a knowing look as she goes.  Nightwolf goes to brief the SF and the  
03:31:15
other two head to the Fire Gardens. I'm pretty  sure Cassie and the rest of the SF survivors   are at the Fire Gardens right now, so I'm not  sure where Nightwolf is supposed to be going. Kronika talks about how she underestimated  Shang and knows he's from the future,   but doesn't stop to think that his  ability to return means she loses.   She doubts the heroes realise how dangerous  Shang is, but like... it's Shang Tsung. Anyone   who doesn't realise how much of a threat he is  is a fucking dumbass who deserves to get their Kabal: "[...]soul sucked!" Why, is that foreshadowing, I do believe it is. We revisit Scorpion's appearance at the Fire  Gardens, this time without the fight music,   allowing the scene to play out properly. Shang  and Fujin arrive right before the fight starts.   Sub-Zero lets Scorpion prove his  sincerity by helping against Shang.   Personally, I think it would've been great  if, just as Sub-Zero was doubting Scorpion,   Fujin just appeared out of a portal and  said, "D'Vorah did it, stop fighting."   That would've been great. Raiden apparently  thought Fujin was lost because of the time merger,   which is a detail you'd think would have come up  in the main story if Aftermath was always planned,   with Raiden lamenting the absence of his  skill and counsel as setup for his return. Again, they don't trust Shang and  Sub-Zero freezes him on the spot,  
03:32:16
leaving Fujin to fight both ninjas  in a handicap match. I criticised   the overuse of handicap matches in MK9,  but it's actually nice to have them back,   and it really highlights how useful they are for  the story when used in moderation. Of course,   it would be better if they let the player have  a tag partner as well, which really should have   been the obvious way to approach tag chapters this  go around. "Shaolin Monks vs Shaolin Monks" sounds   way better than "pick which one mirror match  to do", or "Scorpion comes back for seconds". Fujin frees Shang as Raiden and Liu Kang approach.  Now here's a perfect setup for a 2v2: Fujin and   Shang vs Fujin's brother and Shang's rival. Raiden  thinks Shang is manipulating Fujin, taking the   amulet and basically repeating the scene with  Scorpion, beat-for-beat and word-for-word, but   swapping out Scorpion for Shang Tsung. Liu Kang  (who sounds a bit off from his usual voice) says: Liu Kang: "Shang Tsung is  not the enemy this time." harkening back to a scene in MK vs DC  Universe, where he said the exact same thing. Liu Kang: "Shang Tsung is  not the enemy this time." He also said the same thing about  Scorpion in the main campaign: Liu Kang: "Scorpion is not the enemy this time." This was apparently very much intentional  as a way to imply that that game is, indeed,  
03:33:19
canonical now. Cianciolo apparently confirmed  that DCU happened in an older timeline and Kronika   thought it was a mistake, so she got rid of it.  Ironically, Raiden becoming Bizarro would have   suited her perfectly, but maybe Liu Kang becoming  Shazam was too much for her to handle. Honestly,   making it canonical is just a bad idea.  Better to let it be a non-canon standalone,   because making the DC crossover not only  possible but canon, means Kronika may well   have experimented with other crossovers.  Maybe Raiden in Unreal Championship 2 is   canon. Maybe Scorpion's appearance on Drawn  Together is canon. And worse, maybe every   adaptation of MK ever is now canonical, from  the movies to the TV shows, web show and comics,   but are now all wiped by Kronika. The no doubt  casual decision to make MK vs DCU canonical opens   up way too big a can of worms to ever close again.  Let each continuity remain separate, or else   they're all just tragically erased by Kronika,  making this even more of a callous Crisis Event. Raiden goes red again, but we're not allowed  to have red with this skin ourselves,   and they bafflingly put Raiden's amulet on him  instead of the amulet he's actually using in   this pivotal scene! Fujin wins and Raiden starts  thinking clearly again. Kung Lao joins them as the  
03:34:22
duo fill them all in, but the SF aren't in this  version of the scene, for no apparent reason.   Raiden says he can't transfer his power to Liu  Kang until they get his revenant, "unfortunally". Raiden: "Unfortunally" Raiden: "UUnnffoorrttuunnaallllyy" You guys couldn't get a second take  there? And what kind of sense does   it make that the revenant is needed  when Raiden merging with the revenant   automatically grabs the past version too?  Shouldn't it be the other way around,   that getting the past one alters his  future and wipes the present one? Kronika arrives and the ninjas and monks freeze,  but with a sand statue effect this time instead of   just stopping moving. I get that they maybe wanted  to make it clearer when Kronika is freezing time,   but in only affects people, nothing else, and it's  inconsistent with how this power was presented in   the main story, with a very easy comparison to  make thanks to the most significant use of this   power being in a parallel scene to this one.  I'm unclear as to why Shang isn't affected;   unless Kronika, right after Shang just  delivered a finishing blow to Cetrion   and Kronika herself talked about how  dangerous he is, is underestimating him. Kronika says that if they'd won  right, this timeline wouldn't exist,   but it shouldn't anyway because she already reset  the timeline in the future! Kronika tries to sow  
