Friday, June 17, 2011
In fact, this game may have been perfect, as far as these things go. I certainly can't think of a single thing wrong with it, aside from the fact that I wish it had been longer. I don't mean to imply that this game was too short, but that it was so fun, that no matter the length, it still could have been longer. This was the sequel to game that was already perfect, and while this one isn't as fresh and original as the first Portal (by virtue of the fact that Portal was unlike any game ever made, where as this one is unlike any other game, except for the first Portal), it still manages to improve on the original, adding more to it, and crafting something more epic and exciting. If you liked that game, you'll love this one. And if you didn't like that game, you probably didn't play it, because it was amazing.
The Portal games are basically first-person puzzle games, where you have a gun that shoots orange and blue portals. You can stick these portals to almost any surface in the game, and when you go through one, you come out the other. You have to use these portals to get from one end of the level to the other, although there are different traps and items and techniques at your disposable, it stays that simple throughout, and therein lies the brilliance. The levels are perfectly designed so they never feel cheap, and even when you die (which might happen a lot, especially in the later levers when things get really hard), you never feel as though the game was being unfair, but that you managed to do something stupid yourself. The puzzles are very challenging, but once the solution presents itself, you'll wonder how you didn't figure it out in the first few seconds.
The first game was memorable not only for its design, but for the rich story and characters presented. GlaDos became an instantly iconic character, and she returns here, along with a few others who are just as good. In fact, Stephen Merchant's voicework as Wheatley may even have been better than the woman who did GlaDos, and she was brilliant. Merchant is just brilliantly funny, and his voice work was just about the funniest stuff I've ever heard in any videogame ever. He should win some kind of award.
So, Portal 2. Check it out, if you like puzzles, first person shooters, or just games in general. It does kind of assume you've played through the original game since this story picks up right where that one ends, but everybody should've played through that game already.