Zero Punctuation: Portal 2

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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.

Portal 2 was in the position that being great wouldn't be good enough. And it is great. That's enough for me.

You absolutely nailed it when you said that it has no replayability. This is a game where you have to enjoy it for what it's worth, and then set it aside long enough for you to forget the solutions to the puzzles. Only thing that could change this is a level creator, which I don't see happening.

Cave Johnson is what makes Portal 2 mementic.

LEMONS!

So am I the only person who prefered Portal 2 to the first one or what?

4:06 to 4:18

HELL YES!!

It's been my most passionate gripe with TF2 as of late, and I'm VERY glad that somebody else shares that opinion.

rsvp42:

Hyakunin Isshu:

--In this photorealistic game, the Player is on top of a mountain looking down on a huge city. In the city, the Player sees 100,000 Cyborg Demon Ninjas, rampaging through the city, killing everyone in sight. On top of that, there is Giant Robots and motherships destroying all the buildings. The city itself can be dynamically destroyed; better then anything seen in both Red Faction or Minecraft (See the movie 2012). This photorealistic game is also a Open World game with real rooms in all the buildings, meaning, if I wanted to, I can hide in a fridge from all those CDNs in a apartment....--

I don't know if processing power is currently capable of handling that, but our current graphics abilities are more than capable of making it look nice. The hypothetical game you're describing is not limited by graphics, but by the ability of computers to render it all simultaneously in real time, the ability of developers to actually create something that bloated and gargantuan, and the willingness of consumers to pay the cost of playing such a monstrosity. We can already hide in fridges in games, you're asking developers to design millions of rooms and millions of fridges in the middle of a dynamically destructible city (which would require a density of simulation and calculation that would make your brain explode), just to satisfy a gluttonous desire for what basically amounts to the Matrix.

There are many experiences that we can create with the graphics and computing power we have right now. Yahtzee's point is that we should pursue a greater depth in gaming experiences, not continually making shallow games as we nudge the graphical ceiling ever higher. The besieged city in your example is cool in theory, but if it's wrapped around a Crysis or Call of Duty clone, what's the point? What have we gained?

The reason I made up such a "gluttonous", hypothetical idea was because I didn't want to say that "I wanted a destructible city", then have someone else come and say "we already have that in RTS games!". Or how about if I asked for "real water Physics"? Someone else would just point at Cryostasis, Hydrophobia, or even Mindcraft‎. But that's not the point I'm making; I just don't want water physics in a game, I want it to be easily added to a game, so I can work on the gameplay itself! If I were to work on a game on the PS3/360 and try adding water physics, it will take 1 to 3 years to get it right. Even worse, the water physics could come out bad. The game could end up like MindJack!

AS for the part where you said: "but if it's wrapped around a Crysis or Call of Duty clone, what's the point? What have we gained?" We could gained the power to experiment on any type of gameplay we want! A game like Portal could have never been made without processing power and physics of todays computers. Could you imagine Portal without physics? Or take Angry Birds: It looks just like a Super Nintendo game. But the SNES could never create the same physics, because it was made in 1990.

Right now, despite what Mr. Croshaw says, games need to be good looking, for them to sell, and we can't just make a game with great gameplay and ugly graphics.

And for all those who missed it, here are some Tech demos of what can be coming in the PS4:
Physics:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuWuTc5agVA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bKphYfUk-M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlcc9wJAzFQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grIVUDH4FIM:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87qdmuOesRs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsMjRmaJOqo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xrb8PSpkhkQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwoJ-upjeKo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JrM4ujLY_A

real-time ray tracing and path tracing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbokPe4_-mY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyoHvNpuaK4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnXW0CitlIA

real-time in-game graphics:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_YNR38H-kM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YjXCae4Gu0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GckOkpeJ3BY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvI1l0nAd1c
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GmrdHxpYxk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBJIpQsecB0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THaam5mwIR8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5i_mgF7Vas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWZjzSQgBrg

So moral of the story: Valve as an entire studio hates puzzles, and that's exactly why I fucking love them.

Story + Gameplay > Puzzles.

Hyakunin Isshu:

The reason I made up such a "gluttonous", hypothetical idea was because I didn't want to say that "I wanted a destructible city", then have someone else come and say "we already have that in RTS games!". Or how about if I asked for "real water Physics"? Someone else would just point at Cryostasis, Hydrophobia, or even Mindcraft‎. But that's not the point I'm making; I just don't want water physics in a game, I want it to be easily added to a game, so I can work on the gameplay itself! If I were to work on a game on the PS3/360 and try adding water physics, it will take 1 to 3 years to get it right. Even worse, the water physics could come out bad. The game could end up like MindJack!

AS for the part where you said: "but if it's wrapped around a Crysis or Call of Duty clone, what's the point? What have we gained?" We could gained the power to experiment on any type of gameplay we want! A game like Portal could have never been made without processing power and physics of todays computers. Could you imagine Portal without physics? Or take Angry Birds: It looks just like a Super Nintendo game. But the SNES could never create the same physics, because it was made in 1990.

