Game Review: Portal 2

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The first Portal game was a fun romp through a mad scientist’s lab, run by an insane machine. How do you make a sequel to that?

Portal2 box

Genre

First person puzzle

Platform

Mac, PC, PS3 Xbox 360.

Story

Set years after the original Portal, Chell, the protagonist from the first game, has been preserved in the Aperture Science testing facility.  Upon being awakened, she must escape Aperture Science once and for all.  That is, until she runs into an old friend who is Still Alive.  In order to make it out with her skin intact, Chell has to team up with an unlikely ally, and discover all of the strange, unusual, dark secrets of Aperture Science.

Gameplay/Mechanics

As with the last game, you have a gun that shoots portals that you can go through, playing games with physics. However, in this game, you also get other items to play with, such as acceleration gel that allows you to move faster as long as you slide along the surface, a gel that allows you to bounce off of surfaces.

Music/Graphics

The music is appropriate for the game, with a finale that isn’t as good as Portal’s “Still Alive,” but it’s fun.  The graphics are shiny, and they add to the atmospherics immensely.

Morals/Appropriateness

I found this one completely inoffensive. Throughout the game, players must avoid hazards such as stationary gun turrets, toxic substances, poisonous gas, and giant pistons; some sequences are accompanied by realistic sounding gunfire. Robot droids can also be destroyed; for example, in one boss battle, players must defeat a robot by throwing small bombs.  According to ESRB, the words ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ can be heard in the dialogue, though I must confess that I didn’t hear it.

Community/Multiplayer

There’s a co-op version that plays from the perspective of two robots running around the facility.

Addiction Danger

I don’t really find this one very addictive. There are parts where you’re going to come across a puzzle and go “Not tonight,” and shut the game off.

Problems/Ending Comments

I was impressed with this one. Honestly, this was a good, solid puzzle-solving game. And the voice of JK Simmons steals the show.

There is still little replayability to it, as the game’s puzzles can only be solved in a finite number of ways. In fact, there seems to be only one solution to each puzzle.

ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

My Rating:  8/10. A solid game. It has an interesting plot, thoughtful puzzles, and brilliant voice acting.

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2014 John Konecsni

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