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Portal 2 Reviewed

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Game: Portal 2
Genre: First Person Shooter (FPS)
Developer: Valve
Release Date: April 19, 2011

When Portal released in 2007 it took the FPS experience to a whole new level. This was was nothing like other FPSs. Most other FPSs give you an arsenal of guns and equipments which you have to use to kill your enemies. On the contrary, portal gave access to a single device, which the player had to use throughout the game to beat any level,  popularly termed — The Portal Gun. This was the thing that completely changed the mindset on how people look at FPS games. Apart from this, the game had a very hilarious storyline, nice graphics, amazing physics, superb gaemplay and a very good replayability. However, the game let the users thinking….’What now?’, ‘Will Valve implement this revolutionary device to their Half-Life series or will they set out to make this a different franchise and come out with a sequel?’…

Well, Valve came out with a sequel. For obvious reasons, expectations were high and everyone wanted to see what happens next. Portal 2 certainly does live to the expectations. It takes the original experience to yet another level by introducing so many new things — new chracters, new mechanics and a very exciting Co-op mode. Portal 2 is a masterpiece, it is clear that valve has put in immense effort in making this game and they certainly deserve appreciation for the same.

Plot:

Like its predecessor, we are once again caught up in the scientific world of Aperture Science as a test subject. The game follows Chell’s (the character we play) fate after the events of Portal, in which she defeats GLaDoS. Apparently, Chell has been within Aperture Science for the past few years, during which the facility has decayed, mismanaged and seems completely destroyed….

We wake up in a small room and are guided by a robotic voice which makes us perform some rather funny tasks and puts us back to sleep soon. The next time we wake up, we find that many years have passed. Soon we meet a new charcater who enters our room — Wheatley, a personality core, who helps us escape the Aperture Science testing facility. Whatley is a very hilarious character and the voice acting of this character is outstanding and worth applause. He became my personal favorite character and soon I found myself listening to all of his comments and used to wait before taking any action in the game. He soon guides us to
the place where we defeat GLaDOS and in an attempt to activate an escape pod, he accidently activates and recreates her. After a small dialogue we are again put in the testing chambers of Aperture Science facility by GLaDOS which she keeps repairing as we progress. As we proceed in our journey, many sudden twists and turns introduce us to lots of new gameplay mechanics, characters and many questions regarding the plot are answered and many more arise in our minds. Without giving away any spoilers, I recommend that you find out yourself.


Gameplay:

The way valve has implemented this revolutionary concept of the Portal device is an epic achievement in itself. The physics of the game are so accurate that are mouths are left wide open in amazement. The goal of the game is simple enough. We need to play our character through a set of test chambers in the Aperture Science facility. There aren’t many hostiles in the game that can deal damage to our character apart from the laser-robots that can kill us. One can however fall into pools of toxic acid or bottomless gaps which restarts the game from a recent checkpoint. However, the character is immune from any damage by falling from big heights due to the hi-tech equipment of the character which include the shock absorbing boots.

The game introduces many new elements  like the Thermal Discouragement laser beams (replacing the old energy balls) and Hard Light Bridges necessary to activate switches or reach difficult areas. Apart from these, the game also introduces certain gels which help in reaching certain areas and imparting certain effects to surfaces/objects. There are three types of gels – Blue Repulsion gel, which allows us to bounce to greater heights (obviously the bounce follows the third law of motion :P), an Orange Propulsion gel, which allows us to gain speed when we move across them, and a White Conversion gel, which when made to fall on the surface allows the construction of portals in that area. These gels also impart these physical effects to any other object that the player carries. Water from the pipe lines can also be redirected to wash away these effects as and when required.

The game offers a Co-operative mode as well, in which two players (regardless of the platform) can play a different set of test chambers which require a lot of skills, timing and co-ordination to solve. This mode introduces two characters – Atlas and P-body, both having separate portal guns. They can obviously use the other players portals whenever necessary. This mode adds a lot to the game and introduces a new style of gameplay to this franchise.

Throughout the game (both in single player and Co-op mode), there are many achievements to be unlocked which are synced to the user’s Steam account. Some of these are obtained easily but others are rather tricky, uncommon and at times difficult to figure out. These achievements, however, offer immense replayability to the game.

The only downside was the exclusion of the chamber challenges that were there in the first game, in which the player had to solve certain puzzles in short durations or with limited number of steps or portals. These chamber really offered a lot of challenge and offered a lot of post-game content. Maybe we can expect some of these if Valve plans to release any DLC’s soon.

Portal2

Voice Acting:

There are only a few games in which the voice acting requires a special mention in a review. This game is right on top in that list. The voice actors have done a stupendous job. The voice acting matters a lot and certainly has added a lot to this game. Certain dialogues are a treat to hear. I personally have seen loads and loads of fan videos all over the net of comments of different characters in the game – Wheatley, GLaDOS, Cave Jhonson etc.. The team has done a terrific job in this department.

Graphics, Sound & Technicality:

The environment in the game is just like it should be (ideally speaking). The game obviously doesn’t have breathtaking scenery since it isn’t really that sort of a game. The level of detail – shadows, model rendering and level design is just perfect. The game runs smoothly and loading environments, levels or saved files doesn’t really take much time. Valve has done justice to the game in this department as well. There weren’t any major flaws/glitches that I was able to discover in my play-time.  The background track has a nice feel to it and isn’t too loud and does not hinder with the gameplay. The music of the game is again very nice especially the final song by GLaDOS which is amazingly funny.

Summing up:

Overall, Portal 2 is a great sequel. During our journey the game leads to many new revelations, but also answers questions about how the world of ‘Portal’ was created and how things began. Making a sequel is always a tough job since you have to offer a lot of new things and, with an amazing and hilarious storyline, fabulous gameplay and memorable characters, Valve has done an amazing job in the development of Portal 2. This is certainly a classic adventure that everyone should experience.

Pros: Awesome gameplay, spectacular voice acting, spot on environments, memorable characters.

Cons: Chamber-Challenges have been excluded.

The game gets a 9.5/10 from OP.