Review: Portal 2 Review

BatRastered Posted by: BatRastered Apr 21, 2011 | 7 comments
Tagged: portal-2 ps3 review steam valve xbox-360
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Was this a triumph? Can Portal 2 possibly live up to the hype? Yes, yes it can.

The original Portal, shipped as part of The Orange Box in 2007, was a ground breaking game for so many reasons. Obviously, fans have been looking forward to the sequel since that time and expect the same level of quality plus a full-featured stand-alone game. Portal 2 is an amazing game if only for the reason that it had such high expectations that seemed so unreasonable, yet lived up to them fully. I won’t say that Portal 2 is a perfect game, the single-player campaign is a tad too easy, especially if you’ve been doing speed runs of the original for 4 years.

portal 2 screenshot

While Portal 2 won’t give the hard-core gamer a serious challenge, what it does have, to borrow from the viral video “Friday”, is fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun. Even after finishing the solo campaign, I wanted to go back and re-do many of the rooms to see if I could find hidden areas, solve them faster, or do some other tricks that I passed up the first time through. It’s always great to hear the terrific script and voice acting again too. As an added bonus, just like the original game, Valve has included a developer commentary mode where you can play through the game and click on text bubbles that pop up throughout to hear what the devs have to say about a particular design choice. And you’ll want to hear it too, as the level design is top-notch in Portal 2.

In addition to the original portal gun, you’ll also find some new things to use in your environment, including propulsion gel (an orange goop that makes you run faster on it), repulsion gel (a blue, super bouncy surface), and lunar gel (a white gel  made from moon rocks that allows you to put a portal on any surface it touches). You’ll also interface with light-bridges, extrusion funnels, and aerial faith plates (a sort of catapult built into the floor or wall). Of course the weighted storage cubes make their return along with your friend, companion cube. (Not to mention, the “edgeless safety cube” in co-op... yes it’s just a sphere.) Also be on the lookout for the trademark turrets that really “don’t hate you”.

The co-op campaign is a whole new game. It uses much of the same basic mechanics, but has a whole new set of puzzles as you have four portals (2 each) at your disposal. You will get a few new commands to help you out too, including the ability to see what your partner is seeing, signal them to put a portal over there, or start a countdown for those tricky timing based maps. Granted, there’s not as much of a story here, but it’s still a lot of fun to run through with a friend, and GLaDOS is just as mean to the two co-op robots as she is to Chell (the main character from the solo campaign).

Co-op trailer:

Speaking of which, the humor in Portal 2 is just as good, if not better than, the original. GLaDOS is just as maniacal as you remember, and is always putting you down at every turn. Stephen Merchant is brilliant as Wheatley, the personality core who tries to help you escape at the beginning of the game. Also new to Portal 2 is Cave Johnson, the founder and CEO of Aperture Science and one time shower curtain salesman of the year. These characters just don’t get old, and the jokes are great. Be sure to explore thoroughly, as some of the voice overs are triggered by you trying certain things.

Check out a Cave Johnson sample:


After a year reviewing (and watching FnJimmy reviewing) a bunch of games, I can say that Portal 2 is easily one of the most well-tested games this year. I ran into zero glitches, invisible walls, or other frustrations. Hats off to Valve for that!

Overall, games coming out later this year have a new high water mark to meet if they want to be considered for the coveted Jimmy Gems game of the year award.

Verdict: Buy it!

Portal 2

32 Stories
Jimmy seal of approval Editor's Choice
Release Date: Apr 19, 2011

Buy it! 71 % - Rent it! 29 % - Flush it! 0 %

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