Portal 2 Review

Portal 2 is probably one of the most anticipated games of the year. It did not fail to deliver on that anticipation. It brought what the first game had and upped the ante at least ten fold. I got to play with three different kinds of gels, a gravity funnel, ramps, and all the usual daredevil antics you get while flying through the air shooting portals.

I have to admit, some of the later levels were some very well thought out brain teasers. However, while they would take a few minutes to think about and play around with the mechanics the level gives you, they were fairly short levels once figured out. I remember some of the test chambers in Portal taking me quite a while to figure out at times since they were multi-faceted puzzles. Granted, that could be from the AI controlling the test chamber creation at that point in the game. That isn't to say it wasn't fun. Oh god, this was a fun game.



I bought this on release day at about 11am on Steam. I didn't not stop playing until 4:40pm when I had to force myself to get away from my computer and drive to my A+ class (which I'm taking simply as a formality and GPA booster before taking the exams). I didn't play any after I got home from class but finished the following morning. I spent a solid 8.3 hours according to Steam. It was a very good run. On to the review, as spoiler free as I can make it!

The Test Chambers

The new test chambers were fun. Frankly, a good portion of them are fairly easy and rely on using a single mechanic to progress. The introduction of the gels later in the game in the old Aperture test facility were really fun and neat but they were all very, very short to me. I don't think I spent more than 20 minutes in a single test chamber actively trying to figure it out and testing solutions. There's just so many of them in this game that it can take a while to get through all them despite finding them not particularly hard. I remember some of the later test chambers and puzzles in the first game to be downright mind-boggling at times and long, requiring the use of several mechanics to get to the end.

The Dialogue

Portal 2 introduced a new character, Wheatly, who is a personality core. He's a very funny character and I love interacting with him even after you face GLaDOS. Interacting with GLaDOS is also quite funny but in more of a sarcastic way than outright slapstick. All of the back and forth banter going on can be quite hilarious at times and never gets dull. It really pulled the game together, especially in the old facility with Cave Johnson's recorded ravings over the PA.

The Gameplay

The gameplay is much of the same perfection from the first. Solve puzzles in test chambers using your wits and portal device. Sometimes you get to play with cubes. One of the new gameplay mechanics are the three gels: blue, red, and white. The blue gel can be spread on the floor to create a bouncy surface that matches the acceleration of an object. So if you're flying towards it at speed and arc, you will bounce off of it and continue moving in that same direction. The red gel acts as an acceleration agent. You simply run along it and you speed up exponentially to race off of ramps to platforms, ledges, funnels (more on those later), or fling yourself through portals. The white gel is perhaps one of the most useful as it allows you to transform a non-portal friendly surface into a portal-friendly surface.

Another new mechanic are the gravity funnels. They're simply light funnels that push you one way or another (sometimes changeable with a switch). You can use these to float over emptiness and move objects. They transition through portals so you can aim them to an extent.

Yet another are the light bridges. These create a seemingly solid band of light that you can walk across even through portals, use to block the aiming lasers of turrets, or stop objects from going past them.

Overall, the new mechanics were used fairly well but I enjoyed the gels the most when I got creative on gel coverage.

Co-op

I'll admit, I haven't had a lot of exposure to this yet. I've only done a few test chambers with my friend Cami. It takes a second to really get the hang of it down but has the possibility of being very fun. You have various tools to help point out to your teammate what to do from your vantage point. From what I did, I had a lot of fun. GLaDOS's demeaning and purposeful derision comments are funny and keep the monotony down.

Final thoughts

I'd give the game a 9 out of 10. It has a lot of potential to go places with the DLC coming out soon and co-op can definitely add much more game time and replay value to this game to keep one from regretting spending the money on the game. I'm looking forward to more co-op play and the DLC. I very much enjoy this style of gaming.

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