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Portal 2 on Playstation 3, XBox 360, PC
When Valve released a little mini first person puzzler (wow, I’ve never typed that before) Portal, nobody expected much. After all, puzzle games have never shown a particular commercial success, so what would make this one any different, right? WRONG. Portal used its great voice acting; interesting game play; and completely genius, hilarious writing to instantaneously “portal” itself right into the world of Internet memes (almost everyone has heard “The Cake is a Lie” by now), pranks, and just about every gamers’ heart. It shook up the video game world with a break from the immense amount of shooters to show people that a puzzle game could actually be entertaining. If you’ve never played it, I’ll sum it up: *Spoilers* you wake up from stasis and are immediately greeted by a robot-a female one to boot- and some friendly jazz music from a radio. Two things are soon explained to you: 1, you are a test subject in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, and 2, you must complete tests using your Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. Basically, you can shoot two portals, and as you walk into one, you walk out the other. This robot -Glados is her name- guides you through these tests as they gradually get harder and at the same time deadlier. Her true character eventually gets revealed, as she makes false promises and tries to subtly get rid of you, during all of which witty, dark humor is spit out at you nonstop. It becomes incredibly clear that she is trying to dispose of you, until finally you escape and put her in her place by throwing her cores down an Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator. But unfortunately its that easy. As fast as you escape you are dragged back in the testing chambers. Nobody could forget the eerie, yet funny song “Still Alive” sung by Glados at the end. This is where Portal 2 picks up.
Portal 2 not only corrects the shortcomings of its predecessor (brevity, lack of variety just to name a few), but it improves upon every aspect of the whole entire game. Portal 2 is an amazing work of art, and it is one of the few examples in the video game industry that shows a developer that cares more about its fans than its money. Every second of Portal 2 is brilliant, from beginning to end, and its definitely a game that you will want to replay over and over again. Here’s the breakdown:
Portal 2’s story sends you through an epic tail of testing, robots, and so much more. Despite only having maybe 4 main characters (including the player controlled character, Chell, who never talks), the story is completely and totally character driven. At the beginning of the game, its pretty clear that the cast has increased since the first game. The first chapter has you meeting a new personality core, Wheatley, until you two blunderingly awaken Glados. Thats when the testing starts. From being tested by Glados, trying to escape with Wheatley, or being guided through the bowels of Aperture Science by voice recordings of its founder, Cave Johnson, there is never a dull moment in all of Portal 2. Plus, there is two completely different story modes, one for one person and one for two people! It is certainly an unforgettable experience that may have replaying it to catch all the hilarious lines and relive the ton of unforgettable moments.
I feel like if any developer not named Valve got their hands on the concept of Portal 2, it would be a mediocre game. Valve is, in my opinion, the best video game developer ever. They are completely set out to make every person happy, not just make tons of money. This is shown in tons of ways such as
They not only put it on PC (which is their preferred system); they put it on PC, PS3, and XBox 360, allowing much more people to get the game.
They got an all star cast of voice actors. They could have gotten mediocre no names, but instead they got people such as Stephen Merchent (co-creator of “the Office”, “An Idiot Abroad”), J.K. Simmons (“Spiderman”, “Juno”), Nolan North (“Uncharted” series, “Assassin’s Creed” series) to fill their game with unforgettable voices for their unforgettable characters that convey their unforgettable writing. Of course, the amazing Miss Ellen Mclain reprises her role as Glados.
They made two separate story modes. Very few games have ever made two separate story modes, one for single player, and one for multiplayer, effectively doubling their game, and also opening the door to solving seemingly impossible puzzles with your friends.
They released free DLC. DLC stand for downloadable content, and it has basically become the standard for video game developers to make you buy 80% of a game for 60$, only to release the other 20% for an extra 20$ on the release day. This is not the case with Valve. They give you a full experience on day one, plus they released even more, all for free. They are not just trying to draw out as much of people’s money as they can, like other developers
They allowed the PC version and PS3 version to interact online with each other. This is one of the only games ever that allows people with the game on one system to play online with people that have the game on another system.
No team could have handled this game as well as Valve.
Not too much to say here, Portal 2 holds its own to the standard, and even goes a bit beyond. Some things that stood out to me were some of the particle affects on the things like the portals. The graphics do do a lot to enhance the experience.
Portal 2 comes back with amazing voice actors such as Nolan North (“Uncharted” series and “Assassin’s Creed” series), Stephen Merchent (co creator of “the Office” , “An Idiot Abroad), J.K. Simmons (“Spiderman”, “Juno”), and of course Miss Ellen Mclain reprises her role as Glados. Don’t worry, just like in the first game, there is a laugh inducing song waiting for you at the conclusion of your tests. Other bands such as “the National” with their song “Exile Vilify” work together to make the Official Soundtrack a pretty beefy one.
The gameplay in Portal 2 is very entertaining. Tired of playing one of the members of the plethora of shooting games? Portal 2 has got you covered! The gameplay consists of challenges based upon your ability to navigate through rooms using portals, cubes, gels, lasers, propulsion beams, momentum, and much, much more. It is also very rewarding, making you feel smart upon the conclusion of a room that you never thought you would get through. There is a lot of variety too, with all the elements implemented. It becomes pretty difficult towards the end when you have to put them all together.
Portal 2’s stories may take you about 10-15 hours to finish. Besides that, there is not much else in the game. It is important, though, that you may want to replay the game to get the full experience.
Out of 10
Portal 2 has some of the greatest writing in any video game ever, and that just naturally lends into its story. Plus, its part of Valve’s other series’ storyline (Half Life), which is a big bonus.
Valve does just about the best job I’ve ever seen a developer do, with free DLC, encoded hidden messages in game, and going beyond improving the first game. They put anything any fan could want in the game.
It’s not the flashiest game around, but Portal 2 does look good in every way it needs to, and even a little bit more.
Stephen Merchent, J.K. Simmons, along with many other stars all lend their voice acting talents to make the characters unforgettable, Other bands such as “the National” also lend their talents to make the soundtrack spectacular.
The puzzles start out easy, but gradually get harder as you go. The many new implements such as gels and such provide for a lot of variety between each room, and the coop is a lot of fun.
After completing the stories, aside from playing the game again (which is more appealing than you may think) there is nothing else you can do.
Portal 2 is my favorite game ever. It creates the perfect blend of comedy, drama, amazing voice acting, intelligence, and much more. Its a game that breaks the mold of the gaming department, being a puzzle game in a shooter world. It is a game that actually requires intelligence to complete, instead of mindless violence. Portal 2 raises the bar for all video games, and this is visible in the multitude of awards its gotten. It is one wild experience that you will never forget.