DEVELOPER: Valve Corporation
PUBLISHER : Valve Corporation
PLATFORMS: PC, PS3, X360, Mac OSX
Reviewed on: PC
GENRE : Puzzle, platform game
ESRB : E10+
“Science isn’t about why, it’s about why not.”
Can’t stop thinking with portals? Still mad that it took you so long to figure out the solution to a simple test chamber? Constantly thinking of real life applications for portals? This is what I call the “Portal Effect.”
Ever played a video game and experienced that feeling of immense content and that lasting appeal that influences your thought process days after you’ve completed it? For me only a few games have truly done that. Portal 2 is one of those games. Having played the original Portal I knew what to expect from Valve. But little did I know that this game would be such an amazingly polished product, improving in every possible aspect and establishing a landmark in gaming.
GLaDoS is back. Vengeful you ask? Not really. But happier than ever to humiliate and put you through ever so challenging test chambers.
I really wouldn’t want to spoil anything here because, trust me, Portal 2’s campaign is one of the best you’ll ever play. ‘Mind boggling on an unprecedented scale’ and several “OH SH**!!” moments are spread throughout this cleverly paced plot. The script is humorous, compelling and inspiring. Several back-stories and revelations come to the fore throughout the event of the game and the best of all, apart from a few situations the acts are completely unpredictable. Those who’ve played the original Portal are in for special easter eggs and hilarious references. But even if you haven’t you’d still be laughing your a** off at the witty dialogues.
The game is divided into a number of chapters but the entire play through shouldn’t take you a very long time. Of course, it is much longer compared to ‘Portal 1’ (the only complain gamers had with the original) which lasted only about 4-5 hours. But don’t expect to be playing the campaign for weeks. I completed my first playthrough in about 8-9 hours which is presumably satisfactory.
Portal 2 offers great visuals. Animations are realistic and the lighting is beautiful. Character models are great as well. Of course, it isn’t by any means the best in the market but is definitely noteworthy. When falling from great heights motion blur looks pretty neat. What is surprising is that I never came across any major glitch throughout the game even when I went about creating portals like a mindless idiot at times. It isn’t exactly eye-candy but it doesn’t need to be. The creative art design is stand out and makes up for any shortcomings that this department faces.
“Thinking with portals”- That is how you’re supposed to be doing it. But it’s not just that. Some puzzles don’t need that much of an extensive use of portals, just simple physics. And that is precisely what Portal 2 does best. It offers so much of variety that you’d rarely find any 2 puzzles that would solve the same way.True to physics the game mechanics make Portal 2 a pleasure to play. There are practically no improvements that you would want in Portal 2’s gameplay.
Truth is you’ll be surprised at how “genius” the level design can get. Portals, elevators, buttons along with propulsion gel, repulsion gel, conversion gel, then a combination of all three, turrets and excursion funnels take Portal 2’s test chambers to an amazing level of complexity. But that doesn’t mean the puzzles are too tough. The test chambers don’t require a high thinking ability, rather how well you are able to comprehend the situation and “notice” the environments. There might be instances when you’d want to bang your head against the wall for not being able to see an obvious solution but, if you are using walkthroughs to get past levels, trust me you are ‘killing the game.’
Audio is technically outstanding with attention paid to every little detail in the game.
The voice acting is a true highlight for Portal 2 with Stephen Merchant as Wheatley stealing the show. J.K. Simmons does a commendable job of bringing Cave Johnson to life. And of course, there’s GLaDOS.
Music is expertly composed keeping up with the pace of the game. Entering a new test chamber, successfully solving one, boss fights, all have their fitting scores. Great job done here!
*I highly recommend playing the game with headphones on else, it is quite likely that you’ll miss the in-game music transitions.
Portal 2 is a mind-boggling wonder. The way the story unfolds, the “killer surprises” and the mind-bending revelations all of it is just perfect. Solving puzzles doesn’t get any better than this. It is inarguably a thoroughly enjoyable and faithful sequel. The only complain that I had with the game was that there wasn’t a lot to do after completing the game once but that is because I loved Portal 2 so much that I wanted more of it. Portal 2 is one hell of an experience that is not to be missed.
• Voice acting– 10
• Music– 10