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?
MINOR CHARACTER SPOILER WARNING (ALSO SPOILERS OF PORTAL 1)
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.
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!
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