The voice of your robotic captor follows you into the testing chamber, where the next set of puzzles awaits. You aim your portal gun at a nearby ledge and fire, watching the orange swirl of energy appear on the wall. Another shot brings forth a blue portal; you step through it and appear on the ledge that had been out of reach only moments before. The exit to the chamber still mocked you with its closed door, and you set to fire your next pair of portals.
Portal 2 is a puzzle platformer created and published by Valve Corporation as a sequel to Portal, and was released on April 19, 2011. It has won many awards, such as the BAFTA Games Award for Best Game and the VGX Award for Most Anticipated Game, and received high praise from popular gaming/game critic websites such as Steam and Common Sense Media. The original Portal is bleak and underdeveloped when compared to its successor, which is packed full of color and plot the first one lacked. Portal 2 is the product of vast development and trial, which really shows through its magnificent gameplay and enthralling plot.
The player is set in the shoes of the test subject, Chell, and follows her escape from the science research facility, Aperture Laboratories. Initially, aid comes in the form of a small maintenance robot named Wheatley, and danger in the massive chassis of the super intelligence, GLaDOS. But as events unfold, more and more of Aperture’s past is uncovered, and light is shed upon on the origins of Chell’s once-thought-enemy, GLaDOS. But don’t forget about the little helper; he plays a rather large part in it all.
The game’s namesake comes in the form of a special device called the portal gun, which allows the player to shoot and form a pair of blue and orange portals, both connected to the other no matter the distance. When the player steps into the blue portal, they come out of the orange one, and vice versa. It is a unique concept, and is part of what makes this game so interesting. The first person perspective allows the portal gun to be used to its full potential, and offers a very in depth feel to the game, almost as if the player was in the game himself/herself. The testing chambers are worn down, and what once used to be pristine white walls are tinted with signs of orange rust. Broken signs and dusty rooms show just how long Aperture Laboratories has been absent of human life. It’s almost like the only bright spots in Chell’s endeavour (and at the same time, the player’s) are the swirls of bright orange and blue that bring freedom just a little bit closer.
Portal 2 is available for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, with all the versions offering smooth animation and sharp colors and graphics. The original soundtracks for Portal 2 reflect the game’s mysterious tones, and adds a new layer of depth to the experience. Many of the sounds are digital in origin, but are blended with a mix of traditional orchestra that effectively transport the player into the giant expanse of what is Aperture Laboratories. The voice acting for the two major characters, Wheatley and GLaDOS, are very well done; the sarcastic tone of the small spherical AI and the cynical personality of the much larger artificial intelligence are portrayed very convincingly by their respective voice actors, Stephen Merchant and Ellen McLain.
The player is able to walk, jump, angle the screen, and shoot portals using either a controller or a keyboard, depending on the system they are operating. There is no learning curve, which means that the player cannot gain experience or skill in-game, and it follows a solid plot based adventure. In the singleplayer campaign, the player looks through the eyes of the test subject, Chell, while in the cooperative campaign, they are set in the shoes of either orange or blue robot, P-body and Atlas. The multiplayer was a relatively new idea to Portal when it was first released, but was a success with its many fans.
Portal 2 is the prime example of an exciting and memorable game, and may just be the best one to ever hit the shelves. So go on, even if you have already run through this masterpiece (in which case, replay it), and give this game a chance.”No tricks. This potato only generates 1.1 volts of electricity. I literally do not have the energy to lie to you.” - GLaDOS