03:35:22
dissent by pointing out Shang's treachery,  as if it's new information. For some reason,   Shang being the one to design the crown  is treated like a betrayal by the others,   but it also raises questions. As just about  everything about Kronika's moronic scheme does...   So, if Shang designed the crown and time can't  be restarted without it, he must have done so in   the very first timeline, right? So, that wasn't  this Shang Tsung, but a much earlier version,   possibly the one from the original timeline.  But he knows about his part in the design,   so he either somehow still knows despite having  never indicated he knew about timelines before   this game, or she told him despite the fact that  this would just give him an advantage when he   inevitably turned on her. Granted, Future Liu Kang  does still exist in the future, as we later learn,   so maybe this is the original Shang, placed in  the void and replaced with a new Shang later,   despite what Cianciolo said about his  origin. Or Kronika restored his memory   of the previous timelines? Why is this story  so fucking convoluted? Not complex. Convoluted. Raiden sends a blast at Kronika, but she sends  it back at him and he freezes now, even though   his power is supposed to grant immunity. If it  doesn't, then why was Future Liu Kang unaffected  
03:36:24
during the raid on the Keep? Why is this story so  fucking convoluted? Fujin puts on the crown before   he can freeze, and he and Shang alone seriously  damage Kronika with wind and demons, along with   the unfrozen Raiden's lightning, forcing her to  flee. They do a weird little fake-out, where Fujin   drops the crown and Shang picks it up like he's  gonna steal it, but then just hands it to Raiden. We then move to Outworld, where Shang fills Sindel  in and reveals they have a secret pact. The title   then gives away what's going to happen next, when  you'd think the introduction of proper chapter   titles would stop that from happening. This is  Chapter 16: Visions Of Empire - Sindel & Shao   Kahn. Yeah, this is the point us Sindel fans  feared - the confirmation that the Twindel retcon   depicted in her intros and ending the previous  year are actually being taken as canonical by   Netherrealm, no matter how fucking awful an  idea it is. Some fans try to rationalise it by   suggesting Shang didn't purge her of control and  actually corrupted her himself, or put a banshee   spirit in her that controls her, or that Kronika  manipulated the timeline somehow to make her evil.   None of these things are hinted at in the game,  and with the content cycle now over, there will   not be any extra layer to this story added in the  future. It simply is what it is, nothing more.
03:37:29
I have an entire playlist of videos about how  bad this is, so I'll try not to repeat myself,   but this really was an awful decision, not  just because it's inevitably going to piss   off Sindel's fans, but also because of what it  represents: the fact that Netherrealm has no   issue completely upturning three-decade-old  canon in service of a cheap shock moment.   And I have to reiterate that that moment  is the only "positive" impact this has,   because once it's over we're left with a worse  version of the character with all the nuance   stripped away in favour of Shao Kahn with tits.  So I don't know how anyone can defend upturning an   iconic character's entire backstory, motivation  and personality for a shock moment that was   spoiled exactly six months prior by her intros and  ending, even discounting the even earlier leaks. At the very least, a competent studio would  have included Sheeva in the Kombat Pack and   Sindel with Aftermath instead so that this twist  could actually be a surprise to give it some   degree of purpose, because the transformation  of this character who rose above her abuse and   trauma and became something better into a woman  who is in love with her abuser is genuinely as   disgusting as Xiahouji being in love with the  man who historically abducted her as a child and  
03:38:29
made her bear his kids in Dynasty Warriors 9, and  proves that there is absolutely no reason to get   invested in the MK universe or the characters  therein because Netherrealm can and will,   on the most fleeting of whims, completely rip out  everything you liked about them and turn them into   an entirely different character whose entire  backstory doesn't make sense anymore because   the new story doesn't fit with the old canon  and they make no attempt to make it do so,   while tossing out your investment to try and  entice people who never liked them in the   first place and dividing the community  into character fans and retcon fans. It's so disrespectful to the  fans who already liked her,   to the character herself and the writers who  helped to build her story over the years,   and to the intelligence of the audience by  implying that you think they won't notice   how horrifically contradictory this is with the  prior canon. And this is all over MK11. They did   it with Kabal. They did it with Skarlet. They did  it with Erron Black. They did it with Kotal and   Jade. And they did it with Nightwolf. I'm going  to propose ways to make the new ideas fit with   the previous canon on Wasted Plotential,  but for now, just know that none of these   retcons did anything to make the characters  more interesting, only flattened them down,   save for Skarlet, who's a bit more unique now, but  the role of Shao Kahn in it makes far less sense.
