Minor plot spoilers may be included
This is the follow up to Valve's
hit puzzle game, Portal: Still Alive
. But did it live up to the standard, or was it a let down? As expected of a puzzle game, I feel the answer would be both. New obstacles and tools have been added and this adds a variety factor to the game. Portal 2
also saw the introduction of co-operative game play which introduced new characters and more importantly, new maps and challenges.
: The story follows on from Still Alive. Chell
is woken up by Wheatley
, an A.I core who also wants to escape Aperture Science Facilities
. As you regain the Portal Device and work your way through the ruined center, GLaDOS
comes back online and regains control of the entire center. Later on, when Chell thinks she is about to escape, the tides turn and she ends up having to make her way through the Pitt, which contains test chambers from the earlier days of Aperture Science. Both the ruined state of the chambers at the beginning, and the old conditions of the test chambers of the past provide good contrasts and challenges.
As the story progresses, you are introduced to further tools in the test chambers, such as Aerial Faith Plates, Excursion Funnels
and Mobility Gels
. It is a fun experience the first time around, however if you are quick to figure out puzzles, then the time flies by a bit too quickly. Another thing to point out is the loading screens. Whilst in single player the loading isn't slow, the process is often, appearing after each chamber. As with most puzzle games, after the first play through, the game loses its charm and the main replay value is for the achievements. Many of the chambers feel simplistic and can be completed in under a minute.
: The co-op mode follows on from the single player story and is integrated nicely. To introduce players to the co-op mode, the game features the Calibration Course
, which is a basic tutorial on how to do things in co-op. There is an underlying story to the co-op mode, which becomes apparent as you progress. Gestures, such as High Five and Laugh, have been added but other than achievement purposes, don't really add to the game. Like with single player, it is a fun experience the first time around, but lacks its charm afterwards.
Despite it being co-operative, multiple maps can be completed by one person, with the other just following. As with single player, the only reason to really play it again is the achievements. The main issue with co-op however, is the slow loading times. It is a fun game but with slow loading it cheapens the experience.
Graphics and Audio
Graphically, Portal 2 is of a decent standard, it is fresh, clean and bright. It looks futuristic which matches the history of the game. The sound effects of items such as the Portal Device and the turrets sound as you would expect them to do. The graphics and the audio smoothly gel together. As for voice acting, as in Still Alive, GLaDOS sounds good, the right mix of sarcasm and insanity. The new addition is Wheatley, voiced by Stephen Merchant
and I have to say is one of the best voiceovers I had heard in gaming, it fits in perfectly. There are times when the games graphics tend to slow down briefly, but I am unsure if this was just because I had played for numerous hours in a row, or something to do with the co-op connection.
In conclusion to the various good and bad points that have been pointed out, I feel that Portal 2 is a good fun experience, even if it is either a one time experience, or once every few months(or however long it takes you to forget how to do the chambers). However it wasn't worth the full price it did release at due to lack of replay ability. I give this game, 7 out of 10. I feel it would benefit from a creation mode so players can create their own challenges, like Forge mode, from Halo: Reach.