Well, it’s that time of year again. No, not Halloween, the time when I finally finish one videogame. Sadly, due to some moving activities, I won’t be reviewing a movie today, but instead talking about the one game this year I finished in the midst of all the craziness. And being incredibly poor, behind the times, and a stickler for quality, I picked one of the better games on the market. After all, what’s the point of buying a crap game that you know you’ll hate? Unless you’re a stuffy old critic like me who needs something to rage at.
Let’s take a look at Portal 2.
If you’re looking for me to compare this to Portal, then you will be disappointed because I feel a game should stand on its own merits, and even when it belongs to a series, should be look at as an individual piece of art. With that being said, let’s go on with the review.
The plot and dialogue is well written, intriguing, and funny at all the right times. The writers clearly put a lot of effort and and thought into each and every exchange (even though Chell can’t speak). The plot begins with Chell being reawoken back in Aperture Science by a robot named Wheatley, who wants to help her escape. In order to do that, however, they must fight a newly awoken GLaDOS and remove her from the core of the Aperture mainframe. As you can imagine, nothing goes right from there, leading Chell to become a guinea pig with a portal gun once more to an aggressive A.I. The story works well, tells you more of the history of this awful, haunted lab, and finally has a concrete resolution for Chell (or does it?). This works incredibly well overall, keeping the plot simple and interesting in order to maximize on the puzzles. Also, I will never look at potato batteries the same way again.
The puzzles range from nice and easy to going-to-rip-my-hair-out-why-am-I-doing-this-need-a-walkthrough-now, which is great for those who really love puzzles. Me, I’m more of a crosswords type of girl, so 3D puzzle solving isn’t my forte but I still managed to get through the game for the most part without any help. The overall gameplay is very solid, though I will say that the boss battle made me want to explode – I was literally screaming at the screen. The issue is that often Portal 2 wants you to be incredibly exact (I am not), so every aspect of the boss battle has to be exactly right or you end up wasting time (yes, it’s a timed battle, yippee). As for the rest, it all flowed very smoothly and even though I needed to try a few times for each puzzle, I would make it through without spending hours on it. I will say that the little side quests and achievements are a lot of fun, though they are sometimes hard to discover by accident, so look them up online if you interested.
The graphics are really good. I played this on a huge HD TV screen, so I got to see all the crystal clear details. The facility is dilapidated, so its nice to see backgrounds that aren’t just raised, sterile platforms and white walls by gray walls. There is even a very brief portion in space! Variety is the spice of life, even a digital one. There are the gels that add some color to the black-grey-white scheme at least, along with the personality cores of different colors. The detailing is great, and the concept artwork is also lovely to look at if you feel like you need some more Portal in your day. As a newer game, the graphics are close to the latest generation, so expect it to look great, though no idea how well it’ll hold up in a decade.
Additionally, this game has a co-op mode in order to complete the game which you must play with another person. While I am generally in favor of playing videogames with friends, I understand not everyone agrees on the subject. I have some pretty specific feelings about online gaming myself, so I don’t judge. Really though, the co-op mode is a lot of fun, and so much easier when you have someone else to help you figure out the puzzles so I encourage you to at least try it. I love the characters of Atlas and P-Body, and their campaign is well made, even if the ending of their story is incredibly sad, and possible sequel bait.
Portal 2 is, as I said before, a very good game. It’s well written, well constructed, and well designed. If you enjoy puzzles, then this is definitely the game for you. If you’re puzzle-challenged like me, then you might want to take precautions to not throw your controller or mouse against the wall, but it’s still a worthwhile game. It’s a must have for any gamer who enjoys great gameplay and storytelling fused together masterfully. Stay tuned for next year for when I have enough time to finish another game and write a review about it (hopefully).
– Great story and writing.
– Good gameplay.
– Great graphics.
– Co-op mode is a plus.
– The puzzles may make you insane.
– The final boss battle has issues.
Developer: Valve Corporation
Publisher: Valve Corporation
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Reviewed on: PS3
Rating: E 10+
Release date: April 19, 2011