Okay, let is start this video gaming review with a little confession, which isn’t so much a confession as a confirmation of a known fact. All us video gaming news bloggers are Valve and id fanboys almost without exception
A Video Gaming Legacy to Live Up To
Valve’s Half-Life, despite its shitty graphics (by today’s standards), was the first video gaming storyline that really hooked us, back in the day when Hollywood scriptwriters weren’t writing for games yet. Half-life drew you in and kept you there. “There’ll never be another video gaming experience like this,” we all said. And felt vindicated when, even until years later, none of the games, with their graphical and gameplay improvements could make up for the void that Half-Life left.
Then they went and released Half-life 2, and we fell in love all over again. Then they frustrated the world with the long waits for Half-life 2: Episode 1 and 2, and we’d all but lost hope for video gaming nirvana when Portal came out.
The video gaming sequel to Valve’s Portal had to be very special indeed, precisely because that first game was a revelation. It was immersive, funny and was an FPS video gaming experience that had no “shooting” to speak of. Oh wait, I forgot that turrets can shoot at you… anyway, Portal was unique, and quirky, and we loved it more than a lot of other games we’ve played, simply for its defiance of norms.
When Portal 2 released, we had mixed emotions: excitement and skepticism. It was, after all the freshness of the concept that made Portal the iconic video gaming experience it was, but now the concept was old… Could they pull off another HL2 with Portal 2?
Video Gaming that Leaves Your Breathless
Perhaps the biggest compliment we can pay this game, one we cannot quantify on a scale of 10, is that it is unputdownable. It just reels you in, takes you breath away and leaves your craving for more after the 8-odd hours that you spent playing it — on the trot. It is the video gaming equivalent of a best-selling page turner.
Comparisons to Portal may prove odious; its not necessarily a better or more iconic, but its a longer and the video gaming is much more fulfilling for some reason we cannot put a finger on.
Portal 2 begins with you waking up somewhere in the testing facility, and meeting Wheatley, a robot that looks like one of GLaDOS’ cores that you destroyed in Portal. Very quickly you realise that Wheatley, is, well, special, and is British, apparently. He’s funny though, and you can’t help but laugh at his dialogues. He’s also irritating enough to make you start thinking that this is just a poor substitute to GLaDOS, and not really as funny as the original. Then BAM! You’re quickly brought back to the fun of Portal, as GLaDOS is resurrected just as you were getting bored.
Very quickly, the video gaming seems to come to an end, and you start thinking, waitaminnit, this is even shorter than the first one, isn’t it? Then several plot twists later you begin to realize that this game has been plotted to perfection. Just when you think you’re about to start missing something from Portal, Portal 2 throws a curve ball at you to make you sit up and pay attention.
What’s Great About Portal 2
The world map is huge compared to the first part, and the puzzles are a little more challenging. There are also quite a few new props added into the puzzles, which bring a lot of freshness into the video gaming. Along the way you also figure out that you’re still playing as Chell herself, and not just a clone or someone who looks like her.
The dialogue is scripted immaculately as expected, but what’s new here is actual conversations between two bots, instead of just one way traffic.
What’s also new is that you actually get a true sense of how huge the facility really is, and the attention to detail – especially when you see some of the facility in disrepair – is pretty impressive.
Physics has always been what Portal is all about, and instead of just stuff that’s going through portals, Valve shows off the eye candy by making things collide and break apart very realistically. Some of the liquid effects are quite silly though, but seem to add some comic value rather than subtract from the immersiveness of the video gaming.
The main video gaming USP of Portal 2, however, is always going to be the puzzle solving, and just as you did in the first one, you will struggle at some points, die a few times, and finally figure out the solution that makes you want to face-palm, because it’s always obvious once you’ve finished it.
A must buy, must play experience that will keep you smiling for up to a week later, and chuckling when you remember a joke from the game. Do yourself a favor, try out this superb video gaming offering from Valve, and recommend it to your friends too.