Portal 2 (2011), video game review.
Back in 2007, when the original Portal was released, it was hailed as one of the best new games. After finishing the amazing, albeit short, game fans were eagerly clamoring for another round. And so when Valve finally decided to reveal Portal 2 everyone was more than ready to get their hands on it.
I was a big fan of the original, I’m not the biggest Portal fan out there but it did make it onto my Top 10 Games list. But when I first saw Portal 2 I was a little uneasy. I thought that it would be all too easy to muck it up. There were just so many doubts running through my head, and up until the game released I still couldn’t have said whether or not it would succeed.
So, were my fears wellplaced…or not so much? Read on…
The Good and The Bad.
The core of Portal 2 remains the same as the first. You/Chell must go through a series of puzzles involving the now famous portal gun. And all the while, along with the puzzles getting harder, there is someone watching and talking to you. In the case of the first game it was Glados who kept you company through the game, but one of the differences between the first and second is that they’ve added a few more characters to make you laugh along you’re way.
The first of which is a Personality Core named Wheatley. And the second is a man named Cave Johnson. But don’t worry, Glados is still along for the ride.
My favorite of the two is Wheatley; Cave Johnson is a good character, but Wheatley is hilarious and you end up spending more time with him. Every line Wheatley spews is perfectly done. Funny, scared, cocky, and most of all, dumbfounded, Wheatley does ’em all. Not only are they well said, but the animations for the little metal ball are amazing, and are able to emit emotions even though he’s just an orb of metal.
One of my fears for Portal 2 was that with a full game length, that the puzzles would start to get repetitive. Boy was I wrong. I was so eager to play through the game that I played through it all in about two sittings, and never once did I complain of repetition.
In Portal 1 the majority of the levels were in the spotless test chambers. Only nearing the end were other environments explored. Portal 2, taking place many years in the future, isn’t as clean and white. Instead plant-life and broken equipment litter the levels, trash sometimes fills the elevator shaft, and a bird has even gotten in. I found that I preferred the new look of the dirty levels, and when I went into my first level of old the white actually made me nervous (true story).
This time around there are also more things regarding the story within the levels. In the first game there weren’t any levels like that until the end. This did a job of making it seem more like you were part of the story and not just playing a game while listening to a book about the history of the game world.
New mechanics like the Aerial Faith Plates and Gels, add to what kind of puzzles you’ll have to face. By the end of the game when every new mechanic is in place the puzzles get really tricky, and really fun. But even so, I was rarely stumped by a puzzle for long.
Anyone who calls themself a gamer has to play this game (and the first one if they still haven’t). While it doesn’t radically change anything, new additions like more characters and mechanics keep the game fresh. My fears for the game were misfound, but I’m not so sure a third Portal would fare so well unless it was radically different.
Visuals: Top of the line graphics. Nothing to complain about.
Sound: Effects are good, but one of the reason the game succeeds is because of its amazing voice acting.
Gameplay: Controls are the same as you remember (only now you can zoom-in). New additions to your toolkit fit right in.
Worth Your Money: The 8-10 hour campaign is worth the price of admission, but tack on an excellent two player campaign, and a cool developer commentary you’re getting a great deal.
Console: Reviewed on the Xbox 360, but also available on PC and PS3.
Developer: Valve Corporation.
Parental Rating: E10/10+
Overall Score: 10/10