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Review: Portal 2(PC)

Portal 2 is one of those games that every kind of gamer should experience, It’s not every day were you get entertained by just puzzles and funny dialogue. If you ask me, this is pretty much the hardest game to pull off on the puzzle genre but valve succeeded making it one of the most polished games you will ever play. Ready to test once again for science?

Portal 2
Developer: Valve Corporation
Publisher: Valve Corporation
Platform: PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360

Story

the story is pretty simple and it revolves around Chell once again as she tries to escape aperture’s testing facility. Valve updated the first game’s ending for it to make sense to why Chell is back in aperture. It’s nothing big, it just really sets up  Portal 2. The game starts with Chell placed in one of the tester’s quarters and placed into a deep sleep for a few years. She wakes up in the same room and noticed the place has worn out as the years passed by. You get a knock from the door and you meet Wheatley, an AI core planning to help you escape Aperture once again. During your escape, Wheatley makes a huge mistake which leads Chell testing for GLaDOS on the testing chambers once again. The real escape starts here.

In the story, the real hero to why the narrative works is because of the game’s witty dialogue. Weatley, GLaDOS and the rest of the facility is what brings this game to life. You’d think having a silent heroine would leave a hole to the narrative but it actually complements to what they aimed to do with rest of the characters in aperture. People wondered if Chell would be given a voice but by doing so will ruin everything else, certain dialogue won’t work as well with Chell conversing with other characters. Some video game characters are better off without a voice and giving them the ability to talk ruins the experience. In the end, When you’ve finished portal 2 you’ll be amazed from the game’s simple yet charming story that leaves you satisfied.

“going crazy with portals!”

Gameplay

If you’ve played the first game then you know how the game works. You’re equipped with just the portal gun, and that’s all you get. Each puzzle of portal 2 is you figuring out how to get yourself to the exit of each testing chamber, and you need the portal gun to do so.

The puzzles in each area seem impossible at first but are completely doable; all you have to do is think outside the box. Well, don’t just think outside the box, think outside the box with portals. With the ability to go wherever you want with simple clicks of your mouse or controller, valve challenges the way you think. Everything is right in front of you; it all depends on how you use what you currently have. The puzzles in Portal 2 are great, when you’ve succeeded in a stage that kept you thinking, you can’t help but smile and appreciate how clever that one was.

The game is so well designed that each puzzle has just the right amount of difficulty added as you progress through the game. The first few stages gives you an introduction about the few tricks in Portal 2 and it’s portal gun, but during each simple tutorials your still challenged to solve a puzzle making the introductions of each feature effective. It looks difficult from afar but the game is easy to grasp since they expose you enough to get the concept right away.

Game bugs in my play through were almost non-existent, another example of how well Valve developed Portal 2. With a game like this that’s so complex and difficult to create, a noticeable bug once in a while is understandable but there was none worth mentioning. As the credits rolled, I realized that the only thing that interrupted my experience in Portal 2 was me failing at a couple of puzzles.

Each puzzle brings something new to the table. You won’t see a test chamber similar to the previous ones you’ve completed. The game actually gets better as you get closer to the end. With new features in the game like the different goos added or the beam-like bridge being thrown at the player for them to use and figure out keeps the game interesting. They made sure that each chamber had their own identity for you to figure out.

The environment also stays fresh as you progress through the game. At the start of the game your placed to the usual test chambers but as you move closer to the end your introduced to a different setting that give the puzzles there a different feel. Portal 2 just keeps giving.

The only complaint I can think of is the replay value of the game. After all, it’s a puzzle game and when you know each puzzle there’s no point playing the game again unless your one of those achievement junkies. The Single Player can clock around 8-12 hours. It may seem short for some but you won’t regret having Portal 2 when you start playing. If you want more, Co-op is just as long as the Single Player and has a completely different story.

“Atlas and P-body in co-op mode”

Now, one portal gun and bringing yourself to the exit was hard enough, Co-op is even harder. You really need Cooperation and I advise you to force a buddy to buy the game with a mic to play co-op with. Everything you’ve experience in the Single Player will be there and the difficulty is much higher here since you have another player to worry about. It’s a completely different experience and each puzzle in co-op is all new and designed for 2 player play. You have to work with 4 portals now and figure out how to bring both players to the exit.

Each puzzle is just as well-crafted as the Single Player and it can get crazy fast and is loads of fun. If by any chance you have no friends at all and can’t find a partner, you can search for another lonely player with the fast search option but I strongly suggest playing with a friend. You will often find someone who has already figured out some puzzles you have yet to experience and that will ruin it. There are also players that hold your hands and don’t even bother to teach you how to solve the puzzle. This is a great experience and must be played with another player at the same level as you.

Graphics and Sound

the games graphics show a small improvement in quality compared to the first game. Since you explore more of aperture outside the test chambers, some places can amaze you but compared to the triple a title games out this year, there’s no comparison.

The voice acting though in this game is amazing. From GLaDOS constantly complaining and insulting you because you killed her last time, to Wheatley’s funny comments as you try to escape the facility. As you go through puzzle after puzzle, the small talk and comments gives players a good laugh during or after a puzzle. It’s great and I have those instances where I stop what I was doing and just listen to what they have to say.

Overall

Portal 2 is one of the best games I’ve played so far this year. Unique gameplay, witty dialogue, a simple yet satisfying story, and a well crafted game. There’s so much that this game got right. The flow of the game is perfect and the difficulty of each puzzle is just right. Most games out now are somewhat similar in certain ways and you hardly find a game that provides something new for us gamers to experience. Portal 2 is an example that game developers can still wow us gamers with something completely out of our comfort zones. If you want something different and unique, this is one title you should not ignore.

Score: 95/100

Pros:

– Amazing Single Player and Co-op modes

– Puzzles are challenging but not impossible

– Great dialogue and voice acting

– Well polished game

Cons:

– Weak replay value

– Short game

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  1. Player
    May 30, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Nice review!

  2. Pnoy
    June 25, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Valve has done it again! I must say this game is the only stable game I played this year. It’s a must for all gamers out there.

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