A two-part piece regarding VALVe's latest release, Portal 2 - the first part concerns itself with the single player portion of the game and thus might contain minor to moderate spoilers. Since the game relies heavily on key plot developments, it is strongly advised to not read this article until you have completed it. You have been warned.
|Portal 2 Box Art.|
Portal 2's predecessor was known as a sleeper hit, originally "bonus" content featured in VALVe's compilation, the Orange Box. Portal went on to earn critical acclaim from the press, mainly due to its quirky brand of dark humour, clever level design , puzzle dynamics and excellent characterization. VALVe's staple ability of maintaining verisimilitude was also credited as a major factor behind the game's success, with the Aperture Science facility offering a multitude of side-stories, both humorous and serious in tone - thus building a believable, persistent world for the game to take place.
|Effort has gone into portraying the|
decay due to the passage of time.
|Redirecting lasers, one of the new|
gameplay elements introduced.
|One of the many combinations of|
devices the player must tackle.
|Fluid physics are particularly fun to|
watch; find a Propulsion Gel pipe...
|...and coat a nearby walkway; this will|
hugely accelerates Chell's walk speed.
Voice acting warrants special merit, with the trio of Ellen McLain, Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons providing the voices for GLaDOS, Wheatley and Cave Johnson, respectively. GLaDOS is once again portrayed in a most compelling manner, while bumbling artificial intelligence Wheatley's British accent and mannerisms and Aperture Science CEO Cave Johnson's off-beat manner, often with dark humour overtones, are the real show-stoppers this time around; both voice actors offer a wide range of lines delivered with genuine feeling and often to hilarious results.
In conclusion, the single player portion of the game delivers a compelling, quirky story in tandem with intelligent gameplay mechanics, some of the most clever humour in recent games, spot-on voice acting and excellent characterization.
On the flip side, a small part of the content feels repetitive, particularly in the latter half of the game, as well as some minor complaints on the otherwise great level design concerning high-velocity jumps. While the single-player portion's duration (averaging at about 7 to 8 hours) isn't any worse than any other recent release, the somewhat rigid level structure and singular solutions limit the game's replayability.
*Portal 2 Box Art pic courtesy of www.gamepron.com