#1008 Portal 2

Posted: 31st May 2017 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

606th played so far

Genre: Platform/Puzzle
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 2011
Developer: Valve Corporation
Publisher: Valve Corporation

I’ve been simultaneously looking forward to the sequel to Portal, and been holding off on it as a possible final puzzle game. In the end, the determining factor was that we got Lego Dimensions (part of the series that started with Lego Star Wars), got the Portal pack, and felt we needed to play the sequel to understand the references. We just had to go for it, helped by getting Peter to play it for Before I Kick.

Our Thoughts

Portal 2 feels distinctly different from the first game from the start. The first game starts off in a clean room, takes you through crafted, clean areas that look very designed and contained. This starts breaking down near the end, but that’s part of a tonal shift and a clear change in the game. The second starts with the facility breaking down, and while the clean rooms are there, they’re not as clean.

It continues like that. The game starts off feeling the same as the first, with signs that things are breaking down, following the same beats with some alterations. Then it breaks down, and the second half of the game takes you away from the clean Aperture Science into the history of the company and its other off beat products.

It leads to a lot more interesting puzzles, with repulsion and speed up powers allowing for far different areas. Unfortunately, they also create more open worlds where a few times I got stuck not because I couldn’t figure out the puzzle, but because a panel seemed too hidden or the precision required was a bit much. One incident requiring you to shoot a portal at long distance through bars comes to mind as being particularly fiddly.

It’s the writing and storytelling that becomes more impressive. The original Portal was fairly simple – one character, really, set up through voice acting and only visible at the end. In the sequel Wheatley shows up in the first scene. He is a part of your journey through the game, while GLaDOS, defeated before, ends up taking a different route as well. Some of the later revelations regarding her personality are especially interesting.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to say whether I really think Portal 2 is better than Portal. It expands the story and mechanics, breaking down the aesthetic to create a new, interesting setup. It removes the focus of the first game, which repeated far more concepts (except the boss fight at the end, which felt less a part of what the game was anyway). On its own, however, there were a lot of interesting puzzles here, and an interesting world to walk through.

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