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Please Rate This Review - Portal 2
Portal 2; New Portal or More Portal?
HIGH A more developed plot and an endless stream of jokes that will make you laugh out loud.
LOW The fact that it felt you were moving from tutorial to tutorial, without having the chance to combine all testing features.
WTF No cake?
Fans of Portal, this is the game for you. It’s fun. It’s amazing. It’s Valve. Not only does it expand on the original with a longer gametime and more gameplay features but its convulted story-line, its post-apocalyptic futuristic setting, its improved graphics, its flawless co-op mode and the overall greatness of Portal 2 will satisfy your expectations and leave you hungry for more.
For people looking for a great game, however, buy the original Portal. Because, frankly, it’s better for you. And why?
Portal was made for your average person. Portal 2 was made for Portal fans.
Portal is a mindblowing game. Its low budget, original gameplay and overall magnificence took everyone completely by surprise, establishing itself as one of the best and most innovative games ever made. It was literally impossible for any game to surpass it. Not that Valve didn’t try. So what did we end up with? A good continuation of a great game; not coming close to being as shocking as the original, but as good a continuation as you could hope for.
But it’s no more than that; a good continuation. An expansion of the original game; more Portal, funnier Portal, cooler Portal, but still a sequel of Portal. Problem? You need to have experienced the impact of Portal to fully enjoy Portal 2. And one needs only to complete the first chapter to realize this; the tutorial is awful, consisting of recycled test-chambers from the first game, but set about 500 years in the future. The end result is that all of the test chambers are completely destroyed by the environment, leading to confusion in many aspects. Also, several key “portalling” features, such as using momentum to your advantage, are left unexplained. Then, of course, there's the plot. Full of jokes, out of which half won't make any sense if you'd never had experience with Portal. If you have, though, they will be hilarious. And I mean hilarious.
But even though it is a good continuation, it’s not a perfect one. The most shocking thing is Valves mysteriously dumb decision to get rid of many iconic Portal objects, and refusal to replace them with new ones. Cameras, incinerators, rocket turrets, companion cubes, and cake are but some of the features which are either missing or in much less abundance than in the first game. A disappointment.
The testing chambers are also different. Very different. Many of the tests take place outside your typical test chambers, involving activities such as sabotaging a turret line; a definite improvement and a welcomed break from the repetitively dull test chambers of the first game. On the other hand, the lack of any official test chamber makes it seem strange, as if there’s no “official ground”, no connection to Portal; since your adventures take place in eitehr abandoned areas or worn-down facilities, most test chambers are either broken down, 50 times the size they should be, or not consisting of a test chamber at all. And then there’s the case of testing features. You could count those from Portal with your fingers; energy balls, acid, turrets, cubes + buttons covered virtually 90% of all the stuff you used in Portal. Here, testing features are both better in number and in graphics; bouncing balls, gels, light bridges…The combinations you could make would be endless. Theoretically, it would allow an infinite number of ways with which you can end test chambers, allowing you to choose how to solve a test chamber. Alas, no. Unlike its predecessor, you can never really combine them, making it feel as if you’re moving from tutorial to tutorial. You don’t have the luxury of choosing how to solve a certain test chamber. Not only that, but several key features from its predecessor are omitted, sush as the iconic enerby balls (replaced by lasers). A thumbs up in the design department, but a thumbs down in playability, as there is much more stuff you can do with a bouncing ball of death than there is with a laser.
But, as we know, Portal wasn’t perfect either. And Portal 2 managed to improve some of the stuff that was missing form the first game. The plot, for example, is much more developed. The basics are essentially the same; escape the clucthes of a homicidal robot by completing the test chambers set to you and using the knowledge you’ve gained from them to escape the facilities. But here, the rules have changed. You were now more than a simple lab rat; you were a hero, a person who has connections with the antagonist, one who has beaten this game once, and will be darned if you can’t do it again. Not only that, but this story also features a wider range of characters, more shocking twists that will keep you on your toes and the chance to explore the histories of Aperture science, making it one of the best plots I have ever seen in videogames. Again, something every Portal fan will be dying to know, but something non-Portal fans will not care about. Another thumbs up is the humour; it’s rather different, focusing more on jokes than on the ridiculization of objects (such as cake or the companion cube)… A great risk. A great gain. Valve has managed to nail it again, making the humour in the game nothing short of brilliant, with an endless stream of jokes and instances of dark humour that will make you laugh out loud.
Finally, another aspect of this game that is so great it deserves its own paragraph, is the co-op mode. Something that was definitely lacking in the first game, this experience is one of the best co-op games out there, partly due to the fun there is in working and eventually cracking a problem with a friend (instead of on your own), and partly due to the fun there is in dropping your partner into a pit filled with acid.There is no plot, but that’s where its brilliance lies. Whereas the single-player campaign focused on plot and humour, here the main focus is on testing features. Again, you can’t really combine them, but still, it’s a great gaming experience.
So overall? A good game and a definite buy. Not a good game if you don’t know about Portal. Not a good game if you’re expecting something as groundbreaking as the original. But a great game if, like many people, you finished Portal with want of something more.
8.5 / 10
Disclosures: This game was bought online via Steam. Approximately 15 Hours were put in single-player mode, and 8 in co-op. Game was completed twice.
Parents: This game contains aspects of dark humour which may not be appropiate for young children and insecure adolescents.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: You can read subtitles for all spoken dialogue, so you will understand all the jokes. However, you will not be able to experience the soundtrack or the tone of voice.
Last edited by RandomRob; 10-16-2011 at 12:09 PM.