03:39:33
I can give the game props for one thing,  though: they finally gave us a chapter   where we get to play as villains being  villains and not just characters on the   villains' side but are currently acting in  a more neutral manner. We've only ever had   that in Superman's Injustice 2 ending and  we get two of them here. Just a shame that,   in order to get one and have it be canonical,  we had to lose Sindel as a character. Twindel is disappointed in Kitana not just  being a raging bitch like her mother. The   reveal of her treachery just highlights how  obvious her fake tone is. Compare that to the   elated softness in Kari Wahlgren's voice as she  addresses Sindel and it's really frustrating.   Junot has the evil bitch part of the character  down well, but the fake caring mother persona   is just too on-the-nose, even before the  reveal, so it's difficult to gauge how well   she'd be able to pull off the real Sindel if  she was brought back in a future game. And that   would be fine if the others realised things  from it, but they don't. Everyone is fooled,   save for Shang Tsung. The two hug and Twindel's  lack of love serves as a corruption of Sindel's   iconic Deception ending, where the two were  reunited after Kitana's stint as Onaga's thrall. The blind Kahn, whose survival is probably  the only thing that suggests Aftermath was   planned before release, is saved from shokan  torturers by Twindel. They call each other  
03:40:40
"Wife" and "Husband" and it never ever sounds  natural. It's like when a Japanese character   calls their older sister "Sister" in the dub.  It just doesn't sound right, and here also   feels like the writers rubbing in the fact  that they ruined Sindel with their retcons. Sheeva enters and overhears her  plot. They circle each other,   Twindel and Sheeva walking past the  Player 1 and 2 spots in one shot,   and Sheeva walking into the Player 2 spot from  the same direction in the next. Twindel wins and   some shokan enter. Twindel lies and says Kitana  killed the shokan here (because Kitana is very   well-known for skinning people, apparently) and  then "punished" Sheeva for challenging her. Now,   Sheeva is dead here. The game itself never  makes that clear, so we only know she dies   because Netherrealm put out a survey later with  one question being "Who had the best death?" and   Sheeva's name was on the list. Twindel tells  the shokan to join her and avenge Sheeva,   not one questioning why Twindel would go  against her own daughter, why Kitana would   turn on them so suddenly, why Shao Kahn's cell is  now open or why Kitana would kill the guards and   not Kahn. They then go off to spread the word  and turn all the Shokan against the alliance   and join her and Khan without a single one  questioning the many holes in Twindel's story.
03:41:41
Twindel takes Kahn to the Soul  Chamber and heals his injuries,   which I guess Sonya could theoretically have  done for Jax back in the day if she'd only known.   Twindel also brought Kahn's helmet from somewhere.  Kahn also knows Quan Chi killed Twindel now,   but it's unclear if he always knew and their  alliance's situation has been retconned,   or if she just told him on the way. Geras  arrives at Kronika's behest. Kahn gets uppity   that Kronika didn't help him beat Kitana, but  the condition of the alliance was that his army   would join her once he had Kotal's head.  She never offered assistance in reclaiming   Outworld. That was his end of the bargain  and he failed to uphold it, the dumb fuck. But this does highlight how dumb it was for  the numerous factions to remain segregated   and not group together unusual and potentially  interesting combinations of characters, like   Kung Lao and Cassie, Jacqui and Hanzo, Frost and  Revenant Lao, or Shao Kahn and Revenant Kitana. Geras tells Twindel he's been sent by Kronika  to die billions of times, further cementing how   pathetic he really is. Kahn bashes Geras' head  to a pulp and he never appears again. Kahn then   says Twindel "hasn't lost a step" in a thousand  years which is, once again, wrong. But, you know,   it's not like it's been repeated over and over  that she died ten thousand years ago consistently  
03:42:44
since 1995. Kronika plans to let Kahn's forces  battle Raiden's and then swoop in to wipe out   those that remain, which is easily the most  intelligent thing she's said all or done all game. Nightwolf joins Jax and Jacqui on their ship,  while Cassie stays on the dock with Past Johnny   and Sonya. Johnny got healed by Raiden and is  good to go. I think he even healed his scar,   though whether that's intentional or the  devs forgot to include it, I can't say.   No mention is made of Present Johnny, however. And  him having his jacket and shades back is weird,   seeing how the shades were lost in the  now obliterated base and he didn't have   his jacket while being patched up, and they left  in a hurry when Geras started to re-form. Again,   alternate skins and gear would be appreciated. No  explanation is given for why Cassie isn't joining   the others this time, or why Raiden patched  Johnny up, or why Sonya is now taking part. But you know who isn't taking part? Ronda Rousey.  Yeah, I guess they couldn't get her back for this,   so she doesn't speak at all. She did  get intros with Sheeva and Fujin,   but Robocop and KP2 characters reuse old  intro lines like with Injustice 2's DLC. Jax: "Turning on me, Sonya?" Sonya: "Pushing you to be all you can be." Robocop: "Planning on taking me down?" Sonya: "Pushing you to be all you can be." Nightwolf: "You stood with us at Five Rivers." Sonya: "I stand against every injustice."
