Review: Portal 2


Portal 2 is a...instant meme generator? *chuckles* But seriously. There's pretty much no line in this game you couldn't turn into an image macro. Oh, and it's a really good game, by the way.

Portal 2 is a ..."puzzle-platformer" developed (and published, thank you very much) by Valve Corporation, the company known for games such as Half-Life and Team Fortress 2, both of which are considered watershed moments in the FPS genre, for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, but I am reviewing the PC version. The game centers around Chell, the protagonist from the original Portal, and GLaDOS, the AI functioning as the villain of the original Portal. The gameplay is as solid and smooth as in the first game,with the player using the portal gun to cross chambers created by GLaDOS, and later Wheatley, but more on that later. As with most sequels, new gameplay elements have been mixed in, in the form of conversion gels, which speed the player up, allow more surfaces to accept portals, etc. These new elements work seamlessly, adding new flavor to the game without taking away from the overall experience. However, some situations require extremely precise platforming, and one false step can mean death, and can be a pain when the process to get out of the chamber requires it.

And don't get me started on the writing. The pitch-black writing in this game is hilarious, and I love how the writers take you through the history of Aperture instead of rehashing the first game, although I will commend the use of the original's beginning levels, as they instill a sense of familiarity (if you've played the original, of course) in the player. Chell is a mute, so the game's storyline is (mainly) in GLaDOS, the maniacal, sometimes, potato-based overlord; Wheatley, the moron who loses his mind; and recordings left behind Cave Johnson, founder of Aperture Laboratories, which is where the game takes place. The story begins some VERY long time after the end of the original Portal, in which Chell defeated GLaDOS.,and Aperture Science has been abandoned. Chell is awoken by Wheatley....who promptly informs her that she is lucky to be alive and may or may not have brain damage. Wheatley immediately hatches an impromptu escape plan, which must go through "her" chamber, referring to GLaDOS. Along the way, Wheatley tells the story of a human who had defeated GLaDOS and killed her. He is legitimately surprised when, after the escape plan fails, it is revealed to him that you are indeed the subject of his story. GLaDOS takes you as her captive and throws Wheatley....somewhere. Although he comes back. He comes back, alright. However, the best thing about the story is that, thanks to its greater length, we get a little more knowledge into what makes these characters (GLaDOS in particular) tick.

There's very little in the way of presentation, as Portal is a student of the Half-Life school of never leaving the first-person. Thus, there aren't any actual cutscenes in the game, and aside from the sleek menus, very little presentation whatsoever. There's no heads-up display, so the game leaves you to test until you die and admire the dilapidated beauty of Aperture Science.

The soundtrack, which is available on Valve's website, is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the tracks are awesome, and I like seeing the original theme. Others are just weird, however. The music using mainly electronic sounds, representing the lab, Chell, and certain events in the game.The relative lack of sound other than the music, some ambiance and the occasional turret, creates a bleak atmosphere in the game and a sense of loneliness, and GlaDOS's monotone voice over forms a sense of subjugation, like you're not exactly all-powerful and mighty.

This game has a TON of replayability, on the PC in particular, but I'll get to that in a second. Portal 2 has a co-op mode in which you play as one of two robots who have replaced Chell as test subjects.I'm glad to say that, with a cooperative partner, it is a lot of fun, as you have to work together to survive GLaDOS's ever so maniacal test chambers. Now for the "for the PC in particular" part. On the PC, Portal 2 comes equipped with Steam Workshop, where you can download user-generated content, which is then playable in-game. There's already 700,000+ chambers, ranging from the extremely easy to the "Do-not-try-unless-you-are-immune-to-failure" tier. Regardless,coupled with a story that's of a good length, it's more than enough to keep you coming back.

In conclusion, Portal 2 is a sequel that more than lives up to expectations.The gameplay is solid, the story is hilariously written, and bigger and better than the original, allowing for some insight into the characters' psyches that you don't see a whole lot of in AAA releases, or even games in general. The replayability is near endless. However, the soundtrack's not exactly up to snuff, and sometimes the gameplay requires you to be more precise than you should to be.

This game had some of the best writing of any game ever. It was consistently hilarious throughout the whole game. Especially the Cave Johnson parts. The writing there was genius.

Also how they cleverly tell you what will happens but none the less you have no idea until it actually does.


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