Right now, despite what Mr. Croshaw says, games need to be good looking, for them to sell, and we can't just make a game with great gameplay and ugly graphics.

I'm not arguing against better simulations or the power to handle more calculations at once. I think those are great things. But graphics will always improve. A big reason is because of VFX in film. The need for faster rendering of more complex simulations and lighting is always there and that need will be constantly filled. We can depend on computer power to keep increasing.

The problem arises when we rely on graphics as a stand-in for innovation. Along comes another console generation and instead of actually exploring more complex ideas and creating new gaming experiences, we're creating the same experiences again and again, but with higher resolution and more bad guys in one room at a time. I don't have a problem with that per se--I love mindless shooters and action games as much as the next guy--but we can't let the goal of higher fidelity come before the goal of creating better stories, exploring player agency in those stories, and exploring the breadth of human experience. Not to mention the goal of simply making fun and affordable games.

I just think games already look good. If developers want to make them look better and consoles come out that allow that, so be it, but if games get even shorter and start costing even more, then we all lose. I don't want to see studios dragged into some graphics arms race, where graphics become the standard for judging quality instead of... y'know actual quality. To turn your last statement on its head: we can't just make a game with great graphics and terrible gameplay. Or terrible story. Or terrible cost:value ratio.

Oh god, would people just shut up about space and lemons? These are the shittiest forced memes I've seen in a long time. The only reason anyone claims it's a meme is because they wanted so desperately to find something memetic in the game.

Not that these jokes aren't funny. They are. But they make terrible memes.

Then again, "the cake is a lie" was a shitty meme too. The only difference is that it wasn't forced, but that still doesn't mean it's not fucking retarded. I mean, it's not even the funniest joke in the game by a long shot, and not only that, the phrase doesn't make an ounce of sense repeated out of context.

I don't know what I'm trying to say here anymore. Maybe that Portal has always been a source of shitty memes. Whatever, who cares, it's just memes anyway.

Exactly what I thought he would say, but honestly, I can agree.
While portal 2 did have obligatory filler, so much of the game and characters were fluid and believable that I cant really say they skimped out on quality.
Also, they added in so many new mechanics that you cant say the sequel wasnt completely justified in length.
But yes, they did lose a bit of the atmosphere and subtlety of portal1, but it was a different game. The whole reason portal1 was so good was its content to enjoyability equilibrium, so adding more of the same would not only hurt portal2, but also leave a bitter taste about portal1.
Honestly, I did enjoy portal 2 more, but portal1 is more memorable, so if anything, I would take both rather than one or the other.

So basically. you didn't like portal 2 because it did everything right as a sequel to portal 1. Comprehensive and logical! -.-

EcksTeaSea:
Oh man you think I am a troll? Fantastic. Thank you for making my day.

Not really. I mean, compare our post counts and anyone can see I wouldn't even have enough data to call you that.

But that comment was a bit troll-ish, or at least on the troll end of useless. I apologize, won't do it again.

I'm suprised Yahtzee missed the chance to say, "This game is Nolan North's best proformance ever"
It'd sound like a complament to people who didnt play the game, but people who did play will get it and also find it kind of true

earlier with portal 1 it was cake. Now i can't say the word "space" without my friends going "SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!" "so much much space got to see it all!" "SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!"

Great review Plus I love co-op.

You can't really judge P2 without clearly realising the coop is the final third of the campaign.

alinos:

Pacerman:
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.

Well then maybe your just insanely good. I found the final boss to be way tougher then the final boss in Portal 1. Portal 2 has plenty of challenging bits that stumped me for a good few minutes. They are notably pushed toward the back to give new players that much needed tutorial. The more scenery areas are still in fact, puzzles, they just don't give you a million surfaces to portal onto when there's still really only 1 or 2 real solutions. You might be out of the classroom, but your still testing.

I'm not saying it's perfect (though to even have to mention that means it's quite close) but Portal 1 does have faults that no one seems to want to call out. Such as the lack of scenery and how dizzy and confused you can get if your portals aren't straight, something they seem to have fixed in Portal 2. I love the hell out of Portal 2, and just had more fun with it then Portal 1.

Figured this would happen. Portal 2 is great, and I think that it's better than Portal 1 (I personally enjoyed the story sequences), but it's less surprisingly good, and that surprise is what partly made Portal 1 so great.

Also, yes. Portal 3 should be in space.

Somewhere I'm enjoying the wonderful irony of hearing people say "Meh, portal 2 only awesome, and now I'm disappointed".

I completely agree! Mind you, I did quite like the story and found it fun to play through but I would have preferred harder puzzles in Single Player/less hunt the portable surface. Yes Valve, it's pretty and all that but it doesn't feel like a mental challenge, it feels like a visual one. It speaks eons about the Story campaign that I was tempted to look at the walkthroughs to find where the **** the portable surface is in some places, but never for the puzzles.

