Portal 2 Review [Video] (PC Steam Version)

Posted by Michael Oliver, Apr 20, 2011 12:10


Portal 2 header

Coupled with the Orange Box in 2007, Portal was a surprise hit. It was a revolutionary concept where the player used a gun in the first person view to create portals and travel any distance instantly. With the two portals being both an entrance or exit, they are used to complete test stages that get progressively more complex. The eerily clean testing environment offered a crisp story pitting you against a female Machiavellian A.I. named GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System). As she most eloquently puts it, the portals even translate mass and velocity properly: “speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out.” The only disappointing feature of Portal was its length; it lasted around three hours at most since it was not a full game. However, the game had a defining ability to reward you with those ’A-HA!’ moments when you finally figure out how to solve a puzzle that’s been plaguing you for what seemed like days. This great game earned critical acclaim and countless Game of the Year awards. Portal 2 will continue this trend.

Portal screen

Portal 2

The amount of time between P1 & P2 is hundreds of years (gameplay screens)

 Several hundred years after Portal ended, Portal 2 has an excellent continuing story, new and superb voice acting, new art and graphics, numerous refreshing puzzle testing elements and a new cooperative multiplayer feature. It’s everything you’d expect in the sequel to one of the best single player experiences this decade. Portal 2 proves that Portal isn’t just an add-on, but it can stand alone as a complete game, a series that everyone should expect to eventually have a third entry for it. I tried not to reveal much in terms of spoilers, nothing beyond anything you might have seen in the Portal 2 commercials. If you’re here just to find out if Portal 2 is worth the money: Yes.


Insane wall ramblings appear again in hidden placesOnce again you are Chell, the voiceless portal gun wielding test subject who can fall from insane heights and live. You’ll traverse behind the scenes, deciphering how to navigate the ruined innards of Aperture Science laboratories, and of course through diabolically engineered test stages designed to frustrate and murder you. Like the first game you occasionally encounter the mad ramblings of those previous test subjects who came before you, scrawled on the walls, depicting impending doom or incomprehensible phrases. 

They told me that if I ever turned this flashlight on, that I would die!” - Wheatley

One of the best new properties in Portal 2 is voice acting from The Office UK co-creator Stephen Merchant, who plays the independent personality core called “Wheatley.” With an English West Country accent, he introduces you to the new world of science. The beginning part of the game sees Wheatley as your sidekick, showing you around the destroyed labyrinthine that is the Aperture Science facilities resulting from your actions in the first game. He is a contrasting personality to GlaDOS, and a refreshing one at that.

I think we can put our differences behind us... for science... you monster.” - GLaDOS 

Portal 2 GladOSAlthough initially dormant, we all know the benevolent A.I. GLaDOS from the first game returns, voiced again by the marvelous Ellen McLain. The comedy she provides is genius, serving as a perfect backdrop during portal testing. While not nearly as passive-aggressive as the first game, she is still up to her old ways; being constantly chided that you are a horrible, smelly, slow, mute, fat lunatic is charming. These comments are especially effective if you find yourself over-analyzing a puzzle, one where the answer might just be a simple or common action, one where you wonder if the insults might be at least be based in truth at that moment.

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Our Rating for Portal 2 Review [Video] (PC Steam Version)
8.0 Replay
The game is still short on single player content but what’s worse: the challenge modes are missing and the game is relatively easier than I expected. Achievements are there for general replay value, however.
8.0 Graphics
Stunningly rendered and massive underground landscapes abound. Still on the Half Life 2 engine, so you can see some room for improvement.
10.0 Sound
Excellent sound effects and music. Some of the best voice acting I’ve ever heard. Bravo to J.K. Simmons, Stephen Merchant and Ellen McLain.
9.5 Gameplay
This is dangerously close to a 10; only the inclusion of some more complex puzzle action could put it there.
9.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
An attractive supplement to the single player, cooperative multiplayer extends the the game so you can experience it with your friends. Lets just hope you can work together because coordination is mandatory.
9.0 Overall
Valve will continue to make Portal titles because they are fantastic. Portal 2 offers unique gameplay not experienced in any other game; it is funny, exhilarating and challenging.

Rating: 4.6, votes: 11

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