Review: Portal 2

Portal 2
Developer:  Valve
Publisher: Valve
Platform: Xbox 360/PS3/PC
Genre: First Person/Puzzle Platformer
Release Date: Out Now!

Is it a cake? Is it a lie? No! Its Portal 2 and its finally in our warm, grubby mits. Everyone’s favourite game of 2007 has finally returned in full force! But is it worthy of the same praise? Hit the jump for our verdict, Possible spoilers ahead!

For those of you who are blissfully unaware, Portal (For the sake of this review, i will refer to this as “Portal 1”) was Valve’s breadwinner game of 2007. Universally praised by critics and gamers alike. But its now 2011. 4 years down the line. Can Valve keep that same magic alive with a sequel?

In short: Yes. Yes they can.

Portal 2 see’s the player return as Chell, our silent heroine (or mute lunatic, depends on who you’re asking) from Portal 1. She has been dragged back into the dreary, mechanical depths of Aperture Science for another playdate with the maniacal, schizophrenic A.I “GlaDOS” (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) who is also joined this time by a rather charming, British core by the name of “Wheatley”. Both of these characters together bring a witty, highly comical dialogue and narrative, pumped full of hilarious monologues and one liners which will be hard to beat by any game this year.

So whats the plot? After what seems like an eternal cryogenic slumber in the depths of the Enrichment Centre’s Human Vault, the blundering core Wheatley has come to rip you out of your slumber and help you escape. But there is just one problem. You may or may not have actually killed GlaDOS properly in the first Portal. You may have blown her up and saw pieces of her burning corpse shower you from above, but you quite obviously didn’t meet GlaDOS’s very, very high standards of Murder. So after a little mishap and a big resurrection you are back in GlaDOS’s very capable hands, for scientific purposes of course.

Test Chambers, Test Chambers, Murder and more Test Chambers! What’s new? What have they added? I hear you ask. Well, they have taken their inspiration and mechanic and they have absolutely soared with it. The new Test Chambers in Portal 2 are devilish to say the least, you will be left stumped at quite a few moments in Portal 2 and once you think with Portals and figure out the puzzle, you wont be angry at how hard it is, you will be thinking “Damn, that was pretty damn clever!”, Once you break out of the Test Cells, you aren’t greeted with a slap dash race to the finish, you are given the opportunity to explore Aperture Science and the sealed “Aperture Innovations” Facility, Portal 2 at this point expands into a much bigger, more open game.

Portal 2 has been expanded to the point where there is a tangible plot line, Portal 1 left alot to the imagination when it came to this, where are you? what are you doing there? Who is GlaDOS and why is she there? Well a couple of these questions have been answered, there is still a lot left un-answered in Portal 2, but you don’t feel like you’re clutching at straws. You know a lot more about Aperture Science and you have been given more ideas and scenarios to fool around with. But there is still an air of mystery to the facility and how it operates accompanied with a few twists and turns, something that I personally approve of.

One of the welcome additions to Portal 2 has been a multi-player mode, Now I already hear you bleating like the little goats and sheep that you are. But have no fear, Valve have done a very good job with the Multi-player mode for Portal 2. You and a friend can take control of 2 robots, “Atlas” and “P-Body” with whom you can take on a variety of Test Chambers in a totally separate campaign! With full GlaDOS Narration to boot.

As unlikely as it sounds, Multi-player and Portals truly go hand in hand together. The test chambers are legitimately mind boggling at times. So after completing the single player mode. Grab A buddy and hop onto multi-player, that is when it’ll be time for your real test. Don’t disappoint her. Or she’ll make you wish you could die.

But there are little, subtle things that have to be noted as well. Visual Phenomena. The game is quite good graphically too. When walking through Aperture Science you will see illuminating blues and stunning whites that will look indulgently space-age. Another thing to note is the soundtrack, the background music for Portal 2 just adds an incredible amount of depth and intensity. In fact here’s an example for you to listen too.

So, in closing. Portal 2 is an absolute gem of a title and that gem is A 500 karat Diamond. The game is practically perfect in every way. The only gripe I have with it is that it could have been a tad longer, but with DLC and extra test chambers on the way. We may get just a bit more bang (or whatever noise the Portal device makes, “dwoomph”?) for our buck! But other than that, its an absolute joy of a game. Hilarious characters, brilliant gameplay and a kick-ass soundtrack to boot. Just awesome.

I’m happy to give this game our highest score, 10 out of 10. Outstanding.

“An awesome and interesting sequel. A certain Game of the Year contender for 2011. You’re going to have fun, with science.”

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