follow us:

Latest News

Razer purchases Ouya
Ouya was one of the biggest Kickstarters, but it never really took off. Since its release, sales for the Ouya and games have been less than stellar. In a surprise move today, hardware company Razer announced they purchased Ouya.... [read more]
CD Projekt RED to add New Game+ to Witcher 3
Since its release, CD Projekt Red released multiple DLC for free for Witcher 3. Today, they revealed their last free DLC for the game and it's a popular one.... [read more]
Terminator T-800 joins WWE 2K16 roster
Yuke's Entertainment, Visual Concepts and 2K Sports will bring the iconic character from Hollywood motion picture to their popular wrestling game franchise.... [read more]

Latest Articles

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Beta shows that the series still has some fight
The Gears of War: Ultimate Edition beta has ended and it has been an experience. With only multiplayer available to play, I was in game after game of Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill. With a shiny new presentation and new features, is this attempt enough to re-ignite th... [read more]
If you don’t play as Nova in Heroes of the Storm, you’re an idiot
Let me start off by saying that Nova is one of the best characters in Heroes of the Storm. ... [read more]
Steam Curator group threatens developers for free games
Original Trader Group(OTG), a Steam Curator group, requested two free keys to games in order to review for their curator page. When the developer did not respond, they resorted to intimidation. ... [read more]

Latest Reviews

Heroes of the Storm Review: The WoW of MOBAs is here
MOBAs are becoming more and more common as the competitive arena of choice. League of Legends and DotA changed the face of eSports by putting the new genre in the spotlight. Blizzard has entered the fray with their answer in the form of Heroes of the Storm.... [read more]
Dying Light Review: What happens when you do Dead Island correctly
Zombie massacre simulator is the description that comes to mind when I think of Techland's Dying Light. With so many implements of undead doom at your disposal, you can easily lose yourself in trying every weapon and item you come across. The real question, though, is does t... [read more]
Tales From the Borderlands Ep. 1 Review: This time Telltale won't make you cry...that much
There are plenty of things to kill you on the planet of Pandora: the wildlife, bandits, and even $10,000,000. Or at least, that is if you are Rhys and Vaughn from Hyperion. The two of them are just a part of the cast in the first episode of Telltale’s Tales from the Borde... [read more]

Latest Videos

8-Bit Eric: A Tribute to the History of Satoru Iwata
This video is a tribute to CEO and President of Nintendo Mr. Satoru Iwata, who sadly passed away just yesterday. This video is more a celebration of some of his biggest accomplishments and a preview of the wonderful history that this leader in gaming had.... [read more]
8-Bit Eric Review: Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition
8-Bit Eric knows a bit about wrestling. That's why he's the perfect reviewer for Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition for the Wii U. ... [read more]
PAX South 2015: 8-Bit Eric does a Starr Mazer interview...kind of
On display at PAX South was a game called Starr Mazer, which mashes shmup gameplay with point-and-click adventure gameplay. 8-Bit Eric tried to do an interview with the developer, and well, you'll have to see what happens. ... [read more]
Portal 2 Review
Posted on May 05, 2011 by Oscar Gonzalez

The story behind Portal could have come out of Hollywood: Students at the Digipen Institute of Technology worked on a game that caught the eyes of Valve. The students then did a presentation for Valve President Gabe Newell who offered them jobs at Valve. They then made a game called Portal that was released in The Orange Box alongside Valve staples Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2.

This team nor Valve had high expectations for Portal, but the next thing they knew, their little puzzle game was THE hottest thing in the gaming world. Everybody has high expectations the sequel, but can Portal 2 possibly live up to the hype three and a half years later?

PORTAL LOVE

Upgraded Story - Portal did an exceptional job when it came to its narrative because everything about it unfolded slowly and subtly. In fact, the major plot point in the first game was that there was an actual plot behind the seemingly ordinary puzzle game. Portal 2 starts up an unspecified amount of time, although it has clearly been a very long time, after the events from Portal. You once again control the silent protagonist Chell who was put in a cryogenic stasis after she seemingly destroyed GLaDOS in the first game. GLaDOS has been recovering from the damage that Chell caused. This time, Chell is not alone in this story as she’s joined by a personality core named Wheatley who is trying to help her escape. What makes the storyline so enjoyable in Portal 2 is that it works. There’s no point where you stop and think “That couldn’t have happened” because Valve made sure that the story easily flows from one plot point to another. It has everything you can ask for in a story with likeable characters, plot twists, and comedy without a feeling that it’s been crammed into the game as an afterthought.

The Same With a Bit More - In the first game, you were introduced to a simple concept: a gun that shoots two portals that are linked to each other. From there, it was a matter of the developers testing your wits on how to reach a goal at the end of each level. Valve has taken the original idea and gone a few steps further with it. Most notable are the various gels in the game. These liquids have different properties associated with them (white lets you put a portal anywhere, blue lets you jump higher, orange makes you go faster) , and it’s your task to make use of them to figure out how to get to the goal. Something Valve really made more use of than they did in the original was the use of acceleration through one portal to shoot out another portal in order to reach farther distances. A small change is the energy pellet dispensers of the original being switched out for lasers that have to reach certain spots to activate a switch with the aid of cubes that act like mirrors to reflect the laser in another direction. Valve has kept what worked incredibly well and added a new twist to prevent it from feeling old and stale.

