Zero Punctuation: Portal 2

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There are too many sequences where you have to try to find portal surfaces and where the path forward is difficult to find, yet the game is too hand-holdy by giving you directions? These things cannot both be true.

Yes they can.
Leaving you with only one potential option to progress, funnels you directly in the right direction once you spot that one portalable surface in a vast space, which quickly makes it a good old hunt-the-pixel exercise, as opposed to problem solving.

I really hope that this video doesn't turn into the banner around which the anti-meme crowd rally. If there's one thing more tiresome than people spouting Portal memes it's people going on about how boring and overused Portal's memes are.

Sure, the jokes got beaten to death through overuse, but when has that not happened on the internet?

Besides, people didn't start overquoting Portal because they were brainwashed into it by some cabal on 4chan. People started overquoting Portal because it's very very quotable. In fact, to quote Yahtzee himself...

"Sometimes things are popular for a reason. Because they're GOOD."

Even more justification for Activison to make Space C.O.D.

Yahtzee will consider it an improvement.

I disagree that Portal 1 was better. The more environmental and less "puzzley" bits broke up the usual monotony of exit elevator, solve puzzle, enter elevator. I'l admit it would have been nice if they were more open ended, giving the scenery based areas multiple solutions and leaving the 1-2 strict solutions to the test chambers. Plus, now that we have co-op, maybe now we can add what the game really needs, a vs mode!

I wont say it's better in every way, Portal 1 was like a shiny diamond, nearly perfect in every way. Portal 2 is more like a giant block of gold, who's total value is higher then that of the smaller diamond.

Pretty much exactly what I expected Yahtzee to say in this review. i r psychic.
Also, at least one of the jokes in the video made me giggle loudly. gg.

Also, most of the people talking about how "easy" the puzzles were need to (a) go back and play Portal and (b) realize how the puzzle design has shifted focus.

From easy to easier, but with a bag of tricks, which means that it is even worse than in Portal 1 because you barely get past the tutorials for any of them and this spreads right through to the end of the game. At least the first game got past that stage, even if only slightly. Considering how the only majors complaints about Portal 1 seemed to be how short and how easy it was, it seems pretty brain-dead of Valve to ignore 50% of that.

People are not remembering how easy the overwhelming majority of puzzles were in Portal.

Wait, so which is it? The puzzle design has "shifted focus" but is easy just like the first game? Talk about invalid complaints...

Most of the "hard" puzzles in Portal were reflex tests, forcing you to fly through and quickly place a number of portals while carefully controlling your falls.

First of all here, this is untrue. Maybe you should (a) go back and play Portal.

The puzzles were simply different then: more complex and open ended. They cheaped out in 2 by making everything shiny-textured, meaning no portals. 1 had more freedom and often multiple ways to solve puzzles, which even though was sometimes unintentional it meant that you were doing what the game was teaching you: thinking with portals.

The other change was getting rid of energy balls. The lasers were boring. Targeting from point A to point B is far more simple. They completely eliminated a layer of complexity from the game: timing. No more moving platforms or requiring multiple switches. The only puzzle I remember that imposed a small window of time was the chamber with the blue gel and the water constantly falling on the square. And unfortunately they put an invisible ceiling that prevented me from simply bouncing up to the roof, which would have been a nice personal achievement.

Actually, that upper area was one of the extremely few times that the game didn't completely point to where you needed to go or shoot and it deviated from the path a bit, if only slightly, by making you backtrack 20 feet, in lieu of absolutely linearity. Such a thing was welcome, and I think both games could have benefited from more of this, but especially 2.

They were difficult from a platforming perspective rather than a puzzle perspective.

And to hammer in the point some more, you demonstrate how they removed something that people may have actually liked. Do you not even see that platforming elements are integral both Portal 1 and 2? In fact, I'd say there are even more platforming segments in Portal 2, but unfortunately they are limited in both form and to being outside of puzzle chamber areas. Once again, less complexity.

Portal 2 did away with most of the reflex-testing and actually added some complexity to the puzzles.

And you demonstrated this point so well.

Also, you have to consider that you had no prior training with the gameplay mechanics going into Portal whereas you have potentially an entire game's background going into Portal 2.

Yet they made the game for beginners.

As for the linearity of the puzzles, I don't even know what to say. You went through a NUMBERED SEQUENCE in Portal. Portal 2 isn't any less linear, but I don't really see how it is (or really could be) more linear.

Another invalid complaint. Try reading your own phrase again: linearity of the puzzles. The puzzles. They themselves were linear. Most of them were just fixing each individual area in the chamber to be able to do something in the other part of the chamber. This isn't wanted "complexity", this sounds more like Wheatley jamming two test chambers into one. And he wasn't the smartest sphere around.

And I flat-out do not understand some of his complaints in the video. There are too many sequences where you have to try to find portal surfaces and where the path forward is difficult to find, yet the game is too hand-holdy by giving you directions? These things cannot both be true.

Okay, you're right and wrong, but still wrong on both parts. Maybe those parts aren't so much holding your hand as it is slapping your hand when you go where the designers don't intend for to go, making it just a process of elimination.

