Review: Portal 2
Never played Portal before? Then you are certainly in for a treat!
Welcome to the Aperture Laboratories. A testing facility maintained by an artificial intelligence named Glados. She’s cruel, she’s vindictive, she’s smarmy, and she is absolutely perfect.
Portal is a first person shooting puzzle game to best summarise. You proceed through test chambers by making use of your portal gun in a series of challenges engineered by Glados. Make no bones about it, you are a test subject, and successful test subjects do not die. And this is exactly how you are treated in her world.
Portal 2 is the second game of the series and considerably expands on the premise of the first game. Aperture Laboratories has radically worn down. Plant life has consumed the environment and Glados is no more… that is until you accidentally reawaken her. And suddenly you’re fighting for your freedom all over again.
Immediately I would suggest to anyone who has not played the first one, to do so now! It is not fundamental or crucial to understanding Portal 2, it is just that the first one is that good! And it will also help put Portal 2 in context.
All that being said, let’s examine what you get for your hard earned cash.
Well the single player is longer and more complex than the first game. Your portal gun (which gives you the ability to make wormholes across levels) returns and you’ll be using it in more complex and unique ways than before. Where we first had gravity puzzles, companion cubes and jumpy turrets, added to the roster are light bridges, jump pads and laser beams. Though all these new elements are not just thrown in without care. Portal 2 contains some of the most balanced and intuitive gameplay you will find on the market today.
The single player isn’t as long as I would like however. It is a full price stand alone release which, for my money, should mean at least 15 hours gameplay. Instead, the single player can be clocked in under 7 hours.
However, what you also get is a cooperative mode. And here’s the best part, it isn’t simply a rehash of the single player experience. It is a mode consisting of cooperative specific puzzles. In fact, some of the most fun to be gleamed from this game is simply larking around with a friend. While some may argue that an extended single player experience may have been preferred, I cannot deny the cooperative is simply wonderful.
Everything in the game is neatly packaged. The presentation is absolutely wonderful. The writing and acting is laugh out loud funny. The atmosphere is utterly brilliant. And most crucially, the gameplay is there.
It is definitely a bigger and better experience from the absolutely fantastic original, but some may feel the replay value isn’t really there. Still, it’s hard to find many shooters or puzzle games that are as brilliant as this, even if it is just a short burst.