Review: Portal 2
Portal 2 is the sequel to the 2008 game of the year, and as you can guess by now, is a cracker of a game. Let me point out at the start, that this review is done by two people, myself and Tian Gerber. I will be reviewing the single player and Tian will add his thoughts about the co-op a bit further down. Tian was my Co-Op buddy for the game, so it only makes sense. Thereafter, Caveshen will add a second take on the second page. It's recommended that you read both pages, for maximum enjoyment.
- Worth The Time?Absolutely
- Things LovedEverything. The dialogue, the interaction, the graphics, the teamwork and the story all work towards a well rounded game.
- Things HatedAnnoying load times.
- RecommendationThere is no reason not to buy this game. It is amazing value for your buck, and is definitely replayable.
- Name: Portal 2
- Genre: Platformer
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: split-screen, online co-op
- Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
- Developer: Valve Studios
- Publisher: EA Games, Paramount Digital Entertainment
- Price: R350 (PC), R700 (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Reviewed On: PS3
The single player takes place after the first game, at first what you think is 50 or so years in the future. However, you soon realise that you are 999,999 years in the future, and you are alone in the test facility with only 2 robots as company. Our friend GLaDOS from Portal 1 is back, as well as another robot, Wheatley, played by the brilliant Steve Merchant.
The single player appears in three chapters. The first chapter sees your escape from the confines of your prison, and into the first few test chambers. The storyline is very funny, and these challenges are reminiscent of the starting chapters in Portal 1. They are basically getting you familiar with the portal gun. If you like the cubes, from Portal 1, you are in luck as well!
The next few sets of chambers you encounter sees you being tormented and under the control of our old friend GlaDOS, who has had the last 2 minutes of her life (you killing her in Portal 1) on repeat for millennia. Let’s just say, she isn’t very friendly towards you. The challenges become exponentially more difficult, with the inclusion of some new toys. You get a whole bunch of new things to play with, such as hard light bridges, convection funnels, discouragement lasers, faith plates as well as other fun things to help you on your way.
In the second chapter, you find yourself in the belly of the beast, in test chambers from the 1950’s in an abandoned part of the test facility. Here you encounter the 2 new goo’s which have been included in the game. Blue goo helps you bounce, and the Orange goo is velocity goo, which helps you go really fast.
The challenges in this chapter I found satisfyingly challenging, and the storyline entertaining as well. With a combination of all your new toys as well as portals, some of the levels seem absolutely impossible at a first glance, but with some hard work, brain power and a bit of luck, you soon get to where you need to be.
(Just let it be known at this stage that I am trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible!)
If you don’t like spoilers, skip ahead a bit. The third chapter sees you teaming up with the now potato version of GLaDOS to take down Wheatley, who is now in charge and tearing down the facility around them. The epic finale has an easily reachable time limit and is a great way to end this epic single player.
Tian Gerber on Co-op:
When you pick up your copy of Portal 2 and finish it in one glorious 6-8 hour sitting, you will be excited to know that there is now Co-Op in the Portal franchise. GLaDOS will still be around to torture and belittle you often teasing one player to coax a reaction or tear a sunder on your friendship. One player will play as the little blue ball called “Atlas” and the other a rather ‘turret shaped’ bot named “P-Body”.
The co-op mode consists of five different tests chambers, each with a theme. For example one test chamber will test your collective patience when dealing with light bridges (this is also a great time to upset your buddy by removing the light bridge keeping him safely above the scalding pool of acid… purely by accident of course). Can you smell the testing yet? The tests, I will admit, do get rather tricky and requires that both players work together while trying to not give in to GLaDOS and her snide remarks.
At the end of each test chamber, GLaDOS sends you and your partner outside of the facility to collect a comically large DVD and insert them for her into the equally oddly sized DVD player. What purpose do these comically large DVDs serve I hear you ask? Get off that bean-bag chair pop on those sandals and walk to a store and buy the game! This isn’t a spoiler, it is a review! But the ending of the co-op is equally if not better than the single players’ ending and well worth keeping that friendship going (until at least the end of the game of course).
All in all the game is great fun often challenging you and your partner to think outside of the box, or if neither of you are great thinkers, it’s also fun spending 20 minutes flinging one another through portals until you somehow fluke the solution. Myself and Richard rolled through the co-op in one sitting, starting at 10pm lasting until 3am. Unfortunately there is no real replay ability, once you have solved the puzzles, unless you suffer from short term memory loss, they are particularly memorable. The expression two heads are better than one has never been truer (or more entertaining). This was the most fun I’ve had sitting behind a PC in a long time (it is also available on console, if you’re into that sort of thing). Enjoy walking to the store and don’t worry, it’s worth it.
It was one truly epic night of gaming, and well enjoyed. As you can see, portal is fun in the single and multiplayer, and although may not be repeatable with the same partner, I reckon can be equally enjoyed if you play with different friends as well, with all sorts of achievements to go for.
Portal has been identified as one of the games to be compared with in 2011, and I believe it lives up to its reputation.