As for actual hand holding: remember all the markers? All over the place there were circles with Xs in them, deliberately solving half the puzzle for you. Then the other half was often just finding the white patch of panels between your current location and the exit.

Also, he never actually said it was difficult to find the next path. He just said you have to hunt for the patch on the wall. Yeah.

And given the story, wouldn't you expect the game to point you in the right directions since it's part of a controlled laboratory test?

Except large parts of the game were not part of any test. So which is it? These things cannot both be true.

It would have been nice to see him stress more how great a game it is and also mention how it can't quite live up to the predecessor rather than the opposite stressing. This feels vaguely dishonest - if you realise that your review is being biased by comparison to the predecessor, you should try to avoid that bias, not embrace it.

Well the reality is that Portal 1 exists, and that Portal 2 is a sequel. Remember the Fallout: New Vegas video? Remember the Mario Galaxy 2 video? If the games are similar enough, then the focus is different, rather than rehashing all the points that already exist from the first game. Comparing the sequel to the first game is the easiest out, and it seems that was done here specifically to do justice to the game. Instead of going on a rant about it being a sequel or the same game with a marketable numeral grafted on to the title, he gave his overall opinion and explained the differences and what he thought was better or worse this time around. The lack of anachronistic placement of subjects is of little import; he still got the necessary words out.

Not memetic? We'll have to see about that...for science.

Hm hm... i found Portal 2 to be better than Portal. It was enhanced just on all possible accounts and didn't lose the charm in the process.

It's becoming increasingly clear that most of the fun to be had from watching these videos is watching Yahtzee squirm under the pressure of having to talk shit about great games for the sake of his reputation and to not upset his editors. You can practically taste the self-loathing in the first half of this video.

Portal fanboy here. This review is absolutely spot on.
Really need my fix in form of DLC.
Or even better: A good level editor and tons of community built levels. Aren't there already level editors for Source Engine games?

Huh. No comment about the witty little robot with the British accent?

No memes?

Oh Yahtzee, you lier...


The thing about portal 2 is that none of its puzzles were difficult to solve.. the game hung the the answer so close to your face you would have to go cross-eyed to see it, as YC said, the game just basically makes you look around massive rooms until you find 1 square of wall which you can fly through, I honestly found the hardest part of the game was pressing a stalemate button, now co-op was a little bit harder.. but it seemed that once you figured out the first puzzle in a set of chambers the rest just fell into place, since the game decided to set up chambers using like 1 mechanic like bridges or tunnels in separate chambers, the hard part of co-op (for me) were the "human freeing" chambers, I just think valve should of mixed up the chambers a little bit, instead of letting us know whats coming basically.

Huh. No comment about the witty little robot with the British accent?

Stephen Merchant is a god ;)


If Portal 3 takes place in space, how would momentum work?

Momentum exists in space...

Perhaps you mean gravity and jumping?


I mean you can't really build up momentum in a zero-gravity environment. I mean sure they'll think up some excuse like magnetic boots, but it will still be ridiculous.

If Portal 3 takes place in space, how would momentum work?

umm... like it does everywhere else?

theoretically, you could accelerate to near infinite speed though, with infinite loop portals, as there would be negligible - if any - drag.

So it's something that "everyone should play" but also "like a pie with a handful of sawdust thrown in"?

I'm confused.


If Portal 3 takes place in space, how would momentum work?

umm... like it does everywhere else?

theoretically, you could accelerate to near infinite speed though, with infinite loop portals, as there would be negligible - if any - drag.

Only if there was gravity.

I agree with the bit about the connecting segments. There's something un-fun about looking around a huge almost empty space for that small patch of wall you can portal. Still good fun though. Just got past the white gel puzzles.

Best part about the review is that it basically is spoiler-free.

He really loves to bash PC Gamers ...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the frequent and annoying loading screens.

THIS. I couldn't believe there was a loading screen after EVERY. FLIPPING. PUZZLE. Really takes you out of the game doesn't it? How hard is it to cache/stream even just two rooms instead of one? The guys at BioWare can stream entire f-in' continents without a problem.

That said, I agree with the review for the most part. I liked the direction the story took. There was some genuine character development and I came out the other end liking GLaDOS even more than before.

The puzzles did get a bit dodgy, and there weren't many I struggled with. However, and be honest now, how many puzzles did you have to get help with in the single player? For me, two. One that was actually pretty easy, and another near the end that did have a pretty random mechanic to figure out.

I'm looking forward to playing the co-op. I'm actually looking for someone who hasn't yet played it to play through with me. Please let me know if that's you. Message me and we'll set it up.

Honestly, it's still a better game than most of stuff that's going to be released this year. Only Valve could make a first person shooter than doesn't involve "guns" in the traditional sense.


That'd be because you posted before you could have possibly watched the video.

Actually, I did watch the video. Yahtzee's reviews, in general, tend to annoy me, but I watch them because I do agree with certain things he says. I know i'll come under a lot of fire for this, but i had the discussion board open in another tab as I watched the video. I'll admit, however, that one of the things about Yahtzee's reviews that annoy me is the constant ramble and use of extremely off-topic analogies, so I skipped towards the end to get his summation. I agreed, so I posted "great review," and then went back and watched the rest.

