Portal 2

Oh stop buying Crysis 2, Dragon age 2 and just buy Portal 2. I know it isn’t funny to like a game, I know it’s easier to say the controls were like playing snap with a fiddler crab or how the story was written by someone without thumbs, but Portal 2 is miles above anything I have played in a long time. It is brilliantly written, like the first game, Stephen Merchant outdoes himself as the voice of Wheatley, the personality sphere, he almost steals the show which does make the other characters like GLaDOS seems less important. Saying a game like Portal 2 is well written is an odd thing to say for a puzzle game, but its completely true.

You play Chell, who is a ‘tester’ for Aperture labs and you wake up in a hotel room. You follow the instructions set by a robotic voice and you go back to sleep. Yes, it doesn’t sound like an amazing game when you start off by waking up, fanning around then going back to sleep. I do that every day; I play games to escape the horrible reality of life but anyway. You wake up several years later to find the chambermaid has completely packed it in and you, with the help of Wheatley, try make you hasty escape. After a few easy puzzles you arrive at the surface where a “dead” GLaDOS lays, you make your way towards the exit accidently turning her back on, and so starts the puzzle-banasa. Now the main problem I have with Portal 2, if any, is that it is a sequel to Portal. Portal was made by a few members from Valve in a bloody potting shed where as Portal 2 has the entire rebel alliance behind it which on the face of it doesn’t seem like a bad thing but really all this means is the game is longer, and if my ex girlfriend is to be believed, bigger isn’t always better.

For a puzzle game the story does get in the bleeding way, there is one puzzle near the beginning which stops half way through, don’t get me wrong it was a existing part and hearing the hilarious voice of  Stephen Merchant is always entertaining, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking Portal wouldn’t have done that. The humour, as I have said, is very good and this is thanks to the great voice cast in the game. In the second half there was a great ramp joke which tickled me pink and will make some gamers laugh and by laughing, will find out that you’re not as politically correct as you may have hoped. This is always a good thing. The second half does drag on and does lose momentum, again which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you see it. I thought it was good that the story lost a bit of steam so I could enjoy solving the puzzles more.

A review on Portal 2 is always going to be short. At heart it’s a solid puzzle game and that’s really it. Reviewing a puzzle game it like attacking a wall with your forehead, you can only get so far before everything becomes blurry and tastes like blood. Also I can’t really talk about the story without giving the main parts away, so I’m really left with not much to say. What I will say is the co-op campaign is, to quote Gandhi “F–king awesome”. The co-op is more what I would say makes Portal 2 great. The Story less prominent but not completely gone, and a heavy emphasis on puzzles. Plus there are now two portals guns which makes for some interesting problem solving with your chum or significant other. But the two things I can’t shake off are 1. There is absolutely no re-play in this game. I’m not saying all puzzle games have no re-play for example Tetris you can always pick up and play again and again, but once you know how to get through a floor in Portal 2, can you always get through it and that ‘eureka’ moment is gone. 2. I’m just sick of cake. The other day I was out with my friends, and seeing as I’m such a stallion of a man, most of them were women or cool rugby lads. One of them says “I bought a ‘The cake is a lie’ t-shirt this morning” so I said, like anyone who has played Portal 1 or 2 would say, “Oh so you like Portal then?” She stared blankly at me and said “What’s that?” oh the rage. Portal has become so popular that people don’t even know what it is, if you can understand that. Just shouting about the cake is a lie without knowing what the hell they are talking about, bloody people. Maybe that’s why I like the Portal series, because I would like nothing more than putting people through life threatening test for my own amusement.