Sunday, May 8, 2011

portal 2
by zoidberger

DEVELOPER: Valve Corporation
PUBLISHER: Valve Corporation
Progress: 100% Single Player, 65% Co-Op

I’ll be damned if a lack of baked goods from the first installment was going to stop me from playing the much anticipated sequel to one of the most beloved puzzle games of all time. I was a huge fan of the first-person physics-based puzzle game and had lofty expectations for the sequel. Portal 2 did what most sequels are unable to do with those expectations, surpass them.

Portal 2 doesn’t try to change the foundation it set for itself with the original but instead builds on it. You return as Chell, the protagonist from the original Portal. You’re awakened by a clumsy robot named Wheatley, only to find that the entire Aperture Science facility is in ruin. With the help of Wheatley (accidental) you reactive GLaDOS and she is not pleased to see you survived.

As you attempt to restore the Aperture Science facility, you will come across many of the same type of puzzles from the original. Although familiar the puzzles stay fresh with the addition of several new puzzle components. You make use of several gel substances, each with their own unique effect when used on surfaces. You get a blue gel (used to bounce off surfaces) a red gel (used to increase your speed on surfaces) and a white gel (enables you to put portals on previously unusable surfaces). These additions make the puzzles fresh and challenging but never to the point of frustration. Along with the gels, sliding floors and warp tunnels add to the transportation options in the game. The lovable companion cube makes a return, but don’t forget to give equal love to the new laser redirection cube. You must make full use of cubes, gels, and warp tunnels if you have any chance of completing even the simplest of levels. The single player campaign runs anywhere from 7 to 9 hours in length. I feel that is enough gameplay to justify the purchase, but Portal 2 doesn’t stop at the single player campaign. 

The Co-Op campaign adds even more depth to the already deep single player campaign. In the Co-Op campaign you play as Atlas and P-body. The story continues past the single campaign slightly but where it shines is the increase in puzzle complexity. With the assistance of a friend you must make use of 4 portals along with the rest of the in game features in order to get through the Co-Op campaign. The Co-Op campaign adds an additional 7 hours of gameplay, the game in its entirety gets you about 15 hours of cake chasing fun. If two campaigns are still not enough for you, Valve will be releasing a level designing tool set to allow players to make their own cube tossing levels (will be released in the coming months). Portal 2 basically has unlimited replay ability, as long as the player base is willing (and they will be) to let their imagination wander in creative freedom. 

If you own both PS3 and XBOX 360, I would suggest getting the PS3 title. The reason for this is the Steam code that comes with the PS3 version of the game. You are basically getting the game for 66% of the available platforms (75% if you consider Mac and PC to be separate platforms). 
Portal 2 is everything one would want in a sequel. It doesn’t differ from the original enough to upset the core fan base, but also improves on the original to feel like it can stand on its own and not just in the shadow of the first. Portal 2 stands not only as one of the greatest puzzle games of all time, but as one of the greatest games of all time. With its humorous characters, complex puzzles, and depth filled Co-Op campaign, Portal 2 has tons to offer even the most hardcore of gamers. 


1 comment:

  1. Awesome review. Starts out strong, and offers a great overview. Most importantly, it makes me want to play...