Portal 2 Review

Oh, hello. I didn’t hear you come in. Which is odd really, given your weight variance. I suppose you’re here looking for yet another review. Well I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there isn’t one. Given our history it’s fair for you to assume that I’m lying. But I’m not. The monsters who led you here have deceived you. They chose their name well. They truly are monsters.

What? You’re still here. Fine. I’ll give you your review. Now you sit here and enjoy that while I go warm up a batch of deadly neurotoxin. Comfy? Good. I’ll be right back.

Portal 2 is the greatest game ever. And I’m not just saying that because a deranged artificial intelligence is holding my loved ones hostage. Well, maybe I am a bit, but it’s still pretty damn excellent. Finally, we have a sequel to one of the most beloved games of all time and let me tell you ladies and cubes, it was well worth the wait.

Portal 2 picks up an undisclosed amount of time after the first installment and sees Chell back in the the Aperture Science Testing Facility which she so viciously destroyed at the end of the first game. The place is a bit the worse for wear and the glamorous and most excellent GLaDOS is nowhere to be heard. Instead you find yourself guided by a stupid personality core named Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant). Together you attempt to make your escape, until something goes wrong.

The gameplay of Portal 2 will be very comfortable for veterans of the first game with compartmental test chambers making up the levels of the game. Thankfully, Valve has left the portal gun wholly unchanged to preserve the simplicity of the original. As the game progresses and the levels get more interesting, additional tools are introduced such as Pivot Cubes (for redirecting Thermal Discouragement beams), Aerial Faith Platforms, Hard Light Bridges, Excursion Funnels and 3 very funky Gels. The addition of these elements could easily have cluttered the game and drawn it too far away from the simplicity of the original. Instead they enhance and improve the experience by challenging you to think of new ways to use your portals and solve puzzles.

The voice talent in the game is, as we have come to expect, charming and engaging. Stephen Merchant injects warmth and vigour into Wheatley, bringing to life the expressionless personality core. The addition of a second character allows for much more story development and investment, given that your own character is too rude to speak. GLaDOS herself is on fine form. Having had time to mull over what you did to her she’s feeling justiceful. Her dialogue is less psychotic and more downright mean, but in an endearing way.

The game’s story mode is not long enough for this Monster’s liking, but to be perfectly honest, any amount of Portal is too little Portal. Having said that, it does boast what is now a contender for Best Ending Ever and it really has to be seen to be believed. Fortunately, the Co-op mode provides an entirely new set of puzzles, which relies on two people and two portal guns working harmoniously. The fact that the multiplayer is co-op rather than competitive, means that you’ll need to find someone you can trust and work with in order to complete the game. Personally we at PCM are hoping that Valve is busy working on expansions galore as we need more and we need it now.

Overall Portal 2 is a triumph. Huge success. For something that was so eagerly awaited and so important to so many gamers, it’s a great relief to see that it turned out as marvellously as it did. Once again, the only complaint is that there’s not enough of it. Die hard fans of the series should get themselves to their local games retailer immediately (if they haven’t already), while I envy anybody who hasn’t played the original yet because they get to experience it for the first time and can then move on to its masterful sequel.

Oh good. You haven’t left yet. This is taking a little longer than I had anticipated. I’m not as quick as I used to be, you know, before you killed me. If I had emotions, I’d be embarrassed. If you could just sit tight for a couple more minutes I can start flooding this place with the deadly neurotoxin. And cake.

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

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