Portal 2

When Valve went out and said that this game was their best singleplayer game yet my hype truly went through the roof. I mean, they have titles like Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Left 4 Dead behind them. And this game is better than all of those?

Usually for Valve games I tend to complain on the graphics and how they look old immediately and outdated thanks to the use of the ancient dinosaur engine that is Source Engine. Take Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 and as well as Half-Life 2: Episode Two, for an instance. Surprisingly enough, I did not feel like that with Portal 2. Most likely because the environments are so small and bland that the Portal gun can get a boost and look good, which games like Left 4 Dead and Episode Two could not do. So for running on an ancient engine that came out before the wheel did, Portal 2 actually looks good. Wow, feels weird to say that.

Sound-wise Portal 2 truly shines and excels. Wheatley is one of the best voiced characters that I have ever encountered and so are two other characters in the game as well. And what made the first Portal so popular with the humor and song is still here and it is even better than in the first game.

Some people don’t know what to expect from Portal 2, and that’s fair. It’s a rather unique game from first-person perspective where you shoot two portals on walls and walk through them. It sounds very boring and uneventful, but it is not. A lot of things happen in between and shooting these portals will require some puzzle-solving skills and a keen eye. Though this game feels slightly easier than the first one, this one still offers a challenge and a much longer singleplayer experience than the first game. To keep it fresh Valve also added three completely new gameplay mechanics in form of gels. The blue, white, and red. These gels have different functions, such as the blue makes you bounce while the red makes you go very fast and you have to incorporate these to progress through the game.

Playing with your friends is a humanright in 2011, and in fact, was already back in 2006, and any game that doesn’t offer that feature will suffer significantly in my grading scale. Fortunately Portal 2 realizes this and offers a very fun and interesting co-op experience with fun and smart achievements for it as well. Together with your friend you have a combined of four portals instead of the usual two to shoot and you don’t have to be a doctor to realize how much that changes the puzzles and thinking progress. Co-operation is essential and without a friend that knows what he is doing you will not get anywhere. Also GlaDOS is there to observe the whole thing and point out which one of you is doing better and which one of you isn’t contributing to science as much and it is hilarious. You will laugh many times both in singleplayer and co-op.

Closing comments

Portal 2 is a very complete experience. It offers some interesting puzzles, although I feel that they are easier now than before, and some unrivalled comedy and humor. Add to all that some great co-op that will offer your many hours of laughter, and you begin to see the value of Portal 2. If you like puzzles and laughter, you cannot go wrong with this game. Portal 2 will only expand with downloadable content planned and the first piece will be free, which means that there will be more than one update. Valve are known for supporting their games years after release, and if this is the case again, expect much more puzzle solving.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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