03:43:48
Rain: "You interfere with my plans." Sonya: "I stand against every injustice." This suggests that Fujin and Sheeva were  planned for inclusion back when they still   had access to Ronda, but Robocop wasn't  locked in until around when they were   doing Aftermath story voiceover. I'm not  sure why they had intros that claim Frost   killed Fujin when the story makes no  mention of that, if that's the case... Cetrion: "Fujin apologizes for his absence." Raiden: "What happened to him, Cetrion?"  Cetrion: "He fought valiantly to the last breath." Frost: "I froze Fujin   for Cetrion." Terminator: You lie!" Still, they finally did something good  with Sonya, which is have her keep her   fucking mouth shut so she can't drag down  any more scenes with her shit acting.   It's almost as if stunt casting a celebrity as  a major character was a bad idea or something.   But, really think about that: Sonya  wasn't here before and they don't   have the actress to do new lines, but  they brought her back here anyway? Why? The Shokan attack and Sonya copies Cassie's  dual pistols thing, but it doesn't work and   her forces are massacred, in spite of  her never needing to reload. To be fair,   this shokan clearly has telekinetic powers,  seeing how this poor woman is sucked towards him.   Maybe he's responsible for that tarkatan death  earlier... She actually uses her neon razor wire  
03:44:54
here, which she never did in the main story, but  she won't use her turret here either. Sonya goes   down to a really weak-looking kick from Twindel  right before the Cages show up. You pick who   fights Cassie, but there's oddly no reference  to her previous encounter with Sindel in MKX.   Then, Johnny takes a stand to protect his girls.  He takes off his shades to show how serious he is,   but then quotes the 1989 Batman movie and  deflates most of the tension from the scene. Johnny: "You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts!" Shao Kahn: "Twice you fought  in the tournament and twice you   failed. Why Raiden thought  you a contender baffles me." You do realise a tournament can only have one  winner, right? You act like this makes him a   loser, but by that metric, everyone who competed  in both, aside from Liu Kang, is a loser. If   anything, it's impressive that he survived two  tournaments. Hell, he won more tournament bouts   that you did! I've said it before and I'll say it  again, Netherrealm Shao Kahn is fucking braindead. Twindel plans to have Johnny and Sonya as  breeding slaves, which is beyond fucked.   And they're taken through a portal  and that's the last we see of them.   All that focus and development over  this trilogy and the last we see of  
03:45:55
them is them being taken away to be  sexually assaulted. Jesus Christ... We see more random group alterations  as Kitana with with the two monks,   instead of with the Outworld forces, and Raiden  and Fujin apparently went on ahead. Additionally,   Frost will not be showing up with  time, with no explanation offered,   since it was never suggested she was killed by  Nightwolf, either in the game or in the survey. Kahn's fleet catches up and the  heroes fight the Shokan. Strangely,   Baraka is entirely absent this time. And Erron  isn't here in either version. Kahn and Twindel   can't find Kitana, despite the fact that she was  just fighting on this very ship mere seconds ago.   Kung Lao takes out half the Shokan himself and  Twindel just catches his hat easily with her   dainty little hand. I'm sorry, but without  some sort of magic or immense strength,   that just shouldn't be allowed. It's spinning  fast enough to cut clean through flesh and bone,   you can't just catch it and stop its momentum  dead. Especially when she throws it so hard,   Lao can't catch it without cutting his hand open.  She really does come across like an entirely new   character whom the writers really want to get  over by making her stupidly overpowered. If you   choose Kahn, he says he was about to snap Lao's  neck when the time merger happened, even though   Raiden said Lao had just beaten the sorcerers,  meaning he still had Kintaro to fight first.
03:46:58
The one you don't play as finds Kitana,  then comes back to let the other one know,   just after they throw Kung Lao overboard.  Strangely, Lao's revenant will still appear later,   despite the fact that he very obviously drowns  here. Or are we to believe he managed to tread   water up until after his future self's final  defeat? The heroes just dominate the Shokan,   who are supposed to be among the strongest  races in all the realms. Kotal is beaten   down and Jade is slammed through the deck,  possibly even deeper but we don't find out.   I don't know why they skipped out on that  fight and had us fight both Johnny and Cassie,   when they could have set up a pair of  2v2s instead. Maybe they thought we'd   be tired of fighting Jade by now, and they  wouldn't be entirely wrong, to be honest. Kitana confronts them, thinking her  mother is under mind control again,   but she revels in the revelation that she  murdered Jerrod for not being a cunt to his   subjects. And she drops the word privilege  twice to lay it on real thick. Too thick. Twindel: I killed Jerrod for him." The Doctor: "Kill yourself." Like in Chapter 3, the fights are set, but you  choose which fight you do. If you choose to   fight Liu Kang, Twindel uses her hair like spider  legs and chases Kitana and it looks fucking goofy. And what's with the audio quality here? Shao Kahn: "It is genius, you pathetic fool."
