Portal 2 Review

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Overall I think it surpassed the original in every respect except one; 'Want You Gone' is not as memorable as 'Still Alive'.

Agreed.It's not terrible by any means,but it lacks the magic of 'Still Alive.' Ironically,the fan love on Youtube seems to be for the operatic song that precedes it.(To minimize spoilers,I won't say who sings it,but it's IMO one of the highlights of the game)That tune has a similar magic,even if it is sung in Italian.Having subtitles on(& googling a translation so you get its relevence)so you can sing along is a blast.But Coulton was probably trying not to repeat himself & write the same song again.But it is growing on me.

Oh no, it is still good. Coulton can do no wrong in my book. It still made me smile but Still Alive made me laugh. It was just lacking in the razor sharp, out-of-nowhere humour and the tune itself isn't as melancholic-ally pleasant.
The turret song is, really? Interesting. Didn't really do it for me but will give it another look with subtitles, sounds good.


To anyone saying that you play a crappier version or Portal 2 willingly because your computer "can't run it," holy shiat, if your computer can't run Source engine games, then either you haven't upgraded in ten years or you might want to look into clearing the crapware off of your store-bought PC to make it actually run like it's supposed to. Hell, my phone could probably run the Source engine.

Unless it's tf2, which will devour your comp in a hugely unoptimised mess of code, with excruciatingly bad multi-core support.

But yeah, from what I've heard of Portal 2 it runs magnificently on old hardware. In fact, everyone agrees it runs far far better than tf2, even comparing high settings in latter to medium in the former. Okay, a mild rant, but I really enjoy tf2, and the horrible fps drops and crashing just makes me sad face, that's all.

OT: Oh, and about the review: Clearly I just don't agree with Russ Pitts at all, on any game. As others have said, John walker over on RPS did a great review on it; He got his facts straight, and it's completely spoiler free. I'd recommend that one.



Well let's see, reviews are supposed to be an accurate evaluation of the quality of a game.

Average Dragon Age II Critic Score: 79
Escapist Dragon Age II Critic Score: 100

Average Portal II Critic Score: 94
Escapist Portal II Critic Score: 80

So either the Escapist reviews are untrustworthy, or everyone else is. Which seems more likely? I want a reviewer that gives me an accurate measure of a game's worth, and solid reasoning behind it, that's why I go with Game Informer. The mark of a good review source is that it deviates a bit from the average with good reasoning behind it, the mark of a bad review source is when it wildly leaps 15 to 20 percent in random directions, with conclusions that weren't supported by logic or examples anywhere in the review.


Seriously, you're taking an overall average, taken from many reviews and then comparing it to one review score and then using that as leverage to say the Escapist reviews are untrustworthy. ...I'm just going to walk away and leave you to think that they are untrustworthy then.

I'm saying that being the statistical anomaly every freaking time is a bad sign.

That's not enough to say they're untrustworthy though, which is why I mention a problem or two about this review, one of which was that he..... hold up, I was about to show you the part of my quote where I mentioned qualitative problems with the review beyond the score, but you edited that out

I was using the statistical anomalies as just one part of many reasons I find them untrustworthy, but I see you've edited everything else out of my post to make it look like that was my sole reason, that's just fucking shameful.



Average Dragon Age II Critic Score: 79
Escapist Dragon Age II Critic Score: 100

Average Portal II Critic Score: 94
Escapist Portal II Critic Score: 80

This is a common problem for those of us who don't score on 10 or 100 scales. We didn't give Dragon Age II 100 nor did we give Portal II a 80, those are merely the aggregates conversions. We gave them a 5 and 4 stars out of 5 respectively. You can see what these scores mean here. You're comparing a set of data points that's intentionally giving wider marks to one that I feel is needlessly complex. I'd love for someone to point out to me what the quantifiable mechanic, feature or difference that equates to a game receiving a 92 instead of a 90. For instance, when I recommend something to my friends I tell them if I think it's great, that I still had fun with it or to skip it. Anything more is really not helping me to recommend it, and ultimately that's what we are trying to do here recommend games, not adjust our average scoring on metacritic.

