Portal Kombat: new release picks for April 19, 2011
Now that everyone finally has their taxes complete and their refund checks on the way, it means it's time to spend some cash on frivolous crap. Good thing we're here to help you with that, because we've got some seriously top-notch entertainment to bust your wallet wide-open with this week. We've got Oscar winners, we've got games where you pull out Oscar's spine, the story of the Oscar apocalypse and plenty more. Actually, maybe we don't have so much in the Oscar space, but we do have plenty of things to keep your mind off your sad, pathetic life.
5. Somewhere (DVD, Blu-Ray)
Sofia Coppola is one of the few directors that seem to polarize movie-goers with every film, but there is no denying her movies are, if nothing else, fun to watch. Sure, they're generally feature-length music videos filled with a childlike understanding of the real world, but they look so darn pretty it's hard not to enjoy them. Somewhere is no different; this time Coppola seems to use her own life as inspiration as she tells the story of a Hollywood father and his relationship with his daughter. As these film characters are wont to do, he ends up questioning his role in the universe and in Hollywood.
4. The King's Speech (DVD, Blu-Ray)
We're not going to fault you for having no desire whatsoever to go see The King's Speech in the theaters. After all, it was a period piece about a king with a speech impediment -- it's not really a topic that benefits from the big-screen. Still, it won something like every Oscar, so we should all collectively sigh, get a little drunk and fall asleep while watching it at some point. If we don't, they'll make The King's Speech 2, attach Michael Bay to it and it'll suddenly become some weird story about robots in Victorian England fighting fire-breathing time-traveling knights.
3. Mortal Kombat (PS3, Xbox 360)
Mortal Kombat was once the staple of game-nerds everywhere, but in recent years the series has struggled to gain traction with common folk due to a serious case of franchise-fatigue and feature-whoring. Thankfully, the series is attempting to return to its roots with two-dimensional combat coming back to the forefront and classic, simple to grasp, difficult to master gameplay. It's a homage to the Mortal Kombat that ate away our quarters in the arcades years ago, but updated with enough sense that it doesn't feel archaic. That's not to say it's not complete with new features of all shapes and sizes, because it has plenty of them, but the combat feels so good you won't find yourself worrying much over anything else.
2. Deep Sleeper
Sometimes a graphic novel strikes our fancy because it's rooted so deeply in absurdity its hard to ignore. Case in point, Deep Sleeper is a story about a war being fought on an astral plane involving body-stealing shamans, God, warrior monks and demons. Oh right, the whole thing is supposedly taking place through a doorway of nightmares inside some parallel universe within the confines of a writer's brain. It ends up being a strange blend of the real and the surreal as one man attempts to save the universe by losing his mind. Seriously, we couldn't make this up -- that's really the basic plot.
1. Portal 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Look, we'll keep this simple for you: Portal is one of gaming's greatest achievements. Portal 2 continues that trend with a slew of new features, new wit, new puzzles and new game modes. As the story goes, you wake up in a test chamber and you want out, but the rogue A.I. has other plans for you -- namely, testing. Soon enough you'll be loaded up with a portal gun that puts holes in the wall to create, uh, portals. If a first-person puzzler starring a voiceless female lead and a killer A.I. isn't on your list of awesome, you're clearly missing out on life's finer moments. It's a game that earnestly and truly appeals to the masses as long as they're willing to give it a shot.