Also, Co-Op is a lot harder and way, way, way more fun.

I think the puzzles are pretty tough, especially in the last co-op set of chambers and non-story achievements.
I, for one, liked the "look around this detailed environment for this spot of portal-able wall" parts, which were only in the middle chapters.
I, for one, think the "custard pie to the face" sense of humor is a step up (or an expansion) from GLaDOS's old insults.

Phoenix Arrow:
So am I the only person who prefered Portal 2 to the first one or what?

No, you're not...

Portal 2 was funnier and more enjoyable.

Of all the opinions I was expecting for this review, this was not it. I'm not happy, I'm not disappointed, I'm...well, I dunno. He does have some good points (particularly the "hunt around this giant room for the one portalable surface bit- fuck youuuu bowels of 1960s Aperture Science!)- but I was expecting more saliva.

The bit about the fanbase needs to be taken and posted as some sort of warning on any gaming forum ever. Cake jokes aren't funny anymore, please just stop.

I like how bitter you are about Yug getting to play p-body while you were stuck as atlas.

ActionDan:
I agree with all you said about it. It was rather easy aside from maybe 1 or 2 puzzles near the end.

so the easy except for the last three made me scream whenplaying portal

Phoenix Arrow:
So am I the only person who prefered Portal 2 to the first one or what?

so far you are the third including me
five now

I have no positive or negative things to say about the review-- It was solid enough, but...
Am I the only one who is pretty sure the first corrupt sphere was a -direct- reference to Seven Days?
"I ONLY WANTED TO GO INTO SPAAAAACE!" indeed.

I didn't exactly like Portal 1 once it grew with fans, damn the FUCKING CAKE MEME!! The companion cube appearance was nice, and no mention of cake helped. Portal 2 is a freaking great game and the Slap-Stick humor gave it a slight more charm then the quieter jokes of the first one. Yahtzee got a lot of this review, in my opinion, justice. The only actual complaint with this one was the whole it being shallow and everything, theres enough jokes within the game, hidden stuff and references to make me happy, hell listening to wheatly gave insight to the rest of the game. Bottom line, solid review, but just some stuff I felt was a little dragged on.

Just be glad that there is a new meme on its way and that one is ACTUALLY pretty funny.

EDIT: Sorry, but the whole "It worked for TF 2" makes sense and yes, the hat thing has gone out of control [HOW IN BALLS IS A MISC ITEM, WORTH MORE THEN ANY HAT?!?!] But its not like its a bad thing, they just implemented trade HORRIBLY. Restraints valve, restraints. If its a misc. item, no matter what item, is worth 2 lvl 3 metals or a FUCKING HAT for 2 misc. Get the idea. Again, trade = good OUT OF TRADE SERVERS, ya see, if you want a good trade experience, jump onto any server that is not a trade server. Because on a trade server, everything is jumped up a few hats per item. Seriously, trade is not bad, just implemented very poorly.

My God he's right about the fans. Why'd you think I picked this goddamn username?

Steve the Pocket:
Very, VERY surprised he didn't complain at all about the shameless retconning of the first game. Given how he feels about shameless sequels, even if Portal 2 doesn't qualify as one by a wide margin, I would think yoinking away a happy ending in a patch, just so there can be a sequel, would be on his top-ten list of biggest dick moves a developer can pull.

That, and

...something he's raged against very loudly in the past.

if you'd listened to the directors commantary in the first one they were planing to have that robot that drags chell away in the game it just had to wait for a patch as they didn't get it worked out

No kidding. When I played this game (after my little brother bought it) I only had one serious complaint and it came in the form of two words....

'Sixty bucks?!'

Even though its a wonderful game on pretty much all levels, Portal really does lack replayability, making a $60 purchase difficult to justify. I've spent MUCH more on Rock Band, but I've gotten so many hours, and I STILL play it. That makes it well beyond worth the purchase.

Bring Portal 2 down to $20 and I will snag it crazy fast. Until then, just point me in the direction of someone else who has it and we'll play co-op....

Yeah it seems to me this is more of Yahtzees classic nitpicking.
Honestly, no one I've spoken to liked portal 1 better. Portal 2 succeeds over it in every way for me be it story, characters, humor, variety, enviorment, gameplay. Plus a fun coop (not much replay, well wtf did you expect?). Not to mention how valve finally mastered their way of telling a story without words, ie. every bit of the apature underground, with the history of it slowly being revealed.

Leave it to Yahtzee to be completely fair to the sequel of his favorite game. I didn't really expect Portal 2 to be as good as the first, but I didn't think it would be because of more funding or backing.

Hyakunin Isshu:

Right now, despite what Mr. Croshaw says, games need to be good looking, for them to sell, and we can't just make a game with great gameplay and ugly graphics.

Though I hate to admit it, I'll give you one word: Minecraft.

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