“Well done. Here are the test results: You are a horrible person. I’m serious, that’s what it says: “A horrible person.” We weren’t even testing for that. Don’t let that horrible-person thing discourage you. It’s just a data point. If it makes you feel any better, science has now validated your birth mother’s decision to abandon you on a doorstep.” – GLaDOS
GLaDOS is back and she’s armed with ten times the number of insults she had from the last game. Portal 2 has been out for roughly a year now and if you haven’t heard of this game or its related “Cake is a lie” meme, chances are you’ve been living under a rock or in the land of Azeroth for far too long. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Portal series, let’s take a quick tour down memory lane to bring you back up to speed.
Portal started back in 2007 when it appeared as part of the infamous “Orange Box” which contained some of Valve’s best work, wrapped up all in to one nice package. The games included were Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Episode One, Half Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, and finally Portal. Portal was unique and well received, despite being a very short game. Most people were able to blow through it in about an hour, sometimes less.
In Portal, you took on the role of Chell, a female test subject being put through a series of tests by a homicidal AI known as GLaDOS. I found her to be very entertaining as she insulted me from puzzle to puzzle, even if the whole ”promise of cake” bit was a little overused. The object of Portal is to make it from test chamber to test chamber, using a portal gun to transport you from Point A to Point B within the test chamber to solve various puzzles.
As an example, let’s say there is a button on the floor and you need to find a block to put on top of it to keep it pressed down. There is a block out of reach above you on a platform. By firing your primary portal at a nearby wall and your secondary portal on the wall up by the platform, you can walk through it and get your character up to where the block is. From there, you can pick it up, walk back through the portal (which brings you back to ground level) and place it on the button. Needless to say, there are many different ways to use the portal gun to solve these puzzles.
At the end of Portal, you squared off with the AI herself, throwing chunks of her into a waste disposal chute until you defeated her. From there, it was anybody’s guess on what happened to Chell…until Portal 2 came along and Portal’s ending was patched to show her being recaptured by some sort of mysterious figure.
In Portal 2, you (Chell) find yourself in a hotel room of sorts where you just woke up from hibernation. The story element and the humor from the characters you become involved with are truly what make the game great. I find the puzzle element to be simply a bonus. Due to this, I won’t give away what happens in Portal 2, you’ll have to find out for yourself. I will say however that GLaDOS does make a comeback and you are introduced to a humorous AI program named “Wheatley.”
The game is much, much longer than its predescesor…you’ll find yourself playing this game for at least a few hours. Some of the puzzles were tricky, especially the later ones that brought lasers and different kinds of slime into the mix. The new features and environments help keep the game fresh while the story unfolds to its final conclusion.
For those of you who enjoy teaming up with a friend, you’ll be happy to know that there is a Co-Op mode that allows two players to tackle puzzles together. The Co-Op mode was designed separately from the main game so the puzzles you and your partner will face are completely new and just as likely to leave you scratching your head. Each player gets a portal gun, meaning you can have up to four portals in the test chambers at once. Most puzzles are designed around this, making you both coordinate your portals and movements in order to advance to the next room.
For those of you who have never heard of Portal but enjoy puzzles, I think you would be smart to give this game a try. At the time of writing this, Portal 2 has no playable demo…however Portal does. They play very similarly to each other, so if you enjoy your time in Portal I can almost guarantee you’d enjoy playing Portal 2.
As always, check your PC specs and the game requirements before purchasing! It is also available for the XBox 360, PS3, and Mac OS X.
Final Verdict: 9/10