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Portal 2 Review

 
portal2_featuredReview
portal2_featuredReview
portal2_featuredReview

 
Overview
 

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Rating:
 
Release Date: April 19, 2011
 
Final Verdict
9.3
9.3/ 10


User Rating
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Positives


Great graphics, great puzzles, fun multiplayer.

Negatives


Easier then the first one to cater to noobies.


Game Summary

Portal 2 is the sequel to the highly acclaimed Portal, originally released in the The Orange Box for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on October 9, 2007, and for the PlayStation 3 on December 11, 2007. The Windows version of the game is also available for download through Steam and was released as a standalone on April 9, 2008. Now 3 years later Valve has given us Portal 2 which is more mind-numbing, longer, more story driven, and better looking then the first one. Also, Portal 2 now supports full Co-op which is tons of fun. Before I go on, if you have Portal 2 and haven’t done the Co-op yet go now and do it. Team work is forced but in a very rewarding way. Not to mention there are already DLC skins that you can get for those cute robots. That’s neither here nor there though, on to the review.

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Posted May 7, 2013 by

 
Full Review
 
 

*Note this is the old type of review with criteria

Portal 2 is the sequel to the highly acclaimed Portal, originally released in the  The Orange Box for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on October 9, 2007, and for the PlayStation 3 on December 11, 2007. The Windows version of the game is also available for download through Steam and was released as a standalone  on April 9, 2008. Now 3 years later Valve has given us Portal 2 which is more mind-numbing, longer, more story driven, and better looking then the first one. Also, Portal 2 now supports full Co-op which is tons of fun. Before I go on, if you have Portal 2 and haven’t done the Co-op yet go now and do it. Team work is forced but in a very rewarding way. Not to mention there are already DLC skins that you can get for those cute robots. That’s neither here nor there though, on to the review.

Graphics 

While some may think that the “Source” engine is out of date and showing it’s age, Portal 2 begs to differ. Below is a comparison screenshot from Portal vs Portal 2.

As you can see, Portal 2 added a lot of new dynamics such as the repulsion gel (seen above) and greatly improved on the lighting. The Portal gun looks pretty much the same however in Portal 2 it seems a bit more “beat up” via the textures. On top of that, one large difference between the two is that Portal 2 starts off similar in very closed confined yet puzzled spaces. However, not too long into the game do you realize just how massive some of these set pieces are.  Portal 2 takes you through Aperature Science in a totally different way then Portal. If you remember from the first one towards the end where you are going to be “killed” but instead you sort of escape into the Aperature Science labs. Well Portal 2 is similar in terms of design to the end of Portal except it has Aperature Science labs falling apart at random times and is a good 10x larger than that of Portal.

Gameplay 

Portal introduced us to some neat aspects of gameplay from simply using two portals to get to our goal to using correct timing in certain sequences and of course using our trusty companion cube. Well Portal 2 takes what Portal did right and improves upon it by adding multiple types of companion cubes. In fact, while on the topic, let’s list all of the new features added to the game. There are:

Pneumatic Diversity Vents – a series of transport pneumatic tubes, through a set of portal openings to push a turret over or to draw objects into the suction.
Excursion Funnel tractor beams – can be placed through portals to get to places otherwise inaccessible
Propulsion Gel(orange) – boosts Chell’s speed as she crosses a surface
Repulsion Gel(blue) – allows her to jump from a surface
Conversion Gel (white) – allows any surface coated with it to accept portals
Weighted Storage Cube crates – standard from Portal
Redirection Cubes – have mirrored like surfaces that can reflect laser beams to solve puzzles
Aerial Faith Plates – when stepped on they will launch you in the direction show by the arrow on the faith plate (also launches objects)
Weighted Storage Balls – standard from Portal (made an appearance late in Portal)
Hard Light bridge – can be crossed when lit, and can be extended and redirected through portals (also good to block bullets)

What Valve does right is use all of these in very creative ways that create some of the craziest puzzles that can be solved in multiple ways.  As far as a fun factor goes the game is fun pretty much start to end. Of course the beginning is very introductory and tutorial-like but it lasts just long enough to get your mind thinking and ready for the real puzzles. Overall the balance and pacing of the game was very well done.

 

 

Story

In comparison to the original Portal, Portal 2 has a very twisty, semi-predictable kind of story. However it has a nice balance of focusing on the core gameplay and puzzles and mixing a decent story into it at the same time.  While not giving away too many spoilers I will say that the ending boss fight was a little disappointing due to how it claims to not be similar to Portal’s ending as far as mechanics go but truthfully it will only take you a few moments to figure out how to defeat the end boss. Regardless, the main storyline deals with a new character named “Wheatley” who for the most part is trying to help you escape as he feels the humans have been mistreated. In fact right in the beginning of the game you learn the bigger picture of Aperature Science laboratories. The bigger picture is simply that a ton of humans had been running through these “tests” of whits and what not but now they are all dead besides yourself. This is why “Wheatley” wants to help you escape as he doesn’t know any better but thinks your safety is important to his survival as well. Not too long into the beginning of the story do you run into your arch nemesis you thought you killed, GLaDOS. She has apparently come back from the dead to put you through the most grueling tests yet. There is still one person, and I do mean actual person, that you hera from later in the game who is known as Cave Johnson. Apparently he is the guy who runs the joint (Aperature Science labs) and he runs you through the more advanced tests largely including the newer gameplay features such as the gels, light bridges, and excursion tunnels. Overall the story is definitely much more engaging and has kind of an eery feel to it at times. You might be on the edge of your seat either scared, surprised, or simply just wondering what is going to happen next.

Multiplayer/Co-op

I have yet to truly delve deep into the Co-op mode but I feel with the 2 or 3 hours I have spent on it I can safely assume that it is simply a blast to play.  You can easily jump in to Co-op with a friend via Steam Friends or if you have the PS3 version you can use Steam or PS3 friends. This helps close that gap between PC and Console players not being able to play with/against each other. This feature alone is a reason to buy Portal 2.  Getting back to Co-op, the gameplay is very similar to SP except the complexity is much larger. With 2 people and 2 portal guns you have a total of 4 portals you can create. In some cases you have to create a portal on either side of  wall to make a “hole” through it for your partner to pass through and help get you up afterwards. It is a very team-oriented game and the surprisingly the microphone volumes and quality is good. So no need for Ventrilo or Teamspeak. All in all I still have more to experience in the Co-op not to mention there is DLC as of Day 1. Currently I only have a hat and a flag unlocked from beating the game but full on skins are available for download through Steam.

 


GamerSciz

 
I have been an avid gamer all my life ever since the Atari days. I enjoy most genres and especially love a good story. I built this to be for gamers and by gamers.