John Funk:



Well, if that's the case, I appear to have missed your point by a country mile. I guess I'm just not seeing how this hints at the Escapist's reviews being untrust-worthy in any way, shape or form.

Well let's see, reviews are supposed to be an accurate evaluation of the quality of a game.

Average Dragon Age II Critic Score: 79
Escapist Dragon Age II Critic Score: 100

Average Portal II Critic Score: 94
Escapist Portal II Critic Score: 80

So either the Escapist reviews are untrustworthy, or everyone else is. Which seems more likely? I want a reviewer that gives me an accurate measure of a game's worth, and solid reasoning behind it, that's why I go with Game Informer. The mark of a good review source is that it deviates a bit from the average with good reasoning behind it, the mark of a bad review source is when it wildly leaps 15 to 20 percent in random directions, with conclusions that weren't supported by logic or examples anywhere in the review.

Russ Pitts said in his conclusion (the "bottom line"): "The levels just plain aren't as challenging" But nowhere in the actual review gives an example, or a reason he feels this way, hell, he doesn't even mention it at all it just slips in to the conclusion at the end like a 6th grader who doesn't know how to write the conclusion of an essay.

And don't even get me started on this excerpt:

"The levels may not seem as devious or as interesting (perhaps owing to familiarity with the underlying portal mechanic), but the [b]puzzles and environments are sufficiently varied and [b]interesting"

So the levels don't seem interesting, but the puzzles and environments are interesting? What the fuck?

I don't have anything personal against Russ Pitts, but the Escapist is spreading itself too thin, they already have Yahtzee for (sort of) reviews, they either need to hire someone solely for reviews, or just stick with Yahtzee, but this whole "cycle a staff member into a review every so often" just causes them to look unprofessional and schizophrenic in their opinions.

Yahtzee does not do reviews, and never has. He is an entertainer and a critic, but not a reviewer, as he will tell you himself. Reviews have ALWAYS been by members of the staff (or occasionally by paid freelancers). That's part of our job description, as you'd find at pretty much any other game site on the internet.

As Justin said, we don't grade on a 100 point scale. We have 5 rankings, and only 5 - we don't even do half-stars. What's more, is that game critique is an inherently subjective form. I mean, there's certainly a point where you can agree that a game is well made or poorly made (we can all agree that Assassin's Creed 2 is better than Stalin vs. Martians), but as reviewers and gamers we all have things that interest us or grab us more than others.

Something that Greg Tito, as someone who has been playing table top games for over a decade, really loved in Dragon Age 2 might be something that another reviewer thought was horrible. Something that Russ Pitts didn't like in Portal 2 might have been something that another reviewer thought was fantastic. They're different scores, given by different people, though we at The Escapist stand by them every time.

That does not mean that we all have a consensus on every score we publish, of course. It's not uncommon for us to talk about the scores we're giving before the review is finished, and we might disagree. Susan gave Assassin's Creed 2 a 4-star rating, and I'd have easily given it a 5. Similarly, I'd have personally given Portal 2 a 5, but I tried playing the original Dragon Age and got bored within 30 minutes, so I'd have never rated it highly.

Metacritic is not the end-all-be-all of game reviews. It is a collection of subjective opinions that it attempts to assign objective scores, and that's why a lot of game journalists and game makers alike have a problem with it.

First off, I want to thank you for your post, I am always honored when a staff member takes the time to respond to one of my posts.

Yahtzee has always had a strange job classification, in his own Reddit IAM interview he bills himself a "game critic" which I consider at least partially a reviewer (which is why I said "The Escapist has Yahtzee for (sort of) reviews)

Anyway, I don't think a reviewer is untrustworthy or anything solely for a few Metacritic deviations, but the Escapist seems to fluctuate wildly in all directions, and while that is still not enough to call a review untrustworthy (there is no accounting for opinion after all) I did mention a few inaccuracies and or poorly written parts of the review that I think, combined with the fluctuations, are reason enough to say that Escapist reviews need some work.

If you look at my original post, I pointed out at least one sentence that made almost no sense, and one conclusion that was not supported or presented anywhere in the body of the review. These mistakes are not uncommon, for example, in the Dragon Age II review it mentioned that you could turn off auto-attack (so you don't have to press A every time) in the menu, which is wrong, as of now the 360 version still does not have that functionality.

