April Games Roundup: "Mortal Kombat," "SOCOM 4"

With Spring starting to settle in and the promise of summer just around the corner, it would stand to reason that April is a month of transitions. And in many ways it is -- but if you are all settled in playing the releases of March, there are more than a few titles worthy of attention this month. And just about every gaming rig is involved, from platforms to PCs to handhelds.

If you're a shooter fan, April is a pretty big month with "SOCOM 4" coming down the pipe, but for twitch-happy melee fans, there is another "Mortal Kombat" title releasing. Oh, and don't forget the video-game companion to May's theatrical release of "Thor: God of Thunder" launching in early May, but that's getting a bit ahead of ourselves. For now, let's just get to the list of April's top releases!

SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs

PlayStation 3

April 19, 2011

Drop the name "SOCOM" into any gaming conversation, and most veteran gamers automatically know exactly what is in store. With console release number 4, SCEA is offering up solid-sounding elements that could expand the franchise. The original design team at Zipper Interactive is behind "SOCOM 4," and they've totally overhauled the single-player mission scheme, giving players more control than before. Online will support up to 32 players and the PlayStation Move can be used for precise aiming.

The story takes place in Southeast Asia where a revolutionary army has taken over a country bordering waterways vital to the world economic trade routes. The game is about infiltration, tactics and, of course, using the latest weaponry to overcome the superior force that is the enemy. Oh, and you are under a six-day (in-game) time limit.

Conduit 2

Wii exclusive

April 19, 2011

"The Conduit" was released in 2009 and received decent reviews. The second offering in the franchise has players fighting an alien invasion courtesy of single-player, online multiplayer or co-op modes. Online, the game will feature 12-player versus modes or four-play co-op, while offline will allow four-player versus or four-player co-op play. The game also promises deep customization.

Mortal Kombat

PS3 and 360

April 19, 2011

A new graphics engine, four-player tag team, two-player co-op mode, online team competition and what Warner Bros. is calling the deepest storyline of any fighting game -- that's what the latest iteration of "Mortal Kombat" brings to the table with the goal of pleasing longtime fans and newbies alike. Emperor Shao Kahn has finally defeated Raiden and his allies, or presumes that he has, but Raiden has one more card to play in an effort to save Earthrealm. With the future all but lost, Raiden heads into the past to confront Kahn.

The game will carry a mature rating for the gore, language, violence and partial nudity.

Portal 2

360, PC, PS3

April 19, 2011

The original "Portal" was critically acclaimed, winning several publications' designation as Game of the Year, so it's no surprise we're seeing a sequel. Valve drops back into the franchise by bringing in an expanded cast of characters while warping physics in new and unique ways. The enemy is GLaDOS, a lethal, inventive and power-mad A.I. There are new portal puzzles and an expansive story that allows for both single player and cooperative play.


PC exclusive

April 26, 2011

Maxis and Electronic Arts are teaming up for a title based off the immensely popular Spore Creature Editor -- well, at least when it comes to the customization options -- with an action, sci-fi role-playing title. The storyline is fairly straightforward: the universe is inundated with the mutated forces of Darkspore and the player must collect genetically enhanced heroes, upgrade their body parts and armor to create worthy defenders. (Think "Spore" with less fantasy, more sci-fi and as a bit of an action shooter.) The game also allows players to hop into a PvP arena to battle it out with three other players. Additionally, you'll have the option of cooperative play as well as the single-player campaign.

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