03:48:00
The battle ends as Kahn and Twindel present the  beaten Kitana and Liu Kang. So, if Kitana beat   Kahn 1v1, then Twindel beat Kitana 1v1, does  that mean Twindel is stronger than Kahn? She   only loves him for his power, but she apparently  doesn't even need him. They claim Raiden plans to   destroy the empire and offer to reward those who  change sides, which they all do because nobody   is allowed to have even the slightest modicum of  common sense or independent thought in this game. We switch over to Raiden, the trio and the  Briggses, now on the shore. Scorpion and Sub-Zero   are noticeably absent. Things could have stayed  consistent if it was them being dealt with on the   shoreline by Kahn and Twindel, while Nightwolf  and Fujin take their place on the flagship with   Raiden. The Shaolin are here, so I guess Lao  just randomly went on the Outworld ship and   neither actual Shaolin leader rode with the  monks? This is the final chapter of Aftermath,   MK11 and the Netherrealm trilogy as a whole:  Chapter 17: Checkmate - Shang Tsung. Of course,   this was going to end with him. You don't bring  back Cary Tagawa, give Shang all this knowledge,   have him propose the plan and lead the  team, and get bummed up as a major threat   and untrustable serpent without him being the  final character. And pitting the original final  
03:49:02
boss against the latest one to show what  a chump she is by comparison just works. And Jacqui's not wearing her armour  even though she was when they cast   off. At least that's consistent with  the previous version of this sequence. Revenant Kitana claims the heroes are  unaware of their army's full strength,   implying they have some sort of ace, or  at least a ton more guys, but they...   don't? It's all empty words. Fujin uses the crown  to open the gate and Raiden leads the charge,   Jacqui now armoured up again. The only reason the  soldiers get massacred is that they run into melee   range, despite wielding rifles. Liu Kang makes  a similar jump to last time, so I guess that   wasn't a result of his power boost. There was no  evident enhancement from the soul transfer at all. As he goes to fight Raiden, his leg explodes  open, as Kahn has broken Past Liu Kang's leg,   and then the other. This is yet another thing  that raises a ton of questions. First is,   why does what happens to Past Liu Kang affect  Present Liu Kang when the revenants are not in   their original bodies? We know Quan Chi tried to  put Johnny's soul in a new body in MKX to make him   a revenant, and those seen as revenants in Chapter  16 of MK9 were clearly not in the same bodies,   which were all still in the Cathedral, unless  we're to assume Quan Chi stole all the bodies  
03:50:03
and revived them as undead in the time  it took Raiden to defeat Scorpion. So,   why does it matter what is done to Liu Kang's  original body if he gets a new one upon death? Second, how does he know for sure  that it's Shao Kahn who's responsible?   One might assume it's memories from his past self,   but future selves have never received updated  memories from their past selves before   this. Does he feel the impact itself and conclude  that it can only be the Wrath Hammer striking him? Third, as with the previously-mentioned  sequence in Looper, if his legs are broken   here and that somehow affects his present self,  then how did the present self get to this spot?   Surely, the wound should stop  him from getting here now. Fourth, if this works, why did  Kahn stomping on his wrist in the   previous scene do nothing to his revenant?  Similar injuries affected Kano last time. Fifth, where does Revenant Liu Kang go after  this sequence? He just disappears from the scene   and is forgotten, with no indication that  Kahn finished his past self off. In fact,   as far as we know, he, Kitana, Jade and Baraka are  still alive despite how brutal Kahn typically is. And sixth, Future Liu Kang will later  be shown to not be affected by this,   which I guess confirms Raiden power really  does grant him immunity to time alteration,  
03:51:03
even though we saw earlier in this very expansion  that Raiden himself is not immune to Kronika's   powers, so is it because he's from another  timeline while the trio created a new one?   But timelines are never indicated to persist after  changes, instead being erased, so why is Liu Kang   not brought to this timeline upon its creation  if he's immune to alterations? As far as we know,   he just hangs out at the dawn of time until  it's time to show up. There are people out   there who think this game has a good plot. What  has been done to them to make them think this? Kahn's forces arrive, Kotal's head being thrown  down as a sign of Kahn's dominance, instantly   turning the Osh-Tekk to his side. But why? What  was the point of retconning the main story in   the same bloody game to reveal that Kotal got  healed but still didn't join the battle last time,   just so he could be killed here? You want impact,  something that could turn the Osh-Tekk? Kitana's   head. Kahn reclaimed his throne from the one who  took it from him and he's not afraid to kill her,   scaring them into defecting. Kotal was likely  still recovering from his broken spine,   so killing him is not impressive, and not  that likely to turn his people to Kahn's side. Fujin brings the crown to Raiden, who takes it off  his hands, only for Raiden to arrive and expose  
03:52:04
the other Raiden as Shang Tsung. Shang puts on  the crown as the two gods do nothing to stop him,   suggesting either this is part of the  plan, or just more bad writing. I mean,   he can't put the crown on before revealing  himself, because that would require them to   animate Raiden's hat being removed and  let us have the crown as a hat for him. Shang's clothes change as he gets his youth  restored. He takes down Jax and the gods,   then fights Nightwolf. This is in a new stage on  a cliff edge outside Kronika's keep, which never   appeared in the base game, but we're to assume  the army had to pass through last time as well. Raiden: "You think us unprepared?" Fujin's prepared. You're not in on the plan,  though, so yes, actually. Unless he told you   offscreen, but there's nothing to suggest that.  We get our second handicap match after that as   Shang fights the two gods, after which he takes  their souls, but they live. As before, Cetrion   sacrifices herself to power up Kronika, so I  guess, from the heroes', perspective, Cetrion just   died on the island since they never got to see her  again. Shang leads Kahn and Twindel into the Keep.   Twindel drops the word "privilege" again, but I do  like the small detail of Shang magically opening   the door that Liu Kang burned through, to suggest  the former's understanding of Kronika's machinery.
