This year more than ever, we’re seeing a lot of re-released and expanded titles come out, including games like Observer: System Redux and the remastered PS5 version of Spider-Man. Some games are actually getting big content updates as well though, and we thought we’d highlight two of them. The Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Edition doesn’t just come with a free next gen upgrade, it also features three new characters for the game. Destiny 2, meanwhile is launching its “Beyond Light” expansion, which kicks off another season of in-game events as well. Time for a closer look.
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Edition / Kombat Pack 2
If you’re a fan of the Mortal Kombat franchise and you’ve been following our reviews, you’ll have read our 2019 review of Mortal Kombat 11 and the review of the massive Aftermath expansion that followed a year later. Now, NetherRealm and Warner Bros are releasing an Ultimate Edition of the game, which includes all the previously released content as well as the brand new Kombat Pack 2.
Compared to the first Kombat Pack, this new release is a pricey one if you’re not getting it as part of the Ultimate Edition package. It comes in at $15/€15, and only contains three new characters as opposed to the six that were featured in the first pack, which also came with additional skins for your existing characters. This time around, no additional skins are included, though at least one of the new characters is certain to be a big hit with movie fans and all three are high on nostalgia.
Included in the new pack are Mileena and Rain, who’ve both appeared in previous Mortal Kombat titles. Mileena’s actually been in so many of them at this point that you have to wonder why she’s not just a part of the regular roster as the Ying to Kitana’s Yang. As a character, she sits in between the fighting styles of Kitana and Baraka, so she’s a familiar face on several fronts. Hailing all the way back to Mortal Kombat II, she’s a comfortable fit with the roster and seamlessly fits in if you’ve played with her proxy characters already.
More of a rarity is Rain, who was introduced way back in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 but is far more enigmatic than Mileena – often relegated to cameo appearances. As a half-god and prince from another dimension, he’s very powerful, channeling the power of water, wind and steam through his attacks. Those familiar with the character’s origins will no doubt appreciate that one of his attacks is called “Purple Pain” as well – and as a master of the elements he’s a good character if you enjoy playing with the likes of Sub Zero.
I’d imagine that most people are interested in the new Kombat Pack for the third character though: John Rambo. Using the likeness and voice of Sylvester Stallone, he’s the latest relative oddity of a character for the franchise, after DC’s The Joker and Spawn were first introduced. It’s two other characters that will have movie fans most excited though, because this Ultimate Edition now lets you pit Stallone’s Rambo against Schwarzenegger’s Terminator – and if you’re a fan of 1980s action movies than RoboCop is a great third guest at the party as well. Although learning the in-depth fighting mechanics behind the game can take a while, there is an instant appeal in these types of matchups. Rambo certainly has a unique fighting style, using a lot of knife-based combat alongside traps and other weapons – they’ve captured the general feel of the Rambo movies very well, just like they did with the Terminator animations. And let’s face it, isn’t it a fight we’ve been wanting to see for 35 years?
Destiny 2: Beyond Light
Destiny 2 feels like a franchise that’s still in transition, after the much talked-about split between developer Bungie and Activision. The game went free to play, instead charging players for content updates as they’re released. The latest major new release of Beyond Light, and it hasn’t convinced me that this the way forward for me as a player leaning more towards the story-driven/PvE end of things.
A large part of that is that the story campaign in Beyond Light is underwhelming, both in terms of length and impact. It’s about five hours long and takes place entirely on one planet (Europa), where you face off against a new captain called Eramis against an icy cold backdrop as you ‘wield the powers of darkness to fight the darkness’. Feeling more like a formulaic DLC campaign than an original adventure, the most memorable part of the campaign is probably the location of Europa – which looks amazing once you dip below the snow-covered surface and discover the facilities that lie just below.
One of the more striking abilities introduced in Beyond Light are the new statis powers, which channel Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero and give you power over ice as you freeze opponents in place and then proceed to blast them to smithereens. You can also erect ice shields as a way to defend yourself, and this adds a tactical layer to the game.
The problem is that that tactical layer mostly applies to the multiplayer portion of Destiny 2, where walls of ice are erected to funnel enemies into a trap or delay them just long enough to let reinforcements come in. You can tell people are getting creative with their new powers, but it’s not as much of a game-changer in the single player part of the game. These statis powers are most definitely fun though, and even extend to how you can supercharge your abilities when you’re playing with them.
This latest update for Destiny 2 also removes a lot of existing content from the game world, so everything is more condensed and streamlined, but with less to do and discover if PvP isn’t your bag. If the franchise is going to keep appealing to both categories of fans, an episodic approach with exciting single player chapters would be great while the ‘seasons’ approach is better geared towards those who continuously play. The actual shooting is still great, but I personally see little reason to keep coming back until a new story chapter hits.