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Portal 2

Game Review

by zero

 

Portal 2 is yet another masterpiece brought to us by Valve. i guess with the only exception of Portal 1, Portal 2 is one of the only (or the only) first person puzzle game out there. My apologies if i'm overlooking any indie title that i have not yet played.

It's refreshing to find a first person "shooter" where you aren't just blasting everything in sight. You are rewarded for using your mind, not just your fast reflexes.

If you like Portal 1, then you will love Portal 2 as it is an improvement over the original, which was a fine game itself. It's not just more of the same. It's longer and has a much more epic scale to it. There is a good progression to the levels and tools and tactics at your disposal as you advance through the game.

The graphics are nice and even look good and plays smoothly on a low end PC. The game keeps things fresh by varying the puzzles and changing the backgrounds. Instead of the white and grey sterile tiles of the backgrounds of Portal, Portal 2's levels range from rundown test chambers with some green vegetation to the original laboratories of the 1940s looking the part of the time period.

Portal 2's puzzles range from easy to just the very cusp of frustrating. i found the ones i struggled with a bit were when i was playing the game on no sleep. Another improvement over the original is adding the lasers that can be adjusted by moving crystal/laser boxes. Portal 1's light balls (or whatever they were called) could sometimes be hard to judge for long range shots; the lasers are not.

i have to say that this game is hands down the funniest game i have ever played. The writing and dialogue (technically monologue) deserves an A+. Throw in some of the best voice acting ever in a game, with Wheatley's dim plans, GLaDOS's quips, and Cave Johnson being Cave Johnson and you have pure comedic gold. i think my favorite line is when GLaDOS said, "Look at you flying through the air like an eagle...piloting a blimp."

The game's length is just right. It's not too short, like Portal 1 was, and it's not too long and drawn out. If it were longer, the game might grow a tad stale. Unfortunately, it does not have much replay to it since it is a puzzle-based game. Once you know the puzzles, there's not a lot of fun in re-solving them. Also, i have to say i wish there was more than one way to solve the puzzles. Almost all of them have only one real way to solve them. It seems like this is the only downgrade from Portal 1. Allow me to think with Portals and reward my outside the box thinking.

To solve the lack of replay issue, there is an excellent coop mode where you play the part of one of the two bots on the cover of the game. This mode is a blast. It's best played with a friend since it's a total luck of the draw if you play with a rando. The coop mode definitely urges teamwork and has useful hand signals (and sounds) and a "picture in picture" box where you can see what your teammate sees. Well played, Valve. On a side note, it's somehow hilarious "accidentally" hitting a switch and dumping your teammate into a pool of acid. Luckily, deaths are not that big of a set back, nor should they be with the humorous tone of this game.

Bottom Line

It's not like anything else out there, well, except for Portal 1. Portal 2 is my pick for game of the year.

 

Pros Cons
  • Good variety of puzzles
  • Needs to have more ways to solve puzzles
  • Coop mode
  • Continues the shameful trend of making you pay for microtransactions/upgrades to your bot on coop
  • Even better than the original
  • The National's "Exile Vilify" song sounds tinny on the radio i found ;)
  • Funny
  • Not much replay
  • Excellent voice acting
 
  • Interesting Easter eggs
 

 

Score:

9.8 out of 10

 


 

 

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