Portal 2 Story
Portal 2 is set several years after the original. It starts with the main character (Chell) waking up in some sort of motel-like room with a voice issuing instructions as a kind of tutorial. After being put to sleep again, you are then woken by another voice, that of Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant). The room around you looks different, the product of neglect, implying many years have passed.
Wheatley then proceeds to guide you from your current location; back to the test chambers that those who played the original will remember fondly. The two characters soon encounter a dormant GLaDOS and accidentally reboot her, forcing Chell back into the familiar testing chambers.
From here onwards, it becomes a case of “Shut GLaDOS down before she kills me!”
Portal 2 Sound
For those of you that read my review of the original Portal, my opinion of the sound was not great. Having been told by my DHG colleagues that the Turrets spoke and there was some well known music in there that I’d completely missed, we came to the conclusion that I must have been playing with my speakers turned off…
This time I made that extra bit of effort to flick my speaker switch to ON and I must say I’m, glad I did. The familiar ‘pop’ of the portal gun and the chattering noises of the turrets were only half the story here. The return of GLaDOS and her mildly sarcastic, passive-aggressive comments aimed directly at Chell really help you settle back into the game surroundings. The sound effects of the different kinds of Gel are very well suited at showing off exactly what the Gel is meant to do. With the addition of Wheatley and Stephen Merchants recognisable voice, playing with the speakers off could be deemed nothing less than a crime punishable by some form of endless tests… …other than the ones you’re currently involved in that is 🙂 .
“Wheatley: Most test subjects do experience some, uh, cognitive deterioration after a few months in suspension. Now, you’ve been under for quite a lot longer, and its *not* out of the question that you might have a *very* minor case of serious brain damage”
Portal 2 Graphics
The graphics in Portal 2 are vastly superior to the original game (which was to be expected), but are never going to compare with most other shooter style games of this year and indeed the last few years as well. However, this does not detract at all from the feel and atmosphere of the game. Superior graphics would only prove to be a distraction from the importance of the puzzles and characters in the game.
The character of Chell (although not often seen) has also had minor upgrades in terms of detail and looks. For a start, she can now be recognised as an actual person and not just an orange jumpsuit, mainly due to the fact that Valve decided to drop the top half of the jumpsuit to her waist. This has helped to change Chell from being ‘any old test subject’ to a recognisable individual.
The scenery in the game is much the same as Portal 1 to begin with. Bare white walls and floors with the occasional ‘none portal’ walls to the ‘touch it and you die water’. However the aforementioned surfaces are all showing signs of damage and neglect, having been left untended for so many years.
The vastness of the Aperture science facility is all well displayed during the entire game, which definitely help to make you feel like what you’re going up against is powerful and needs to be defeated.
Portal 2 Gameplay
The basic gameplay in Portal 2 has not vastly changed since the original. However new features have been added, which when mixed with the existing make the puzzles increasingly complicated. This game introduces paint-like gels, which can are used to give certain physical effects to most surfaces in the game. There is blue gel which allows increase jump heights, orange gel which increases Chells run speed and a white gel that converts any surface to a Portal receptive surface. Along with other set items such as the Aerial Faith plates and the laser redirection cubes, these new features make Portal 2 into an infinitely more interesting puzzle game than any other I can think of.
Portal 2 Content
The entire singleplayer campaign took me around 6-7 hours to complete, which probably makes me a pretty average puzzle gamer. I’ve heard some people complete it in around 5 hours and others take much longer. This just shows that no gamer is the same and you can take as much time as you like to complete each puzzle, no rush.
Valve have also included a co-op mode into the game to increase playtime that little bit more. Having not yet played the co-op mode, I can’t really comment. However going off comments from both Sannas and Cull, I believe that there are approximately 40 puzzles in this mode. All of which require a lot of teamwork to get through. The game all told probably has around the same amount of content as a standard PC shooter, just with a little more brain power involved…
Portal 2 Overall
If anyone remembers my comments in my review of the original Portal game, they’ll remember that I said I wouldn’t go back for another helping. This game will definitely warrant a second play through sometime in the near future. This alone should show exactly how much I enjoyed this game. The humour alone is worth listening to again and finding new ways to complete the puzzles will also be worth that extra time.
Anyone that enjoyed the original game will definitely have to but this and anyone that hasn’t tried it… why the hell not!
Also, be ready for an end sequence that is pretty surreal.
In the words of GLaDOS “We’re going to have fun… with science”