Portal 2 on PC, PS3, Xbox 360

October 17, 2011
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From heart-racing moments to brain-boggling puzzles, Portal 2 offers a rewarding adventure packed with a great storyline and a remarkable soundtrack. It’s a distinctive game that continues the enthralling adventure of Chell, a test subject yet again determined to escape the wrath of a heartless robot named GLaDOS. It has lots of challenges that require you to really think about the situation, without forcing you to rely on a walkthrough to solve them. The controls are very simple and easy to understand. This unique journey also introduces a totally different style of gameplay that everyone will enjoy, plus humorous dialogue that will leave you eagerly awaiting the next witty comment.

The action is simply stunning. There are moments where you will solve tests calmly and situations where you’re running for your life. You’ll experience the thrilling story through the eyes of Chell everywhere she goes. Portal 2 incorporates tons of action and an innumerable amount of comical comments, such as GLaDOS’ silly remarks on Chell’s weight or Wheatley assuming she has “a minor case of serious brain damage” when she refuses to say anything. It also includes the concept of “portals,” where if the player enters one portal, they’ll exit through the other. Valve (the producer of Portal 2) creates a vast array of different puzzles that apply the laws of physics onto portals that no other game can accomplish. For example, if Chell enters a portal with great momentum, she’ll fly like a bullet through the other, getting to places out of reach.

The storyline is kept up to par with the gameplay. Since the defeat of GLaDOS at the hands of Chell in the original Portal, Aperture Science has been in a state of disrepair. That all changes when Chell accidentally revives her while trying to escape; GLaDOS confines her to testing chambers once more, and the player must once again escape her grasp. The game even incorporates a co-op mode, which others claim is even better than the single-player adventure; you can grab a friend and play a completely different story filled with even more challenging brain-teasers and another suspenseful plotline.

The characters seem more than real; they all have unique qualities and you’ll feel as if you can actually talk to them. Chell, even if she is mute, has a distinctive personality all her own; she’s enduring, patient, and determined. GLaDOS (voiced by Ellen McClain), the notorious, heartless robotic antagonist of both games, manages to keep her comical and sadistic persona. And Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant), your loving robot companion throughout most of the game, has a distinctive British accent that‘s ideal for comical talk. Even the turrets that attempt to stop you each have a different behavior. They can speak and have feelings for the player and themselves.

The sound quality is fantastic. The voices sound crisp and clear, and every shot from the portal gun sounds realistic. The music is even better; Valve has created a soundtrack that accompanies Portal 2 perfectly. The song heard in the end credits, “Want You Gone,” by Jonathan Coulton, is a refreshing, upbeat tune that’s extremely catchy, and what’s even better, sung by GLaDOS herself. It’s extremely rewarding to hear her robotic voice, and gamers will definitely remember her electronic web of words. Portal 2’s soundtrack is absolutely amazing; the music is immensely satisfying, relaxing, and is sure to find a special spot in your heart forever.

The graphics are realistic as well. Whether it be the spotless and new test chambers of Portal 2 or the decaying ruins of Portal, Valve pleases gamers with nostalgic scenes and a great-looking game. The portals look fantastic, and the environment looks futuristic.

However, there is one thing gamers will not enjoy while playing Portal 2- the loading screens. After completing a test, the screen appears. These dull moments might ruin the suspense built up by all the action scenes, but rest assured, they aren’t that long. At most, they’ll only take a minute of your time.

Portal 2 has received positive reviews from almost everyone, including a score of 95 from Metacritic. The verdict? Get the game. It’ll supply you with hours of entertainment and will leave you feeling like a genius after solving each puzzle.

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