Valve have, in the past, produced brilliant sequels; Half-Life 2 managed to stand up to the, quite frankly, ground-breaking, original and Team Fortress 2 surpassed the first by a mile. With any other developer I would be worried about a sequel to my favourite game but Valve knows how to do follow-ups and Portal 2 is no exception.
Portal is a short puzzle-solver game that piggy-backed on the back of the Orange Box bundle, it combined some seriously fun physics puzzles with Valve’s own brand of dark humour.
Even though it only lasts about two hours (some claim they can finish it in less than 15 minutes), only has two characters and a silent protagonist, Portal feels perfect. Portal 2 is over three times as long as its original with thousands of lines of dialogue and plot twists that come out of nowhere yet somehow it carries on the wonderful Portal storyline with the same flair.
The gameplay is mainly the physic-based puzzles that show off Valve’s oh-so-clever Source Engine (yes well done Valve you correctly figured out gravity) but they aren’t as straight forward as you may think.
Portal 2 has so many new toys for you to play with that you will no longer be ‘thinking with portals’ but with lasers, light bridges and what can only be described as ‘gunge’. The gameplay starts out simple enough for beginners but not to slow for hardened portal nerds to feel left out. It runs smoothly and is easy enough to pick up once you get your mind around the ‘Portal Technology’.
The storyline is beautifully constructed and didn’t cease to surprise me, the characters are brilliantly voiced and some of the jokes had me pausing the game to laugh out loud. As the plot thickens I found myself not only been drawn in by the excellently designed levels and immersive gameplay but by the wonderful characterisation and storytelling.
If you enjoy both simultaneously mocking and working with your friends then the Co-Op mode is made for you! I think it probably is the only multi-player game to ever involve hugs and I certainly hope it’s the first of many.
The Co-Op is one of the best two-player games I have ever seen and involves full cooperation from both players along with good communication and, of course, hugs. The test chambers and puzzles are similar to both the first and second single player stories but the team-playing aspect works so well that you won’t even mind.
To sum up: Portal 2 definitely stands up to the original but in no way surpasses it, certain levels were challenging but Portal threw out some trickier ones. It looks great, the story is well told and the characters are wonderful.
Definitely worth playing, for science. ★★★★☆