Review: Portal 2

Valve’s done it again with the second edition of the smash hit challenge game Portal. Portal 2 takes what we all know and love from version 1, strapped a...

Portal2

Valve’s done it again with the second edition of the smash hit challenge game Portal. Portal 2 takes what we all know and love from version 1, strapped a brand new co-op mode to it and made it even better. Portal is a unique challenge game that make you think in ways that other games just don’t.

With first person shooters renowned for senseless gun slinging fun, Portal 2 has a completely different take on the FPS. Sure in some levels you reach frustration that makes you wish you had an AK-47 on-board, but the sense accomplishment after getting through is one of the most rewarding emotions a gamer can feel.

Can you believe its been more than 4 years since the last edition, Valve please take the profits from Portal 2, expand your crack team of creatives and deliver us a bunch of new test chambers each year !

While always visually interesting, about my only criticism is that visually Portal 2 didn’t blow me away. There were certainly momentous occasions when environments would move and react in ways you had expected or reveal a scale that made you feel the size of an ant. There were however times where textures were relatively low by today’s standards. Its good thing the game is so engaging or this may be a big issue.. it wasn’t.

Gallery [Warning: Spoilers]



Single Player
Portal levels are made up from a variety of challenging objects, forces and surfaces, all effecting your progression through each test chamber in different and interesting ways. New challenges arrive frequently and parallel an interesting yet amusing story line. Estimates are that most players finish single player in between 8-10 hours.

Co-op
The best games in life are played with a friend, in Portal 2 you can bust out some or that team work in co-op mode. Taking on an entirely new set of test chamber challenges, progressing through the stages requires participation from both players, working in tandem to get that pink heart cube on the button and open the exit door. You get a choice of playing as Atlas or P-body and if you really want to get fancy, you can jump into the Robot Enrichment store and buy customisations. There’s also the ability to play against random strangers, which in my experience actually works pretty well. While communicating via text chat or voice, collaboration with someone you don’t know actually works surprisingly well.

Overall
Portal 2’s combination of challenges that make you think, get angry, come back later, succeed and celebrate is perfectly unique. The story is told with a delightfully ironic comedy that help you giggle between concentration sessions. If your still wondering if you should buy this game, let me make it clear – yes.

The only real question is on which platform. Steam is the cheapest at $50, Xbox Live has achievements that build to your Gamerscore and where most of your friends are. PSN is a disaster area right now, but Portal 2 was supposed to bring Steam’s debut on PS3 and provide an access code to play on the PC or Mac. It looks like gamers will have to wait a while longer before achieving cross-platform portals.

More info @ http://www.thinkwithportals.com

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.