April Gaming Guide

Overall light month headlined by Portal 2 and the return of ultra-violent Mortal Kombat.

Erik Norris & Joey Davidsonby Erik Norris & Joey Davidson


It’s a light month in the gaming industry (bad timing considering our fresh to death new look). But there are a few blockbuster titles set to launch. In fact, you can start prepping your wallet right now for the 19th of the month. It's the day Mortal Kombat, Portal 2 and SOCOM 4 release, as well as a few other smaller titles. 

Patapon 3

Developer: Pyramid, Japan Studio
System: PSP
Release Date: 4/12/2011

Pata-pata-pata-pon! Yeah, I’m a fan, big whoop. The first two Patapon titles on the PSP were incredible. While the first suffered from being an insatiable grind fest, the sequel delivered a nice and consistently rewarding experience. Regardless of that grinding nature, both games wrapped themselves up in a nice, addicting package.


Patapon 3 looks to further improve upon that already glorious success. This franchise and Loco Roco are the two major reasons anyone should run out and buy a PSP, in my opinion. That is, of course, if you don’t want an NGP. What do I know? The main difference in this installment of Patapon is that rather than being the invisible all-seeing drummer, you play a character that does the drumming. It’s a minor change, but one that retains the fourth wall.

Mortal Kombat


Developer: NetherRealm Studios
System: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
Release Date: 4/19/2011

Mortal Kombat returns to its roots this month. This franchise relaunch once again focuses on what made this series so special to begin with: brutality and uber-violent fatalities. All the classic characters return, as well as some new faces. Don’t let the crap-shoot that was Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe turn you away from this new game. This is the proper now-generation Mortal Kombat that you’ve always wanted.

With Capcom ruling the fighting genre scene with Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it will be interesting to see if the newly christened NetherRealm Studios can deliver a competitor in MK. We’re hoping that they can. After all, healthy competition leads to better overall products for everyone involved. Plus, we just want this former industry juggernaut franchise to feel relevant again. Over the last decade or so the Mortal Kombat series has been doing one prolonged death howl. We hope this is the title that finally rejuvenates this limping franchise because we’re sick of hearing it.

Read our hands-on preview with Mortal Kombat!

Xbox 360 Triple Pack


Developer: Various
System: Xbox 360
Release Date: 4/19/2011

Three of the most critically acclaimed Xbox Live Arcade titles get the retail treatment in a single package. The Xbox 360 Triple Pack contains Trails HD, ‘Splosion Man and Limbo.

There really isn’t much to say here; if you missed these titles the first go-around, now is your chance to see what everyone (including your mom) has been talking about. We highly recommend that you submit to peer pressure and follow suit with everyone else.

SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs


Developer: Zipper Interactive
System: PlayStation 3
Release Date: 4/19/2011

Zipper Interactive returns to SOCOM this month with the series’ fourth iteration. On top of a full squad-based single player campaign, SOCOM 4 also features a completely new multiplayer experience that supports up to 32 players.



We had a chance to play SOCOM 4’s multiplayer at PAX East and came away excited about the possibilities. There are plenty of customization options to ensure the game stays fresh for a long while. It seems Zipper wasn’t lying when they said they took everything they learned from developing MAG and applied it to this new SOCOM game. If you dig third-person shooters with squad mechanics, SOCOM 4 might be a good option this month. On top of that, SOCOM 4 supports the PS Move!

Read our preview of SOCOM 4 multiplayer!

Portal 2

Developer: Valve
System: PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 4/19/2011

Portal 2. Seriously. Valve’s puzzle-based shooter drops this month and will likely blow everyone’s mind into a tiny billion pieces.The humor, the physics, the gameplay, the addiction and the bragging rights are guaranteed to arrive fresh.

Now, which system will you be buying it for? The PC and Mac versions will likely be the tried and true copies for die-hard computer gamers (right about now, I assume PC users are lighting their torches and collecting their pitchforks); but, the PS3 version of the game guarantees you a constant stream of user-generated content, the ability to play with PC and Mac users on Steam and a free Steam copy of the game for your computer. The Xbox version… is on the Xbox. Wow. Valve. Just. Did. That.

Conduit 2

Developer: High Voltage Software
System: Wii
Release Date: 4/19/2011

The Conduit was supposed to be one of the greatest shooters developed this generation. It was supposed to stand out on the Wii as a bastion of hope for hardcore gamers and hardcore game developers. It didn’t do as well as its developers, publisher and fan-base had hoped. It didn’t put the Wii on the map as a hardcore capable system.


Enter the Conduit 2. This game isn’t arriving with nearly as much hype and fanfare, so I almost expect it to do better in the eyes of critics and consumers specifically for that reason. The original was rife with repetition and bland art design, this one looks to rectify those problems while improving upon the previously better-than-mediocre gameplay.


Follow CraveNGN on Twitter