Glados sings her story in Portal 2 (Review)

There have been a lot of great things already said about Portal 2 and most of them are justified.  As previously stated here, it is however tough to justify a sixty dollar price tag for a sequel to a $12 game.  While the new game features a co-op mode with a separate adventure, the single player mode has very little replay value.  The voice acting is more of the same from the original with a couple of new personalities and more of the story is revealed.  From top to bottom it is clever and will give you a real sense of accomplishment for beating it.  Luckily here in Los Angeles, you can now find Portal 2 for around $40.

It is tough to criticize much that the guys at Valve do, everything they touch is quality albeit sometimes sparse, imparting a sense of isolation in their games.  The original Portal game doesn’t set the story up nearly as well as its sequel.  Portal 2 takes you on journey that is a much more coherent backdrop to the mind bending puzzles.  As you play through the game, you get a sense of what Aperature and Glados are all about.  The story seems to take you however reluctantly, almost full circle.

Rather than just dressing up the original with more story and improved graphics, Valve has introduced new media to Portal 2.  Not only do you have an Aperature gun and companion cubes, this seqel features redirection cubes, a couple of different energy and tractor beams and a trio of gels that alter yours and other objects’ physical properties.  This adds new solutions to a more varied collection of puzzles that are further fleshed out by taking you out of the lab environments.  The creators of the game claim that single player is over twice as long as the original, although that might be a little overstated.

The biggest addition to the new game is co-op.  As with most multiplayer games on consoles, the determining factor on buying one version over the other is what your friends play.  The Xbox 360 version of the game features a split-screen and on line co-op side story experience.  The Playstation 3 version comes bundled with the Steam service for your console and PC along with a complimentary PC download of the game.  Having Steam on your Playstation 3 gives you access to nearly the full Steam experience including cross platform play with Mac and PC players.

Overall, Portal 2 is a genre bending masterpiece and a significant game.  It isn’t however a game for everyone, much in the same way the movie Clerks isn’t for everyone.  There isn’t as much action as a lot of games have and the story doesn’t really take you anywhere.  It’s full of easter eggs and the whole narrative could be called backstory.  This is what many players will find appealing.  Beating the game’s collection of puzzles will give you a great sense of accomplishment but some gamers will not find the dark humor enough to keep them going.

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