03:53:04
The augmented revenants go down in a  cutscene, Jade and Kitana both being   impaled by Twindel and Kung Lao having his  neck broken by Shang, which could be a nod   to Shang killing Liu Kang in Deadly Alliance,  Lao being able to kill Shang in Shaolin Monks,   or Lao's death in MK9. Shang uses his Lao  transformation to get the drop on Kronika,   who should really have seen through the disguise  once the dead Lao didn't revert back. Speaking   of things that should've been seen coming, Shang  attacks Kahn and Twindel and they seem genuinely   surprised and bitter over this turn of events.  ...Even though it's SHANG TSUNG! SHANG! TSUNG! MK:TJB Raiden: "SHANG TSUNG!" Seriously, how is it possible to  not see coming what that dumbass   Kronika can? Midway's indel and  Kahn were not nearly this stupid. Shang takes both out in our final handicap match  and takes their souls, which kills them. Again,   Revenant Nightwolf lost his soul: dead. Twindel  and Shao Kahn: dead. Raiden and Fujin, Lesser   Gods: alive. Cetrion, an unkillable Elder God: so  dead, her body dissolves. Human Liu Kang: alive. Kronika still clings to her "I am a Titan" crap,  despite knowing full-well that she already lost   to Liu Kang's Lesser God form and Shang having the  crown puts him on roughly equal footing with that.  
03:54:08
She still clings to it after losing to Shang  and being left bloody and battered on the floor   as she tries in vain to crawl away like a rat.  God, she is so one-dimension. At the very least,   I can thank Sir Cary Tagawa for putting an end  to this offensive filth by taking her soul and   hopefully expunging the worthless cow from the  series forever. Oh, and, uh, Kronika: a Titan   alleged to be above even the unkillable Elder  Gods: so dead, her body dissolves. If you think   this game has a good story, you are fuckin wrong.  And now, Shang has command of the Hourglass. It could have been interesting if the  versions of Shang, Fujin and Nightwolf   from this timeline were freed now that Kronika  is gone and played a part in the finale, but   that may have overcomplicated things, esecially  given what the team wanted this finale to be,   so it's probably for the best that didn't happen. Liu Kang: "Cease. Before you doom us all." Nice little callback. Liu Kang lied about  having to stay behind, which makes Shang realise   Liu Kang foresaw all of this and sacrificed  everyone else to let Shang win, so he could come   in and take the crown from him once all other  threats were dealt with. Shang is impressed. Shang Tsung: "How deliciously cold-blooded."
