You play a character named Chell, who is a test subject for Aperture Science that is tasked with completing several tasks/zones for GLaDOS, the computer AI system that runs the facility you’re held in. The only voice interaction that the player has is with GLaDOS while leading Chell from zone to zone, who’s comments get funnier and funnier, but also more disturbing as the game progresses. This really succeeds in dragging you into the game, cos you just want to hear what she/it comes out with next.
Compared to most games, there really isn’t much in the way of sound effects other than the sci-fi pop of the Portal Gun itself and the ironic quips of your robotic instructor GLaDOS. The backing music for the game has been really well picked and suits the zones of the game perfectly. From the easy going music that you wake up to, all the way through to the turning point where the game changes and the music becomes full of urgency and fear.
Not too much to say about this part, it’s never gonna win awards for being graphically impressive or innovative but it definitely does enough so that you aren’t constantly thinking “Damn this place is dull, I’d love to slap some paint on these padded walls”. The game has been out several years so the graphics have started to feel a little old, however it still does a really good job of making the areas feel clinical and unwelcoming, another part of the game that serves to push you forward to the climax.
The gameplay is definitely the most interesting part of the experience. You are given a special gun that opens 2 portals, an entrance and an exit. The gun seems for the most part, to have been designed purely for testing the mental power of the subjects at Aperture Labs.
The portals are an inventive way to move around a level and if used right can really provide some enjoyable gaming time.
Not much I can add here that the other guys haven’t mentioned already. The challenge mode will provide a few extra hours of playtime over the main campaign. The achievement system provided by Valve/Steam is enough to give that little extra challenge to make the game even more enjoyable.
It took me a little longer than the other guys to play this game, but I definitely don’t regret the time I’ve spent on it since.
I’m not much of a “I wanna 100% this game!” type of guy, so the achievements system doesn’t have a lot of sway over my decision. I’m also not sure it will hold enough interest for me to play through more than once, but I’d definitely convince other people to give it a shot.
Also if you get the chance, don’t miss the end credits. As far as I can remember, they are probably the best (only) game credits that I’ve ever sat and watched the whole way through.
You won’t regret it!
Jono’s Portal Score: 78%
Sannas’ Portal Score: 95%