Yes, Yes, YES! Those goddamn sections between the puzzles were enraging. I want to stab the jerk-off who forced them in there. Every time I hit one I was saying: "Where the hell am I and how do I get back to the fun?"

Portal 1 was too short...

I propose viewing portal 2 as a logical progression from, and extension of, portal 1 as an alternative to comparing the 2 in a historical/social context and/or "what it did for the medium" sort of way.

For example, I cried at the end of Portal 2, but I wouldn't have if I hadn't played through the first a million times with and without the commentary.

However, the second is too easy.

Well, this is the one game where I have specifically been waiting to hear what Yahtzee had to say before buying it, and I am reassured that it is worth getting. Portal 2 is in the unenviable position of trying to be a sequel to one of the most well-received games EVER, which is an almost impossible position to succeed in. But if it's good enough for Yahtzee to say it's a good game that's well worth your time, then that's good enough for me.

Hyakunin Isshu:
And what the Hell is it with you calling it "pixels"? You sound like an old man who reviews movies then a gamer. Why didn't you call it CGI, or graphics, or polygons , like most of us do?

I'm a programmer too but this arrogant statement made me throw up a little. Ugh...

I've heard that due to the fact that some people found his name offensive, Moby Dick is now calling himself Moby Penis.

Strangely enough, that hasn't stopped people from snickering about his name.

I disagree that Portal 1 was better. The more environmental and less "puzzley" bits broke up the usual monotony of exit elevator, solve puzzle, enter elevator. I'l admit it would have been nice if they were more open ended, giving the scenery based areas multiple solutions and leaving the 1-2 strict solutions to the test chambers.

but without the puzzle your essentially in a corridor game, sure you can move off into a corner and do nothing. but it's not helpful it's just there.

My issue was that i never really felt like i had met a challenge between the infuriating loading screens that appeared approximatly every 15 seconds.

There was no point in the game where i felt i'd actually achieved anything, even the boss fight was insanely easy.

No memes?

Oh Yahtzee, you lier...


Hey, thanks. Thats a pretty sweet wallpaper. Not too cluttered.

Yahtzee, you are nothing if not honest and balanced. Well... you're also merciless and fucking hilarious.

I prefer Portal 2 to Portal, on the sole basis of architectural interest (it IS what I'm studying...). This would be trivial in any other game, but the environments are so critical to the gameplay that I need to give props for ingenuity and execution here.

I'm also a music nerd - the "Exile Vilify" easter egg and the Turret Opera seal the deal.

Your qualms are a general issue with sequels to well-done games. Maybe it's a problem that we judge them as if they're in quality-competition with each other. It's akin to comparing Beethoven's symphonies on a quality basis - you could do that, of course, and people do. But you probably gain more from appreciating the unique strengths, weaknesses and thematic focus of each, as if they are coherent and self-contained unit...

Fuck, I'm going to fail my midterm. But thank you for the review anyhow.

Yahtzee then: The first game was too short!
Yahtzee now: This game isn't as short and sweet as the first one!

I'd say...

- The original was more ground-breaking, much like the original Half Life was more ground-breaking than HL2.
- Portal 2 was definitely more fun. I really enjoyed the speedy/bouncy/portaly liquids.
- The humour was great.
- The characters were all awesome. Including the coop robots.
- The coop was immensely fun, but I do agree that it would be pretty pointless to play again with someone else. Needs some DLC.
- Why are people complaining about the loading screens? My computer isn't particularly fast, and it flew through them in seconds.
- The end boss fight was pretty much the easiest ever. That seems to be a trend lately. The end boss in Mass Effect 2 was similarly ridiculously easy.
- I personally enjoyed exploring the facility. It basically shifted me from "puzzle mode" to "story mode". Pretty good mix, I think.
- Overall, a fucking awesome game. One of the best I've ever played. I'd apply that to the original as well.
- Looking back, I'll inevitably view Portal as a series, instead of individual games. And I'll always conclude that it rules. Unless they make a third one that really sucks. Not very likely, though...

this is pretty much the review i expected from you. not the overall critique of the game but rather a spiteful i hate portal fans pestering me with all the cake nonsense that you just handed us. granted portal fans are among the most annoying and retarded of the lot, but to begrudgingly search for flaws just to spite them is just childish(just how many e-mail have you been getting asking you to review this anyway by your review my guess is an overwhelming number). while i still laughed quite a bit at this review i am slightly disappointed in the route you have chosen. as a reviewer you have now put yourself in the catagory of those elitist snob who snuff any form of a sequel no matter how good it may be and just reply "well the original was better".(although i 100% agree with you about the play testers)

Is Portal 2 excellent? Yes.
Could it do with about 50% more hard puzzles? Yes.
Does it feel like Valve didn't think people wanted MORE puzzles? Yes.
Does it feel like Valve thought we'd value a longer story and less puzzles? Yes.
Does this make Portal 2 bad? No.
Would I like to see someone bring out a Director's Cut/mod that adds challenge rooms in, snuffing the quickly-move-you-along-then-plod-around-a-while-plot? Yes.

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