First person action puzzler
Separate 2 player co-op campaign
North America: April 19, 2011
Europe: April 21, 2011
April 19, 2011
ESRB: Everyone 10+
From my point of view, Portal 2 was easy to pick up. The new mechanics were implemented slowly so that you always knew what to do. However, getting to these new game mechanics is essentially impossible if you have no grasp of the main function of the game, the portals. I knew how to use them due to my prior experience of the first game. However, when placed in the hands of my close friend, who had never played any of the Portal games, it took him a long time to even comprehend the idea of portals, let alone be able to use them at high speed in high pressure situations, ever present later in the game. However, with much guidance, he eventually came to understand how to use portals. Therefore I would say that Portal 2 is a game that can be played by all, although it will take some getting used to for those new to the Portal franchise.
Single player campaign
Two player co-op campaign (online)
(Warning: Portal 1 Spoilers)
Portal 2 follows on from the story of the original game released in 2007. Having defeated GLaDOS, you saw Chell get carried away by a mysterious robotic voice at the end of the first game.. At the start of Portal 2, you find yourself living in a suspension chamber, used to house the test subjects. The curator of the test subjects, a small robotic sphere named Wheatley (voiced by British comedian Steven Merchant), bursts in and alerts you of a problem in the enrichment centre. The rest of the subjects are dead, and you are the last one alive. You and Wheatley formulate a plan to escape, which forces you both to pass through GLaDOS' dilapidated and worn chamber. GLaDOS was the main antagonist of the first game, who forced you to complete various test chambers using the portal gun. This is a very simple idea that can be put to many complex uses. essentially, the gun can shoot a blue portal and an orange portal. If you go through an orange portal, you come out of the blue portal and vice versa. Any momentum that you gain is conserved through the portals, setting the game up for some brain bending puzzles. Wheatley, while scared of going near GLaDOS, is optimistic, unknowing of your "relationship" with GLaDOS from the previous instalment. Upon entering the chamber, GLaDOS is alerted (well, woken up from her "murdered" state) to your presence and begins testing with you once more. The plan to escape eventually goes horribly awry and off plan, throwing you into a story of adventure, suspense and of course excellent puzzles.
The graphics in Portal 2 are remarkably good. Details such as individual leaves in the dilapidated test chambers have been looked after, and nothing too big or too small have been ignored. You especially notice the splendour of the game when you reach some of the more open areas of the game, as you are able to look over vast expanses of the testing facility, allowing you to appreciate the grandeur. However, upon closer inspection, some textures can be slightly blurry when examined closely. Also, a friend of mine had experienced a problem with the smashing of glass, an essential part of the game from the very beginning, crashing the game. However, I believe this may have been down to his computer and not the game.
The music in the game has been excellently chosen and is really put to its best uses in the game. There is never an out of place sound effect or soundtrack, whether you're in grave danger or just prancing about safely. The sound effects fit the environments well, and voices are excellently chosen. All characters, including minor roles such as the turrets, have voices that dictate individual personalities. Finally of course, I mist mention the legendary credits songs of Portal. Jonathan Coulton's catchy tune "Still Alive" from the first Portal game inspired thousands of gam,era worldwide, and I can confirm that this game does not disappoint.
This game is not for those who enjoy simple gameplay. The puzzles gradually increase in difficulty as you become more and more adept with the portal gun. These puzzles can become incredibly complex and will leave you thinking for a long time in some parts. I was at times tempted to use a guide for one or two hard chambers, but I resisted the temptation and it was worth it. The feeling of intelligence you get when you solve a hard puzzle is something that you just don't get from using a guide. Therefore I beg of you not to use a game guide of any kind, as it will impede your enjoyment of the game. If you enjoy a challenge then this game is definitely for you.
The story of Portal 2 is excellent. With a canon timeline of the Portal universe built around the game to support in-game developments, you find yourself fully immersed. The timeline even incorporates developments from other games developed by Valve, such as the Black Mesa facility from the Half Life series. I would however recommend that you play the original Portal game beforehand. This will enhance your understanding of the plot and you will enjoy the sequel much more.
A simply incredible concept has been put to amazing use with this series. With brain bending puzzles that will keep you thinking intertwined with an engaging and surprising storyline, this game keeps you on the edge of your seat while pushing your grey matter to its limits. The only thing I would say is that you should only play this game if you enjoy complex puzzles, as this game is chock full of them