It's dangerous to go alone!
NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros.
Reviewed on: Playstation 3
Also on: Xbox 360
Mortal Kombat is to fighting games what the Fable series is to RPGs. I don’t mean it’s colorful and everyone farts all the time—I mean it’s a great game for everyone who’s not already a fan of the genre. That’s me—fighting games piss me off. I once rented one of the DOA’s from Blockbuster and, after a dozen matches, returned it without having won a single round. If you’re good at Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat probably seems slow and boring. If you’re ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence, this ninth Mortal Kombat title is a pitch-perfect gory nostalgia bomb, and it manages to deliver the best fight mechanics the IP has ever seen. It’s bloody, it’s pretty easy to pick up and it’s a good title to have around to amuse your friends. In fact, this Mortal Kombat game is one of the few attempts at revising and fucking rebooting my fond childhood memories that I’m not upset about. The roster is great, the graphics are awesome and gross, and the sheer amount of content (sorry, Kontent) is surprising. The story mode has as many cutscenes as a modern FPS—it covers the fun, but fucking ridiculous, stories of MK1, 2 and 3. The challenge tower is 300 (!) challenges ranging from “Fight with no HEAD!” to “Destroy 20 zombies with Kung Lao’s hat.” It’s a formidable thing—I for one will probably never make it to the top. There are some frustrating difficulty spikes that had me spamming the distance attack, but all said, MK9 is really fun and totally worth your money. –Jesse Hawlish
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PC, Playstation 3
Here’s the short review of Portal 2: Everything about this game is awesome—go buy it. In a world where sequels/ripoffs/bullshit ventures make the vast majority of money for covetous media makers, fresh ideas are few and far between. Even though it is a sequel and the fundamental gameplay is unchanged, Portal 2 is unique because of how smart and original it is. If you haven’t played the original Portal, you suck at life, but here’s the rundown: Your character is charged with navigating a number of test chambers using an experimental gun that can create portals, allowing you instantaneous transportation. Also, you’re basically being kept prisoner by an evil robot and your only friend is an inanimate cube. The sequel is a much longer affair, offering a challenging but very well-paced single-player campaign as well as a cooperative campaign for two players. Mentioning anything about the new characters basically spoils the story and some of the game’s best jokes (it’s really, seriously funny), but it’s always entertaining. The new gameplay elements, including propulsion/repulsion gels and tractor beams, add enough to keep the game fresh throughout and are expertly implemented, keeping the game challenging but rarely frustrating. Part first-person shooter, part puzzle game, part dystopian sci-fi drama, part buddy comedy, Portal 2 really has something for anyone. I can’t recommend this game enough. –Ricky Vigil