Portal 2 WINS! | J@N | 4.19.11

Portal 2 WINS! | J@N | 4.19.11

We have to do a show? Can’t I just keep playing?! Ugh, fine.

Here’s a show about Portal 2. We review it, tell you why it’s incredible and addictive and completely adorable, then show you a little why others think the same. Oh and there’s a couple newsy bits, too. And swag to buy.

Fascinating, I’m sure, but can I go play some more now? There’s science to be done!

Show Feeds:


Show Notes:

ThinkGeek affiliate link

WSJ Review: Portal 2 Is A Hole In One
Techland(TIME) Gives it a Perfect 10
PC Gamer Scores at 94/100

The Early Launch Project — Potato Sack
– Players that purchased and played indie games on Steam fueled a launch ahead of schedule.
– Served to promote indie gaming, Steam, and PC gaming in general.
– Also probably made Valve a few hundred thousand dollars. And I have no problem with that.

Review Points (SINGLE PLAYER)

The intro is breath-taking. The environments built to re-introduce you are magnificent. And the way they grow and change throughout the game is brilliant. The environment IS a character, or at the very least a bodily extension of one (or … two …)

Being a test subject “again” was fun because of how it was introduced. Also good for brand new players that didn’t play the first, or have taken a long break. A nice easy way to get you back into the swing of things.

I’ve been worried for months now that the “soul” of Portal 2 would end up feeling bland and overworked, because Valve might put too much effort into making another landmark game, where the first felt like sort of an accident. Those fears have been put to rest.

* Cave Johnson, the voice in many of the trailers released so far, is a ridiculous fossil of manliness from the 50s/60s. And he lampoons it with such efficiency that it becomes AWESOME. (think, “Mad Men”)
– “When life gives you lemons, invent combustible lemons and burn life’s house down with them. You don’t deserve lemons!”
* Getting to know GladOS on a more personal basis was worth the price of the game.

Whereas Portal1 felt like nothing more than a clever puzzle game that could be beaten in a single sitting, Portal2 is an awesome ride through an incredible story, as it tells you the history of Aperture Labs without actually having to TELL you anything. Incredible storytelling.

I like having a sense of danger without actually having to kill anything. Too many puzzle games introduce enemies, when their gameplay could be designed in a way to do without it. (e.g., “The Ball”)

* Some of the more complicated puzzles give you a subtle musical cue when you’re on the right track to solving it.
* Top notch ambient audio all over. Distant explosions, whirring machinery, etc.

– Some REALLY tough puzzles, involving extremely fast hand-eye coordination. I may not be able to beat this game because of it.
– Did not like Wheatley. I know a lot of people did, but it’s tough to sympathize or enjoy interacting with him. I can’t put my finger on it.
– A few (VERY few) cut corners, it feels like. With so much attention given to the atmosphere, it was a minor moment of disappointment to see some missed opportunities (eg. the ‘intro movies’ playing near each lift, many were repeated dozens of times.)
– No explanation given (as far as I know) for your character’s reintroduction to the Labs. At the end of Portal1, you seem to escape to the surface. So why are you back inside at the start of Portal2?
– Few achievements. Or maybe I suck. Either way, it comes across as a negative to me. I’d like more badges for my efforts, even if they’re not uber leet..


Co-Op Review

– Very easy to start up, well integrated into Steam network (obviously…)
– Communication is excellent, over Steam. Also with press F to point, use timers, etc.
– Incredible variation of maps. Some were just STUPIDLY awesome to complete. Aiming lasers using your partner’s mini-viewscreen, etc.
– GladOS’ commentary keeps it light hearted, even when you die repeatedly. Especially when you die repeatedly.
– Fully featured, completely time consuming. We finished the first 6 maps, thought that was it, and were still satisfied. Then found a dozen more, and there are probably even more after that.

– No chatting during load screens.
– Complicated. Requires a teammate with lots of patience. Not recommended for strangers.
– It can, at times, feel like playing pool with a friend. But both of you can only use one hand each, and you’re both using the same cue. At the same time.


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