Game review: Portal 2

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Portal 2

Valve Software

 

Portal 2 is the product of years of anticipation mixed with fond memories of the original Portal, and it’s one of the finest games I have ever had the pleasure of playing.

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly four years since the original Portal comes out. It truly seems like yesterday I was playing that marvelous game filled with memorable characters and great puzzles. Now that Portal 2 has finally been released I can safely say my unrealistic expectations of this game have been met completely.

Portal 2 starts off by players once again taking the role of Chell from the original Portal who has just woken up from cryostasis. At this point we get introduced to the personality sphere Wheatley played by Stephen Merchant. Soon after that we find ourselves once again meeting up with the villain from the last game GLaDOS. I won’t spoil anymore of the amazing story of Portal 2, but it’s hands down one of the finest written stories in any video game I can remember.

I clocked in about eight hours playing through the single player portion of Portal 2 and I constantly found myself chuckling out loud at the dialogue. I was literally on the edge of my seat every step of the way.

Graphically, Portal 2 looks pretty darn good. While the Source engine is starting to stretch itself thin, Portal 2 still looks extremely polished and manages to run at a consistent frame rate at all times. The way characters move only adds to their personality and charm.

It doesn’t hurt that Portal 2 is incredibly fun to play. The puzzles Chell faces this time around will drive you insane at times but they are incredibly satisfying once you finish them. New additions such as the repulsion gel make limited appearances but are quite fun when you have to use them.

Now here is where Portal 2 really shines: the audio. New ending songs appear and they are absolutely brilliant. All the sound effects from the Portal gun to simply picking up a cube still sound crisp but the fine actors and actresses that populate the world of Portal 2 are the true gems of this game. Ellen McLain once again reprises her role as GLaDOS and she shows so many more sides of this character this time that I had to convince myself GLaDOS wasn’t real. Her robotic voice gives such an air of humanity that it really begins to play tricks on your mind over time.

Portal 2 also introduces the CEO of Aperture Science Cave Johnson, played by none other than J.K. Simmons, known from the Spider-Man film series. Simmons gives an amazing performance in Portal 2, in my mind there is no one more perfect to play Cave Johnson than J.K. Simmons himself.

However, even these amazing performances pale in comparison to the performance of Wheatley. Stephen Merchant steals the show with the lovable personality he gives to Wheatley throughout Portal 2. I have rarely liked a character as much as I did Wheatley.

I have very few gripes with Portal 2, in fact just thinking about it makes me want to go play it again and again. Portal 2 has an amazing full-packed single player experience that is well worth spending $60 on.

Oh did I mention Portal 2 also has an eight-hour co-op campaign as well? Because it does, and it is absolutely fantastic. It’s a completely separate campaign with its own credits and song to go along. You and a friend play as the robots Atlas and P-Body. Thankfully the new co-op puzzles are just as crazy as single player and are extremely satisfying to complete. GLaDOS even provides commentary the entire time through the second campaign.

The important part about the co-op campaign is that it wasn’t slapped on last minute to add multiplayer to the package. The co-op campaign is just as refined as the single player campaign and is just as satisfying.

So what are you waiting for? If you loved the original Portal then you need to buy this game. If you haven’t played the original then go pick up the first one, finish it (it’s quite short), then pick up the sequel. It’s all worth it just to experience the great game that is Portal 2.

I give it 5 stars

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Game review: Portal 2

by Drew May time to read: 3 min
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