Double the Portals, Double the Fun - What could make the already fun gameplay of Portal even more of a blast? Co-op levels where two players can dick with each other for hours on end. Seriously, screw the puzzle solving and having the power to control the fate of your partner as you both work towards the goal, but instead you kill them for the sake of a good laugh which takes the entertainment level of the game to a whole new level. In the Portal 2 co-op, you and a friend (or complete stranger if you’re into that thing) control 2 robots: Atlas and P-body. Both robots have their own portal gun that shoots out 2 portals distinguished by their own set of colors. Like in the single player, there is a goal you have to reach in a room and the two of you will have to work together. More often than not, one player will be in charge of the other person’s life, and typically this is where the big laughs are reminding me of New Super Mario Bros. Wii in which killing your teammate is practically your job in order to get the maximum amount of joy. There is a subtle plot to co-op that makes sense if you beat the single player mode first. There are a few missteps that Valve took with the co-op mode with the most glaring problem is that there’s no way to do a quick reset of the room. Being that some rooms have parts that need to be completed to reach your goal (you’ll know when you’ve completed said part when the auto saving message appears) sometimes you want to start from the very beginning to get a better feel of the room. The problem is that when you try to do this, you have to start back at the Hub which is, as the name states, a hub that connects the different stages of the game. Always having to go back is tedious and was one of the few things overlooked by the developers. Aside from these minor problems, co-op is a remarkable addition to Portal 2's single-player mode providing a truly rewarding experience.

I <3 Stephen Merchant - If you’re not familiar with Stephen Merchant, I really couldn’t blame you, well, if you live in the U.S. Known for his work with The Office creator Ricky Gervais, Merchant isn’t a household name unless your household is filled with British comedy fans meaning that you actually have relatives with a sense of humor. In any case, Merchant is the voice of Wheatley and he provides an incredibly hilarious performance. When it comes to games, comedy writing can work well in text, but when you have an actor read a script that’s supposed to be funny, the hilarity that looked good on paper might not translate as well as one hoped. Merchant, on the other hand, plays the part perfectly, being the main source of comedy throughout the game. That’s not to say that the voice of Cave Johnson (J.K. Simmons) and GLaDOS (Ellen McLain) aren’t up to snuff. Both voice actors played their parts flawlessly, although I have to say that the monotone punchlines from GLaDOS really started getting to me after a while. Still, it has to be said that Merchant’s performance is that perfect blend of the right script with the right actor in mind and that actor providing a great performance. It literally blows all previous voice acting performances away as there are simply no noticeable blemishes in the performance. If you think of what you considered the best voice acting performance up to now, you know that there were points in which the delivery of the lines were off in the less important conversations in the game like in a greeting or transaction. It happens because those minor pieces of dialogue don't play an important role in the grand scheme of the game. In Portal 2, every word feels and sounds natural. You will literally hang on every word throughout the game as they not only provide vital pieces of the narrative, but you simply want to hear each word that the characters have to say. I can’t think of any game where I’ve felt that way before. Merchant is a big part of that with his performance and should he receive every possible award imaginable for his work.
 

NEEDS SOME TWEAKING

Give Me MOAR! - This is going to be a touchy subject. On the day of its release, word was making its way through the Internets that Portal 2 was a short game. Most gamers left it as simply a “haters gonna hate” attitude that some people have towards Valve and let it slide. Thing is, the game is on the short side with the single player clocking in at about 6-8 hours. Co-op helps circumvent that feeling of too much money spent on a short game but it’s also just 6-8 hours. Keep in mind, this is for your standard players, Portal pros can probably make their way through much faster, especially if they choose to not explore and take in the surroundings. Now, that is much longer than the original game which was about 1-2 hours for most people, but the first one was a side game that was packaged with four other full games. What it comes down to is that once you beat the game, there is very little reason to pick it up again unless you’re an achievement whore. Unlike the original Portal, there are no leaderboards or rewards for beating a room as quickly or creatively as possible. I’ve seen videos of people completing rooms in seconds, and they will not receive any credit for doing it because of this missing part of the game. Of course, many people have played through the game several times already, yet I would think that an aspect of the game that kept people playing Portal for so long after they initially beat the game would be an obvious inclusion in the sequel of the game. Fortunately, Valve has already stated that more levels and leaderboards will be available to download for free this coming summer to remedy this gripe. 

 



 

As much as people want to joke on how long Valve takes to make a game, you have to hand it to them; they do rise to the occasion and make the game worth the wait. Portal 2 is everything that fans wanted, more of everything while keeping the feel of the original game. That’s an incredible feat by a very talented bunch of developers.

This review was based on the PS3 version of the game with a review copy provided by the publisher.

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

What's your most anticipated game for August?

Shadowrun: Hong Kong
Madden NFL 16
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Volume
Rare Replay
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
Dishonored: Definitive Edition
View Results - View Comments

Podcast


Discussing the roots of r/Kappa with Dr. Mike


Left 4 Dead Review

Portal 2 Review

Portal 2 Review

Other Gaming News From The Web