Monday, June 27, 2011

Portal 2 Review

Portal 2 is a puzzle game of sorts, that plays like a first person shooter. Not having played through the first one, it was an interesting purchase for anyone and still fun for everyone. Portal 2 introduces many new gameplay features, and keeps the same old puzzle and humor style. The game looks great and plays great too, leading to one of this years most entertaining puzzle games by a longshot, and one of the best games as well.

Portal 2 takes place directly after the events of Portal 1. At the end of Portal 1, *Spoiler Alert* You killed Glados. At the beginning of Portal 2, a friendly robot named Wheatley decides to try to help you escape, but in the process, accidentally reactivates Glados, which leads to a series of testing, surprise surprise. The premise behind the testing is that the robots are designed to test subjects and enjoy doing so. The tests are comprised of using a gun called a "portal gun" that creates a portal that teleports you from one location to the next. You can shoot one portal with L1, and the other with R1. This allows you to travel between two points. Eventually, through your escape, Wheatley becomes a bit power crazy, after swapping powers with Glados. This leads to an unlikely partnership as you work with Glados to prevent Wheatley from destroying the entire testing facility. You'll actually get to explore much of the older testing facility as well, through a mishap that sends you far into the older parts of the building. This leads to a new narrator and tester, Cam Johnson, who provides very humorous commentary through your testing. The game is full of humorous points, and the ending definitely does not disappoint.

Wheatley is one of the most humorous characters in the game.

The puzzles in Portal 2 get progressively harder as you go along. In each level you must get from point A to point B, but this isn't always easy. There are many things that prevent you from simply shooting portals. Portals can only be shot on designated areas, marked by a certain type of wall material. This limits the ways in which to solve a puzzle, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Puzzles can involve turrets that try to shoot you upon sight, bridges created through portals, beams of energy that can carry you across vast areas, and even different types of gel such as bounce gel, fast moving gel, and portal material gel. Each of the levels introduces different gameplay mechanics and is well-paced and varied throughout. The puzzles can get very frustrating at times, but this makes it very humorous and rewarding. The story itself is an average length, around 8 to 10 hours, depending on how intelligent you are.

Each of you play as a testing robot in co-op.

Also, for the first time in the Portal franchise, Co-op play is introduced. This can either be done split screen, or it can be done online. This is a completely separate part from the single-player campaign, and lends to about another 8 hours of gameplay. The difference here is that you essentially have 4 portals at any time. There is definitely a lot of teamwork needed to complete the levels, and it will help if you play it with someone slightly intelligent or at least familiar with gaming. The co-op somewhat intertwines with the single-player, as Glados tests you through many different types of levels. The co-op campaign is a welcome addition to an already awesome game. Though not really story based, it still has its humorous points as you follow and play as two testing robots.

The game is definitely one of the years best in terms of story and gameplay. Its a very humorous game that will have you likely to break your controller at some points, but will ultimately leave you happy with yourself that you were able to solve a difficult puzzle. The graphics are great, very smooth textures, and it plays without too many hiccups. The voice acting is incredibly good, with Cam Johnson, Glados and Wheatley all having great roles. Surprisingly, you don't ever say a word, but that makes it somewhat interesting. The only downside of the game is that once you beat it, there's really not much more to it. You've already figured out the puzzles, and will be likely to remember most. There is DLC releasing for it, but unless its moderately priced, I don't see many reasons to replay the game.

Story – 9.5
Gameplay – 9.5
Graphics – 9
Sound – 10
Replayability - 7.5

Overall Rating – 9


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