Yes, I’ve been extremely disobedient and chose to play Portal 2 at such a crucial time with my exams and stuff; but you can’t stop me, because I’ve already finished the game! *giggles*
Fans of the original Portal 1 (which I started and finished last week oops) will immediately familiarize yourself with the game, while newcomers will first, like me, think of the game as ‘a first-person-shooter without the gun’. But of course it’s more than that.
Hey – it’s GLaDoS!
I was greeted by a pleaseant surprise through my first half an hour of the game – the main character, Chell, was in the same place that she was in Portal 1, except everything’s pretty much destroyed by her, as can be seen from the above screenshot (there’s supposed to be the control room there). I could even recall which room I was in! Graphics have generally improved a lot, the wildlife invading into the Portal scene is very nicely depicted.
Nicely themed with the forest 😀
As for the mechanics, there’s not much changes – in fact, it’s all back to the same game, where you use portals you create with your portal gun (what replaces the gun you use to kill people normally) to solve puzzles and to attempt to go to the next stage. All the usual things like momentum conservation (high speed in, high speed out, as quoted by GLaDoS) and passing objects through the portals apply.
Of course, new elements were introduced, such as the laser refracting cube, which bends lasers in a direction of your choice, and the blue/orange repulsive gel and speed gels (pictured below) respectively, which gives you special properties when you are on it.
The speed gel allows you to run a lot faster on it
More characters were also introduced – instead of just you and GLaDoS (the previous game’s antagonist), you have Wheatley, the oh-so-stupid robot that attemps to help you escape the place but.. (no spoilers!) and Cave Johnson, the owner of the facility (in voice). They introduce a lot more dynamic into the storyline (though still very linear), and greatly improved the general game feel. Of course, the jokes from Portal 1 return in a lot more different ways, and it’s all definitely for the better – it made me laugh quite a number of times!
Wheatley the.. retard..
You are also introduced to a new area of the Aperture Science Laboratory, the underground, abandoned compartments; it’s like a new area different from the normal pretty labs that you’ve gone to. I think it’s a nice change and it’s a setting done well.
Puzzles in this game are generally a lot harder than the previous instalment, and I would predict newcomers to the series to struggle quite a bit halfway through. Good work done by Valve, as the previous game was rather easy and completable in 2-3 hours. Speaking about game length, the length of Portal 2 was rougly 8 hours for me, of course an improvement from the previous game. It can’t be too long anyway – shooting portals forever is just sick.
The light bridge allows you to walk on it, and it goes through the portal. Sweet!
If you get dizzy when playing a first person shooter game, prepared to get A LOT DIZZIER in Portal/Portal 2. When you go through portals, the whole gravity vector changes and the screen immediately resets to the gravity of the ‘new environment’, leading to a lot of turning here and there. I couldn’t play the game for more than an hour and a half, and had to rest after that because of the ohmygawd dizziness factor involved.
The Excursion Funnel (yes they are named retardedly) that allows you to drift in its direction in air
Ultimately, I feel that the Portal 2, like the prequel, targets the puzzle-solving gamers in a FPS perspective; those just looking for satisfaction from killing zombies can look elsewhere, but if you’re onto something different and something cool and futuristic, this would be a good game I recommend. One thing though, is that the game essentially just feels like ‘Portal with more levels and mechanisms’ since everything’s the same, but I guess not much can be helped considering they already came out with so many new elements.