Saturday, April 23, 2011

Portal 2

Oh my goodness gracious. I just finished playing through the single player campaign for Portal 2 and I have to say, this was a great game, just as I expected it to be.

For those of you unfamiliar with this game franchise, well, shame on you. The original game was released as part of the Orange Box, a collection of Valve games, and I actually bought said Box specifically so I could play it. In the original, you played as a mute woman, being put through a series of tests by an insane, evil, and extremely witty AI named GLaDOS. At the end of the original game, you escape GLaDOS's clutches and kill her. Recently, the folks at Valve changed the ending. Instead of escaping, a robot dragged you back into the Aperture Science facilities.

Apparently said robot put you on ice. You awake once again as Chell, the silent test subject, many, many years later. Like centuries later. And your task is the same: escape Aperture Science. Slight problem: in your escape attempt, helped along by a little computer core named Wheatley, you wake up GLaDOS. And she's not exactly pleased to see you. And so things pick up pretty much where you left off: GLaDOS starts testing you.

Your only "weapon?" A portal gun. You place a blue portal on one wall, an orange portal on another, and you've got a tunnel. Think the portable holes in Looney Toons and you get the idea. As you navigate the test chambers and the depths of Aperture Science, you have to use the gun, various environmental helps (my favorite is the blue "bouncy" gel. I know that's not its name, but I love that stuff), and some outside-the-box problem solving ability to make it to the end.

The original game was short. This one is much longer but it doesn't lag at all. In some ways, the story reminds me a little of Bioshock as you explore the deserted corridors of Aperture Science's past testing endeavors.

But the thing that really sets this game apart from the rest is the humor. GLaDOS is hilarious, as always, and Wheatley is great too. And J. K. Simmons rocks as Cave Johnson, Aperture's founder. I laughed out loud a lot while playing.

So this is a great game, definitely worth your time. I haven't tried the co-op mode yet but I can't wait to tackle more Aperture puzzles. I think I'll be enjoying this game for a long time to come.

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