Portal developed a few years ago as part of The Orange Box. The game was only a few hours long but made an impact that still sounds today. A game so praised and given a special place in the hearts of gamers is hard to beat. However, Valve has made an attempt with Portal 2.
In the first Portal you played as Chell. She is a test subject at Aperture Science Laboratory and has to pass all kinds of test chambers. In those test chambers you have to solve puzzles using portals. You will be guided by GLaDOS, a supercomputer that can monitor the entire building in which Aperture Science is housed. However, GLaDOS also has a murderous side, and in the end you have to beat her. You will ultimately succeed, but she is not completely destroyed.
Portal 2: Funny story
In Portal 2 you still control Chell, but right from the start, you are introduced to a new character, Wheatley. Wheatley is a robot with an English accent and wants to help you escape. Wheatley himself also suffered under the GLaDOS regime and the only thing he can do is your help.
A nice story in which you have to pass a number of test chambers again, but also get deeper into Aperture Science. This will bring you to the original Aperture Science building, where everything started. In this story, you constantly hear the witty comments from Wheatley and GLaDOS and these comments alone are a reason to play the game. The two robots are funny to the genius and you won't be able to get enough of this fun throughout the full eight-hour single player.
Portal 2 Gameplay
You will be working on the single player for about eight hours. That may sound a bit short for some, especially since you can't play the game too often because at some point you do have the puzzles, but it is three or four times as long as the original Portal, so a lot of progress. To fill all that extra time in the single player, a lot of changes have been made. First you have to deal with Hard Light Bridges. This is just light, only compressed so that it has become solid. With this you can make bridges or you can use it as a shield against turrets.
Soon you will also come into contact with the Aerial Faith Plates. When you stand on this you will be launched into the air. Especially when several of these Plates come in succession, you have to think and act very quickly to land safely on solid ground again. Another way of transportation is made possible by the Excursion Funnels. These are a kind of funnels you can sit in. This automatically moves you in the direction the funnel turns.
Other changes are actually very old. Ancient Aperture Science used to test with certain gels. A blue gel allows you to bounce, the more speed you have when you hit the gel the higher you bounce. You slide very hard through the orange gel. You then go very fast and you can launch yourself through a portal or from a ramp. And then there is the white gel which is actually very simple. When you spray this gel on a surface, you can place a portal at that location.
Challenging puzzles, alone or multiplayer
All these innovations, but the old familiar gameplay, again demand the most from your thinking ability. The puzzles can be quite difficult, but in the end, there is always a logical solution. You may be unravelling one of the secrets of Aperture Science in between. In any case, puzzling with the portals is still a lot of fun and you can't get enough of it. Not even after you complete the single player.
Fortunately, there is a specially developed co-op mode to increase the length of the game even further. With two people you can add about six hours to the game. And in those six hours, you only have fun. While enjoying the same humor as in the single player, you can solve the puzzles together, which are specially made for this co-op mode. Besides solving puzzles you can of course also threaten each other a bit. Even this bullying is creative because you also have to think carefully about what you do with the portals. The co-op mode can be played cross-platform between the PlayStation 3 and PC. This means that PlayStation 3 gamers can play cooperatively with PC gamers. This function is not available in the Xbox 360 version. The co-op mode is very well worked out and you will not get bored here either.
Not bored for a moment
That you are not bored for a moment is because the game has a perfect tempo. The series of innovations, plot twists and new puzzles are very well chosen. It will never feel like you're doing pieces just to fill up the time. And when you need to walk or wait, there are still brilliant talks and comments from Wheatley and GLaDOS to keep you entertained.
There is always something to do in the Aperture Science building. After defeating GLaDOS in the first Portal, the building has fallen into collapse and is being repaired in Portal 2. You constantly see panels move and robots do their work to get everything back in order. This keeps the game world dynamic and lively. Despite the fact that everything is mainly gray, black and white in color, you never get the idea that it is a boring lot.
The same goes for the test chambers, which are anything but boring. In contrast to the small rooms from the first Portal, the test rooms are now very large. The rooms are therefore vaster and thus create a better overview of the puzzles. You quickly see how big Aperture Science is. Sometimes a wall is missing in a test room so you can see through the entire building and that is really huge. And despite that size, everything is perfectly displayed and rounded down to the smallest detail.
You also find this perfect finish in the sound. The music fits the game perfectly and will never distract you from what you are doing. However, the perfection of the sound is mainly shown in voice work. The characters from Portal 2 seem realistic, so you sometimes forget that you are sitting on the bed at home and it looks like you are really walking through Aperture Science.
Portal 2 Conclusion
Portal 2 is a masterpiece that every player should try. The fact of being able to buy it equally on PC, Mac, PS3 or Xbox 360 makes it extremely easy to find the platform that best suits your needs. This Valve title is able to offer hours of challenge and fun both in single-player and in the company of a friend (online or on the same console), accompanying everything with refined level design, wonderful entertainment and, more generally, with an obvious character. Valve proves to be a great developer once again and delivers with Portal 2 maybe the best game this generation has ever known.