I of course don't think any of the reviewers are stupid or unqualified or anything. As I pointed out I think it's simply a symptom of being spread too thin. While I may seem overly nitpicky, I am just holding the Escapist Reviews to the high standards I have set by viewing the excellent videos and news posts. While I am obviously not a business major and it's not my place to recommend how the Escapist utilizes it's staff, if it were me I would have at least one employee whose sole job is game reviews, it's a demanding task to write a good review after all.

In short, it's not about Metacritic deviations, or the occasional poorly written passage, or the occasional inaccuracy, instead it's all three of those together that have led me to my conclusion. I don't mean to insult or attack anyone's professionalism here, I simply think that not having at least one dedicated reviewer is negatively impacting the site I invest so much time in, and thus wanted to share my opinion.

Paragon Fury:
Wait...so Portal 2 gets 4 stars, but DAII got 5 stars?

What the hell happened here?

I wholeheartedly agree.

DA2 was a buggy mishmash.

I thought Portal 2 was amazing, and completely disagree with this review. It was well-polished and everything just clicked. It 'felt like' Portal but had enough neat new additions to not feel like you were just being run through the same motions as the first. It looked great. The voice acting was stellar and and I looked forward to solving the puzzles to see what waited around the corner. I had no complaints about the load times...but I DID just play DA2, the new king of loading screens, so maybe I developed a little bit of immunity.

The puzzles didn't seem as hard because we're all Portal pros by this point.

I'm in the middle of the Co-op game, and it is a blast as well, and considerably more challenging. Portal 2 was worth every bit of the $55.00 I paid for it.

Paragon Fury:
Wait...so Portal 2 gets 4 stars, but DAII got 5 stars?

What the hell happened here?

Yeah I see 4/5 for Portal 2.
Remember those "I am different" turrets? :wink: :wink:

Now let me check Dragon Age 2 review...

EDIT: LOL it's true! 5/5 for that corridor RPG with 1 cave!!!!

On my list it would be 5/5 for Portal 2 and 3/5 for Dragon Age II.

And this is why.
DA2 begun OK for me, but soon it became too repetitive and was really a drag after entering underground. What at first seemed like a good fast combat, later revealed itself as a shallow RPG mechanics. At day 5 I killed that powerful elemental and simply gave up.

Portal 2... took me 4 days to finish it. Yeah I am not very bright. Also played COOP in the meantime. Simply best gameplay experience since Mirror's Edge and Call of Pripyat.

OH... and loading screens?

Shogun 2 is a great game, but loading time of one battle is probbably on par with GRAND TOTAL of all Portal 2 single player loading times.

And lastly to our valiant reviewer. You have a solid voice, so u shouldn't be so obviously concerned with it. But since ur still going to :D
Why not play Portal 2 some more and learn from the best(Ellen McLain, Stephen Merchant, J.K. Simmons)


Just finished Portal 2, and I really enjoyed it.

And the first of the two songs at the end was by far my favorite. I think I'll go to sleep with it on endlessyoutube... so soothing...

Saying the levels are easier is just nonsense.

I played Portal again and the puzzles weren't even close to as complex and imaginitive as Portal 2.

The "excursion tunnel" isn't from Act 1/ Chapters 1-4 (which you didn't show while talking about Act 1's additions), it's from Act 3, whose "new management" you kind-of spoiled.

To all the people saying the game is short- Just to inform you, THE STEAM COUNTER IS LYING.
I played for about 8-9 hours on the single player campaign, but it only showed that I played 3.

It took me 12 hours for SP, and about 10 hours for coop because well.... my so called "partner" wasn't so cooperative and tend to kill me rather often....
Back on topic, 4/5 for Portal 2? WHAAAAAAAAT.... and DA 5/5??
I think something is REALLY wrong here. THe puzzles might be easu sure, but wait until us, the PC gamers get our hands on the SDK! We will make your thumbs suffer!
That brings me to the point that loading screens are only 3 seconds long, so if you call that long, go visit a doc....

