Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cake for Two

Game: Portal 2

System: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Release: April 2011

Portal 2, and the original, brings thinking to the first person shooter. A puzzle game at heart that succeeds where others have failed--I'm looking at you Mirror's Edge. The run n' gun formula is set aside, but Valve keeps the Half-Life universe. Players are given a portal gun. It fires two connected way-points that are used to solve various puzzles and eventually escape your prison aka Aperture Laboratories.

Portal 1 was a quick side project that was tossed out to the masses. A two hour jog through a series of test chambers guided by a sadistically  sarcastic AI named GLaDOS. It was an excellent experience that I highly recommend. The game is currently free on Steam and was apart of the Orange Box package on Xbox 360.

The sequel expands the lore and offers a co-op experience like no other. The campaign continues the story of the human Chell--destroyer of GLaDOS. She awakes to Wheatly the robot ball instructing her not to die. He wants to replace the rebooted GLaDOS, and does so with the help of Chell. Of course Wheatly is a dumb-ass and betrays you. Thrown into a vent you and GLaDOS--now hooked up to a potato--discover the original Aperture Laboratories.

J.K. Simmons--aka awesome actor--plays Cave Johnson the founder of all this crazy shit. His recorded instructions lead you through the old school facility with some hilarity. Eventually you return to Wheatly, kick his ass via lunar shenanigans, and return GLaDOS to her former self. Ya ya nerd purest. I left some details out. Can't spoil everything after all.

Gameplay is enhanced with goo. Specifically goo that increases your speed, is bouncy, or smears surfaces white for portal usage. There is also gravity tread mills and light bridges that can act like shields. Add to this the portal gun, and you have a fantastic variety of puzzle based entertainment.

Not impressed? Well how about co-op! That's right. P-body and Atlas are on the case. They do GLaDOS's biding, solve puzzles, and annoy said GLaDOS with human mannerisms. To enjoy this feature I highly recommend starting with a rookie from the get go. Nothing worse then being dragged through a game by someone who's been there before.

Portal 2 is an excellent game. All signs point to Full Price! Yet I'm hesitant to recommend such a purchase. Yes free DLC is on the way, but the puzzles loose their entertainment value quickly. Already knowing the answer to the test hinders the joy found in the journey. Snerts Snazzy Score is On Sale!

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