03:55:10
God, I love this man and his expresisons. And so, we're prompted to "Choose our  Final Destiny," Fire God Liu Kang,   or... base model Shang Tsung? Guys, come on,  really? But yeah, we now choose who out of   the original protagonist and the original  antagonist will emerge victorious and forge   the next timeline. It's a cool little throwback to  the climax of MK1, bookending this series nicely,   even if the path to get here was awful,  and with Shang Tsung's youth restored and   Liu Kang looking older with his new hair  colour, it's like an inversion of MK1,   with a younger Shang Tsung fighting an older Liu  Kang. It does bug me that the names listed are   "Fire God Liu Kang" and "Shang Tsung" instead  of just their base names or calling Shang Tsung   "Time Keeper Shang Tsung." It would add just  that little bit more gravitas to the climax. Either way, each outcome  leads to a different ending. Liu Kang's victory, which is obviously the  canonical one, sees him use the Hourglass to   strengthen his fireball enough to dust  Shang, and Liu Kang implies that Shang   won't be back in the next timeline. Yeah, like  this nostalgia-saturated franchise will ever   let such an icon go... We see the next timeline  as Liu Kang appears before the Great Kung Lao,   giving us his first non-ending appearance  in a game. Liu Kang shit talks his Kung Lao,  
03:56:13
whom he sacrificed and has yet to restore in this  timeline, the dick. He chooses this Kung Lao as   his champion, setting up either MK12 or Shaolin  Monks 2. Spoiler alert: it's not Shaolin Monks 2. The funny thing is, Liu Kang actually didn't  have to reset the timeline. The reason that   was necessary at the end of the main campaign  was that Kronika did successfully rewind time   far enough to wipe everyone, regardless  of whether or not she won a round. But,   as you can tell from the final battle happening  in the normal Hourglass chamber and neither the   Prehistoric nor Chaotian versions, she never got  that far. Hell, she didn't even start the rewind,   unless it was offscreen during the fight with Kahn  and Twindel. As far as we know, everyone else is   safe and in a situation where they can recover  in the Soul Chamber or from Raiden's magic touch.   Except Kotal. At most, he needs to reverse time  to the start of the game to save Sonya and undo   the entanglement of the timelines, maybe back to  MK9 to prevent the revenants and the invasion from   happening. Unless the logic is that rewinding  without a total reset will revive Kronika again   and he'd rather start fresh than have to deal  with the useless bint a third time. I mean,   given that Kronika can't restore Shinnok in this  timeline, but we have to assume he would be in the   New Era after a reset, I guess the idea is that  the only way to properly defeat Kronika is to  
03:57:18
start completely fresh without her. This timeline  is something he chose to create, and it's going to   make him look incompetent when villains and real  world atrocities start being mentioned in the next   game, unless they go for a hard reboot. Or make  the original timeline the one Liu Kang creates. In Shang Tsung's ending, he steals  Liu Kang's soul. Fire God Liu Kang,   a mortal who survived a soul suck and is now  empowered by a lesser god who also survived:   dead. In Shang's New Era, Dark Raiden and I  guess Dark Fujin report the conquest of Outworld,   Earthrealm and the Netherrealm, with the Order  and Chaos realms next. Naturally, Edenia has long   since been forgotten by the series. I would've  preferred Raiden be in a different outfit,   maybe one more similar to Shang's colours.  Also, what is Shinnok's amulet in this new   era? Shang then closes the ending, and likely  the whole Aftermath experience for most players,   and most likely Cary Tagawa's involvement  with the franchise, with a movie quote: Shang Tsung: "It has begun." Or maybe he's just a big fan of  Starset, because it's not "begun",   Shang. It's halfway done. You didn't say the line  in the movie after Scorpion and Sub-Zero died,   you said it before reaching the island. And  why does Shang need to conquer anything if   he created this new reality? It's not for  the challenge, because he has Raiden and  
03:58:20
Fujin doing all the work while he kicks back  on his throne and seemingly does nothing. Personally, I would've pushed  to have this ending feature   Shang Tsung looking out into other  universes and teaming up with the   Threshold and Legacy Shang Tsungs  to form the true Deadly Alliance. But, this is the end of Aftermath  and the story of MK11 as a whole. Aftermath is an improvement in many ways,  utilising tag and assist mechanics a few   times to add a little more diversity to  the fights, and there are times when the   writing is a clear improvement over the  base game. But it also houses some of   the most egregiously bad retconning I have ever  seen. And speaking of "worst I've ever seen"... MK11 as a whole is one of the worst stories  I've ever experienced in my life. And I'm   not just saying that because I'm "the  guy who shits on Netherrealm games",   or because of the Twindel retcon, or because  the wait for this video has been so long and I'm   afraid I won't meet everyone's expectations. No,  this story is just... astoundingly poorly-written. And it's bad in concept too. The premise is a  sign of just how little faith Netherrealm has in   any of its new ideas or the direction the story's  gone up to now. It started with them undoing the   cyberisation of Sub-Zero in MKX. A big change to  an iconic hero? Can't have that. Let's restore his  
03:59:26