I just finished this game. Only got it on Thursday so that's not bad going, although I admit I had to look up solutions on YouTube a couple of times. No point punishing myself when I get stuck in a game that I'm mostly playing for the story. So, yeah.

I actually agree with this review and the score. It wasn't a 5/5 game for me. It wasn't bad, not at all, but I didn't think it was as good as the first one... which was, unquestionably, a 5/5 game. I can't put my finger on why, though. Wheatley made me laugh. GLaDOS is as brilliant as ever. I like the fact that it's easier than the first one. There's nothing really wrong with it. I guess the only thing lacking is the novelty - when I played the first one, it was completely new. I hadn't played anything like it before, either in terms of the gameplay or the quality of writing. Now... I guess I'm accustomed to it.

That said, I don't like the fact that it includes multiplayer. I won't mark it down for that because I haven't played it yet and possibly never will. But, seriously, who the hell would play Portal - which I'd probably rank as the best single-player experience in gaming history - and think "y'know, what this game needs is additional people to intrude on the experience!"? I really can't wait for the industry to get over this 'every game must have multiplayer, whether it needs it or not' trend.

That said: it's worth buying just for the ending, which made me shout "what the fuck?!" louder than any game ever before. As for the song: I actually think it's better than Still Alive, although I'm sure I'll be in the minority with that one.

Many reviewers who didn't ever check the updated P1 ending, weren't so fazed by the sequel's start after all. I probably wouldn't have been either, it was good to see Chell saved at first... I can accept she was stolen back afterwards, better than 30 seconds later.


whats with the "SCIENCE!" thing?

Dr. Insano, most likely. He helped turn SCIENCE! into a meme.

Also possible some of Girl Genius. I'm not sure which came first.

I am very much looking forwards to the ZP review of Portal 2. I do wonder if Yahtzee is afraid for his eyeballs since he said he will jam forks in his eyes if he praises it the same as Portal 1.

I think the review is great and I found nothing wrong with it.

Jesus Christ, spoiler review contains spoilers.

Ya know, I'm going to have to say that this review had some massive failures. As a courtesy, because not everyone can run out and buy a game on release day I will, unlike Russ, use the spoiler button for real spoilers that aren't already in the review.

1. Russ says: "Portal 2 takes place approximately where the first game left off." and then says "You probably know that the game takes place far into the future from Portal..."

My response: "Huh? Is that a contradiction or is it just me?" Also, he says that it's in a "post-apocalyptic world" before going on to mention that it's never explained why the Aperture laboratories are in decay. Firstly, if the world is post-apocalyptic, that would explain it right there. Secondly, of course Aperture would be in decay regardless. In Portal it's made painfully clear that GLaDOS killed off the staff with neurotoxin. A hundred years without maintenance tends to do that. Thirdly, there no real evidence that the world suffered an apocalypse, just that Aperture has decayed a lot, but that's just a nit pick.

2. Holy spoilers, Batman! The new game mechanics are meant to be figured out, which is part of the puzzle. Also, he tells us exactly where each act takes us. That ruins a bit of story don't you think? In addition to this much of the story is revealed

3. I don't think the puzzles were easier at all, in fact some of them were fiendishly hard due to all the new game mechanics and varying environments,

4. He barely mentions the absolutely brilliant writing and voice acting that, in of itself should've been enough for that extra star. Ellen McLain, Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons are fantastic.

5. "SCIENCE!" Stop that.

Wow, I practically wrote a review myself. I guess that's what I get for having too much time on my hands.

His voice is obnoxious. It sounds as if he's trying too hard to sound like a morning-radio talk show host.

The running joke, "SCIENCE!", was not funny at all.

I dun give:
Seriously? Was spoiling the acts 1, 2 and 3 really needed? I mean, I was expecting a boss fight, a first, second and third act, but there was no point in spoiling what these acts entailed. Now I'm going to have this niggling thought in my head telling me whats coming next. It's like saying the whole "Atlas is Fontaine" thing everyone spoiled. At least he didn't spoil the co-op.

And too bad you didn't enjoy the game, I can't wait to play it.

...Thanks for spoiling that...

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