PC/XBOX360 Game Review: Portal 2

Back in 2007 Valve release The Orange Box, which collected up the 2004 PC game Half-Life 2 along with the ‘Episode’ expansions for release on the XBOX360 (and later PS3), and added two new games: Team Fortress 2 and Portal. Team Fortress 2 was the big news of the collection … but the little two hour physics FPP (first person puzzler) called Portal was the break-out star. I thoroughly enjoyed it and reviewed the Orange Box back in 2007 and showed my kids, but it was only this past year that my younger son got interested in the game again. And since he was interested enough to use a major chunk of hist birthday wish list for a Portal 2 pre-order for the XBOX 360 and begged to play the PC version when it launched (and he waited for the XBOX version to arrive), I thought it only fair that he should do the review. Here we go – Christopher Anderson takes on Portal 2!

In 2007/2008, my dad introduced me to Portal. It was fun, until I got to the turrets (not fun). I put it away till I heard about Portal 2 coming out, so I beat Portal and anticipated Portal 2. But I digress.

The Hype:
Portal 2 draws from the award-winning formula of innovative gameplay, story, and music that earned the original Portal over 70 industry accolades and created a cult following. The single-player portion of Portal 2 introduces a cast of dynamic new characters, a host of fresh puzzle elements, and a much larger set of devious test chambers.

The Reality:
One of the things that separates Portal 2 from Portal is the storyline. In the original Portal, you were placed in a series of tests with a robot (GLaDOS) to guide you, until she tries to kill you and you end up killing her. So it goes. In this game, you’re provided with a few characters, a background (if you played the original Portal) and a reason to make each move.

The story is: You, as a girl named Chell, wake up in a room in which you are guided through a few tests and are put back to sleep. When you wake up, your room is decomposed, and you are helped escape by a personality core named Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant). After a series of old tests, you meet up with Wheatley and, through a series of accidents in a breaker room, wake up GLaDOS (voiced by Ellen McLain), which, as I said earlier, you killed. Sort of. And she wants to do some more tests on someone, and that someone is you.

Mostly, this game is better than its predecessor. It has more of a storyline (most of which is dependent of having played Portal), has new test elements (i.e: Thermal Discouragement Beams, Hard Light Bridges, Excursion Funnels, and the Gels), characters (GLaDOS, Wheatley, Voice Thingy, and Cave Johnson [voiced by J.K. Simmons]), and better graphics.

However, there are some things that have been changed (ie: the doors, The elevators, the Cubes, the Portal Generator, and the Emancipation Grid). What happened?
Why did they change so quickly? Also, in Relaxation Vaults, there is no Bed. What happened to it?

Another thing that completely separates the games is the feel. In Portal, it felt more realistic. There weren’t any video clips (except for the end) and there was more freedom. But even so, this game takes you farther outside the testing area, and shows you how Aperture was founded and grew.

In the end, This game is very good, and MUCH more puzzling then the original (it took me three days to figure out one test), and if you’re buying it, that’s what you’re looking for.

Review: Portal 2

Where to Buy: Steam.com

Price: $29.99

What I Like: Longer game; better graphics; more puzzling puzzles; better and more characters

What Needs Improvement: Some things changed without reason from original; feels too ‘game like’ compared to the original

Source: Personal purchase(s)

Categories: Gaming, Reviews

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