Portal 2 Story
Portal 2 is a continuation of the original Portal however some many 99999…… years into the future, you are still in control of your favourite Portal character Chell. The introduction of the game shows that this is a continuation and that you are now many years into the future. Your character Chell has been in stasis for all of that time. So this story continues with you stuck in your stasis apartment, GlaDOS is still dead from the first episode, so this is more of escaping the underground bunker that is no longer populated by anyone and you’re in a crumbling wreck of a structure. Enter the new guide through your terrible situation “Wheatley” who is a small ball type AI that has decided he no longer wants to be in this environment and see’s you as his help to escape the destruction… or does he?
The scene has been set well in this nice puzzler from valve and all the characters are there for you to explore the new world, with the addition of two new game characters “Wheatley” as I have mentioned and the background voice of “Cave Johnson” who was a recorded voice that explains the different aspects and challenges to the new comers for the test environment and he also explains the different aspects of the tests. All in all giving you a better understanding of the Laboratories purpose. You do however at times feel like an outsider to the internal battles of the machine and you feel like you’re being dragged through something rather than guided through the game. That said the story line is very good and will give you plenty of laughs like the first. In the first Portal you felt like you were an experiment and were desperately trying to escape from the situation you had found yourself in. In the first game you felt like an experiment and were trying to escape from the situation you had found yourself in. In this episode the escape continues and the story sets the mood that you may never escape without the help of the in game characters, perhaps Wheatley’s suggestion (from the early stages of the game) that your have awoken with brain damage might bear some truth after all.
I found the co-op story to be more situational and seemed to fit the gameplay better than the solo. *Spoiler Alert* Your job as the robots you and your friend control, is to continue from the solo campaign and free some more humans that are in stasis for testing in the laboratories to be at the whims of one of the AI systems. You do get the feeling that you’re naughty little robots and in fact as the story progresses you do get chastised for your behaviour at times. The humour continues through both campaigns in a very good way and that the effort the Developers have gone through to put this narrative together is quite impressive.
Portal 2 Sound
The sound in the game is as good as the first with the addition of some new voices chatting away and that has made this game, if possible, more interesting than the first. In fact if you were to turn the sound off I think it would detract from the game far too much and it would just feel a little of its a puzzle and another puzzle and now I’m bored. You need to have your speakers on to get you through this game, even if it’s just to hear the turret’s and the badly manufactured turrets. The only issue I have with the sound in this game (which I’ve mentioned before) is the fact that “Wheatley” sounds like he has just jumped off of the train from Bristol. Both Glados and Wheatley are robots, however where Glados sounds very much the robotic figure, Wheatley’s voice is almost humanoid. This for me is somewhat of let down and doesn’t seem to help tie the story together.
The two robots in co-op that you control have the ability to interact with one another, you kind of feel that as “Wheatley” has the voice of someone from Bristol the robots you control should have a speech interaction as they are, if not more advanced than your Bristol friend from the solo campaign.
Portal 2 Graphics
The graphics have moved forward as you would expect from the original Portal, but I felt that more could have been done. It may be that they wanted the game to cover a larger range of PC specifications than other games that have been released recently, or they felt that the graphics didn’t deserve as much attention as the story line. As this is a new release I will have to score it accordingly. There was a new interesting aspect of the game that did impress me however, the use of goo and how that interacted with portals and objects around you; it gave an edge on this game that without it would have reduced my score on the graphics side quite considerably.
Portal 2 Gameplay
The solo gameplay was as good, if not better than the first, with the introduction of “Goo”. They haven’t changed the way your character interacts with the environment and that enables those who played the first game to have the ability to jump straight back in with minimal effort.
Those that are new to Portal and play Portal 2 first get a nice slow introduction to the game mechanics. They have increased the length of the solo campaign from the first considerably and put more effort into the puzzles. Compared to the first release this is a game you won’t complete in an afternoon, unless you really want to face the challenge of near endless puzzles.
The story line breaks the gameplay into three chapters and as such gives you the chance to say to yourself “ok that’s that chapter complete, I’ll leave it there and come back and do the second chapter tomorrow” and likewise with the third and final.”
The Co-op campaign feels a little short for my liking, however saying that I have said many times in the past that too many developers spend more time on the multiplayer campaign than the solo, so from that respect I do like the fact that the solo has far more to do than the co-op. As myself and Cull played through the co-op campaign we both commented on how it didn’t feel that we were being really challenged, two minds better than one? Maybe! But you would hope the developers had taken that into consideration when building a co-op campaign.
Portal 2 Content
What Portal 2 has to offer over Portal is significant: the introduction of co-op, the introduction of new characters of Wheatley and Cave Johnson, the shear amount of puzzles and the amount of area in game that you get to participate in. However I feel that something is missing and I can’t quite put my finger on what is wrong. All the additions that the first Portal game could have used have been included with Portal 2 along with a little more, so in that sense you should feel that the game would be better. But simply put; it’s pleasing to the eyes, its good on your ears, I enjoyed playing it, but nothing about the game is making me feel that I could re-install it and play it again in the future; which is how I felt about Portal.”
Portal was like a book that only had 200 pages and you can read that book over and over again. Portal 2 however is like a 600 page book with pictures and you just feel glad you have read the last page.
Portal 2 overall score
I have said to the guys whilst writing this review that I have had somewhat of a writer’s block in regards to this game, whether its my loyalty to Portal and the fact that I don’t want to sound this game out in a bad light, or is it my feeling that something is amiss with this game? Is it a combination of a lot of small niggley things? I’m just not sure. I know I have anticipated this release since I heard that Portal 2 was in the making and I don’t know if I kind of got wrapped up in the hype of it all. The game is good, of that I have no doubt. On many levels though, it just doesn’t fulfil my expectations. There is far more humour, the graphics are better, there is far more content, there is co-op but there is a nagging doubt in the back of my head that says that its either not enough for the game or it’s that a bit too much has been put into it. Either way I have been backwards and forwards on this game trying to decide what I think and I can’t come up with the explanation as to where the problem lies. I played the game and enjoyed it, it didn’t thrill me, but at the same time I felt a compulsion and desire to complete it. I’m glad I purchased it and I’m glad I played it and I’m sure if anyone enjoys a puzzler they will enjoy it thoroughly too. I have given this game 89% which compared to Portal is a 6% decrease, but don’t let that put you off, the comedy involved will entertain you and the puzzles will offer a reasonable challenge. The story will fill in the holes for those that played Portal and for those that didn’t, will get a full story line to enjoy.