It’s finally here! It’s been 4 long years since Portal released in the Orange Box bundled with Half Life 2 and Team Fortress 2. Developed and published by Valve, Portal 2 is the next iteration of this insanely addicting portal shooting puzzle game. Was it worth the wait ?
- “This is Art“ Portal 2 does a lot of what Portal 1 did with the test chambers. As soon as you start up the game, you are greeted by a robotic voice telling you that you’ve been asleep for 50 days and you are required to do some exercising followed by going back to sleep. You wake up again and you can tell you’ve been there for a while. The voice prompts you again telling you that you’ve been there for 9999999 days before it just cuts out. You hear a voice coming from the door and this is where you are introduced to the first character.
- Characters. The very first character you encounter soon after starting the game is a small robot connected to the tracks on the ceiling named Wheatley. He has an interesting British accent and seems all flustered. He is probably one of the funnier characters in this game, he tells you that you have a very minor case of major brain damage. Once again, you meet up with GLaDOS, and she’s just as evil as before,she has retained the last 2 minutes of her life before she was destroyed… by you. So you can safely assume she’s pissed.
- The Story. Portal 2 is truly entertaining through and through. The characters are developed very well. You feel for Wheatley and GLaDOS throughout the game. But let’s not forget the banter between GLaDOS and Wheatley. It is absolutely hilarious, but you also get a lot of the story from this seemingly useless chat through two robots then you would get from entire stories in several other games.
- Gameplay. Valve has done it again. This game is just as addicting as the first. You are put into these test chambers that are VERY,VERY difficult. When you complete them, you feel accomplished. Never have I experienced a game that gave me the satisfaction that Portal 2 did. In short, it makes you feel smart. I’ve literally sat for 20-30 minutes on certain levels trying to figure out how in the hell to get to the exit only to discover that you need to go back to get something earlier in the level. The controls are perfect, the default view speeds work fine and there isn’t as much required twitchiness like the first game.
- Cool Additions. One of the cool additions to this game is the gels. There are three different colored gels, orange, blue, and white. The mechanics behind these gels are very interesting and become very important later on. The Orange gel speeds you up when you walk on it. The blue gel is bouncy when you jump on it, and the white gel makes a surface that you could not use your portal on, into a usable surface. All of these gels can travel through your portals. This allows you to move them about the level.
- Co-op. I played an hour or two of co-op and man, was it fun. Right off the bat the levels are very difficult. You can play co-op with a friend (recommended) or you can be matched with someone over XBL, or the PSN. (not recommended, mainly because of the matchmaking time. I was literally sitting for 7 or 8 minutes just waiting for the system to pair me with someone else). But after you get through the frustration, you start to appreciate the companionship you have. You never realized how alone you were in the single player until you’ve played co-op. This is easily my favorite part of the game. The multiplayer also features an ability to point at places so both players do not need headsets.
- Frustratingly Difficult. This game will have you scratching your head for hours. The puzzles are so well put together that it really takes some logical thinking to figure out what it wants you to do.
- Map Editor. One of the main complaints of Portal 1 was the length of the game. If you were slow, the game took you approximately 5 hours to complete. With most people finishing in 3 or 4 hours. They definitely fixed this because this game took me about 10 – 12 hours without co-op. Now I understand the co-op will add many hours of enjoyment, but there could be more. Just adding a map editor would be a great thing. Remember when Halo released a map editor ? Know how many awesome custom maps are on there now ? (Grifball) let me answer that, SO MANY! Maybe this will be a feature to look out for in the future.
- Delete portal button. There are so many times when I would have liked to just delete the portals I have set out so I could start fresh. But it didn’t work out that way so I just had to find other ways of doing it. Adding a simple delete my portals button is a tiny addition I think would benefit everyone.
- Long loading time. The checkpoint system usually saves you a lot of time, but there are quite a few times where you die after a checkpoint and it takes a good 20-30 seconds to load the last checkpoint. Even if you died 5 feet from it. The specific time I remember this happening was a level where a pipe explodes and breaks the bridge you are trying to walk on in half. You have to use the blue goo to jump from one side to the other. And I died quite a few times having to wait 30 seconds until I could try again. It’s not the end of the world, but it is annoying.
Portal 2 blends the perfect balance of extremely difficult puzzles with comedy and clever writing. You can’t help but feel frustrated at how difficult everything is, but you simply don’t care because of how much fun you are having and how funny everything is. If you like Portal 1, You are going to LOVE Portal 2.