Portal 2 Review (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)

mw-630-glados--300x154No pressure.  You made one of the gaming community’s most highly rated and enjoyed games, now you just gotta follow it up with a sequel.  It’s not like you set the bar high enough that Yao Ming doesn’t even have to duck to pass underneath it.  You’re Valve, you’re known for making high quality games.  Well, I am pleased to say that this was absolutely a triumph, and somehow, someway, Portal 2 is actually better than the original.

The Good

Fans of the original will be right at home in Portal 2.  Everything they did right in the first installment is back and in greater quantity for the sequel.  The writing is still amazing, being witty and funny all the way through.  The plot is even deeper than before and will warrant multiple play-throughs just to catch everything.

The level design is top notch.  Like the first game, puzzles start out simple and get progressively harder, adding in more and more variables to them.  I greatly enjoyed the changes of locations throughout the game as well.  The puzzles get just challenging enough that you feel a great sense of accomplishment when you complete them but aren’t too hard that you get extremely frustrated trying to think them through.

Co-op is very well designed as well.  It does not feel like a “tacked on” mode to supplement the single player.  Iportal-2_009t is a full game in itself, with it’s own unique and challenging two player puzzles and story line   There are few things more fun than playing co-op with a friend and having GLaDOS send you private messages trying to drive you and your friend apart and then playing along with it.  It really sucks you into the game that much more.

The Bad

If I had one gripe about the game it would be the amount of loading screens there are.  The puzzles take a few minutes to complete and there are loading screens between almost every one.  I can understand loading screens from time to time, but I’m not sure why you need a loading screen between every puzzle when they are sometimes only one or two rooms big.  It just seemed a little excessive.  Valve probably could have spaced out the loading a little more.  It doesn’t take away anything from the gameplay so it’s nothing major, just a bit of an inconvenience.

The Verdict

The first Portal game was simple yet extremely innovative.  A puzzle game using the great physics provided by the Source engine.  The great writing coupled with great level design made the game an instant hit among gamers, and was a major selling point to The Orange Box.  Due to this success there was a lot of hype behind Portal 2 and whether or not it would be able to live up to it’s predecessor, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint.  Although the game is still around 9 hours long it is a must have.  There is still good replayability even if you know the puzzles.  Hidden rooms and easter eggs are all over the place in the game, and intricacies in the plot will require multiple play throughs to pick up everything.  The co-op adds on another 6 hours of gameplay and it definitely sets the standard for what the mode should be.  Portal 2 is not to be missed, even if you’re not normally a fan of puzzle games, you will not regret picking up this title.

Score – 9.5/10 –