The story is explained to you through GLaDOS who fills in all the details you need to know. Why you’re there, what you need to achieve and ultimately what the plan is. GLaDOS is as you would expect a computer to be, logically directed as its programmer intended. The programmer has made some mistakes along the way and GLaDOS has slipped up and developed partial emotions other than its set directive, which leaves a dry sense of humour that as I mentioned above is one of the best parts of the game.
Audio in this game matches it well. You get the feeling you are submersed in an atmosphere of technical gadgetry and with the little occasional outburst of techno in the background, this just adds to the overall feel that you really are in a test lab of sorts. GLaDOS (the in-game instruction computer) has an electronically generated sound to the voice which does add to the feeling that you’re at the whim of a computer and not someone sitting behind a screen giving you voice commands. GLaDOS has a keen sense of humour that to be honest is one of the biggest plus’ for this game.
Portal is a puzzle game. Although you hold your reasonably sized portal generator gun, it is not a FPS like many seem to think. As such don’t expect over dramatic backgrounds, you are in a puzzle after all. The walls ground and ceiling are part of your puzzle environment. Even though the game is a little old, graphically you wouldn’t expect much more from the game as it would take away from the overall feel that you are in a test lab. Depending on the placement of your portals, you can view yourself through a portal to get nice reflections of the female character you man oeuvre around. The graphics won’t break some of the older computers on the planet.
Don’t expect this game to take you days to complete, however it is a game that you will want to come back to for some fun from time to time. You flow nicely from level to level as you solve each puzzle the movement of your toon is what you would expect from a first person perspective. The levels get progressively more difficult as you progress through the game. There are no dramatic increases in difficulty which gives this game a nice flow and allows you to adapt well to using your portal gun effectively.
I feel that this is all explained above and without giving you more in the form of spoilers there isn’t really much more to say. As I said earlier it’s not going to keep you going for days at a time. I feel that maybe the progression of difficulty could have been more, which would have held you in the game for a longer duration. However puzzles like that have downsides for those who aren’t that adept at solving them. They would have been seeking walkthroughs to aid them in completing the game. Those who want to enter into steams challenge mode will inevitably be kept in the game much longer with those challenges to meet. For those who don’t wish to fill your steams challenge list, you will find yourself popping back on for some light entertainment every now and again.
I enjoyed playing this game and as it’s been out for some time now I have enjoyed going back to it a few times, even just to mess around. To see how far I can propel myself through the games dynamics just for the shear fun of it. It’s light entertainment but don’t mistake that for poor entertainment. If puzzles are your thing you will find yourself glued to the PC until you have completed the game. Then one day in the future you will see this game in your list of games and decide to set your own challenge. To see if you can do it any quicker than your first attempt, hoping you have remembered how to solve each individual puzzle that you achieved before. Like most steam games this one hooks up with Gary’s mod and as its using the same engine as Half Life 2 you may come across a bug with a DLL. If so, there is a handy fix for this which you will find on our forum page, when we launch it that is. So for me this gets a very positive doghouse rating of.
Jono’s Portal Score: 78%