Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Portal 2

Review by Malcontented Moose

Developer: Valve Corporation
Publisher: Valve Corporation.

I just recently played Portal 2 again. Guys, Portal 2 is really good, remember? Remember how good it is? No? Go play it again then!

For those of you who haven’t actually played this game, what is wrong with you? No, I don’t care that you don’t play video games, or prefer having children, or hiking, or are allergic to technology. Go buy yourself a console (or PC) buy Portal 2, sit down and play it. Really. Even if you don’t “like” video games, you will probably like this one. Why? Here, let me explain you a thing.

To start with, you don't necessarily have to play the first installation. It does help, of course, as it introduces you to the main characters, familiarises you with the game play mechanics and creates the world of Aperture science. But you don't have to. I didn't. One of the truly wonderful things about this game is that even with no background history at all, the story does an excellent job of retelling the basics in a fresh way that feels neither overly repetitive nor exclusionary to new players.

The story is also well crafted and what’s more, exceptionally told through game play. This is a tale that you have to truly ferret out all the clues on. If you don't explore every nook and cranny in the game you may miss an interesting piece of data that fills in part of the background narrative everything else is built upon. In short and with – hopefully - few spoilers, A company builds an AI that takes over, kills everyone and proceeds to “test” one person over and over again for the benefit of Science. A lot of this becomes debatable the further into the narrative you delve, but therein lies the story component that will draw you back even when the puzzles have you flinging your controller across the room.

Oh, did I not mention this is a first person puzzle game? Yes, for those of you who haven't played, Portal and Portal 2 both require you to finish puzzles to progress through the story. There is no cover based shooting or bad guys to kill, although there are plenty of thermal discouragement beams (deadly lasers), deadly neurotoxin (especially deadly) and cake (this is a lie). The puzzles throughout the game remain challenging enough without being completely impossible and offer a number of different solution options. There is a good amount of re-playability if you are a completionist while remaining strong enough in core game play and story to be satisfying if you choose the straight course. The dialogue throughout is witty, darkly satirical and mostly one sided, as Chell, the character you depict, is presumably mute.

If not for any other reason, you should play this game simply because it is so well crafted. A well told story, with immersive, enjoyable game play that moves quickly without feeling rushed is something to be cherished. You will be surprised by how connected you become to the characters and the world of Portal 2 and like myself; ever hopeful there will be a return there.

No comments:

Post a Comment