humanity and give him the iconic scar, even if the  circumstances behind it are entirely different.   MKX moved the timeframe forward two decades  and introduced a whole slew of new characters,   only to waste the potential of half of them,  give the rest very little characterisation,   and then drop half of them in the  next game without explanation,   and instead focus on the old cast again.  But not the versions of the old cast we've   been following and seeing develop over the last  two games, where some have been corrupted into   villainous shells of their former selves  and are now the major threat while others   have simply changed through their experiences  into better or worse versions of themselves.   No, we're going back to the MK2-era versions  and pulling them into the present to give them   the focus in place of the versions we've actually  followed for two games, because the fanboys will   get mad if everything isn't exactly like MK2  every fucking time. So, we'd better not have   any more than two playable characters from the  MK1-2 roster be absent, or they'll bitch and cry   about Mileena not being in one game after being  in two consecutively and that might affect sales. The point of the "reboot" was to  take the series in a new direction,   but all they've done is retell MK1-4,  do the timeskip they were planning to do   after Armageddon anyway, then a dumb time travel  story, all with a mostly static cast who aren't  
04:00:30
all that different from how they were depicted  in the old timeline if we don't count retcons. They wasted the great premise of  the tournament inversion scenario   where Raiden declares Mortal Kombat against  Outworld, as well as the revenant threat,   in favour of more fucking awful time-manipulation  shit that was inevitably going to be inconsistent,   because time travel rules are always broken  in some way. And the amount of inconsistency   on that front is on a whole different level,  to the point of even the villainous scheme   we're trying to stop throughout the game being,  without hyperbole, genuinely incomprehensible,   making it impossible to get invested, even without  the rampant retconning of canon that had been   consistent for three fucking decades. And things  just randomly change between MK11 and Aftermath,   like who goes where during the climax, without  a logical sequence of events borne from a change   made by the characters, just like all the retcons  in MK9, but even worse because this is all one   package that the game even paints as one by  not resetting the chapter count with Nightwolf. Characters drop off the face of the Earth with  no explanation, including such major figures   as Sonya Blade, both Johnny Cages and Revenant  Liu Kang, even though the high stakes of the   narrative and the timeline-resetting ending  should have allowed for many consequence-free  
04:01:31
deaths to justify their absence and make this  feel like the final culmination of everything,   as it's explicitly intended to be. Yes, rampant  deaths in a finale are annoying and often cheap,   but with the timeline reset, it doesn't  matter if anyone survives these events,   because they'll just be back  in the next go around anyway,   so they might as well have given the  story a more significant body count. And then we have to continue clinging to a  story structure that's been outdated since 2011.   For all the insistence that the story  is very important, we're still limiting   the actual writers with this chapter system  crap that prevents something as basic as a   Sub-Zero vs Frost or Noob Saibot fight from  having any actual impact on the narrative,   forcing the characters to be dealt with later by  other characters with little or no connection to   them. We have two versions of much of the cast,  but they're chosen arbitrarily, with characters   that were around in the past like Sub-Zero  and Noob Saibot not getting a counterpart,   while characters who weren't like Erron Black do.  And the original Story Mode offered no improvement   to the story structure over Injustice 2 from two  years prior, and we had to wait until Aftermath a   year later to finally see use of tag and assist  mechanics that were already in the base game! Honestly, I just do not understand how anyone  could look at this awful mess of a narrative,  
04:02:33
and the horrifically limiting Story Mode it's  housed within, and call any of this good.   How? Genuinely, how? What  about any of this is any good? This is a game that does not respect you  or your time, demanding constant attention   for its timed events and rotations of as many  rewards as they felt they could get away with,   and offering very little in return. And  what it does offer will disappear when,   not if, the servers go down and all the content  requiring an online connections is inaccessible.   And all the story additions are rendered moot by  the oncoming reboot (the second in a decade). And   the game is also incredibly dishonest. From a  reveal trailer teasing content that does not   exist even after a year and an half of DLC, to  customisation the game is borderline reluctant   to let you actually use and show off, to a story  that alleges to be important to the team but is   proven otherwise by its wildly inconsistent  and borderline incomprehensible narrative. MK11 is easily the worst overall package of  any Netherrealm game. Sure, it may have the   prettiest graphics and the most post-launch  content of any of Netherrealm's efforts,   but the story and gameplay are both  horribly shallow and spectacle-driven   and I can't stand how much of a free  pass the community has given it for  
04:03:35
its myriad shortcomings, because  they have no fucking standards. Nerd Crew: "Loyalty to  {NETHERREALM]. Loyalty to the brand." And that's what sends the message to Netherrealm   that they don't need to improve,  when they most certainly do. MK12 may be a new era for the franchise, but much  like the playable roster of the last three games,   it's quite evident that very  little is going to change,   because fandom complacency leads to creator  complacency, and that's how a thirty-year-old   franchise on its eleventh main instalment has  barely advanced past a game released in 1993. Rich Evans: "How does feel to have lived  long enough to see all your favourite   franchises go down in flames?" Mike Stoklasa: "It feels great." If you liked this video, why  not subscribe and support me   on Patreon like these fine people here? If not,   then make sure to share it with your enemies so  they can suffer along with you. For four hours. Today's recommended playlist is a new one  I made, compiling a bunch of reviews and   critiques of MK11 by other YouTubers. If you  know of any more, feel free to let me know and   I'll add them. Positive takes are fine, but  I can't imagine there'll be all that many,   because this game is pretty fucking bad, if the  last four hours weren't enough of an indication.

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES: