SG Review: Portal 2

April 19th, 2011 at 10:22 am · 10 Comments

The first Portal managed to catch the interest of many gamers with its unique take on first-person shooting and bending the laws of physics, all while promising you lots of cake-induced calories. Because of the first game’s awesomeness, people were weary of its sequel not living up to that same level of fun. Could Valve create another masterpiece? Are you better off buying a gallon of ice cream to ease your disappointment?


Portal 2 is an action-puzzle game that brings back the first game’s silent protagonist Chell and her previous adversary GLaDOS. GLaDOS, for those who have never played the first Portal, is an A.I. controlling the Aperture Science research facility and the one that “guided” Chell through various test chambers with the promise of cake. As Chell progressed through the test chambers, GLaDOS intentions turned cynical and we soon learned… THE CAKE IS A LIE! Something about your impending death was mixed somewhere in there too, but the cake not being real was the bigger disappointment.

The reunion between Chell and GLaDOS is not a happy one, even with the addition of Wheatley, a funny spherical robot. Especially since GLaDOS has been soooo busy being dead after you murdered her and all. Soon enough, you find yourself in test chambers all over again and eventually you’re even roaming the facility (which is trashed, and a passive aggressive GLaDOS makes sure to plant the guilt trip on you).

Personally, I’m actually not very fond of puzzle games because it’s very easy for me to get frustrated with them. However, Portal pulled me in with its intriguing villain, and I found myself wanting to get through each puzzle just to hear what she had to say. Valve capitalized on this concept and truly delivered some of the best writing I’ve ever come to experience in a game. The added characters with their great voice acting are just as witty and funny as GLaDOS, and you (once again) find yourself motivated to keep going just to hear more of the dialogue.

Portal 2 has something that the first game didn’t necessarily have, and that’s an actual plot. With the addition of an engrossing story besides just GLaDOS trying to kill you – FOR SCIENCE! – it adds to the already likeable characters of the game by giving them motives and more of an interaction with Chell. It builds up tension throughout the game to make for a well-paced journey you’ll definitely enjoy.

When it comes down to the actual puzzles in the game, they are definitely more diverse because of the added features the facility introduces you to. For example, there are catapults that whisk you into the air and straight into a wall (if you’re doing it wrong). You come across different types of gels such as repulsion gels (colored blue) and propulsion gels (colored orange) that have their own interesting traits that make gameplay all the more amusing. There’s even MORE items like redirection cubes, excursion funnels, and hard light bridges that I will not ruin for you. Just know they’re there, and they kick ass.

These cute little videos can be found in the game

One feature I do wish to mention is something Valve brought over from Left4Dead that helped me a great deal. You can now see the silhouettes of your portals through walls so you don’t lose track of which color you just used or where you placed them. Thank you Valve!

The puzzles are more challenging, but it will not lead you down the road of total frustration and Godzilla-like rage. There was one specific puzzle that I got stuck on for literally an hour, but I managed to pull through. Besides, you’re not me, so you should be fine. Plus, the challenging aspect of Portal 2 is what makes it worthwhile. When you finally get through those mind-boggling puzzles, you feel so much smarter (or maybe that’s just me).

If you’re wondering about the graphics, they have slightly improved since the last installment to give Chell an updated look and to make the rooms a little more sharpened. However, it’s still not that big of a change. In fact, my only real gripe with the game is that with the graphics not being updated enough, it hinders my view in certain sections of the game. It could just be my questionable eyesight, but there were a few times I was stuck because I couldn’t spot a white wall far away.

The game took me about 8 hours to beat, but the consensus on the length of the single player campaign averages to be around 7 to 12 hours. This makes the game twice or three times as long as the first one (depending how good you are), and that’s not even accounting for the online component.

Click over to page two to read up on Portal 2’s co-op!


Related posts:

  1. SG E3 2010: Portal 2 impressions
  2. Portal series is still alive: Portal 2 announced
  3. Portal To Be Turned Into Animated Kid Flick
  4. 38. Stop Saying “The Cake Is A Lie.” Stop It. Stop It. Stop It!
  5. Portal 2 Steamworks coming to Xbox 360

Tags: · · · ·
Categories: PC · PlayStation 3 · SG Review · Xbox 360

10 responses so far ↓

  • TheJackOfHeartsSG says:

    Loved the review and most likely will pick up Portal 2 when I get the chance. I’ve been hearing nothing but glowing reviews on major websites as well as many people on Twitter.

  • Havok Saunders says:

    Portal 2 looks awesome, and I’m sure it is, but my mind just doesn’t work like that. I’d get frustrated after ten minutes and look for a guide online.

  • obsidianchao says:

    Damn, now I wish I could get the game even more! Excellent article Esme, I will now proceed with begging my friends to buy me a copy. /fail

  • Ala Douche says:

    Nice article Esme! There was a little more information than I wanted to know at the beginning of your article (but I don’t think it was avoidable on your part), but this really makes me want to play this game more… as if it’s not on the top of my must-play list already.

    • Esmeralda says:

      If you’re referring to the first Portal spoilers, you shouldn’t be playing Portal 2 if you haven’t played Portal in the first place ^_^

      And I’m sorry if I ruined the beginning for you by telling you that Chell is the returning character you play as… don’t look at the back of your game box! Or the first loading screen! Or the promotional ads! Or remember the ending to the first Portal ;)

      Naw but thanks for reading, commenting, and being you! <3

  • Stingo says:

    Started playing last night, and yes it’s quite an entertaining game. It is the same basic activity (solving puzzles), but with new toys. The humor is definitely back too.

    I think the portal gun’s reticule will tell you which portals are operational – the blue (left) side will be solid if that portal’s deployed and clear if not (the same applies to the orange indicator on the right hand side.)

    As a side note I think it’s pretty witty on Valve’s part to release Portal 2 where a major new feature is co-op.

    A fine review Esme – and I agree – buy it!

    • Esmeralda says:

      “I think the portal gun’s reticule will tell you which portals are operational – the blue (left) side will be solid if that portal’s deployed and clear if not (the same applies to the orange indicator on the right hand side.)”

      Yes I know, but when I mentioned the outlines, it was more to refer to where they are because there are times you wouldn’t be able to see them anymore if the outlines weren’t implemented.

      Thanks for reading and glad you love the game :)

      • Stingo says:

        Point taken. As for who you play as, I guess it never occurred to me it could be anyone else.

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