Red Pyramid Thing Reviews Portal 2

Christmas has come and gone, and thank fuck for that. If I had to look at anymore of those ugly decorations I'd put a gun between my teeth. And as the holiday season lurches towards it's conclusion and my New Years best and worst of 2011 list is nearly complete, why don't we take some time to indulge in my favorite practice of balance through contrast? My KissXSis review is up, so why not balance softcore hentai with a mute who never shows cleavage at any point, yet who ironically comes off as more attractive than the twins.

Portal 2 is the sequel to Portal, arguably the best thing we ever did as a species. Portal was a puzzle platformer from a first person perspective built on Valve's Source engine and released on The Orange Box in 2007 along with Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One, Half-Life 2 Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2, all of them good games, but Portal was the most outstanding item on the list. The game was simple in it's mechanics yet profound in it's execution of puzzles that were unique enough in mechanic to force you to think outside the box and play with the physics while containing some of the best pitch black humor video games have ever seen.
With that in mind, the anticipation couldn't have been higher for Portal 2. While the original Portal was just built by a team of about 10 people, Valve put a lot of effort and manpower into Portal 2, wanting it to be the best item they ever made. Naturally this was a tall order when you consider Valve also made Left 4 Dead and basically rule the multiplayer shooter market. Were they successful in this mission?

Portal 2 features the continuing adventures of Aperture Science test subject Chell, who, in an extended ending to Portal, was taken back into the Aperture Computer Aided Enrichment Center after defeating GLaDOS, the central computer. Chell was put in cryogenic sleep and awoken periodically for exercise, until she receives a rude awakening from a personality core called Wheatley. Since GLaDOS

, the labs have fallen into disrepair. Remember how in Crysis 2 I thought that being a silent protagonist due to a hangover was stupid? Well, Portal 2 met my complaint head on. Chell doesn't talk in this game because the extended cryo sleep lead to her having severe brain damage and she could very well have lost the ability to speak altogether.

Wheatley decides to help Chell escape from the ruined labs, though while trying to reach an emergency elevator they accidentally revive GLaDOS, who remembered it's demise at the hands of Chell. That is it's demise at it's own friendly fire as Chell simply redirected GLaDOS's weapons during the final fight of Portal, but that's not important. What is important is that a psychopathic AI has come back to life, given you a new Portal Gun, and is resuming the tests of Aperture Science, trying to keep you imprisoned while Wheatley continues to act like an idiot. It must have been dropped on it's head as a subroutine...

Much of the game is naturally spent doing puzzles, experimenting with new mechanics and solutions. The energy palettes have been replaced by high intensity lasers and new mechanics like tractor/repulsion beams give new puzzles and solutions that you as the gamer must solve. Much of the old mechanics remain in tact and the game is largely a physics puzzler, only this time around there is more story than "A test subject didn't trust the robot to provide cake." You actually defeat GLaDOS early on and install the personality core Wheatley into the main computer, Wheatley downloading GLaDOS's personality onto a small personality core hooked up to a potato.
...yes. He turns GLaDOS into a talking potato. The problem is that GLaDOS didn't finish repairs to the facility before fighting you, so a large chunk of the game is actually spent trying to get GLaDOS BACK into the central computer because Wheatley can't fix the reactors which are melting down.

The interesting detail about Portal 2 is that Valve has increased the scale of the puzzles and techniques needed to perform the puzzles. A new zoom function lets our hot mute Chell perform sniper shots with the Portal Gun, usually used to cross chasms as you explore the lower levels of Aperture Science and learn the history of the facility and just how far back their proud tradition of being run by ethics-be-damned psychopaths run. And naturally, the black humor is back to make things all the more fun as you race to shut Wheatley the fuck up and learn about the hopes and concerns for potatoes. The ending also keeps in line with the old games, even to the very end where GLaDOS has to strongly fight the urge to continuously mock you as Wheatley begins to run the tests and you're introduced to Wheatley's own custom made puzzle element, WALKING BOXES!
...yeah, Wheatley really is a fucking idiot. Don't worry, he finds a cache of GLaDOS's old tests and switches to those. Though one of the high points is still early on when you first wake up GLaDOS and it refuses to actively hunt you, simply patiently sending you through multiple tests while occasionally toying with you. I'll give you an example, during one puzzle where you have to climb a room using the flinging mechanic where you jump off a ledge into one portal and use the momentum to exit the other portal and land on the next level, you find out that the Material Emancipation Grid for the puzzle is offline. During this puzzle GLaDOS gives you a new Companion Cube. On the rebound from the tragic loss of my first Companion Cube I actually went back and did the puzzle again, leaving the cube positioned so that I could pick it up from the switch in the room which didn't actually open the exit door but lowered a wall so that I could fling to the exit, and sure enough the game actually gave me an achievement for saving the cube. Later on it gives me achievement for saving a defective turret from a conveyor belt leading to the incinerator.

The game is funny, and of course it is fun. But is it as good as Portal?
Well...
...no. Some puzzles working with an item called propulsion gel actually get needlessly annoying as it's hard to enter Portal's on the gel, and there is one room in particular where the biggest challenge is actually spotting the wall that can hold a portal when you're in a flooded section of the oldest Aperture labs. And if you listen to the directors commentary, Valve really play tested to a point where the only challenge in the underground labs is keep an eye on the environment. The puzzles outside the testing areas almost always rely on the flinging mechanic, and I remember one area where a hint was given in the form of a somewhat odd "Do not fall down elevator shaft" sign that indicated I was supposed to call the elevator to the top, place a Portal on a slanted wall and jump down the shaft through a floor that was missing a door.
But that said, it is still fun and well paced, with the interesting detail that the game remains a massive tutorial that always has puzzles of ascending difficulty for each new mechanic and many of the hints remain very funny. The game remains a lot of fun to play, and the ending is easily the most rewarding yet fucked up ending I've encountered all year. I cannot recommend this game highly enough, you owe it to that 360 which has never cranked out an exclusive anywhere near this level to pick it up. It also is available on Valve's Steam engine, so give it a try. With how good it is, I'd say it's well worth it's asking price. Almost every aspect of the game shines with phenomenal voice work, great music and sound design, and of course, PUZZLES! There is also a cooperative mode to expand on gameplay and the return of the Weighted Companion Cube, the only inanimate object I ever loved. Seriously, I cared more when I incinerated my companion cube in Portal than any character death in any anime I ever watched.

Twice as intelligent and three times as tasty as a whale
--Pyramid Head

Next Review: New Years Award Special

Not a bad review, but littered with a lot of mistakes that ruin the overall experience. Use bolding and italics instead of capital letters to show emphasis, and elipses should be used sparingly.

Your review style is unproffesional at worst and ranty at best. I get that you want your own style, I encourage that, but that shouldn't need to sacrifice grammar and content to get that.

Look overf your reviews more, or spend more time editing them and you'll come out with a product much more presentable. Hope my advice helps if you'll take it.

Happy New Year!

 

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