One of the best games out there that held a special place in my heart is Portal 2. Probably because it’s a friggin’ cool game for starters, this is why I will give it such a high rating. But, just because the rating is high doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best game ever. While it’s close it still has its pros and cons just like any other game, but, for Portal 2 there just aren’t that many cons to be found. So, let’s start thinking with portals and dive right into Portal 2!
The game starts inside the room of the protagonist Chell, while an announcer gives you a quick tutorial. Nothing special, until you finish it that is. You later find out that you have been there for quite a while. You’re alone…cold and with no knowledge of what happened (you know, with Chell having brain damage and all). You hear a knock on the door only to reveal your new companion: Wheatly. A core finding survivors and it just so happens that you are the only one there. I really enjoyed the character of Wheatly and have yet to meet a single person who hasn’t. Together with GLaDOS he manages to fill the game with wonderful dialogue that seamlessly switches back and forth between comedy and drama, substituting the gap left by my silent protagonist Chell. Worthy of mention is the third character Cave Johnson, whose story involvement I cannot spoil. His character and writing is no less appealing than the clashing duo of Wheatly and GLaDOS. If anything he’s perhaps the best of the three, as evidenced by becoming an internet meme as a result of being so damn quotable!
The story was a slow-burner for me, while the initial introduction was humorous you as a player must give it some time for it to hook you with surprising emotional depth. Usually they would give you an exposition or something, but it’s rare for a game to let the new information flow right in via the level design and scenery. Something I really appreciated in this game. That’s not to say the game isn’t without slower (or even boring) moments, but they are simply too short and too few to leave any lasting impact or detract from the experience. The laughter and raw emotion this game had given me over my playthrough of the story has left a lasting appeal, and really displayed the passion and commitment the writers have given.
The gameplay was nice and does a good job of extending what we had in the first installment. The controls were intuitive and the puzzles were very enjoyable. Some are rather easy and others are so hard that you may be tempted to look up a walkthrough. The only thing that will bother some players are the actual portals. Some may get a headache just by playing the first level. I could see it, but really it’s hardly a bother to most players.
Graphics are what some people usually look for in a game now in days. But I think people would appreciate the nice graphics in this one. It’s not the best, but it’s still good. The little speck of dirt on some of the cubes to the…the… Okay, so the graphics aren’t the best in the neighbourhood, but holds-up in today’s market. What really keeps the game engaging to look at are the animations of Wheatly and GLaDOS, who convey emotion and character with just their ‘eye’.
Finally, the music, god dang it, the music. What is there to love? Well, what isn’t there to love? It fits well with the style of the game. Sometimes I would find myself listening to them on my spare time. They make me feel good. Why? Because every time when I hear a track in the game, it usually means I’m doing something right in a puzzle.
The game itself isn’t all that bad. The game is simple enough that you could just pick it up, and play without worrying about playing the first one. But, it is also complex. You’ll find yourself loving this game a little too much to the point you start researching about the game and its secrets. Overall, the game is a must have in your collection and earns it’s rights to have 4 out of 5 stars.