Game of the Month, April 2011

Winner: Portal 2

We know that all the Portal 2 love is getting tiresome for the less-enthused, but bear with us for another moment, because we feel that the praise is not only well-deserved, it's important. Valve has released yet-another game that's innovative, well-written, well-paced, bug-free, beautiful, charming, and refined. What are our primary complaints about modern games? They're repetitive, poorly-written, buggy, contain unnecessary fluff, and pander to made-up bags of testosterone. Valve makes showing the rest of the industry how it's done look effortless.

Above: Like Portal 2's puzzles, Valve's work only seems effortless in hindsight

We're not saying that Portal 2 objectively eclipses every other modern game, or that Valve never falters and is the only company doing great work, but it's surely a shining star. Even its promotional efforts are respectable - not everyone liked the Portal 2 ARG, which challenged PC players to speed up the game's launch by playing indie titles, but in the end, who has a problem with Valve promoting good indie games, even if it profits (from the very digital distribution system giving those indie games a place to flourish) as a result? It's great when Valve profits, because it reaffirms that making quality games and respecting customers is the way to achieve success.


Haters gonna hate and say that Portal 2 is too short to be worth $60, but to that we say: either don't insist on being an early adopter and wait for the damn price to drop, or accept that $60 is the current going price for four years of development from some of the industry's top creative minds. Quality over quantity! Not to mention, the game's first DLC expansion will be out this summer for free, even on the 360, which, given Microsoft's historical distaste for allowing its network to be used for anything that doesn't involve a credit card transaction, is a bloody miracle.

Portal 2 kicks ass. If you don't want to throw $60 at it, wait for a price drop or rent it, but do play it. We don't gush about it because we're "Valve fanboys." We really, truly think it's worth it.

Runner up: Mortal Kombat

In a strange twist of fate, both of our top picks released on the exact same day – April 19. But while Portal 2 offered cerebral exercises and a cleverly unfolding story, Mortal Kombat went the other direction and gave us gloriously violent fighting game. Developer NetherRealm took the best aspects of MK’s brightest days (aka the first three games) and successfully updated them for today, then added new features like combo breakers, X-ray combos and a brand new tag-team mode. It all added up to a fun, frenetic fighter that is undoubtedly the most playable, tournament-friendly MK to date. And then there’s the five-hour story mode, which is such a surprisingly robust addition we’d be surprised if future competition doesn’t steal the idea.

We had a our share of minor complaints (and still stand by every one of them), but let us make it clear: the new MK is great fun and tremendously accessible, so if you haven’t bothered with a fighting game in years or are tiring of Street Fighter’s approach to the genre, absolutely give this a shot.

May 1, 2011


  • Joker117 - May 6, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    haven't played portal 2 yet and never really was interested but I don't care what game they released this month MK should of won I'm telling you MK is the cult game like theirs cult movies ( not occults like illuminatis lol) this game has movies , comics , 2 tvs shows 1 live action another movie constantly rumored , millions of fans , millions of games threw out history and has been around since arcades till now fought DC( superman , batman JOKER!! ) but fair enough I'll have to try portal 2 out .. can't wait for twizted metal btw
  • Crimmy - May 4, 2011 12:19 a.m.

    I'm going to say something that most won't get, but SPAAAAAACE!
  • DeadlyViper95 - May 3, 2011 8:22 p.m.

  • Yeager1122 - May 2, 2011 10:44 p.m.

    I want both these games but am going to wait because i want to get l.a noire and brink(if it ends up being good)
  • Cosmis - May 2, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    Hey, you got your utilitarianism in my gaming. Get it out, please.
  • Spybreak8 - May 2, 2011 7:45 p.m.

    Such a great game at such a great price now, seriously pick it up!
  • TriforcePlayer - May 2, 2011 4:45 p.m.

    costs way too much. Bioshock, Galaxy 2, Red Dead are all much longer doubt funner. I'll wait til its 10 bucks.
  • cj12297 - May 2, 2011 2:54 p.m.

    @falcon4196 i think that is £35, which i think is the price on amazon uk
  • philipshaw - May 2, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    Couldn't agree more this choice, Portal 2 is game of the year so far
  • Akutare - May 2, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    Portal 2 is great, quite deserving for the Game of the Month for April 2011.
  • bitcrusherrrr - May 2, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    Havent played portal 2 yet, but im loving MK. Even without being able to play online at the moment it has so much to do with the challenge tower, story and arcade modes which cant be said about most fighting games released recently (looking at you MvC3).
  • SalamanderJesus - May 2, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    MOAR LIEK POTAL KOMBAT AMIRITE??!!! @BigKingBud- ou speak words of wisdom my friend, but lets not forget about Skyward Sword....
  • jackthemenace - May 2, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    I'm lving Portal 2, and I had so much fun playing Mortal Kombat all week with my dad (who remembers the original arcade games coming out, despite never playing them). F-F-F-FINISH the cake.
  • ShortFuse - May 2, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    Too much Portal2 loving.....eurghghhg ENOUGH! I'm sick of all the adverts everywhere and all the press and all the people who've clearly never even played the original going on about it like it's the best thing ever. It's great and probably does deserve game of the month but i'm just tired of the exposure everywhere, it feels like I can't escape it.... I feel like I got cheated out of my enjoyment of it (which is probably a sad reflection on me more than anything else) Pleased it's doing well though...just hope Valve get busy with HL now..
  • FInsomniac - May 2, 2011 8:10 a.m.

    Easily this month's game. I won't hesitate to say that it's a good game, but some lingering issues I had with the game probably will not be making it my game of the year. The dialog stands up as some of the best I've heard, which is phenomenal considering that it's fully and wonderfully voice acted. The game itself? Mind numbingly amazing at best and confusing at worst. Falls behind the first as a puzzle game with me, just because it required you to make assumptions in a way I felt very un-puzzely, instead of being about how you can apply yourself to a particular situation. Worth a buy easily now that it's on sale, but do not expect the perfect game other people are talking about, because there are some parts that just might not gel with you. Of course, no one will probably ever read this or care, but I tried.
  • foxyexplosion - May 2, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    Portal 2, brought to you by Gamesradar and the fine people who mix slurpees with other slurpees creating different slurpees. You guys should hit up the guys over at proactiv for some ads that should shout right to your demographic. hahaha, but seriously, maybe throw down ads for a book or something. You perpetuate the idea of gaming as a childrens medium by allowing this to continue!!! 0.o *minds=blown* (<= totally you guys)
  • playoldgames - May 2, 2011 7:49 a.m.

    I can't help but think anyone who feels Portal 2 is overrated either hasn't actually played it, or doesn't understand that a great game doesn't have to star a jacked-up nimrod intent on blowing stuff up.
  • Tariqwahab - May 2, 2011 5:32 a.m.

    For me.. not interested in Portal 2 at all .. honestly nothing in this game that can really catch me.. So for me game of the month goes to.. MORTAL KOMBAT . flawles victory.
  • SerpentineZERO - May 2, 2011 4:47 a.m.

    Portal 2 is $40 until the 6th of May at GameStop. Get it now.
  • jayajaya415 - May 2, 2011 4:24 a.m.

    People say a short game isn't worth their money, but in my opinion anything that isn't a fresh experiance isn't worth my money. Unless it changes the genre, or creates a new one, I probably already own a game very similiar to it. (Made by a different dev too)

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