Review by AXingfreak
"Portal 2 is a rare example of a game that is better than it's predecessor."
Portal, and GLaDOS, are still alive in what could be considered one of the best games to come along in a very, very long time.
You are Chell, a poor women caught up in the scheming tests designed by GLaDOS, an evil robot who has taken over the Aperture Science testing facilities. Portal 2 takes place someone immediately after Portal 1. You find yourself relaxing in one of the Aperture Science Relaxation Facilities when, oops, the power goes out and wake up hundreds of years in the future from your coma like state. You are greeted by Wheatly, the robot in charge of keeping you alive and waking you up periodically. This is where your adventure starts- escaping from the doomed Aperture Science facility with the aid of your trusty portal gun. Along the way, you see the ruins of the same Enrichment Center from the first game, which can be quite shocking for fans of the first. However, very quickly you find yourself in new (and much longer!) testing rooms.
For the purpose of this game, audio can be broken up into two sub-categories: Background music and dialog.
Background music: The background music is dynamic and always matches the tone and appearance of the game. Fans of "Still Alive" may be slightly disappointing with the end credits song. However it is still more amusing and catchy than most end credit songs.
Dialog: You will find yourself offended and guilty the whole way through. GLaDOS is rudder than ever and full of new jokes and insults- some of which are pretty amazing and will, on occasion, make you laugh out loud- something that few games do. Sadly, GLaDOS is not the voice from above the whole game through. Your are also accompanied by an unnamed male voice, Cave Johnson, and Wheatly, who are still in their own sense pretty humorous.
The Portal franchise has always been known for it's engrossing storyline that slowly takes a dive towards insanity (not that that's a bad thing). This game is no different. Fortunately, this game is longer. Much longer. You start in the original 19 rooms, but quickly find yourself in never before seen areas. When totaled out, there are 4 sets of testing rooms. 4 sets! This is an improvement of 3 from last time. In addition, you have a sizable area in between each one that you are moving around the Aperture facility. The story itself is more engrossing and dynamic than the last. Sadly this game does not win the "Finish Strong" award, but the rest of the game definitely makes up for the slight disappointing end.
The puzzles make the game, and Valve was able to make countless new, mind bending puzzles. With the exception of a single room, it's a new batch of puzzles from the first game, and for the most part they are more difficult. You also have a wide variety of obstacles to deal with. The scene also changes as you find yourself through old, new, and ancient parts of the Aperture Science facility, each with it's own unique style of puzzle. Each is a nice balance of difficulty and ease. On many occasions you may find yourself stuck, but the answer is always with grasp so that you feel a strong sense of accomplishment throughout the game. Sometimes the puzzles are so simple that you completely overlook the answer for quite some time.
The graphics are amazing, period. I have no complaints. From the rich textures to the vines, moss, and braking walls, this game is sweet on the eyes. Oh, and let's not forget the view of looking through a portal. No texture or detail is lost, even when you are looking through many portals at once. The room suddenly spinning around as gravity readjusts is a nice bonus, too. The graphics may be a little nauseating to someone who has problems with motion sickness, but it's not severe enough to deface enjoyment.
The gameplay is surprisingly simple and refreshingly easy to use. If you played the first, you will be up and going in no time at all. If you never played the first game, you will still be up and going in no time at all. Left click for the blue portal, right click for the orange one, and a classic WASD keyboard make this an extremely user-friendly game. In addition, you also have a wide range of new tools, items, and obstacles to learn how to use. Each one adds an extra layer of difficulty and enjoyment to the game, without adding any difficult controls.
All in all 9/10
Portal 2 stands up and, in my opinion, beats the original. It contains all the aspects and characters (including you best friend, the companion cube!) from the first, plus some more. The puzzles are great, and the graphics are a nice addition. All in all, this is a game any adventure/puzzle gamer should pick up. It achieves that sense of excitement and urgency without any violence or sexuality at all. It is a rare gem in the world of games; a one-of-a-kind that infrequently comes around.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/27/11
Game Release: Portal 2 (US, 04/19/11)
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