If you have an interest in gaming it’s likely you’ve heard of Portal 2. I was a bit unsure about this game, so decided to pick it up and test it out. After playing it from start to finish, these are my thoughts on the game. Portal 2 is a game made by Valve, and has a distinct Valve feel about it. If you’re familiar with the Half Life Series, then Portal 2 definitely feels related, but its not the same game.
Plot and gameplay
The game consists of a series of linear puzzles. Each puzzle is an arena consisting of obstacles, objects, and other futuristic stuff you interact with. The objective of each arena is to find the exit and escape to the next arena. In this game you do not have weapons that can do any damage, instead you have a portal gun so you can create portals, and move through them.
This isn’t your grandmas gravity gun
The gravity gun, making its first appearance later in the Half life series could be considered the parent of the portal gun, but while the gravity gun can attract objects from a distance and be used as a weapon, the portal gun can only be used to fire portals into walls. I think Valve realized they were onto something with the gravity gun, and around the time it was showcased, Valve were exploring more realistic game physics, hence the Portal series was born.
Lots of cool physics
I wouldn’t call the physics mind blowing or cutting edge. What the game does do is a lot of basic physics very well, and knits the basics nicely together to achieve a truly playable title. The presentation is solid and exudes quality. So what you end up with is a very tightly wrapped high quality end result.
You’re trapped in a huge abandoned scientific research station with no humans in sight. As surreal as it sounds you only ever meet 2 robotic entities in the entire game but at least one of them is with you for most of the game play. The voice acting is not bad, and can be amusing at times, however the dialogs are slightly noobed up to cater for a younger audience.
Don’t expect DX11 tessellation, the graphics are dx9 based. Crisp and run smooth, and extremely pleasing on the eye. The graphics do suit the environment you’re in, so no complaints there.
What I didn’t like
1. You always feel lost in the game, and don’t know where you are exactly. You know you’re in a research station, but you have no reference to its total size, or a birds eye view of the place, or a map. The game just pushes you from one arena to the next until you reach the end.
2. No guns, and nothing to shoot. I know the game isn’t a FPS, and I don’t expect it to be, but it would have been cool to be able to shoot a few more things or experience more real unrehearsed danger.
3. Not enough lure of the research center, not enough unfolding stories into the mysteries or origin of the place.
What I liked
1. Very good clean arena design. The puzzles are challenging and creative.
2. The feeling of accomplishment when you finish a puzzle.
3. The quality of the production.
Good game overall, certainly a classic, but because it is so linear, and without any enemies to shoot at. Once you’ve completed it, I think it has very little replay quality. Overall score 8/10