Portal 2

In layman’s terms: new game comes in, new review comes out.

For those of you paying attention this game was on my list of 5 games to watch out for.
The original Portal game, a mod included in the Orange Box release of Half Life 2, was a surprise hit.  A surprise in the first sense of the word, in that no one had any idea the game even existed.
Portal is a first person platform puzzle physics game.  Meaning, it looks like a first person shooter, except there’s no shooting and you have to solve puzzles using gravity.
Oh, and the gun in the game shoots holes.  Not bullet holes.  But actual holes, and more to the point, it shoots different sides of the same hole.  And you can put one side of the hole on the wall and the other side on the ceiling.
And, yes, the game is as mind bending as picturing that is.  This picture will help:

Make sense now?  Good.

In first Portal the story was tight, the writing was excellent.  The villain of the piece, GLaDOS, was a maniacal, homicidal, petulant, and wonderfully evil antagonist.
It was a fun game.  One of my all-time favorites.

When it was announced Valve was working on a follow up, I had my doubts.  Well, doubts is too weak of a word.  I thought it was going to suck.     It is far too often a sequel is pushed out the door, so the publishers and studios can make some bank.  How would you follow up a surprise game like that?  A game as tight as that one?  Well, the first Portal had one huge glaring, almost unforgivable flaw; it was too short. I was hoping Valve would fix that problem in the second game.

And, boy, was I disappointed.

At 15 hours (8-10 hours of single player and 5-6 hours of completely separate story of multiplayer play) the game is too damn short!  I want to keep testing!  For science!    The second game manages that rare feat of being an improvement on the first release.  The old characters are back, and new ones that are just as compelling are brought in, and the story is even bigger, broader, and deeper.  It updates the game world with better graphics, and adds layers to the environment with new toys to play with.

I won’t spoil what those new toys are, but it involves a lot of jumping and running.  Oh, and walking on light bridges.   Which, incidentally, if you were to rub your cheek against the light bridges it would feel like warm sunshine.  But it would set your hair on fire, so don’t do that.

I found the unnecessary shoe-horning of the unnecessary Black Mesa continuity to be completely…pointless.  It doesn’t make sense, the tone doesn’t really blend, and it is forgeign to the game concept

If you’re like me, and by now you should be, then you’ll find this game incredibly addictive.  There are multiple ways to solve each room, some simple, some complex, but they’re all a blast.  The multiplayer is co-operative, meaning you’re supposed to work together to solve the room.

But let’s be honest here, it should be re-titled ‘finding hilarious ways to get your partner killed.’

Overall, Portal 2 is that rare gem, a fun game with a deep story, engaging charactes, and compelling game play that builds on the strong points of the first game.  If you get motion sick at first person shooters, fast moving action, or get dizzy at the thought of a gun that can fire two sides of the same hole in different directions; do not look directly at this game.  Go have yourself a nice quiet lay down.  Oh, and I should mention the humor of the game is pitch black.  I spent most of the game not laughing so I could hear what they were saying.

I will leave you with a snippet from the game that resonates well here in Monkey Labs; when Life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade.  Get mad!  Demand to see Life’s manager.  Make Life rue the day it gave you lemons!  Doesn’t Life know who you are?!?


you’re right that it was too short and not worth the $60 but the co-op raised the bar for sure and it’s the only game i got 100% achievements on (and in only 3 days. and i’m bad at Portal).

Posted April 28, 2011 10:04 pm
Austin Books Sidekick Store Final Days
Located at 5400 North Lamar here in sunny Austin (formerly Laboratory Computers), the Sidekick Store has become the clearing house for Austin Books' overwhelming amount of back issues.
Noboru Iguchi returns to Fantastic Fest
... a movie about parasite ass zombies is pretty much right up my alley and Zombie Ass will be making it's World Premier at Fantastic Fest this year...
Fantastic Fest Announces Sell-Out!
Fantastic Fest almost sold out - Daytime badges still available.
SSX 2012
You'll never in a million years believe it but the biggest crack addiction to hit the Xbox 360 this year is the relaunch of the SSX snowboard game and I don't think it's too early at all to start hyping it's Game of the Year status.
Portal 2 DLC
I cannot recommend this DLC enough because it's FREE! Many, many times, developers have released extra content for $10 that doesn't have nearly as much stuff or the polish Valve gave Portal 2's DLC. The Portal 2 DLC is definitely worth checking out because it allows you to revisit a wonderful game you thought you were done with, continues the adventure of your favorite robot adventurers, it's for Science and it's FREE!
The Games of Summer
Tron discusses the XBox games that have consumed his summer.