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Portal 2 on Xbox 360

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Trust no one. That is about the greatest piece of advice I can give you if you have chosen to proceed through the treacherous test chambers of the Aperture Science Laboratories in Valve’s 2011 platform game and sequel, Portal 2. If you thought you had already eaten up the cake of lies GLaDOS, the testing artificial intelligence [AI] robot, set up for you in the first release of Portal, you are wrong.

The basic plot is that you are a test subject in the Aperture Science Laboratories and must successfully complete numerous test chambers using your Portal Gun (a weapon used to create dual pathways called portals that you can go through to reach areas inaccessible to you otherwise). Your objective is to reach and open the exit door using boxes, laws of gravity, and the power of science. You already destroyed GLaDOS, the psychopathic AI tester who was actually bent on killing you, in the previous game, and now in Portal 2, you must escape the Aperture Science Laboratories once and for all. GLaDOS had indeed been defeated in the first game, however not all things are quite as they seem.

This frustratingly difficult game is in truth one of the best I have ever played. It is not for people who are content with blasting each other’s heads off and guffawing at the sight of blood. No, this is a game for the other end of the spectrum: the thinkers. If you enjoy spending hours and hours on a set of puzzles until your brain implodes, then this is a game you may want to check out. These puzzles are not for those with short attention spans, though, as I have spent around an hour on a single test room before. In a few cases, I actually gave up and checked online to see how it was done. However, this game’s numerous strengths easily outmatch this potential fault.

The graphics are, for the most part, quite good, especially the impressive detail. You could see every crack and the faded material as if you were actually present in the overgrown, ruined laboratory. I could almost feel the vibrations as the lab broke apart, dust rising from the most unexpected places, pieces hanging on tendrils. You play as Chell, the test subject, and rather than seeing her, you see through her eyes. I find this a fantastic method of expressing the storyline, because you feel as if you are actually present in the eerie setting. You become Chell and face all the problems that come along with being her, increasing your experience with Portal 2. If this does not make up to the difficulty of the game, perhaps the characters will.

“Remember before when I was talking about smelly garbage standing around being useless? That was a metaphor. I was actually talking about you,” said GLaDOS, your computerized tester. She is a sarcastic, rude, and above all, fantastically designed, character who acts as the central core of the laboratory facility. Voiced by the talented Ellen McLain, the unique villain is one of the main reasons I liked the Portal series to that extent Aside from her, the fast talking, nervous, frantic AI, Wheatley, voiced by Stephen Merchant, was another interesting character that was encountered during Portal 2. Valve’s outstanding cast, as well as Merchant and McLain’s incomparable talents, also increased the already astounding experience of the game.

I am not the only one impressed by Portal 2. It won several awards in the past. For example, at the Golden Joystick Awards in 2011, it won the title of “Ultimate Game of the Year.” In addition to that, it won second place in Time’s “Top 10 Video Games of 2011.” It even won twelve nominations for the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, among several others as well.

All in all, I must say that this game, which is available for PlayStation 3, Mac OS X, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows, is worth anyone’s time. Yes, at times it truly may be quite difficult, the game play itself is rewarding. The plotline is mesmerizing and feels as if you were reading a vividly colored book in which you are in moderate control. If you choose to get yourself involved in the haywire puzzles of Portal 2, my only advice is that your refrain from eating potato products while playing this game, as one of the characters may find it to be offensive during the second half of Portal 2.



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